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#156801 - 11/04/11 08:53 PM Winter bag choice
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I'm thinking about buying a winter bag. I'm thinking about either a WM Puma or their Lynx or maybe a Feathered Friends bag in the same temp range. My question is this--do I go with the -25 or just -10? My current bag is +12 and good for Yosemite, but I'd like a bag I can use without my overbag and parka tossed over it. Most likely I won't be anywhere except the Sierra and maybe Yellowstone.

I sleep cold or so I think, so that is a factor. As for price, I am looking online for a used bag and have seen a couple of Pumas. I like the color better too.

Any thoughts? Jim, what do you have, I can't remember?

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#156804 - 11/04/11 09:05 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
davids31 Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/18/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Cullman, Al
Eastern Mountain Sports just released their new -20 bag with the new vertical baffle technology and it is on sale tight now. I have the 15 degree version and really like it, especially for the value. The temp rating seems to be accurate too. Here is the link
http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11218917 Save yourself some money and get just as good of a product as the expensive options.

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#156809 - 11/04/11 10:18 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Tom, can you pick when you go the Yellowstone? If so, maybe the -10 bag to save money and weight/space. I have a WM Antelope Super DL, long, 5 degree bag, never been cold in it, even down to -7 in the Truckee area. I've always heard good things about FF.
Duane

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#156813 - 11/04/11 10:59 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Tom I have a WM super Kodiak but it was way too large for me and I modified it with two internal elastic straps that hold it close to me. Fit is as important as any rating and I mean I've seen guys freeze in a -40 bag when I was toasty in my -5 bag with my jacket over me. You have to try on a bag and it must have a well engineer foot box so that your feet do not poke through the insulation, especially if you sleep barefooted like I do. The body must fit you just snuggly enough to stop internal drafts without making yu claustrophobic, The hood must be good and it must close down to a small hole, and it must have those shoulder pad thingies to insulate your head area from your neck and chest. A single draft tube is not a good idea unless its overstuffed - mine is.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#156819 - 11/05/11 01:11 AM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: Jimshaw]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Thanks Jim, Now I remember you talking about modifying your bag. I do get a bit claustrophic in a bag, so a bit of room for me is good. I think one of the stores around here has WM bags, so I may go up and start looking at them. May not see a Puma, but something close.

Duane, I have no idea when I'll get to Yellowstone, just a nascent plan to go in winter for a week or so, maybe next year in March? I think there will be plenty of snow there then. I was there years ago as a kid, but that was in summer.


Edited by TomD (12/18/11 05:47 PM)
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#156820 - 11/05/11 02:02 AM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Tom, as a kid, our family was thru Jellystone a few times in the summer that I can remember in the '60's. We got to experience the cubs just outside the car window etc. I was there as an adult two nights in the summer it burned, fire started a few days after I left for MN.
Duane

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#156842 - 11/05/11 03:54 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: hikerduane]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2751
Loc: California
I also have a WM Super Antelope 5-deg bag and get cold at 20-deg. Goes to show that there is a lot of individual differences in what is "warm" when we sleep. I personally do not like the way the WM "draft collar" works- it is not a real draft collar, rather a double draw-tight system. This saves weight but I do not find it as warm as my old Marmot Agille bag (which was unfortunately stolen) that had a true draft collar. My WM bag is a short, but not proportionately narrower, so I really have trouble getting it warmed up and keeping it from being drafty. Be careful what you wish for with respect to roominess. For a winter bag you may also want a little extra length so you can stuff clothes down at the foot.

I have an old snap-off hood from a down jacket that I wear inside the bag when it gets cold- it really adds warmth for a few ounces.

For long term winter camping (say 10+ days out) I think I would prefer a synthetic bag, particularly in high humidity conditions (such as lots of time in a snow cave). Ice crystals build up inside a down bag and reduce loft and synthetic bags dry faster. I have not done winter camping for a while and the advise for synthetic bags in winter may not be current thought. We used to recommend a double bag- light tight-fitting 45 degree down inside a roomy 20-deg synthetic. The ice crystals tend to build up on the outer inch or so of the bag.



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#156845 - 11/05/11 05:54 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I'd like to suggest an experiment.

Take a piece of cord, and size, and tie it lightly around the middle of your thighs, around your sleeping bag so that it pulls the bag lightly to your body and see if in ten minutes your are not warmer. A better way is a 1/16" diameter elastic cord sewn just inside the inner cover of the sleeping bag so the nylon liner is held next to you, thus stopping drafts. By putting two of these in my WM bag One below the knee and one just below my hip joint), it became a warm wonderful bag with the ability to expand in most any direction that I want to push and I can wear what ever I want inside it and it always is the right size.
Jim
P.S. balaclava for wearing inside bag AND a pair of fleece gloves kept strictly for the sleeping bag.
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#156874 - 11/06/11 04:01 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: wandering_daisy]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
WD, your advise on double bags seems to still be up todate. A down bag if used, inside the synthetic bag so any moisture is driven thru the down into the synthetic. There is a discussion on this on Backpacking Light.
Duane

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#156951 - 11/07/11 06:45 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: Jimshaw]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Anyone experiment with a fur ruff on a sleeping bag? My lips and nose get cold even with the baclava on and I thought maybe it would help.

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#156966 - 11/08/11 12:16 AM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: Heather-ak]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Heather
I have used pieces of fur over my face and rolled up to breath through and tried various ideas. The trouble with a fur ruff - say coyote - on a mummy bag is that it would interfere with closing it down. There are US military cotton face masks for extreme cold. My problems was breathing air at -40. A tent really helps a lot when its minus 40 because your breath and body can heat it and it can buffer the outside temperature.

I always imagined a fur tube about ten inches long and 3 inches across the inside with fur at least an inch long, the idea being that your expelled breath warms the fur and then the air you take in is warmed in turn. however a piece of rabbit fur over your face is a great help when its so cold that your lips freeze together.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#156987 - 11/08/11 02:09 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: Jimshaw]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Jim,

I had thought of a piece of fur, but I roll around at night. I hadn't though of the idea of attaching only on two sides like that though. That would be enough to keep in place. The other idea is to attach it around my head or to the face mask - you know the whole warm vs. claustrophobic. wink I'm hoping to find a cast-off piece of wolverine (it doesn't gather condensation like other furs.)

Thank you for something to think about. thanks


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#156989 - 11/08/11 02:17 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: Heather-ak]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Heather. Check out www.wintertrekking.com
it is a Canadian/Northern US site for deep winter camping. There is a lot of info on sub zero clothes (mostly traditional wool) and sleeping systems. Lots of posts on the forums about using fur ruffs on anoraks (which are often made of cotton). I learned that the whole "cotton kills" in winter doesn't apply when the temps are below zero.

Check out this company as well for some interesting clothes-
www.empirecanvasworks.com
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#157041 - 11/09/11 10:33 AM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: Jimshaw]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I have a couple of the army face masks. I really like them, especially for sleeping. They have a detachable mask that covers the nose and mouth that looks exactly like a dust mask. The mask also fits under my goggles really well.



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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#157044 - 11/09/11 10:55 AM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: finallyME]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
If it's gonna get that cold, I better stay home and keep the heat on and water flowing.
Duane

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#157088 - 11/09/11 03:42 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Oh and Tom, if it was me, I would get the -25. But that is just me. I haven't camped in your location in winter before. Right now I have a bag rated to -25, but it is a cheap one, and I picked warm and cheap, not light for the two out of three choices you get with a sleeping bag. It is a little over 8 lbs and probably stuffs to around 50 liters. It is not a problem right now because it fits on my sled and my dog has no problem pulling it. But I would want a more compact one in the future. Although I don't have money for one right now, I am trying to decide how I want to replace it. I think I might end up with a down WM 20F bag and a synthetic outer bag for winter only. Maybe a Wiggy's outer.

Sorry, I don't think I helped you at all.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#157109 - 11/09/11 08:31 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: finallyME]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
FM
I got one of those vacume sealer things and I can buy long rolls of tube and seal and end. You simply stuff the sleeping bag into tube, pull a vacume and heat seal the end. Then you inexpensive warm sleeping bag would also be small grin if not light, or would it be lighter and how much?
Jim grin
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#157114 - 11/09/11 09:08 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: finallyME]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Actually you did. Now I need a dog and a new sled.

I'm looking for a used bag on Craigslist using a free program called Craigslist Reader from a company called CraigsPal. It works great, especially if you are looking for a specialty item like a deep winter bag. Prices tend to be a lot cheaper than eBay where people get overzealous about buying things-made that mistake myself at first. Talking people into shipping is iffy, but I've found ski boots, bindings and other stuff and got them shipped. If you come across as genuine and use PayPal, people tend to trust you. Some can't be bothered, but again not everyone needs or wants a -25F bag, so that is a bonus.

I saw a WM Puma for $300, which is a real bargain; saw another one for $400, so they are out there. If I was ready to buy, I'd have scooped up one of them.

Wiggys-people either love his stuff and him or can't stand him. There was a big discussion about him a while back on Trailspace. Personally, no experience with his gear and I don't like his politics, so he off my radar. I'd look for a used Integral Designs bag if you want synthetic. They get rave reviews-ID got out of selling bags when the company was sold recently, so you won't see them on their website, but the bags must still be around somewhere.


Edited by TomD (11/09/11 09:20 PM)
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#157145 - 11/10/11 11:04 AM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Tom you mentioned you were somewhat clautrophobic in a bag? I am too. I have had a Puma on and found it very good - roomy enough but not too restrictive. Were I to buy a single dedicated bag It would definately be the Puma. I do like it.

As it is however, I do very well in my one to two deep winter trips a year in my versalite, inside a cheap synthetic barrel bag. I still want that Puma, but haven't been able to justify the bucks for it. yet.
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#157147 - 11/10/11 11:38 AM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: Jimshaw]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
FM
I got one of those vacume sealer things and I can buy long rolls of tube and seal and end. You simply stuff the sleeping bag into tube, pull a vacume and heat seal the end. Then you inexpensive warm sleeping bag would also be small grin if not light, or would it be lighter and how much?
Jim grin


Jim, I think my stuff sack works better than a vacuum sealer. The vacuum sealer works great...once. But when I have to pack up and move, then I don't have the sealer.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#157149 - 11/10/11 11:48 AM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By TomD
Actually you did. Now I need a dog and a new sled.


You know, you can always borrow someones dog. laugh

Originally Posted By TomD
Wiggys-people either love his stuff and him or can't stand him. There was a big discussion about him a while back on Trailspace. Personally, no experience with his gear and I don't like his politics, so he off my radar. I'd look for a used Integral Designs bag if you want synthetic. They get rave reviews-ID got out of selling bags when the company was sold recently, so you won't see them on their website, but the bags must still be around somewhere.


I am one of those in the middle. I don't love him, but I also don't hate him. But, his ultima thule looks really convincing. Since I don't do that many winter trips a year (2-3 max), and I generally don' carry the bag, I don't want to throw down the money for down. The ultima thule is also lighter and more compact than my current bag (and costs $175 more). I don't have the money to get anything this winter, so at least another year thinking. Of course, before I replace my winter bag, I will replace my summer quilt with a 20F down bag, so maybe next winter won't see a bag change either.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#157161 - 11/10/11 04:23 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: phat]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Price. Always a consideration. That's why I'm looking for a used one. I have seen a few where the ad says "only used a few days" or something like that. I suspect they were used for that one big mountaineering trip, then the person gave up on winter camping.

I also need a new pair of winter boots, so time to start looking for those, and snowshoes. I've got a big parka and insulated pants although I'd love to have one of Kevin's cotton anoraks with a big fur ruff- http://www.empirecanvasworks.com/arcticanorak.htm
But, I wouldn't get that much use out of it to warrant the expense.


Edited by TomD (11/10/11 04:24 PM)
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#157165 - 11/10/11 05:51 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: finallyME]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I have the Wiggy's Antarctic and I don't think it is a -60F bag. However, two things: 1. I sleep really cold and 2. I didn't know there was a second around the body tighen down "strap" and was using woolsocks to make a kind of draft tube around me. He doesn't believe in an insulated draft tube below the head area, but he did put in a tightener. I was on the trip for almost three weeks and never noticed. AARG.

Another note - I took this bag on my last winter overnight and we (I was not driving) crashed into a ditch on the way there. So in the chaos I didn't notice my sleeping bag had gotten wet from an exploding water canister. It was about 0 - 15F that night and while I was chilly, I wasn't hypothermic.

Another thing - the bag is FREEKEN huge - like no room for anything else in my backpack huge.

(oh and on a side note for those of you who remember the whole is could my feather alergic husband handle a feather sleeping bag - he slept under a high end down blanket at his parents and was miserable. I checked after the second night (the first night he told me he was sure it wasn't down) and it was down. He got better the third night after I kicked the blanket out - so I made the right decision for us, I think. (no feather sleeping bags frown ) )

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#157166 - 11/10/11 05:53 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I love the empire canvus works stuff, I just can't find a good reason to spend that kind of money - I've been watching their facebook for sales.

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#157167 - 11/10/11 06:00 PM Re: Winter bag choice [Re: TomD]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By TomD


I also need a new pair of winter boots, so time to start looking for those, and snowshoes. I've got a big parka and insulated pants although I'd love to have one of Kevin's cotton anoraks with a big fur ruff- http://www.empirecanvasworks.com/arcticanorak.htm
But, I wouldn't get that much use out of it to warrant the expense.


I bought a swiss anorak for $6 to try out the cotton outer jacket. It worked the one time I have used it. I also have a wool jacket my wife sewed from a blanket, and wool pants that I bought at a surplus store. I can't believe how well they work. I still do need snow shoes, and boots for standing around below 0F. I plan on making the boots though. I might look at renting snow shoes from REI this winter.
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