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Dumb question about mummy bags.

Old 07-21-08, 11:21 PM
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Dumb question about mummy bags.

Are they only of use to people who can sleep flat on their backs as if strapped to a gurney? I`ve spent many nights in rectangular bags and usually curl up on my side, just like I do in bed. I`ve always avoided mummy bags because they look cramped, but now I`m thinking I could probably still curl up just as long as I keep my legs together and curl the bag up with me. Is that true? I`m looking to replace my current summer bag with something more compact (lighter would be nice, but not the main idea). Besides the fact that mummy style shaves material, resulting in a lighter and smaller load, there seem to be a lot more options than for down rectangles. Better off with a blanket? Any related comments appreciaed- maybe there are optons I haven`t considered.
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Old 07-21-08, 11:36 PM
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You curl up with the bag.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:43 AM
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I think comfort should be the main concern, everything else comes second. If you can sleep with your legs together great, if not get the rectangle bag.
I've tryed it once and no way I'm getting in those mummy bags again, I like to move around (inside the bag) at night.
A little more weight for a good nights sleep is well worth it.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:59 AM
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You kind of "wear" the bag and curl up as you normally would, but the bag curls with you. It takes some getting used to, but they're comfy enough.

That said, I just read about a new mummy bag that has elastic stiching all the way around, so you CAN stretch out! I want one.
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Old 07-22-08, 02:20 AM
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You can curl and lay on your side all you want (the bag goes with you rather than you moving in the bag), but you have to keep your legs together and your arms in towards your body. I detest the things.

- Mark
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Old 07-22-08, 05:49 AM
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i tend to move around a bit on my sleep and mostly sleep on my side. i also easily get hot when i sleep. i have found that zipping up a light summer mummy bag only one third to one half of the way and using it more like a quilt allows for more movement and temperature regulation. plus, if it does get cold, you can still zip it up more. the bag easily moves with you. most bags allow for the bag to unzip a little at the bottom. you can easily stick a leg out a little bit.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by xilios
I think comfort should be the main concern, everything else comes second. If you can sleep with your legs together great, if not get the rectangle bag.
I've tryed it once and no way I'm getting in those mummy bags again, I like to move around (inside the bag) at night.
A little more weight for a good nights sleep is well worth it.
I also find mummy bags restrictive, I need to sleep so my legs can move. I even hate tucked in bed sheets. My solution is to use a sleeping quilt https://www.jacksrbetter.com. I use a summer quilt that weighs a pound and packs very small. Its good for spring, summer and early fall camping. Another good way to go is to get a bag with a full length zip, something like the Western Mountaineering summerlite is ver good.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:23 AM
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I always use a rectangular fiber-filled bag when I'm staying in huts or camping out of the car, but sadly I don't think there's an alternative to a down-filled mummy bag for cold (sub-zero), lightweight cycle-touring. At least I've never found a compact but very warm, down-filled rectangular bag. In the UK.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:55 AM
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Mummy bags are really designed for alpine or cold conditions. They don't have much place in touring on a bike which for most is a fair weather activity, though I get caught out in the cold up here in the fall. They do save weight but the tightness is also warm.

I would look into a blanket type "bag" See the one that Rayjardine sells through his site. His ideas have been pretty well ripped off, so there is probably a commercial one possibly through Go Lite. Lighter than a mummy and more comfortable.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:11 AM
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I think mummy bags are perfect for bike touring. They are smaller, lighter and warmer, if need be. I use a 30 degree Lafuma down bag. It weighs about a pound and takes up less room than a rain jacket, when packed.
When I first got a mummy bag, I was concerned about the restrictive feeling, but it doesn't take long to get used to. I always sleep on my side. When the temperature drops down below 40, that restrictive feeling is a good thing.
There is also the time you save packing. You don't have to worry about rolling it up tightly and strapping it to your bike. You just stuff it in the sack and pack it.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:38 AM
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You need to discover / learn whether you sleep 'cold' or 'warm' compared to the temp ratings of your bag choice. And than means you need to factor the whole 'sleep system' - pad, tent, extra clothing, weather extremes.

A mummy bag will save a certain amount of weight over a rect. bag made of same materials. If you're comfortable with the confines of a mummy bag, you'll save some weight over a rect. bag. If (IF) you sleep 'cold' then a mummy bag will save weight. I sleep 'cold' and wind up with a 40degree F mummy bag and usually use the rain fly with the tent for summer camping in the NW. A month tour in England, from south to north, was comfortable with that same system. (I wound up with a -10F bag for basic snow camping, and sometimes wound up with most of my clothes on for the night.)

And, of course, you can put some of that weight and space saving into a thicker pad.....
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Old 07-22-08, 11:04 AM
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Sleeping pad is the one that gets me. I lose so much heat into the ground! A friend of mine lent me her down-filled Thermarest pad I think if I get one of those I can go down a good ten degrees on the warmth rating of my sleeping bag.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Buglady
Sleeping pad is the one that gets me. I lose so much heat into the ground! A friend of mine lent me her down-filled Thermarest pad I think if I get one of those I can go down a good ten degrees on the warmth rating of my sleeping bag.
We use Thermarest air mattresses with lightweight (one season) rect. sleeping bags. For colder weather we carry thermal underware, they are very lightweight, pack very small and keep you very warm.
This combiantion gets us through cold weather down to 0/+5c, if the nights are any colder we stay home
Oh and don't forget a winter cap, you loose a lot of your body heat from your head, the cap is also nice in the early mornings when its still quite cold.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Buglady
Sleeping pad is the one that gets me. I lose so much heat into the ground! A friend of mine lent me her down-filled Thermarest pad I think if I get one of those I can go down a good ten degrees on the warmth rating of my sleeping bag.
In cold weather a bag without a pad is pretty much worthless, and I just find the ground too hard to go without a pad. I find the Big Agnes or Exped type pads far more comfortable than the Thermarest self inflating ones. I combine this with an ultralight down sleeping quilt and various clothing layers and I am good from high summer to zero C. In the summer I'll be in underwear with my legs and arms out of the quilt. Around freezing I'll have my socks, long johns, jacket and cap on and the quilt drawn closed at the top and bottom. By layering cloths with a lightweight quilt you can be comfortable in a wide range of temperatures without having to carry unnecessary weight.

I would only consider a mummy bag if I was touring in deep winter or in extreme places like Tibet or high mountains for an extended period.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:35 PM
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I recently bought a cheap 25F non-mummy bag. I found myself swimming around in it, getting it all tangled up, etc. So, it was back to the mummy bag= 0F + 1 full length thermarest and 1 3/4 length thermarest. Keeps me "cocooned" and less material to push around in the tent on hotter nights. Makes for a comfy night - the bag is cushy, the matts are cushy and I will deal with the extra 2 pounds for the mummy bag and extra mattress. Almost as good as sleeping at home with my wife on our Select-Comfort air bed, of course without any snuggling or a wet 4 year old kicking my kidneys
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Old 07-22-08, 12:55 PM
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If you want sleep at home comfort and your camping is fair weather, you could try something like the Big Agnes Buffalo Park and one of their insulated big pads. The Big Agnes system has the pad integrated into the bag so you always turn inside the bag.

https://www.bigagnes.com/str_bags.php?bid=1
https://www.bigagnes.com/str_pads.php?bid=5

Obviously, this is not a lightweight setup, but I'll tolerate an extra couple lbs to sleep well at night.

- Mark
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Old 07-22-08, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by markjenn
If you want sleep at home comfort and your camping is fair weather, you could try something like the Big Agnes Buffalo Park and one of their insulated big pads. The Big Agnes system has the pad integrated into the bag so you always turn inside the bag.

https://www.bigagnes.com/str_bags.php?bid=1
https://www.bigagnes.com/str_pads.php?bid=5

Obviously, this is not a lightweight setup, but I'll tolerate an extra couple lbs to sleep well at night.

- Mark
What I dislike about this approach is that I can't get my legs out. It'll work for some people, but I like to have more freedom
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Old 07-22-08, 04:48 PM
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You should be able to turn inside a mummy bag without turning the whole bag. The only problem is if you have the hood done up and then thisdepends on the hood design. Most mummy bags, other than really cheap ones, use a differential fill. ie they have more insulation on the top than on the bottom so if you turn the bag then you are exposing the thinner side and could get cold spots.
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Old 07-22-08, 05:04 PM
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It's worth mentioning about mummy-style bags - if you get one which has a zip that opens at each end, then you can leave the bottom section open and slide your legs out if you get too hot or claustrophobic. I do this quite a lot, even in cold weather, and never have to wake up to get my legs inside again if they get chilly.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:01 PM
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Nun: Now I know who mentioned the quilts I had read about. Thanks for the link. I was curious about them but now don`t think they`d work for me. I was imagining sleeping with a quilt or blanket draped over me and trying to figure out what method they had come up with to keep it from falling off due to tossing and turning. As far as I can tell, they just use plain old gravity and presumably don`t move around much.

Peterpan: If I checked out the right site, I think it`s more or less the same idea as the quilts that Nun suggested, just from less expensive material. Pretty cool site though- lots of interresting tips and tidbits.

Everyone else: Thank you- you helped to confirm my guess and brought up a few more things to take note of. For the guys who keep saying that mummy bags are only for super cold, I think that`s what they probably shine at, but whatever bag I buy this time I think I`m going for cheapo grade down and looking again for a ~40F/5C rating. That`s what I`m using now and it`s a pretty comfartable range for me. There are a few down rectangular bags available, but down mummies out the whazoo. For me, it`s more of an availability issue than a weight/bulk issue since even a down copy of my current rectangular bag would be much smaller. I think this is the guy that Pp was talking about- good sewing info for the DIY crowd:
https://www.rayjardine.com/ray-way/Quilt-Kit/index.htm
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Old 07-22-08, 09:15 PM
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How about a compromise. Here is a pretty good deal on a semi-rectangular down bag.
https://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/3...ctangular.html
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Old 07-22-08, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
Nun: Now I know who mentioned the quilts I had read about. Thanks for the link. I was curious about them but now don`t think they`d work for me. I was imagining sleeping with a quilt or blanket draped over me and trying to figure out what method they had come up with to keep it from falling off due to tossing and turning. As far as I can tell, they just use plain old gravity and presumably don`t move around much.
Most summer nights I just drape the quilt over me. It's large enough to keep me covered, but in cold weather there would be drafts. So to solve that issue there are draw cords at the top and bottom of the quilt and a velcro strip at the bottom, On cold nights I pull the cords to form a "footsack" and get the quilt to close around my shoulders. I also carry a silk liner that I use on it's own on very warm nights. If it's very cold I put the quilt inside the liner and that provides an extra insulating layer It also keeps the quilt snug around me and I still have lots of room to move.

The quilt and liner combo weigh 1lb 4oz and by combining them in different ways I can cover a wide temp range.

Last edited by nun; 07-23-08 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:46 PM
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I have the following Mummy Bags
two Big Agnes Bags - One Down and One Synthetic - Cold and Dry or Cold and Wet
One North Face - extremely lite weight with a dri loft (gore tex) shell - Very Compact

Two Rectangular Bags
One 40 degree and one 50 degree.
The 50 Degree is more than ample in S. California for most of the year.

The Big Agnes with the integrated pad is the most comfortable and least problematic from a practical stand point. Move, flip inside the bags, turn curl. No problem

The mummy is more practical and covers a greater range of conditions in higher temp ratings than a rectangle. I end up sleeping in a silk hut sheet on top of the rectangle bags in warm weather.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by xilios
A little more weight for a good nights sleep is well worth it.
Definitely. This tour I brought a Thermarest pillow and will never go back to using folded clothes for a pillow.

However, I'd recommend trying to get used to a mummy bag. I didn't like them at first but felt that the benefits outweighed the problems, so I bought one. Now I'm used to it and like it very much. It's a bit more hassle to situate yourself when you roll over (I'm a side sleeper) but no big deal. The bag wants to roll with you, which would make it turn upside down. But I don't find myself having that problem. It's not that hard to roll over without the bag turning, and when I'm on my other side I just make a couple of quick adjustments and things are good. I'm picky when I sleep. Everything has to feel right or I can't relax. I guess that, coupled with the fact that I like my mummy, would indicate that the "problems" are not a big deal.

I think they're warmer as well as lighter.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:21 AM
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In fact the bag rolling over isn't a big deal, as long as the whole bag rolls, and you're not left twisted up in a long tight knot. Another tip is to remove all drawstrings and those daft plastic toggles which always end up under your face while you're sleeping.
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