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Warm weather sleeping bags/pad

Old 07-14-14, 07:13 AM
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Warm weather sleeping bags/pad

I'm getting ready to do some light touring that involves sleeping in state parks mostly. From reading this forum, most sleeping bag/pad threads focus on cooler weather it seems. Can someone provide a couple good choices for a "summer" sleeping bag and pad, or is it better just to use some lightweight cover? As we move into cooler weather I will probably want something warmer but right now my focus is dog days camping. I will also buy a simple tent and plan on getting it at REI. A recommendation on this would be nice too.
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Old 07-14-14, 07:48 AM
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Many manufacturers make 30 and 40 deg bags. I like the Montbell UL Down Hugger range
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Old 07-14-14, 07:52 AM
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It depends on where you will be. In the Rockies or other high mountains it can freeze at night any month of the year. Even in the Appalachians it can get chilly at night even in July and August. In the desert it can get cold at night. So most of my tours I take the same bag that I use down to the mid teens F. Fortunately for me that is my Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 that weighs just 17 ounces. I apparently put out heat like a furnace and I add a layer of clothes for colder weather.

I start without the bag when it is hot and pull it over me as it gets cooler leaving limbs out as required. As it gets cooler yet I climb in, then zip up, then pull the hood drawstring.

If you are camping somewhere there is no chance of it getting cold ,a silk liner bag or just a half of a bed sheet might work. In a pinch you can put on all of your clothes. Me, I am seldom on a trip where there is no chance of it getting fairly cold. We have had 110F and frost within a 48 hour period (and maybe even within a 24 hour period).

For a sleeping pad I always use my NeoAir regardless of temperature. It is light, comfortable, and packs small. For real winter I'd still use it, but add a foam pad.

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Old 07-14-14, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1

For a sleeping pad I always use my NeoAir regardless of temperature. It is light, comfortable, and packs small. For real winter I'd still use it, but add a foam pad.
+1 on the Neo Air.

In warm weather I'll sleep on top of my bag.....the material of the NeoAir does not feel good next to the skin. I usually sleep in a T-shirt and briefs. If the temp goes down I'll drape the bag over me, finally climbing inside and zipping up if it gets really cold. For freezing weather I use the same system, but wear more clothing.
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Old 07-14-14, 08:42 AM
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REI Quarterdome (as do lots of other tents) has a mesh tent with a rain fly, so if you know it won't rain, leave off the rain fly and go with mesh only. It will be cooler and still keep the bugs off.
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Old 07-14-14, 08:52 AM
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Down around RTP in NC, I'd suggest taking a sheet and an air mattress or foam pad. That should hold you through the middle of September. (Actually I'd suggest a motel or B&B with air conditioning...) If you're headed for the NC mountains, a 40 degree bag will work until sometime in October. Trouble is, it's hard to find a good 40F bag that's a reasonable weight; many are Wallyworld specials, and are reasonable to carry in a diesel F250.
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Old 07-14-14, 08:54 AM
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I'll be cycling VA down through Fl (not all on one trip). So it will be hot. Thanks for the Neo Air and Quarterdome recs (and the sheet). I'll be going to REI this week. If it gets too warm, I'll credit card a motel.
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Old 07-14-14, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s
REI Quarterdome (as do lots of other tents) has a mesh tent with a rain fly, so if you know it won't rain, leave off the rain fly and go with mesh only. It will be cooler and still keep the bugs off.
Yes that makes it a lot cooler. When bike touring we have often slept in picnic pavilions and that way we can leave the fly off even when it rains.

For recent trips I have taken to cowboy camping when the bugs are not bad. That is much cooler than being in a tent even if it is all mesh.
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Old 07-14-14, 10:38 AM
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UP here in Michigan it can get cool at night even in July. I have always used a tent with a full rain fly to contain heat and just a fleece sleeping bag liner on a pad. Thermarest self inflating are the best pads I've run across, but I haven't tried them all.

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Old 07-14-14, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Trouble is, it's hard to find a good 40F bag that's a reasonable weight; many are Wallyworld specials, and are reasonable to carry in a diesel F250.
There are plenty of nice light bags in the appropriate temp rating. The problem is that they are generally not real cheap. The Marmot Atom and Mountain Hardware Phantom 45 are two that should fit the usage very well if they are in your price range.

An REI search for bags between 1 pound and 1.49 pounds turns up 7 bags, 6 of which should work very well for summer conditions. The down side is that they are $289 and up.
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Old 07-14-14, 12:47 PM
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When I did my SC to Key West tour, I used the Therm-a-rest Tech blanket along with Therm-a-rest pad, which work well for me.
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Old 07-14-14, 12:54 PM
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I like the "liner" approach.....and maybe sleeping in the picnic shelter. These are good ideas. With regards to a sleeping bag, it appears even the lightest at REI are intended for cooler weather. If it wasn't for bugs, cowboying appeals to me. But I will feel more comfortable under a minimalist tent. A liner or sheet would provide insurance against cooler summer conditions such as a hard rain at night. Also against the sticky or friction feeling of a pad (mentioned earlier by "nun"). Otherwise, I guess sleeping with just underwear, maybe T-shirt, on a pad and under the tent might be the preferred approach.

This Cacoon Travel Sheet is suitably light and is hostel rated...whatever that means. At 5oz its certainly not heavy and I would think rectangular might be preferable for hot summer nights.

With regards to the Neo Air pad, and several others for that matter, it appears to incorporate reflective materials to better keep the person warm. That's not exactly what I'm looking for. I would appreciate any other ideas.
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Old 07-14-14, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by NealH
With regards to the Neo Air pad, and several others for that matter, it appears to incorporate reflective materials to better keep the person warm.
For what it is worth... I have not found that to be a problem and I have slept on my NeoAir some pretty hot nights.
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Old 07-14-14, 03:39 PM
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Not the lightest bag, but on sale right now:

REI Polar Pod Sleeping Bag - Regular - 2013 Closeout - Free Shipping at REI-OUTLET.com

What I'd call a summer weight bag here.
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Old 07-14-14, 05:02 PM
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A Quilt* and a comfortable insulating mattress will do .. when it's too hot you dont have a zipper to fight..


* 2 layers of Light nylon and a synthetic insulation in between

some people do the sewing for you

or you can buy the materials and ask someone with a sewing machine..
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Old 07-14-14, 09:19 PM
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Don't worry about the insulation value of your sleeping pad, your mattress at home is much more insulating, and you can sleep on that.

The Therm-A-Rest air mattresses are great, but skip the self inflating kind, go for one with at least 2.5 inches of height. The Neo-Airs are great, but so are plenty of air mattresses from other manufacturers. My current favorite is the Exped Synmat, just as comfy as a Neo-Air, but doesn't make the slight crinkly noise (Not a big issue, but better to not have it).

If you're camping someplace where it gets even slightly chilly at night, a real sleeping bag might be in order. I have a LaFuma 45 degree bag that packs down to about two liters, weighs a pound and a half, and is great for when it's not cold. I bought it from the REI Outlet for something like $40, and it's been worth every penny.

If you just want something very light, it's hard to go wrong with a silk liner. Doesn't give much warmth, but if it doesn't get bellow 80 at night (Shakes fist at weather) that's fine.

If you want to buy a tent at REI, take a look at the new REI Dash, it looks like a great tent that's nearly weightless. The Sierra Designs Flashlight is also an intriguing idea, but one I want someone to test out before I commit to it myself. The Big Agnes Scout tent also has tons of fans. I've also been looking at REI tents, can you tell?

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Old 07-14-14, 11:38 PM
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My summer bag is a REI travel down, but it seems to be an old design, they have since changed it. REI Travel Down Sleeping Bag - Free Shipping at REI.com Its $140, twenty more than I paid for mine just last year, but looks substantially different. It may be a bit heavier than mine as well. At a stuffed size of about six by twelve, its probably more substantial than my old one, that I can get smaller than that. Its under two pounds, and not super expensive. Check it out when at the rei. I like that it unzips fully, like a quilt. Usually I carry a light silk liner as well, to keep my bag clean, or to use when its really hot. I think that big agnes makes some non insulated inflatables, but I am not a fan of the brand as all my aircores have lost air overnight, even when new, but they are very comfortable.
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Old 07-15-14, 12:37 AM
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How about a hammock?

I live and hike and camp all over FL year round and have to leave my Neoair all season pad at home for all but the coolest trips. A Z lite pad is a little better, but even then I prefer to set up the tent over soft ground and sleep directly on that since it keeps me cooler.

All that being said everyone I know that uses a hammock swears by it for warm weather since the air flows over the top and bottom. I'm planning on picking one up soon.
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Old 07-15-14, 03:23 AM
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I never found the need for a warm weather setup. I just sleep with my legs sticking out or completely out of the bag. I've car-camped with a winter sleeping bag in summer and it wasn't too hot.
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Old 07-15-14, 05:05 AM
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I wish I had the sense ability to tour in hot weather. All I seem to find is cold weather anywhere I go

Inflatable mattress and a sleeping bag liner is plenty for hot weather touring. I currently using that type of setup here in SEA.
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Old 07-15-14, 07:04 AM
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Maybe this, it's made for your part of the world. Sea to Summit Insect Shield CoolMax Adaptor Liner - Mummy - Free Shipping at REI.com
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Old 07-15-14, 09:03 AM
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Many above suggested a liner. I can't agree enough. Two years ago I brought one for the first time on a trip. There were a couple evenings where I was hitting the rack while it was in the 70s. Way too hot for sleeping bag. The liner worked fine alone. Then as it got cooler during the night, I would pull more of the sleeping bag over me like a blanket - or if cool enough, then climb into the sleeping bag.

A gal I used to work with suggested a liner to me as a way to keep sleeping bag cleaner, that is why I brought it in the first place, I did not know how often a shower would be available on that trip. But I decided that the liner was most useful for those warm evenings.

I now bring a liner on every trip. I have two, a silk one ($$$) and a microfiber one ($). The silk is lighter but I suspect it is more fragile so I only use the silk on trips where I am more focused on saving weight.

SOme say that a liner adds to your sleeping bag rating, I do not think it does add enough to notice.
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Old 07-15-14, 10:10 AM
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+1 on the liner... I have a Sea to Summit liner I bought in 2004 before deploying to Iraq. Talk about some warm weather "camping!" Still have the liner, still take it every trip!
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Old 07-15-14, 10:18 AM
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I have an REI travel sack which works well in hot weather. For cooler nights I just put on more clothing including an insulated vest, wool socks, etc. My pad is an uninsulated Klymit Static V.
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Old 07-15-14, 10:45 AM
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For what it is worth I am still having trouble imagining a tour of any length where it never gets chilly at night. Maybe it is just my choice of locales and tour dates, but I have always had a few chilly nights on any tour I have done. This includes when we did the Trans America during a year where there were record high temperatures a majority of the way. I think just about every newspaper we saw had a headline something like "RECORD BREAKING HEAT WAVE". And yet we had some cold nights, even frost. I pack pretty crazy light these days (like 10 pounds base weight for camping and cooking) and I have never wished I left my sleeping bag home.

I guess I could get by with some warm clothes and a liner, but a 12 oz puffy, some tights, and a liner weigh as much or more than my sleeping bag. I'd leave the puffy home before the sleeping bag.
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