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#123905 - 11/16/09 09:58 AM Sleeping Bag Question
Budzy Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/16/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
I am new to this group and would like to say hello to everyone.

I have a question - I currently have a 30 degree synthetic sleeping bag that I need to replace because at 40 I am cold.

I want to go with a down bag because it will last me longer.

I was looking at different bags and people have recommended different bags and different temperture ratings. I am a cold sleeper. Most of the camping falls in the 30 - 50 range, above that I have a summer bag.

Should I go with a 30 degree bag and then look for a winter bag? Or should I just get something around 15 degrees that can get me through both seasons? Since obviously down cost more I donít want to make a bad choice.

I appreciate any insight on this.

Thanks

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#123909 - 11/16/09 10:18 AM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Budzy]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Sounds like the synthetic bag is wearing out - it's probably more like a 40-degree bag now, since that's when you start getting cold.

If you want a down bag, go with Western Mountaineering. Most people find their ratings conservative - thus, a bag they rate at 30 might still be warm at 25. My own favorite (at 5'11" and 190 pounds) is the Megalite, part of their Extremelite series. It's rated to 30, but I was comfy in it to 15 degrees last winter inside a tent, wearing midweight long johns (and maybe a Patagonia down sweater; I can't remember.) It might be all the bag you'll need.

Over the years, I've found that if I select a bag that is rated to the coldest conditions I normally intend to sleep in, I'm fine. If it gets colder than predicted, or if I need to push its limits (like that trip last winter), wearing additional clothing is enough to do the trick.

I want to emphasize that wearing clothing in a bag is subject to several caveats. First, it needs to be dry clothing - wet clothing will just proceed to soak your bag and put you in a world of hurt. Second, the bag needs to have enough extra room that the insulation in the bag and the clothing is not being compressed (which reduces warmth); my Megalite is just right for me in this regard. Finally, clothing for additional warmth should be regarded as a safety margin, not routine operating procedure. The 15-degree night last winter was planned, knowing it would be that cold; however, that plan also included camping less than a mile from the car, so I could pack up and end the trip in the middle of the night if I got cold.

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#123915 - 11/16/09 12:33 PM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Glenn]
Budzy Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/16/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
Glenn - thanks for the info. Do you have more than one bag - rated lower for winter or a just the 30 degree?

Seems like a few times a year I hit into the teens but the rest of the time seems to be 30 to 50.

Everyone has been saying Western Mountaineering so you can see I would want to make the right choice based on the cost.

Thanks

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#123916 - 11/16/09 12:42 PM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Budzy]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I usually choose to stay home when it's below freezing; I've done the winter camping thing, and am not quite so gung-ho about such things as I get older. Thus, the Megalite does everything I need it to do.

Actually, I do have two bags: the Megalite and the Mitylite. The Mitylite is a 40-degree bag, though I've taken it into the mid 20's in the backyard by wearing heavyweight long johns, hooded down jacket, down pants, down booties, and down mittens, plus a balaclave, inside a tent on a Prolite Plus pad.

I like the Mitylite in warmer temperatures, because it has a full-length side zipper plus a zipper that goes around the foot. This lets you open it up like a comforter, or leave the footbox zipped to form a quilt with a nifty little pocket for your feet.

I also have been playing with the Thermarest Ventra, and it's a well-made sleeping quilt that is functionally identical to the Mitylite (except it uses snaps instead of zippers, and can't be cinched around your shoulders: it's a pure quilt, not designed to be a bag.) However, the Ventra is only 650 fill down, so it weighs about a half pound more than the Mitylite - but costs $100 less. If you wanted a quilt, and cost was an issue, it would be a good alternative to the Mitylite down to around 40 or 50 degrees - maybe colder with full-on insulated clothing.

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#123921 - 11/16/09 01:43 PM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Glenn]
Budzy Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/16/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
Glenn,

Thank you sir for the info. I will probably go with the 30 degree WM bag. Ironically I like this time of the year to camp because of the lack of bugs, I seem to be a chigger magnet despite my best efforts to keep them away.

I looked at Mount Bell but their long bags are only 6'4" and I am 6'3" and I don't like my size 13 feet jammed into the bottom of a sleeping bag.

Regards

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#123923 - 11/16/09 02:05 PM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Budzy]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I also enjoy the cooler weather and bug-free trips of fall; I'm just beyond the all-out deep winter stuff. Probably one too many Klondike Derby campouts with Scouts.

You'll probably want the 6'6" model of the Megalite - check Benchmark out in Blue Ash; they're a dealer and may stock it. If not, they can special order it.

And, if you're ever headed to the Gorge and want company, give me a holler!


Edited by Glenn (11/16/09 02:07 PM)

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#123924 - 11/16/09 02:45 PM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Glenn]
Budzy Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/16/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
Thanks Glenn - the Klondike Derby this year was 4 degrees think I had 6 layers on inside the bag plus two bottles full of hot water inside my zero degree bag that really isn't.

Benchmark has a WM Megalite Long bag hanging on the rack.

I am always up to going to the gorge - taking the scouts there this weekend.

Regards

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#123925 - 11/16/09 03:01 PM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Budzy]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I'd invite myself along - except that the granddaughters are coming in from Georgia on Friday, and they trump Scouts every time. (Plus, they want to go dayhiking with Grandpa while they're here - I'm going to stick little daypacks on them, and start making backpackers!) wink

If you ever need an extra adult, let me know.

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#123927 - 11/16/09 04:31 PM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Budzy]
Rick_D Online   content
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2920
Loc: NorCal
Welcome,

In addition to what you've already posted, can you share what pad and shelter you use and what you wear to bed? They all have a big effect on what and how much bag to buy.

I'm a big fan of down bags for all the reasons you've noted. Definitely worth the extra expense and usually only a concern when camping in relentlessly damp and cold environments.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#123939 - 11/16/09 10:16 PM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Rick_D]
Budzy Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/16/09
Posts: 10
Loc: Cincinnati Ohio
Rick,

I use a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight solo. I always where dry heavy hiking socks, base layer, and in colder weather - around 30 - I wear heavy weight fleece pants and fleece pull-over. I always wear a hat below 50 degrees.

Suggestions?

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#124009 - 11/18/09 01:17 PM Re: Sleeping Bag Question [Re: Budzy]
Rick_D Online   content
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2920
Loc: NorCal
Hi Budzy,

From my experience I can tell you I get away with a 30-degree down bag (by Mountinsmith, no longer made) to below freezing (upper 20s) in an enclosed shelter with a decent mattress/pad and perhaps extra clothing, as needed. In warmer temps (40s-50s) I don't need extra clothing and can use a minimalist pad, like the NeoAir. If I think it's going to be colder (down to 20 or a bit lower) I take a WM Ultralite, which is a little bulkier and heavier but I've never been cold in it.

My three key variables are moisture control, shelter from wind and the pad. Without a good pad I can be cold in surprisingly warm conditions. A good dinner has a big effect too.

Cheers,

Rick

Originally Posted By Budzy
Rick,

I use a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight solo. I always where dry heavy hiking socks, base layer, and in colder weather - around 30 - I wear heavy weight fleece pants and fleece pull-over. I always wear a hat below 50 degrees.

Suggestions?
_________________________
--Rick

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