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Sleeping bag advice

Old 12-19-10, 02:35 PM
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Sleeping bag advice

I could do with getting a new bag, and want one that will cope with all seasons.
I'll be using it on cycle tours and backpacking, so obviously weight and bulk are an issue.
I was looking at a three season bag, a vango, which had it's comfort level at 1 deg and extreme -14 (which I seem to remember reading is the temperature at which you'd die?)

https://www.fieldandtrek.com/vango-ul...075?src=google

The weight and bulk are about right, but what I want to know is how much I can increase its performance by with the addition of a fleece liner (homemade) and wearing clothes.

I understand in extreme conditions you can use a survival bag inside (with no clothes0 as a vapour barrier.

i plan on using a Thermarest mat to insulate against heat loss through the ground, and will carry a full face fleece balaclava for cycling, so can use that to keep heatloss from my head.

I know that having a four season bag is better, maybe an Arctic army bag, but the bulk and weight put me off for situations that I may never encounter, or only encounter once in a while, though I could envisage being out in maybe -3 temps.

Is there the ability to increase the performance of a three season bag as above?
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Old 12-19-10, 04:25 PM
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We use 3 season bags, and a good "new style" thermarest, but I think the our secret is that we use a reflective ground sheet under the tent, and if its really cool a second reflector sheet under the thermarest...I have even used it as a partial top sheet when it was brrrry cold.(however when you do this you need to worry about the in bag humidity)...
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Old 12-19-10, 04:44 PM
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Anyone interested in a big warm stevenson warmlight,
Down Air Mat Bottom, triple Bag

2 zip off tops, so 3 comfort ranges, using thin thick or both..

I got bigger than needed so fine for Big 6 + footers

still in top shape, though buying a new air matt would not be a bad idea ,
Slight air seepage .. they are still around to do that .

hand made camping gear, made in New Hampsire USA
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Old 12-19-10, 07:29 PM
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I assume that the temperatures given are Celsius, in which case the bag would be more than warm enough for 3 season use in temperate climates. Keep in mind that temperature ratings are not standardized across the outdoor industry, they are just the manufacturer's estimate of what temperature a bag is comfortable at. As you approach the lower end of a bag's comfort rating, factors like the size of your tent, what and how much you ate for dinner, your own metabolism and whether or not you are wearing a hat will all affect the perceived warmth of a sleeping bag. As a general rule, temperature ratings on cheap bags tend to be more optimistic than temperature ratings on better quality bags.

A fleece liner might add a little warmth, but only if you could fit it in the bag without compressing it or the bag too much. Some kind of overbag that is big enough to cover the bag without squashing it might be more effective, especially if it was somewhat windproof. A silk liner would also add warmth.

Lots of people think that sleeping bags are warmer if you don't wear clothes, or only wear a single layer of good long underwear. I've found this to be mostly true, although a good wool hat or balaclava always seems to help.

Which Thermarest are you getting? You could use a thicker model in winter, or combine the thin one with a cheap blue foam pad for winter use. The reflective ground sheet sounds like a good idea, too.
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Old 12-19-10, 07:41 PM
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This may be out of the price range but a good water proof bivy would work well.
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Old 12-19-10, 08:56 PM
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I really like the Big Agnes sleep system. The ground pad slips into a sleeve in the sleeping bag and becomes the bottom. No more sliding off your pad. I got the Yampa overbag and use it by itself for 3 seasons and slide in an older 30 degree bag and a second ground pad for winter use. Very versatile.
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Old 12-19-10, 09:05 PM
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drape your insulated coat over your torso to extend the temperature range of any sleeping bag.

liners, bivies, etc also good.
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Old 12-20-10, 01:43 AM
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I really like the bags from Feathered Friends. I tried to link it, but I can't access the page tonight. Super high quality gear, and they will do custom sizing, which is nice because I'm tall with very broad shoulders.
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Old 12-20-10, 02:51 AM
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The European Union has a standardised sleeping bag assessment (such things matter here). It is useful for comparison rather than as an absolute guarantee of comfort.
I would avoid any "system" with too many zips, these add weight and bulk.
I found the Ajungilak 3-season to be good for cool Northern European nights in Sept. I wouldn't want anything that warm in a heatwave or just a warm summer evening.
If you want to improve your warmth you should consider extra insulation underneath.
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Old 12-20-10, 05:15 AM
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Thanks for the input.

I've read good things about this bag on various outdoors forums:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Highlander-E...pr_product_top

I'm also looking at the idea of two bags. You can get a Decathlon bag which packs small and is lightweight, and could fit into another bag - though I have heard some warning about this practice. Apparently it can compress the filling of the bags and reduce their effectiveness.

I'm also looking at Army surplus (unissued) bags. This one seems okay, in that it isn't overly heavy or bulky (well, compared to some of the other ones).
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Old 12-20-10, 08:16 AM
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I have also been looking into sleeping bags and read one manufacturer's explanation about the bottom end of the comfort ratings. They said to be comfortable at the low end, they expected you to wear one layer of clothing in your bag, so make sure that you're not misleading yourself into thinking that wearing clothes inside the bag is going to extend that range. Also, it seems like a 4 season bag would be too heavy and too hot in the warmer seasons.
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Old 12-20-10, 01:27 PM
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I've been using Marmot down bags for about a decade now: a 15 deg. F Helium, a 40 deg. Arrete, and a minus 20 deg F something or other. All have 800 or 900 fill down and are fairly pricey. But the interesting thing is they seem to be trying to apply some science to the rating system. The hang tags now have a multi-degree rating system, with Comfort, Lower Limit, and Extreme (Survival) temperatures. For instance, the Arrete is a 40deg bag, with a 32deg lower limit and a 20 deg survival, iirc. I used it in New Mexico last month and overnight temps reached 34 or so several nights and I was not "comfortable" but I was able to sleep sporadically. Then, in the mountains it hit 26 overnight and I was close to "not surviving." Seriously cold, the coldest I've ever slept. But I survived. So I guess the rating is pretty accurate. For what it's worth, I had 5 layers on that night. If wearing only one layer, I don't know what would have become of me.

(And please, I don't want to derail this discussion, but with 23 years of light and ultralight backpacking experience I am well aware of the claims of some people that sleeping naked paradoxically keeps one warmer. Suffice it to say that I cannot speak for anyone else's experience, but nothing could be further from the truth with my body. The warmer I am getting into my bag, the warmer I stay throughout the night. I've tried it both ways and everything in between, many times, and that's how it works for me.)

Move cursor over the temp rating box and you'll see a "click to learn more" appear. This explains their system. (This particular bag is the Pinnacle, also another fine bag, just a little heavier and cheaper than the similar rated Helium, which seems to keep me a little warmer.)
https://marmot.com/products/wms_pinnacle

Last edited by NoGaBiker; 12-20-10 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 12-20-10, 09:08 PM
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You could absolutely manage freezing temps with a 3-season bag by adding a fleece liner and hat, etc... I am now using a summer bag which isn't warm at all. When we went through the high Andes in the middle of winter (temps got down to single digits F at night) I added a fleece liner and two hats on my head. I also slept with my down vest on and draped one of my son's down jackets over my hips, which is where I was getting cold. It took a bit of trial and error, but I finally found a system that kept me warm and toasty at night.
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Old 12-20-10, 10:43 PM
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I just got a Mountain Hardware Lamina 20 synthetic bag for bicycle and kayak camping. It comes with a compression stuff sack and packs down amazingly small. I've never seen a synthetic bag pack so small, will have to see how the insulation holds up, but it weighs 3 lbs. and compresses down to approximately the size of a football. The bag has an EN comfort rating of 23 degrees F.

I tested it out the other night with a low of 18 degrees F. in my Integral Designs bivy sack on a Therm-a-rest ProLite 4 pad, wearing heavy-weight fleece long underwear and a balaclava. I had to partially unzip the bag and sleep on top of the hood. Also needed to open the bivy up some more to let cool air in.

I plan on using it during milder spring and fall weather with my home-made hammock instead of the bivy, which is incredibly stuffy.

If I lived in a dryer climate I would love to have a down bag and I've always been set on one from Feathered Friends.
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