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  1. #1
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    Looking for a Good Sleeping Bag

    I took my first overnight camp trip and all of my equipment worked out well except for my sleeping bag. Fortunately, I live in Arizona and I didn't suffer too much. I'm using a single-wheel trailer w/o panniers and so I'm trying to keep bulk down.

    My problem with my bag was that it wasn't big enough to zip around my chest (it is a mummy bag) and I'm having a hard time finding one that will do the job and not take up all of my trailer room.

    Additionally, what do you like for a sleeping pad that isn't too bulky but allows for insulation and enough padding that you can get some rest. I don't want to spend another night like the one I just had.

    DK

  2. #2
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    Down bags are small and light, but very warm as long as you dont' get it wet - try it on in the store for size. Thermarest or similar air ground pad is good - not an 'air mattress' though, those are too big and heavy.

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  3. #3
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    -thinsolite or thermaguard (pad)

    +/-20 deg F polarguard or hollowfill (sleep bag)

    -silk or poly-prop (liner)

  4. #4
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    The mummy style bags come in different varieties and sizes, including some that are fuller-cut- try to find one that will fit. If you can get to an REI or similar store, you can actually try them on in the store, and that helps. Watch the sales at REI.

    For sleeping bags, you have cheap, warm, and compact- pick any two. The down bags are way more compact, but cost a lot more. In warmer weather, you can get some thin cheap sleeping bags that are compact.

    For backpacking, I've just used the 1/2" foam mats.

    My experience sleeping on the ground- first night, wake up ever time I need to turn over or something...second night, wake up two or three times...third night, sleep right through. So part of the solution is just getting used to sleeping on the ground.

    If you're young and thin, you fit the ground better. Get older and not so thin, and you don't fit the ground as well.

    A pillow helps. I've got a little inflateable pillow, and clothing wadded up makes up any difference.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  5. #5
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    My shoulder girth is 60 inches. I'm 6'3" tall. I'm old. I like sleep. I guess I'll have to suck it up and stay a couple of nights and get used to it. I cut it a day short after my last trip.

  6. #6
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    on ebay i got the high peak extreme pak. It's 0 degrees and 3 pounds 13 oz. Great deal for the money and the price!

  7. #7
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    its nice and big.. 7 ft long.

  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durward_Kirby View Post
    My shoulder girth is 60 inches. I'm 6'3" tall. I'm old. I like sleep. I guess I'll have to suck it up and stay a couple of nights and get used to it. I cut it a day short after my last trip.
    Big Agnes bags are bigger through the shoulders. I have an Encampment and a Lost Ranger. Both have shoulder girths of 70"+. I might be persuaded to part with the Encampment.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member recklesscogniti's Avatar
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    I'm using a 450g down mummy bag that is good to -10C and it is huge unrolled, but squeezes into a bag smaller than a shoe box. It is weighs in at 3.5 pounds. It is from a company called Granite Gear

  10. #10
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    I like my Marmot bag (I have a Never Winter). Its down and for the price it packs down pretty small. I looked into synthetic but unless you want to spend a ton, you won't find a synthetic bag as light, efficient and small-packing as a down bag. Just keep it dry, which shouldn't be too hard.

    I highly suggest a Big Agnes Air Core sleeping pad. It packs down smaller than any closed-cell foam pad, allows for any sleeping position (side sleeper, back sleeper, etc), and is about as light as any other sleeping pad. The only downside is that it is inflatable, so you need to spend some time puffing air into it, and it *could* get a leak but it comes with a patch kit and seems very durable. The only other con is that it is pricier than a regular closed cell foam pad.

  11. #11
    Acetone Man
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    Hey Cyccommute, how you like the warmth of your lost ranger? I've got one too, with the insulated air core to go with it, and I've been rather cold in it at 32 degrees. I love the bag, but it's 15 degree rating is inconsistent with respect to Big Agnes's own lineup. I looked on their website, and their Mystic SL has the same cut, and has one ounce more of a higher fill power down, yet is rated at the same 15 degrees!

    Great summer bag though.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durward_Kirby View Post
    My shoulder girth is 60 inches. I'm 6'3" tall. I'm old. I like sleep. I guess I'll have to suck it up and stay a couple of nights and get used to it. I cut it a day short after my last trip.
    Aren't you in Arizona? The Summit Hut has a great selection of bags. Of course it'll be more expensive than buying online, but you'll know that you'll get exactly what you want and need.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Clarenza's Avatar
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    You might find the EXPED DownMat 7 DLX pad is worth a look - it should be big enough for you, it's super comfortable and its insulation is just outstanding (uses down to achieve this). It's amazing how much more flexibility you have in your heat management when heat loss to the ground is significantly reduced (eg lighter sleeping bag). Not cheap though. Weighs just over a kilo. Easy to pump up. This is our personal choice for touring. My business has had a look at the mats on the market recently and we chose to sell EXPED. We're located in Australia but there's bound to be an EXPED dealer in AZ. We're in the middle of reviewing sleeping bags, don't have a recommendation for you there yet.
    Last edited by Clarenza; 01-13-09 at 03:59 AM.

  14. #14
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    Do you do mail order, Clarenza? What price in Aus dollars, too? Just inquiring at this stage, not committing.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by blindman10 View Post
    I like my Marmot bag (I have a Never Winter). Its down and for the price it packs down pretty small. I looked into synthetic but unless you want to spend a ton, you won't find a synthetic bag as light, efficient and small-packing as a down bag. Just keep it dry, which shouldn't be too hard.

    I highly suggest a Big Agnes Air Core sleeping pad. It packs down smaller than any closed-cell foam pad, allows for any sleeping position (side sleeper, back sleeper, etc), and is about as light as any other sleeping pad. The only downside is that it is inflatable, so you need to spend some time puffing air into it, and it *could* get a leak but it comes with a patch kit and seems very durable. The only other con is that it is pricier than a regular closed cell foam pad.
    Just remember that the Air Core pads are not warm at all, Big Agnes offers an isulated version of the air core that is warm. I too have an Air core pad and do like it but wish that it was slightly wider. The width is probably not an issue when you use their bag/pad system (the pad is made to fit in a sleave on the bottom of their bags). I got my pads on steepandcheap.com for like $28 a piece, this website is a great resource for cheap gear. Also, it has a sister company called chainlove.com. Im sure that most people on bf know about it. Another gripe I have with any inflatable pad is that you cant use them next to the campfire for risk of a ember burning a hole in it. Closed cell foam pads are indestrucable and super light.
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  16. #16
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Before you look for a new sleeping bag try using it partially[half] unzipped as a quilt over you with a decent pad under you. The upper unzipped portion edges can be tucked under you or the pad. Test at home first.

    I always seem to look at how I can use what I currently have available before replacing gear that I own.

  17. #17
    It's true, man.
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    I have a marmot Trestles +20 bag and a Themarest Guidelite pad that works beautifully for me. I found them used and dirt cheap on Craigslist and eBay, respectively.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bikebuddha's Avatar
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    Down is the way to go if size is of utmost importance and it's not going to wet. But modern synthetics are pretty good.
    The few, the proud, the likely insane, Metro-Atlanta bicycle commuters.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Hussy View Post
    Just remember that the Air Core pads are not warm at all, Big Agnes offers an isulated version of the air core that is warm. I too have an Air core pad and do like it but wish that it was slightly wider. The width is probably not an issue when you use their bag/pad system (the pad is made to fit in a sleave on the bottom of their bags). I got my pads on steepandcheap.com for like $28 a piece, this website is a great resource for cheap gear. Also, it has a sister company called chainlove.com. Im sure that most people on bf know about it. Another gripe I have with any inflatable pad is that you cant use them next to the campfire for risk of a ember burning a hole in it. Closed cell foam pads are indestrucable and super light.
    I have the insulated one, it is very nice. Do you have the rectangular pad or the mummy pad? I believe that the mummy shaped pads are 25" wide while the rectangular ones are a mere 20". I am a side/stomach sleeper so I had to opt out of getting a BG bag to match the sleeping pad although I have heard great things about their bags. I agree that closed cell are much more durable and lighter, but typically only by 6-8 oz (comparing similar sized Air Cores with the Thermarest Z-lite). However a closed cell pad takes up about 20"x5"x5" give or take - depending on the size. My full length Air Core rolls to a cylinder around 4"x8".

    It really comes down to your sleeping style, temperature, packing/weight constraints, and budget. Some can get by with a $8 mat from Wally World, while some will spend well over $100.

  20. #20
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    The 48" long Air Core should be enough to support you down to the hips

  21. #21
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I can't stand mummy bags myself. I got a rectangular down bag on sale on sierra trading post (they have sales all the time). I got a Marmot, which is a pretty decent bag for very little. I took a look, they don't have one on sale right now, but their inventory changes frequently.

    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/
    Last edited by wrk101; 01-14-09 at 04:38 PM. Reason: addl info

  22. #22
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    I am planning on a long distance trip this spring. And in looking for a sleeping bag I read over and over to go synthetic because it dries quicker. Can I get by with down if I avoid getting it wet and how about condensation? I guess I am confused to what people mean by the bag getting wet... condensation vs. getting rained on.
    What is your all's experience with the two?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bokerfest View Post
    I am planning on a long distance trip this spring. And in looking for a sleeping bag I read over and over to go synthetic because it dries quicker. Can I get by with down if I avoid getting it wet and how about condensation? I guess I am confused to what people mean by the bag getting wet... condensation vs. getting rained on.
    What is your all's experience with the two?
    I've brought my down bag on all my trips. You can carry a warmer bag for less weight and space.

    I would only use synthetic if I was going to be traveling away from all services for many days at a time somewhere rainy. The few times my bag got damp (from multiple days of rain camping with lots of humidity in the tent) I stopped at laudromats and put it in the dryer (on no heat). I think I've done this twice in... oh... 8 or 10 months of touring or so total. If that wasn't going to be an option for many days, I might carry a synthetic bag.

    I use my synthetic bag for big-wall climbing, where a dryer is not an option and a wet bag could mean freezing to death.
    ...

  24. #24
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post

    I would only use ...
    Valygrl, thanks for the your advice. It is true that with down you get lighter and warmer.
    However, within the last weeks of bag shopping and then all this evening I finally found what I was looking for and in my price range. I ended up going with Slumberjack's Ultimate 20F Long Synthetic . LINK . I could not beat the weight/price/packing size and the reviews to go along with it.

  25. #25
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    I've read that slumberjack's bags do not live up to their warmth ratings, but have no evidence to back that up. On the advice of others in this forum (and I think Cyccomute in particular), I ended up purchasing a Big Agnes Encampment +15* bag and insulated aircore pad myself a few months ago. It hasn't seem much use beyond keeping me warm on the couch, however here are my obervations: I bought it one size too small, regular I think which is supposed to fit up to 5'10" but is really just about perfect for me at 6'. It is a semi-rectangular bag, is that is has a tapered fit similar to a mummy bag, but the changes in width are not as significant. I am a big guy at 6' and (down to) around 300 lbs, and I fit in this bag quite well. At 6'3" you'll need the long bag, but I don't think you will have any problems fitting in it. Length on the long is 6'6" and shoulder girth is 73".
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