Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
 
 
 

Amazon.com
Backpacking Forums
---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store
 
 WINTER CAMPING 

Shelters
Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen

 SNOWSPORTS 

Snowshoes
Avalanche Gear
Skins
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters
Accessories

 ULTRA-LIGHT 

Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel


the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags

 CAMPING & HIKING 

Backpacks
Tents
Sleeping Bags
Hydration
Kitchen
Accessories

 CLIMBING 

Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial

 MEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 WOMEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 FOOTWEAR 

Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear

 CLEARANCE 

Backpacks
Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel
Climbing
Footwear
Accessories

 BRANDS 

Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva
Osprey
Smartwool

 WAYS TO SHOP 

Sale
Clearance
Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Shelters
BackPacks
Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment
Kitchen
Hydration
Climbing


 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#156430 - 10/28/11 11:55 AM Best sleeping bag/pad combination
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
I've figured out I can buy a new sleeping bag next April or May just by cutting out a few things in my life.

So I'm looking for the best sleeping bag/pad combination.

I'd like the bag to be rated at 20 degrees.

My criteria are lightness and compressibility. And yes, it should keep me warm. Price isn't the main consideration.

Right now, I'm considering the Western Mountaineering Ultralight bag.

I'm totally clueless about pads as I've never used one.

Thanks,





Edited by Gershon (10/28/11 11:56 AM)
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

Top
#156432 - 10/28/11 12:52 PM Re: Best sleeping bag/pad combination [Re: Gershon]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3238
Loc: Portland, OR
For a bag, the main criteria are the bag being warm enough for the coldest night you are likely to encounter, the overall warmth-to-weight ratio, and selecting an adequate girth, especially if you are broad-shouldered or shift around a lot in your bag. Zipper-length is sometimes an issue, too. A too-short zipper may save a few grams, but may make the bag less versatile overall when you can't ventilate as well on a warm night.

You probably can't go wrong with WM bags, in terms of quality of construction -- after you've chosen the proper bag and features for your personal needs. I am also intrigued by the Montbell UL Super Spiral, which has diagonal baffles and stretchable seams, but I have no experience with one. I don't think they make one with a 20-degree rating, but offer it in 15 and 30 degree models. I can say that Montbell's construction quality is quite good for their clothing, which I do own and use.

The main criteria for pads are comfort, insulative properties, and weight -- in that order. If you can't get a good night's sleep on it, it doesn't matter how light it is -- and that includes not sleeping well because your warmth is being sucked away from below. Bulk is also an issue for some pads more than others, but that is highly individual to how you pack. There's a custom-pad maker who has garnered a lot of praise from other forum members (Kooka?). They can chime in on its merits.

Because the comfort part is #1 on the list, it really doesn't matter much what I use, because what I use may not work for you. You may sleep like a log with no pad at all or have a princess-like need for a 3" mattress.

Best? That's tricky. Where and when do you hike and what has worked best for you in the past?

Top
#156433 - 10/28/11 01:15 PM Re: Best sleeping bag/pad combination [Re: aimless]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
"What has worked for you in the past?" Great question.

I just have an Alpine 20 bag now. I don't use a pad. It is comfortable on the ground for me to about the mid 20's. In the hammock, to the high 30's. I'd keep using it, but I want to cut weight and size.

Thanks
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

Top
#156437 - 10/28/11 04:05 PM Re: Best sleeping bag/pad combination [Re: Gershon]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3238
Loc: Portland, OR
I take it the Alpine 20 is a synthetic fill bag. If you move to a down-filled bag (especially with the higher fill-numbers like 800) you'll discover that the down compresses underneath you to the point where there's little there but a couple of thicknesses of nylon. In other words, nothing. At low temps this will never do. Too much conductive heat loss that way.

But, because sleeping with nothing but your synth-fill between you and the ground worked fine for you, it does sound to me like you could easily get away with a closed-cell foam pad, or else a relatively thin Thermarest inflatable.

The advantage of a closed cell is they are very light weight and don't spring leaks. Many UL backpackers incorporate them into a system where the pad serves as the 'frame' of a frameless pack. Also, they are very cheap compared to good quality inflating pads. If you sprang for one (after trying it in the store, of course) and changed your mind, you'd only be out $25 or thereabouts.

The Z-Rest is pretty popular. It has an "egg-crate" design that sort of nests with itself when folded up, allowing it to pack smaller while maintaining a 'thicker' depth profile. The main closed cell alternatives to it are blue foam (cheap and generic) and Ridgerest.

Top
#156439 - 10/28/11 05:57 PM Re: Best sleeping bag/pad combination [Re: aimless]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I agree with Aimless about pads. You've already picked a great bag in the Ultralite. (However, if chest girth is an issue - it was for me - look at the Alpinlite: 5 additional inches in circumference for 2 or 3 additional ounces; same temperature rating.)

If you are looking for a little more comfort, I like my 48" NeoAir; I put my empty pack under my lower legs (which simultaneously solves the problem of where to store it in a narrow solo tent.) I'm going to get the All-Season Neoair and try it this winter - I'll know how it works by the time you're ready to get a pad.

Top
#156444 - 10/28/11 09:57 PM Re: Best sleeping bag/pad combination [Re: Glenn]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Aimless,

Thanks for explaining why I might need a pad on a down bag when I don't on a cheap synthetic bag.

Glenn, thanks for the idea on the pack. My pack is empty at night anyway. Maybe I can use that as a pad. I'll give it a try tonight with a 35 degree down bag I have.
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

Top
#156450 - 10/28/11 11:40 PM Re: Best sleeping bag/pad combination [Re: Gershon]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I am a z-rest fan. Typically I use half, about seven sections, and put the pack, etc, under my legs. But I have not tried that combination in really severe temperatures.

Top
#156468 - 10/29/11 10:10 PM Re: Best sleeping bag/pad combination [Re: Gershon]
phat Offline
Moderator

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

The right answer is usually more than one smile

IMO, you can't go wrong with Western Mountaineering. They are pricy but worth it.

As for pads, really depends what you are doing, and how well you sleep on them, and how cold it is.

Me? three season I am normally using a hammock with a blue foam pad in it, or if I'm ground dwelling up high, I use a torso length Thermarest prolite. The pad on the ground is nowhere near as comfy as my hammock - but it's lighter when I'm doing long days with no trees to hang on. I might eventually decide to try a shorty neo-air. There are lots of good options out
there to try - but your sleeping bag will be your biggest investment.

Winter I use a big agnes wide insulated air core with blue foam on the top and the bottom of the pad. but my winters can be a bit serious.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


Top
#156469 - 10/29/11 10:13 PM Re: Best sleeping bag/pad combination [Re: phat]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
If you do well on the ground alone, you probably don't need a lot
of pad. Try a torso length z-rest, prolite, or neo-air. all of those options will be more comfortable (and warm) than bare ground and will not add a lot of weight. put your empty backpack under your feet and you're probably good.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


Top

Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
 
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
 
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Mystery Ranch Men's Bridger 65 opinions
by a_gunslinger
08/12/22 11:47 AM
Sierra Mystery
by balzaccom
07/22/22 11:17 AM
Beating the heat
by 4evrplan
07/22/22 10:53 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Featured Photos
Spiderco Chaparral Pocketknife
David & Goliath
Also Testing
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 56 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Jtanner, sblackburn, Kusti, Gecko, Lickliderdr
13170 Registered Users
Forum Links
Disclaimer
Policies
Site Links
Backpacking.net
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum
 

Affiliate Disclaimer: This forum is an affiliate of BackcountryGear.com, Amazon.com, R.E.I. and others. The product links herein are linked to their sites. If you follow these links to make a purchase, we may get a small commission. This is our only source of support for these forums. Thanks.!
 
 

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum