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  1. #1
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    Sleeping bag preferences (mummy -vs- flat)

    Well I went to REI last night to buy the needed parts of my pending bike tour around PA. Brought a 40+ mummy style (kilo flash, long) sleeping bag purely on the clerks reccomendation and extreme lightness. Took that and all the other "stuff" I brought back home, set up the Tent (T2 quarter dome), inflated the mattress pad (REI) and moved in for a test night. It only took about five minutes before I discovered that me and mummy style sleeping bags were not to be. I imagine if it had been -10F or even just 10F) I'd have been more than happy to sacrifice the straight-jacket affect as a trade off for the cocoon warmth of a mummy style sleeping bag. But it was ~48F last night and it will be in that general area, maybe lower, maybe higher, for my trip.

    It also seemed that the bag was just not big enough across my chest. I'm not the biggest guy out there, but I do take an extra large size in bike jerseys, so maybe mummy bags are just designed small/snug. Any way I'll be taking it back today to exchange for a "flat" style bag that can function as a quilt as well. I'll probably exchange the mummy style pad for a regular rectangle one too. I know I'll pick up some extra weight, but sleeping comfort at night -vs- weight is a trade off I'm willing to make.
    Last edited by freemti; 04-20-08 at 09:12 AM.
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  2. #2
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    You can get different sized mummy bags. You can also get bags that are part way between mummy and rectangular. Other bags offer stretch panels. I know Sierra Designs offers a bag extender [see pic above] you can zip into to any of their bags that adds something like 6"-8" to the bags width.

    I use mummy bags as they are lighter and warmer. I tried a larger mummy style bag and while I enjoyed the extra room I was considerably colder as I had to heat up more air and the warm air escaped more easily.

    I"d look at sleeping bags like shoes - try on a whole bunch as each brand and model is different.
    safe riding - Vik
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  3. #3
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    It only took about five minutes before I discovered that me and mummy style sleeping bags were not to be.
    lol, same here. I have the "flat" bag, but with a good pair of thermal underware (and a winter cap) I can handle nights down to freezing.

  4. #4
    fredelicious mini-masher overthere's Avatar
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    I'm beginning to collect camping gear for touring...I HATE that straight jacket feeling of mummy bags. I know they're heavier, but I was looking at these. I need a good night sleep to enjoy myself! Anybody actually tour with a Big Agnes?

  5. #5
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    I bought a mummy style and then realized I dislike the inability to spread my legs. Also, the chest area is not large enough for my liking. The solution I've found is to open the bag and place it with the side seam up in the middle so the opening is facing down -- the bag is on it's side. This makes the bag function more like a blanket; this usage does require an extra, lightweight fleece blanket (or something similar) under the sleeping bag for warmth, but gives more room for movement.

    Next sleeping bag I buy will be rectangular, or maybe instead I'll buy a good sized, lightweight down quilt.

  6. #6
    40 yrs bike touring
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    For years I tried to make mummy sleeping bags work in a way that I wanted. When I learned about sleeping quilts I now only use one. I gained a wider temperature range, more room, less weight and smaller packed size.

    Look at Nunatak Gear and Jack'sR Better for inspiration.
    http://www.nunatakusa.com/down_outer...eping_bags.htm

    http://www.jacksrbetter.com/index_fi...Comparison.htm

  7. #7
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arctos View Post
    For years I tried to make mummy sleeping bags work in a way that I wanted. When I learned about sleeping quilts I now only use one. I gained a wider temperature range, more room, less weight and smaller packed size.

    Look at Nunatak Gear and Jack'sR Better for inspiration.
    http://www.nunatakusa.com/down_outer...eping_bags.htm

    http://www.jacksrbetter.com/index_fi...Comparison.htm
    +1 - quilts sound like a great idea. I've often used a single mummy bag for two people - the only downside is there isn't enough foot room for two. A quilt would solve that problem.
    safe riding - Vik
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  8. #8
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    Aren't those quilts just like a mummy bag with the zipper opened up most the way down? That's what they look like to me. I imagine if a mummy bag it too constictive, a person can just unzip it and lay it over his or her self with their feet in the bottom pocket.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    I use a mummy bag.
    If I want to move around and its warm, I leave the side unzipped.

  10. #10
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    Mummy here.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Fueled by Boh's Avatar
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    i've always thought of rectangular bags as more comfortable for 40+ temps. That way, the weight gain is a little more negligible, and it'll pack down smaller than a 50 gal. oil drum

  12. #12
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    How about just using a store brought twin size down comforter? I could pick something up at Target for <$100 easy. Couple that with a fleece cover for my mattress pad or a straight cotton one for warmer weather. Wouldn't seem to hard to stitch up a cover on my daughter's sewing machine. For real emergencies I have a 2 person survival blanket to throw on top and under if needed. If I put the comforter in a compression sack, I bet it would pack down (sic) pretty small!
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  13. #13
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    I took a look at "regular" sleeping bags, i.e. not mummy style or ultralight or side of K2 kind, at Sports Authority. More of the normal fare there, affordable yes. But Big and Heavy. 5+ pounds and the size of full size pannier. I'm thinking more about just using a standard down quilt. I have a test run scheduled for this weekend, so I'll try the quilt approach and let you'all know how it goes...
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  14. #14
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    I have a couple different bags, I prefer a mummy for cold temps and this http://www.outdooroutlet.com/shoppin...-detail&id=261 for warmer weather, packs smaller than my mummy bags.
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  15. #15
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciufalon View Post
    Aren't those quilts just like a mummy bag with the zipper opened up most the way down? That's what they look like to me. I imagine if a mummy bag it too constictive, a person can just unzip it and lay it over his or her self with their feet in the bottom pocket.
    Sort of...if you are just one person a mummy bag is like carrying 2 quilts and if you are two people a mummy bag works great except there is no foot coverage for one of the people. No biggie if you are just using it this way on occasion, but if you want to do so regularly I'd start shopping around for a quilt.
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  16. #16
    Eibwen hutcro's Avatar
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    I'm a pretty small guy, so mummy bags are pretty roomy for me still (not as much as the rectangular bags tho).

  17. #17
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freemti View Post
    How about just using a store brought twin size down comforter?
    Are you planning to bring a box spring, too?

    Long story short, a comforter made for interior use is not optimal for camping. A sleeping bag will be lighter; the down in a sleeping bag is compartmentalized to improve efficiency; the zipper will have some extra protection to keep the warmth in; the shell is water-resistant, so it keeps the down drier (and therefore more effective and lighter); the shell is also made to be compressed, whereas a comforter is not; and the zipper will allow you to regulate the temperature.

    Although you could probably get by with a comforter, a rectangular sleeping bag will be superior and not much more expensive.

  18. #18
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    I also hate the confining nature of the mummy bags, but use one anyway. 90% of the time I simply use it as a blanket with my feet tucked into the foot box. I use it like that until it gets down to freezing. However, when it gets really cold, I can zip it up and it's fine to about 10 degrees.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  19. #19
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    Looks like Thermarest has both parts of my needs covered:


    No too pricey either.
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  20. #20
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by arctos View Post
    For years I tried to make mummy sleeping bags work in a way that I wanted. When I learned about sleeping quilts I now only use one. I gained a wider temperature range, more room, less weight and smaller packed size.

    Look at Nunatak Gear and Jack'sR Better for inspiration.
    http://www.nunatakusa.com/down_outer...eping_bags.htm

    http://www.jacksrbetter.com/index_fi...Comparison.htm
    I'm a big fan of the jacks r' better quilts as well. I use the 15 oz summer quilt. It's true that a bag with a full length zip can be opened up and used like a quilt, but they tend to be heavier than a quilt and cost more. I also carry a silk liner and the two make for a very versatile sleeping system. In really hot weather I use just the liner, in moderate temps its just the quilt and when it gets into the 30s I put the quilt inside the liner. I like being able to move around freely and sleep on my side or front.

  21. #21
    "Fred"--is that bad? DTSCDS's Avatar
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    +1 on the quilt idea. We are backpackers and are in the process of sewing a quilt. Everything I have read seems to indicate this will solve some of our problems--the quilt lets us share body heat, it is lighter than our sleeping bags, it compresses nice and small.
    We just bought a tandem this weekend and the wife is already thinking it should lead to touring...We'll have to see about that.
    Here is the website for the kit we bought--he offers lots of options for temp capacity.
    http://www.rayjardine.com/index.shtml

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Anyone with any experience with the Thermarest tech blankets? I'm familiar with Ray Jardine's approach and I like it, but I'd probably stitch several fingers together if I ever got within spitting distance of a sewing machine. I wonder what the comfort range of the tech blanket is. Couldn't find anything about that on the site.

  23. #23
    TWilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by overthere View Post
    I'm beginning to collect camping gear for touring...I HATE that straight jacket feeling of mummy bags. I know they're heavier, but I was looking at these. I need a good night sleep to enjoy myself! Anybody actually tour with a Big Agnes?
    We've not tried them, but the women's specific model is on our short list for a replacement bag for my wife. She also hates the constriction she feels w/ our current bags. Before we spring for the Big Anes, thought, we're going to take a look at this bag....it seems to be quite a bargain, but without actually looking at it, it's hard to tell if it's the same quality bag. We've had Cabela's in KC on our list to stop at the next time we go, but for some reason we've not made it up lately, so I may just have to order it. I guess we can always send it back if it doesn't seem right.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member freemti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paxtonm View Post
    Anyone with any experience with the Thermarest tech blankets?
    I'll be posting a mini review tomorrow after I spend another night in the tent testing out my recent purchase of the Therma-rest Tech Blanket along with the mattress fitted sheet (both in Large). Size wise the blanket is packs compact, but not as small as I was thinking. From the feel of it, I bet I could compress it down substantially in a compression bag. Weight is 1 lb 8 oz. The fitted sheet packs pretty small and at 8 oz, pretty negligible weight wise. Stay tuned...
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  25. #25
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twilkins9076 View Post
    Before we spring for the Big Anes, thought, we're going to take a look at this bag....it seems to be quite a bargain, but without actually looking at it, it's hard to tell if it's the same quality bag. We've had Cabela's in KC on our list to stop at the next time we go, but for some reason we've not made it up lately, so I may just have to order it. I guess we can always send it back if it doesn't seem right.
    Thanks for noting that bag. For the price, that does seem like a very good bag. Cabela's no questions asked return policy is very good for trying things like this. Do provide a review if you buy it.

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