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Thread: blanket loadout

  1. #1
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    blanket loadout

    I am trying to decide on whether or not I should take a wool blanket and silk sleeping liner or down sleeping bag with silk liner on my tour from Georgia to Oregon during fall/winter of 2014. I have a Big Agnes bellyache mountain I like this bag a lot. I feel it is not as versatile and more sensitive than a wool blanket would be. It's made of nylon which can go up in flame easily its tough but fragile at the same time and it's well known how finicky down is regardless of if its water repellant or not. A wool blanket would be quite tough and wholesome, repels odor better and longer than nylon (important enough factor to consider) has slight water shedding capabilities and dries decently fast when wet. it also has a high warmth to weight ratio. I can also take a blanket and share it with a partner or sit by the fire and chill. There is a bit of a cost in terms of weight and bulkiness but I feel it is versatile enough for that tradeoff.

    I'm looking at the Pendleton jacquard blankets which are 82% wool and 18% cotton, also the Yakima camp blanket which is 86% wool 14% cotton. The cotton mix I worry about but it is not a large portion of the blanket so I think it would be alright.

    For my liner I'm looking at the grand trunk silk sleep pack 100% silk..

    Would 100% wool from a quality company be better or would the combination I'm looking at get me by?


    Thanks

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    I'd expect to encounter a number of pretty cold nights on such a trip and it's hard to beat the weight-to-warmth ratio of a good down sleeping bag. I've been using mine (NF Blue Kazoo) for almost 40 years now and it's been comfortable in night temperatures from near 0F (used with a vapor barrier) up into the 70s (loosely draped over me). So I'd recommend going with your down bag. Yes you need to keep the down dry, but that has never been a problem for me in all these years - and I'd be sure to keep flames away from any sleeping materials.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    IMO-- Underline Opinion!

    A sleeping bag is more versitile and comfortable than a quilt, especially in cold weather. I have been fortunate enough to use several sleeping bags of various temperature ranges, -40 F to +45F, for a number of outdoor activities. The bag I found the most useful for three seson use is a light weight synthetic bag that is rated at +25F. It is the one we go to for most extended bike trips where a wide range of temperatures are possible. For short summer tours a +45F bag is used.

    On a tour this summer we encountered high temperatures of 108F and lows of 28F. The 25F rated bag worked well on this trip.

    Why synthetic? It actually can keep you warm when it is wet. I know a lot of folks say that they have never had their down bags get wet. In my experience, I have not been on a tour of any length where my sleeping bag has not picked up some moisture during the trip, either from rain or condensation inside the tent. Synthetic bags can be washed safely in any laundromat. Maybe more importantly they dry quicker than down in a breeze as well as in a clothes dryer.

    I don't think odor is an issue. I used my synthetic bag for a three month period, and only washed it once. The only reason that I washed it was that a dog came over and urinated on it when I left it laying on the ground while setting up camp. I rode into town, found a launromat, washed and dried it-all before dinner.

    Why a bag over a quilt? I believe that a bag is more efficient at capturing and retaining body heat. Also, unless the quilt is wrapped tightly around you there is less air space inside a bag than a quilt. The less air space that needs heating the warmer it is. Sleeping bags can be significantly lighter than a wool quilt, and maybe more importantly they are a lot less bulky.

    A nice sleeping bag could be purchased for the same price as a Pendelton blanket. We have a Pendelton blanket on our bed (queen size), but I really would not want to pack that thing on a bike trip. I'm not sure there is anyone in Oregon that does not have something manufactured by Pendelton. The "Oregon business suit" is a Pendelton shirt and a pair of Levis.

    Having said all that- what it really boils down to is personal preference.

    This is my 25F rated synthetic bag in the yellow/green compression sack--weight <2 pounds, about the size of a small loaf of bread. My tent is in the blue sack, and the Thermarest is in the orange bag.


    P.S. Prathmann, My post was being edited when you posted, and I did not read your post before I posted this. I did not mean this to be a down vs.synthetic debate. I was just expressing my preference.
    Last edited by Doug64; 11-26-13 at 02:15 PM.

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    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    I also prefer a synthetic bag, and I even considered a Pendleton blanket like you're mentioning here (to augment a lighter sleeping bag). The synthetic bag just gave me more bang for my buck, and was much more packable. A wool blanket will be warm down to about 50F, and for half the weight, a synthetic like the Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina will keep you warm to 0F

    I think the only real reason to do the blanket is if you have a leather seat on a bicycle produced before 1980. In that case, roll the blanket and strap it to your Carradice because you're twice the man we'll ever be, cowboy.

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    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    How thick is this wool blanket? Do you think it would keep you warm down to 20F or lower?

    I'd think that a wool blanket (or two) capable of providing warmth in low temperatures would have to be very large and bulky, maybe require more space than an entire large pannier. If I took a wool blanket it would be small, light, and used only to add a bit of warmth inside my sleeping bag (or down quilt) where there are cold spots. I think for a fall-winter trip a down (or synthetic) bag or quilt is the better option.

    I have a silk liner and no longer use it. I would not count on it adding much warmth, but it does add more labor when entering a sleeping bag. I think a better option is to take lightweight but warm pajamas. Rather than a wool blanket or silk liner, maybe wool or synthetic fleece pajamas would be a better option for combining with your sleeping bag. When I go cold weather camping, I use a wool long sleeve shirt and synthetic fleece pajama bottoms for extra warmth. If the silk liner is for keeping the bag clean, the pajamas will serve a similar purpose.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwgride View Post
    I think a better option is to take lightweight but warm pajamas. Rather than a wool blanket or silk liner, maybe wool or synthetic fleece pajamas would be a better option for combining with your sleeping bag. When I go cold weather camping, I use a wool long sleeve shirt and synthetic fleece pajama bottoms for extra warmth. If the silk liner is for keeping the bag clean, the pajamas will serve a similar purpose.
    1+.

    Or more basic, adjust to temps with the clothing you bring to ride in. I always have thermal tops and bottoms for layering during winter tours. If cold enough at night, I layer up for sleeping. Including wool socks and gloves.

    If layering isn't your cup of tea, go sleeping bag and liner. Get one rated 10 degrees lower than the lowest temp you expect. They always exaggerate the ratings. Got a 'partner' to snuggle with? Get bags that will zip together.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwgride View Post
    Rather than a wool blanket or silk liner, maybe wool or synthetic fleece pajamas would be a better option for combining with your sleeping bag.
    When cold weather is a possibility, I take a set of Polypro long jongjohns from DuoFold. In fact, I am wearing the bottoms right now as it was 2o degrees when I left for work.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Leave the wool blankets at home .. Polar fleece is lighter , but touring on a bike and carrying it ,
    the Mummy bag is, as discussed above, your better choice..

  9. #9
    Chip seal rocks Howard's Avatar
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    I toured in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana one May with a wool blanket.

    Felt like Sam McGee.

    I don't recommend the blanket, but it's most likely survivable. There are probably less expensive, warmer, and lighter options, however.

  10. #10
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    I don't have anything to add to the blanket/bag discussion, but by what route are you entering OR and where do you plan on finishing? The passes through the Cascades aren't all that high, but they can be a bit cold/snow covered in the winter. (I'm a weather-wuss, so I don't go to the east side of the state in Winter (rain=good, snow/ice=bad, for me), but I am curious about those who do.)

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    I'll be coming up from the south traveling along the coast as best I can. I'm aware of how the cascades get and OR in general. The wool was brought up to me in my conversations with people. The mummy bag with a liner is probably the warmest, lightest, and most compressable option. Wool is just nice and a blanket has many uses. If I can find a small but light wool blanket I'll probably take that. I find such a thing unlikely though so I'll probably stick with the big agnes bag. Thank you for the opinions

  12. #12
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    Writing, Working, Photographing, and Living from the saddle. MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I loaded out my tent contents onto a small tarp, when I knocked down camp, so it stayed sorta clean.

    it also gives me a place to sit, when the ground is damp also.

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    The only reason I can think of to prefer a blanket over a sleeping bag is for warm weather. The silk liner (sleeping on top of the sleeping bag) takes care of that. Fall and winter doesn't sound like you'll have to deal with too many nights when you go to bed in 90F temperatures, so there's even less reason to go with the blanket.

  15. #15
    Kilt wearing cyclist PomPilot's Avatar
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    Depending on the size of your blanket, a good sleeping bag (such as a down or synthetic filled, 30 degree, mummy) will take up less space, and weigh less than any wool blanket that is thick enough for camping during an Oregon autumn- early winter. Also, depending on the quality of your shelter, you may want to add a Goretex bivy cover to your sleeping arrangements. In the wet, it will add extra protection to the sleeping bag, and help trap a bit more air for insulation.
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