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Old 04-22-09, 08:47 PM   #1
spinnaker
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Stuff sack, compression sack or nekid?

I just bought a new synthetic long rectangular sleeping bag. Hindsight being 20/20, I probably should have gone with a regular size but I am a little over 6' 1" and wanted to be able to get the bag over my head on cold night. But I think I may have still been able to do it with a regular bag.

Also maybe I should have gone with a mummy but I didn't think I would like no being able to move around.

Anyhow, I am having a devil of a time stuffing the supplied stuff sack. I can get all but a very small piece of the bag stuffed in.

I thought an easier way might be a compression sack. But I was reading on a backpackers forum where some people just put the bag in a garbage bag, place it in their pack and stuff things on top. The theory is it takes up all the nooks and crannies.

Has anyone used this method for panniers? If so, how did it work out?

If I go with a sack, should I switch to a compression sack or just not worry about it? Actually I have yet to pack everything with the bag to see how it would fit so maybe I am worried about nothing. But it is still nice to have the extra room if I can get it.
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Old 04-22-09, 08:53 PM   #2
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Garbage bag? No I don't think so, although it doesn't hurt to "double bag' your sleeping kit. Be prepared to replace the garbage bag regularly. A compression sack is essential, especially for polyester-fill bags.
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Old 04-22-09, 09:14 PM   #3
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Compared to backpacking, I find cycle camping to be less restrictive in terms of weight but more restrictive in terms of volume. I'd recommend getting the bag size as small as possible. A mummy bag would help considerably (and I move around a lot when using mine), and a down fill is usually significantly more compressible than synthetic. But if you're stuck with a bulky synthetic bag for now then a compression sack can make it much easier to live with for your bicycle camping trips.
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Old 04-22-09, 10:22 PM   #4
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The answer depends in part on where you are planning to carry it - in a pannier or on the rack.

I carry my (down) bag on the top of the rack, in a heavy duty waterproof stuff sack. I used to have a compression sack, but I had to replace it on my last trip, and got a drybag style non-compression sack. I just strap it on the rack, it's big and puffy, but it doesn't matter, there's plenty of room for it with my tent. The bag I got isn't fancy, it cost $16 at Canadian Tire. It's the yellow thing in the picture below - and it's really nice that it's yellow - very visible. And my thermarest and down jacket are in there too.

If you're going to put it in a pannier, you need to make it as small as possible, so get a compression sack. if the panniers are waterproof the sack doesn't have to be, & vice-versa.

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Old 04-22-09, 10:56 PM   #5
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I'd go with a compression sack: I love those things; the more volume left over for other goodies in the bags the better, though I don't carry mine in my panniers. It's on top of my rack in a dry sack.

You really need to do a trial pack to see what packing combination works best for you.
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Old 04-23-09, 12:35 AM   #6
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Just remember that compression stuff sacks degrade the insulation [synthetic or down] over time depending on how long, frequent and hard the compression cycle.
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Old 04-23-09, 03:51 AM   #7
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I find mummy bags too confining for my extra-large bod. Rectangular bags are more versitile IMHO. *You're* the one trying to get quality rack time when you're in it, why not be comfortable?

Go with the compression sack when you're traveling...

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Old 04-23-09, 04:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Compared to backpacking, I find cycle camping to be less restrictive in terms of weight but more restrictive in terms of volume.
I hear this a lot and it strikes me as an odd comment. Since it seems to be said so often perhaps my take on is what is odd. Any way I personally am about as weight conscious in packing for touring as backpacking or maybe just slightly less so, but volume seems practically unlimited when bike touring. I use smallish panniers on front and back and strap stuff on top of the rack as needed or desired and never wanted to carry anything that was too bulky to fit. There is always extra space in my panniers. I could find panniers with twice the volume, but can't imagine needing the space.

I guess perhaps if I was going to cross Canada in winter I might feel differently due to the bulk of winter gear but for crossing the US in spring/summer space seemed unlimited with regard to stuff that I wanted to carry.

I have done the garbage bag thing with no stuff sack when backpacking and it worked well enough. I can see it working with a pannier, but haven't tried it.

I am a mummy bag kind of guy and can't imagine taking a rectangular bag, but take what you require to be comfortable.

Last edited by staehpj1; 04-23-09 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I hear this a lot and it strikes me as an odd comment. Since it seems to be said so often perhaps my take on is what is odd. Any way I personally am about as weight conscious in packing for touring as backpacking or maybe just slightly less so, but volume seems practically unlimited when bike touring. I use smallish panniers on front and back and strap stuff on top of the rack as needed or desired and never wanted to carry anything that was too bulky to fit. There is always extra space in my panniers. I could find panniers with twice the volume, but can't imagine needing the space.
+1. The dangerous thing with loaded bike touring is the amount of volume front and rear panniers, a handle bar bag and the top of the rack provide. The total can add up to between 75 and 100 Liters that are just begging to have sleeping bags and everything including the kitchen sink stuffed into them. Just as in backpacking the best way to lighten the load is to limit volume. So I'm going to answer the OP's question in two completely different ways. If you want to maximize the amount of space you have in your panniers put the sleeping bag in a compression sack, but if you are having difficulty putting the bag in the sack supplied it must be pretty compressed in that sack already. On the other hand if you want to reduce weight just stuff the bag in the panniers, it will take up volume so you can't pack as much stuff.
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Old 04-23-09, 09:48 AM   #10
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... everything including the kitchen sink stuffed into them. ...
as an aside, i rode with someone last summer who took this literally
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Old 04-23-09, 11:24 AM   #11
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At least that's an ultralight kitchen sink
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Old 04-23-09, 10:11 PM   #12
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Light weight is just as important in cycle touring as in backpacking. A rectangular bag is needlessly heavy and bulky (and also not as warm). It might take you a few nights to sleep comfortably in a mummy, but you will be glad you learned.
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Old 04-23-09, 10:22 PM   #13
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I love my mummy!
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Old 04-23-09, 10:25 PM   #14
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Garbage bags are okay but wear out quickly. Trash compactor bags are much more durable, They have lasted through cross country tour. Compression sacks are great for conserving space!
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