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#190486 - 05/09/15 11:51 AM Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please
ajreynolds Offline

Registered: 05/09/15
Posts: 7
Loc: So. California
My son is new in Boy Scouts and weíre starting to look for camping gear. My boy has allergies and isnít the most careful with gear (yet), so we are thinking of going synthetic for the sleeping bag. I would like to find one thatís fairly lightweight and compact, 20 degree rating, and around $150 or less. These are the ones Iím considering and would appreciate any insights on these or other suggestions. Thanks

Marmot 20F Sorcerer

Kelty Tuck 22

Mountain Hardwear Pinole

Eastern Mountain Sports Boreal 20

Alps Mountaineering Blue Springs 20

#190491 - 05/09/15 02:28 PM Re: Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please [Re: ajreynolds]
topshot Offline

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
Any of those would work, but the Alps & Marmot are getting heavy. BTW, the EMS you linked to is the long version.

What area and conditions will he be using this? In other words do you really need 20 degree?

Also keep in mind that synthetic insulation will lose about 30% of it's loft fairly quick so what started as a 20 degree bag (if it was accurately rated to begin with) will be closer to 30-35 after a year's worth of monthly outings.

Seems Kelty no longer makes the Light Year series. I'd probably go for an REI Lumen or North Face Cat's Meow (both should be 30% off during their anniversary sale in another week or so).

I think you'll get some benefit from the paper I wrote geared to new Scouts. Should help you from blowing money on gear you don't really need.

#190496 - 05/09/15 09:08 PM Re: Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please [Re: topshot]
TomD Offline

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I have an old Cat's Meow from the 80's. If the new ones are as well made as mine, you can't go too far wrong. Campmor sells them for $159, which is $10 less than REI at the moment. I think this is a good starter bag. I took mine for an extended trip to New Zealand. The rating is not realistic, it's more of a 30F bag judging on my experience, but if you stuff a light bag liner in it, it should work down close to 20F. That is probably true of most inexpensive bags, btw, so it's not just TNF who exaggerates the ratings. There are lots of posts and threads here on bags and how they are rated if you are interested.

The short story on ratings is this - cheap bags are highly suspect, high end bags will be fairly accurate. EN rated bags are tested, but manufacturers like TNF use the lower limit temperature in their ads. The lower limit by the EN definition means a man can sleep in the bag curled up, but in my experience, you will be cold. It borders on false advertising in my opinion because most people don't understand how the EN rating works and think that they will be toasty warm at the advertised lower limit rating. In my experience, not so, unless you have on thermals, socks, beanie and gloves and maybe not even then.

Edited by TomD (05/09/15 09:39 PM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

#190498 - 05/09/15 09:45 PM Re: Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please [Re: ajreynolds]
ajreynolds Offline

Registered: 05/09/15
Posts: 7
Loc: So. California
Thanks for the replies. We're in southern California, so most of our camping will be warmer weather, but I'm sure we'll hit the mountains during winter as well.

I'll add the Cat's Meow to my list to consider.

#190499 - 05/09/15 09:56 PM Re: Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please [Re: ajreynolds]
BZH Offline

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 901
Loc: Torrance, CA
If you're willing to go a bit higher you can get an Enlightened Equipment Prodigy for $200 and it'll be under 30 oz

If your son is still pretty young you can get the junior for $160:

I'm guessing Tim's ratings are more conservative than many of the ones you linked too

Edited by BZH (05/09/15 09:58 PM)

#190506 - 05/10/15 04:03 AM Re: Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please [Re: ajreynolds]
TomD Offline

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
The Cat's Meow is not a winter bag, although I used mine on an alpine climbing course in NZ. We were in huts most of the time, which makes a big difference. I did a short winter trip to Mt. San Jacinto a while back. I took the tram from Palm Springs and then skied into the park a ways. I took my down bag with a light bivy sack. The weather was calm and clear so I didn't bother to put up my tent.
The Cat's Meow will be a good SoCal three season bag. I loaned it to a friend when we went up to Chantry Flat over the 4th of July one year. Not exactly cold weather of course, so it worked fine even though being an old bag, the insulation is pretty well broken down.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

#190526 - 05/11/15 03:03 PM Re: Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please [Re: TomD]
Steadman Offline

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 511
Loc: Virginia
I bought a group of 45 degree bags for use along the VA section of the AT in summer. Best I did was a Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45. Also had good luck with Marmot's products - both a Pounder and a NanoWave.

A Mountain Hardware Lamina 20: might work for you, but is slightly more than you want to spend. However, at 3.1 lbs for a regular bag, he's not sacrificing much on the weight front compared to a down bag.

A Marmot Trestles 15: might also work. It is $70 cheaper but about 3/4 of a pound heavier than the Lamina 20.

I'm assuming that he's allergic to down or something else that prevents the use of down.

We're all assuming that your son's troop backpacks and that light weight is a criteria because he'll be backpacking. This is not necessarily true depending on the program your son's troop puts together. If weight isn't a criteria, the number of synthetic options available goes up, and their cost goes down. Also, the durability of the bags (and how long they'll last and stay warm) goes way up if they don't have to be crushed down into a little bag to fit in a pack. My wife and I both have blanket-style synthetic fill bags from the 1990s that are still warm, comfortable, and reliable. I wouldn't want to carry either bag far, but I've used the one for a trip before I wised up.

An alternative is a warm comforter over a foam pad. Using a quilt is something you can search about on this site. I've used the technique in summer with bedding I had about the house.

#190612 - 05/21/15 12:23 AM Re: Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please [Re: ajreynolds]
Spruce Offline

Registered: 05/20/15
Posts: 7
If you want to check out a reasonably priced down bag. Kelty Cosmic Down ($100-$110) is a great bag. A lot of local boy scouts all use this bag.

I have the 40 degree and have used it on many summer hikes. Also down is a lot more compressible and usually lighter than synthetic bags as far as warmth to weight ratio is concerned. For California, you could get by with a 30 degree if he is a cold sleeper, and on those extra cold nights just climb in with all your clothing on.

Hope this helps.

#190613 - 05/21/15 10:44 AM Re: Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please [Re: Spruce]
4evrplan Offline

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 717
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Just one quick note about the Kelty Cosmic Down. The newer model switched to water resistant down, so they're just a hair more expensive than they used to be. The older models can still be found though.


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