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#176106 - 03/31/13 04:21 AM Newbie with a bag question
skigirltiff Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/31/13
Posts: 5
Hello everybody! I am a 32 year old female, new to backpacking. I've done car camping, and as fun as that is, I feel like it's cheating...with the blow-up air mattress and car chargers and whatnot.

This summer I am going backpacking in the Arctic Circle. Temps at night will get down to the forties (fahrenheit) at night is what I am finding. I have been doing some research on bags and I have came up with two that I can't decide between, so maybe you experts can help: Big Agnes Fria (womens, regular, fits up to 5'10" which I am 5'10") and Kelty Cosmic Down 20 (unisex, regular).

I need: lightweight (obviously), small pack size, long enough (I'm 5'10", not skinny/not fat, big boobs unfortunately), and inexpensive...(so, the holy grail). I am a side sleeper so that is what is holding me back from purchasing the BA, since that one just has the sleeve to put a sleeping mat inside instead of having underside insulation. Looking at spending <$130, which I can find both for under that price.

Please help me decide which one to get, and if I am completely overlooking another bag please let me know! Thank you smile


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#176109 - 03/31/13 11:21 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: skigirltiff]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I've never used either bags, but if a store is nearby that has a Big Agnes I would try them out first. You're going to need a insulated pad of some sort underneath you. Utilizing the Big Agnes' sleeve feature with a pad might be worth something. I tend to slide off my pad sometimes. cool With that said, if it only going to be in the 40s you should keep in mind of the zipper of the one you buy, because sleeping bag with a full zipper you can utilize it as a quilt. It's much easier to sleep on your side like this than inside of a bag regardless of brands.


Edited by ETSU Pride (03/31/13 11:23 AM)
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It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#176125 - 03/31/13 08:58 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: ETSU Pride]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6775
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I'd be surprised if the nighttime temps up there were only in the 40's. Look at the record lows for the time you're going and take a figure 5 degrees warmer than that. Remember that the average temp is just that--half the time it will be lower!

Certainly in the comparable regions above timberline in the Rockies, it can and will snow and get down to 20*F or below any time during the summer. Been there, done that.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#176132 - 04/01/13 10:58 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: OregonMouse]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
I'd be surprised if the nighttime temps up there were only in the 40's. Look at the record lows for the time you're going and take a figure 5 degrees warmer than that. Remember that the average temp is just that--half the time it will be lower!

Certainly in the comparable regions above timberline in the Rockies, it can and will snow and get down to 20*F or below any time during the summer. Been there, done that.


I would be looking at 0F bags myself. But, with the two choices you gave, I would pick the kelty.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#176149 - 04/01/13 11:26 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: skigirltiff]
skigirltiff Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/31/13
Posts: 5
Thanks everyone for your help!! I found a Kelty comic down rated for 0 degrees for $95, so I think I will get that, test it out a bit before I head on up to the Arctic in July. Thank goodness for this forum, it's awesome!

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#176151 - 04/02/13 12:26 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: OregonMouse]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Keep in mind in the Arctic circle in the summer, there is no "night"...


Edited by Heather-ak (04/02/13 12:26 PM)
Edit Reason: added season

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#176154 - 04/02/13 04:44 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: Heather-ak]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6775
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
True, but at least I found when I was in northern Norway that it does cool down, especially in the mountains! I really need to get to Alaska some time!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#176172 - 04/03/13 03:47 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: OregonMouse]
skigirltiff Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/31/13
Posts: 5
That's where I'm going! Northern Norway. Camping in the Lofoten Islands, to be exact.

I found the Kelty cosmic down 0 at sportsmansguide website for $99, if anybody was interested. I haven't bought it yet though because I'm trying to figure out why it says it weighs 2 lbs 8 oz when on other sites its over 3 pounds. Hmph.

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#176174 - 04/03/13 04:25 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: skigirltiff]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3227
Loc: Portland, OR
If the zero degrees rating refers to centigrade, then 2.5 lbs might be within reach for an under-$100 sleeping bag. If it's zero degrees fahrenheit, then I would only believe the over-3-lbs weight listing. Try looking at the Kelty website and see if they list a weight.

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#176177 - 04/03/13 06:00 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6775
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I would never, ever believe the specs on a discount store's website. Always go to the manufacturer's website instead. Which I just did for you, since I was curious!

Per Kelty ( a pretty reliable company), the Cosmic Down 0 in regular (6 ft. and under) size is 3 lbs. 12 oz., while the Cosmic Down 20 in the same size is 2 lb. 11 oz.


Edited by OregonMouse (04/03/13 06:01 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#176178 - 04/03/13 06:08 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: OregonMouse]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6775
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
The Lofoten Islands won't be nearly so cold; the 20* bag will be ample, if not too warm. I was thinking interior mountains, sorry! On the Lofotens, you are close to the ocean and the Gulf Stream. A beautiful place, if rather wet--take good rain gear! I spent a week there in 2000, staying in the hostel in Stamsund. It was almost like being in a time warp, going out in rowboats to catch cod at midnight and having a fish fry (with everyone contributing to other "dinner" ingredients) at 2 am. If I hadn't had to get back to Germany to fly home, I might still be there!


Edited by OregonMouse (04/03/13 06:11 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#176215 - 04/05/13 07:10 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: OregonMouse]
skigirltiff Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/31/13
Posts: 5
That sounds like a fabulous adventure! I can't wait to go to the Lofoten Islands!!!! We will also camp in Oslo, and in the Sognefjord. I think I'll just get the North Face Cat's Meow Women's Long bag, even though it's not down, and a little bit more than I wanted to spend.

For some reason I am just stressing out over purchasing my sleeping bag, I've done TONS of research, still feel like I know absolutely nothing...every day I change my mind on which bag to get, I just need to bite the bullet and buy one. Yet I have no problems shopping for other things in my life! smile

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#176218 - 04/05/13 10:34 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: skigirltiff]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Look at the Kelty Light Year 20º down bag. You should be able to find one online that squeaks into your budget. I have one, and so does another member's wife, and we both like them a lot. I think I paid around $130 for mine a couple years ago, and someone else here said they found one for around $80 not that long ago.

Sound like a great trip you have planned. Let us know how it went, and we all love to see pictures!!!
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"You want to go where?"



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#176239 - 04/05/13 03:31 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: skigirltiff]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
Make sure whatever bag you get has a full zipper so you can use it as a quilt most of the time. That's much more comfortable for someone that tosses and turns.

Sounds like you're going to a wet location, so you may lean toward synthetic fill rather than down since you're a newbie. If you know that you can keep it dry (both in your pack with a compactor trash bag and in your shelter) then I'd go for down.

FYI, Walmart now sells a duck down bag that's likely good to 40F for $70 online. Weighs < 2 lbs.

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#176296 - 04/08/13 10:23 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: topshot]
finallyME Offline
member

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


FYI, Walmart now sells a duck down bag that's likely good to 40F for $70 online. Weighs < 2 lbs.


I might need to look at that one.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#176376 - 04/11/13 04:59 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: finallyME]
skigirltiff Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/31/13
Posts: 5
Originally Posted By finallyME
Originally Posted By topshot


FYI, Walmart now sells a duck down bag that's likely good to 40F for $70 online. Weighs < 2 lbs.


I might need to look at that one.


That one sounds interesting...I told my boyfriend about that one, and I think that's the one he will get. I got the Kelty Light Year Down 20 from Sierra Trading Post. They didn't have a regular size, just a long, so hopefully that'll be OK..a tish heavier and a tish bigger, and therefore will be a tish colder. But, I can't wait to try it out!!!

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#176377 - 04/11/13 09:35 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: skigirltiff]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I am 5'11" and the long fits me perfectly. I think Kelty makes then a tad short.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#176378 - 04/11/13 10:55 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: skigirltiff]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6775
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
The poorer quality bag (duck down) will have a much shorter life. Also, the Kelty bag has an EN13537 temperature rating, which means it has been laboratory tested so that the temperature rating is pretty accurate. I'm sure the Walmart bag does not have this feature, which means its temperature rating has been overrated by at least 10*F (normal for cheap sleeping bags, not just at Walmart).

Re sleeping bag length--I discovered during my bout of plantar fasciitis last year that when we relax in sleep, our feet go into the pointed toe position (why a night splint is needed for that ailment). That adds about 2 inches to your body length. If you sleep stretched out on your back, you should get a long bag if you are 5'10" or over, or you won't have enough foot room. Of course if you always sleep curled up, that won't matter.


Edited by OregonMouse (04/11/13 11:00 AM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#176381 - 04/11/13 11:43 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: finallyME]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
I am 5'11" and the long fits me perfectly. I think Kelty makes then a tad short.


I agree with that. I'm not quite as tall as you and I don't feel much extra room in the length, and even for me it's none to generous in the shoulders. But I do like that bag for the price I paid, it's nice and cozy at 32º, even when using just a tarp and pad.
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#176382 - 04/11/13 11:45 AM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: OregonMouse]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
when we relax in sleep, our feet go into the pointed toe position


Ahhh... that explains why the bag feels about right for me then.

Thanks OM!
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#176388 - 04/11/13 05:09 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: OregonMouse]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
The poorer quality bag (duck down) will have a much shorter life. Also, the Kelty bag has an EN13537 temperature rating, which means it has been laboratory tested so that the temperature rating is pretty accurate. I'm sure the Walmart bag does not have this feature, which means its temperature rating has been overrated by at least 10*F (normal for cheap sleeping bags, not just at Walmart).

I'd normally agree with this blanket temp statement especially after finally seeing one in the compression sack in the store (def smaller than my REI Sub Kilo 20F), but I've been following an active thread on Hammock Forums where some have been quite surprised by this bag. One even said it wasn't far off a 30F WM bag. Not having the privilege of seeing how small one of those is, I can't argue.

I also don't think you can make a blanket statement that duck down is that much inferior to goose down. Yes, in general the fill power isn't as high (though that's also a bad thing when you're in moist environments). I'd personally never by anything over 850. These are Chinese ducks apparently (tag said assembled in Indonesia with components from China) - have no idea if that is good or bad. Anyway, it seems to be a surprisingly good value. Has a full-zip so you can use it as a quilt (what the hammock guys are doing, of course). I hope they come out with a 20F version to replace the bag Campmor dropped a couple years ago.

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#176583 - 04/18/13 07:27 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: topshot]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“FYI, Walmart now sells a duck down bag that's likely good to 40F for $70 online. Weighs < 2 lbs.”

Last month I was backpacking in Capitol Reef National Park with brother and his sons; My two nephews got this bag. They’re warm teenagers. Well it got down to 40F and they froze. They were on a nice Thermarest pad. I would put this bag more safely at 50F.

-Barry
-The mountains were made for Tevas

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#176584 - 04/18/13 09:30 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: BarryP]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
Originally Posted By BarryP
Last month I was backpacking in Capitol Reef National Park with brother and his sons; My two nephews got this bag. They’re warm teenagers. Well it got down to 40F and they froze. They were on a nice Thermarest pad. I would put this bag more safely at 50F.

Seems quality is hit or miss. I had been following this thread for a while now. One guy said it didn't seem that far off from a 30 degree Western Mountaineering (!) while another said the top had noticeably less down than the bottom and he couldn't manage to shift it around.

I have a friend that will be taking one out this weekend and it will be close to 32 tomorrow night so I'll be interested to see how his works.

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#176585 - 04/18/13 09:40 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: topshot]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
The age old problem with bags - Your Warmth May Vary.

But my general rule is that if it costs less than $100, it's probably not going to be warm enough for me, and definitely going to be too bulky for my taste.

In sleeping insulation and computer hardware - I don't cheap out because it will be more expensive for me in the long run to try to use budget gear. As an end user I have fairly high expectations, and use the gear often and hard.
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#177059 - 05/13/13 11:25 PM Re: Newbie with a bag question [Re: topshot]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
Originally Posted By topshot
Originally Posted By BarryP
Last month I was backpacking in Capitol Reef National Park with brother and his sons; My two nephews got this bag. They’re warm teenagers. Well it got down to 40F and they froze. They were on a nice Thermarest pad. I would put this bag more safely at 50F.

Seems quality is hit or miss. I had been following this thread for a while now. One guy said it didn't seem that far off from a 30 degree Western Mountaineering (!) while another said the top had noticeably less down than the bottom and he couldn't manage to shift it around.

I have a friend that will be taking one out this weekend and it will be close to 32 tomorrow night so I'll be interested to see how his works.
Since I saw this being mentioned in another recent thread, I realized I hadn't updated my friend's experience. We got to freezing both nights out. First night he was cool wearing just a light shirt. Second night he was fine wearing long underwear top and bottoms. It seems he got a decent one. He was surprised by how well it worked for how thin it is.

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