Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Campmor has a few lines of down bags on sale, their house brand and TNF I believe, I just threw the catalog out. I picked up a TNF 12-15 years ago, 35 degree bag for $119. They have gone up some, but still a good deal. A full length zipper is nice. I sold my bag to a college student/counselor last Spring for cheap. It washed up good before I sent if off.
2. Research all the popular and well regarded bag brands and make a list of acceptable models, the bigger the list the better.
3. Wait for a sale and/or closeout and JUMP when you hit your pricepoint.
By being flexible as to precisely which bag you end up with you'll inevitably snag a $250 bag for $150. Believe me on this last bit. Everything ends up on sale eventually; that's how I got my WM Ultralite for the price of a Kelty.
On the subject of bags, one thing I've only seen on one brand that I can't believe isn't more popular is the center zipper. A hiking buddy recently bought a 0-degree center zip GoLite down bag and when I saw it, I had one of those moments where you wonder "why isn't this more popular?" After crawling in it briefly to test it out, a center zipper is FAR better than a side zipper.
I'm currently looking at the Marmot Sawtooth +15 Long.
Any experience with this one.
I've had a Marmot Sawtooth +15 long bag for about 5 years. Its a great bag and a great value for the quality. Do some research and you will find that Marmot is more conservative than most manufacturers in regards to temp. rating. I've camped in mine in the low teens several times and always been comfortable. Good luck and The Sawtooth is a great bag.
I picked up two (one for me and one for the wife) Campmor down regular sized bags about a year ago on sale for $150-ish for both. I've used them in the house quite comfy as a quilt. The full length zipper was really nice and stops just shy of the foot box to keep your feet toasty. I also used it on a hunting trip in an unheated camper with outside temps in the low 20's. Kept me warm and cozy. Not a true test, I know, but reassuring none the less.
"one thing I've only seen on one brand that I can't believe isn't more popular is the center zipper."
Last year I bought two center-zipper "V" bags from Luxurylite. They come from Bruce Warren, a cottage-industry guy who every once in a while speaks up on this forum. My wife and I both love the bags (and she's a cold sleeper.)
And the "V" bag meets the criteria required by moose, who started the topic: cost: $145, weight: 31 oz., rating: 20F -- which is controllable since it is a center-zipper bag; just unzip in warmer temps.
(Note: Nowhere in my post have I mentioned the phrase, "fill power." Those words of Bruce's got some people riled up here on a post about his bags.)
I got a couple of the factory second Luxurylites, and I couldn't be happier. I've had one down to 25 with long johns and a fleece top. The other one I opened, and added down to the underfilled baffles. Used it in 22 degree weather last weekend, but got a little warm. I think I turned it into a 10 degree bag.
As I said, you could do a lot worse. My lightest bag has 6" of loft and is just over 3 pounds. The luxury lite bag would be over a pound lighter for very little money. My current bag is clearly overkill for warm weather, it's just the bag I happen to own. Even better would be the luxury lite bag in a regular length - up to 6'.
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