The "perfect" sleeping bag

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hddan
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The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by hddan » Nov 20 2005 5:29 pm

I'd appreciate some sound advice on a new sleeping bag.
I'd like to get a smaller-packing 3-season bag for this winter's desert hiking. My 0 degree Marmot is just overkill for my new smaller pack.
What do you ultralight folks prefer?

I've been looking at the following:

Western Mountaineering Ultralight
Western Mountaineering Apache Super DryLoft
Marmot Helium and Helium EQ (water resistant down bag and pricey)
Golite Feather
North Face Hightail 900

Let's pretend that money is not the main concern. I'm thinking about quality, light weight, and low bulk.

Thanks for your opinions.

Dan

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RedRoxx44
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Post by RedRoxx44 » Nov 20 2005 7:02 pm

I have the WM Ultralight and use it with a silk liner in real cold conditions. Packs small and I've always slept warm in it. I think the rating for it is right on.

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hikeaz
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Post by hikeaz » Nov 20 2005 8:22 pm

RedRoxx44 wrote:I have the WM Ultralight and use it with a silk liner in real cold conditions. Packs small and I've always slept warm in it. I think the rating for it is right on.
Image
kurt

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hddan
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Post by hddan » Nov 22 2005 9:32 pm

Thanks for the opinions. I do like WM's reputation but I still worry about the down getting wet and ruining a $300 bag. You guys obviously haven't had any problems with that, I guess.

Dan

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RedRoxx44
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Post by RedRoxx44 » Nov 23 2005 4:50 am

I've had my bag wet with condensation (very wet to touch---outer shell help up fine and I slept warm)
Twice got it wet with a leaky water bladder, at camp let it dry out --the great thing about hiking in the desert-- and one time I was in transit so let the wet part of the bag hang out of my backpack and it dried out just fine.

I know the synthetics are getting lighter but don't pack down small enough for me, or for the temp rating are bulky or don't really sleep that warm. I am not an ultralighter but want to shave off the pounds where I can.

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hikeaz
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Post by hikeaz » Nov 23 2005 2:17 pm

hddan wrote:Thanks for the opinions. I do like WM's reputation but I still worry about the down getting wet and ruining a $300 bag. You guys obviously haven't had any problems with that, I guess.

Dan
I don't believe that the down getting wet ruins a bag, as such........ Mine has always been fine after drying out. I also don't buy all the hype that they don't insulate when wet... granted, I'm sure the insulating performance suffers.... but I've had mine sopping wet (Boundary Waters) and it kept ME warm anyway. I suppose that as the temp gets colder that this may not be the case, though....
Heck, we live in a DESERT, .Image
....what better place for a down bag??
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azdesertfather
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by azdesertfather » Jul 18 2010 9:51 pm

To update this for 2010 (as I'm shopping), what recommendations do you have for good, lightweight sleeping bags that condense well...
A. If money were no object?
B. If money is an issue?
I'm more in the B category right now, but I'm sure there's interest in this thread from people who can do the $200 bags) :)

Thanks in advance to any of you who can help :)
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PaleoRob
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by PaleoRob » Jul 18 2010 9:57 pm

What sort of temperature range are you looking for?
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nonot
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by nonot » Jul 18 2010 10:30 pm

800 fill down sleeping bag.

Money determines how cold a one you buy. For AZ, a 32-40 degree bag will give you lots of options for camping throughout the year.
For winter camping get a 0 degree one, I don't think I've heard of places in AZ getting below 0 F. Don't know if you're considering other states.
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by PaleoRob » Jul 18 2010 10:38 pm

Paria Plateau gets down to zero on winter nights. I'm sure that the Kaibab Plateau does as well. That means that The Peaks likely do as well. Probably Skeleton Mesa, the Chuskas, the Carrizos, the Lukachukais, and the Defiance Plateau do as well.
Of course, if you don't plan on using it too far away from the Phoenix area, a 32 degree bag should be fine. I'm glad I had my cold-weather bag, though, on the 2009 Grand Gulch trip...
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big_load
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by big_load » Jul 18 2010 11:02 pm

I use a 15F bag (conservatively rated) for most late fall / early spring trips. It gets cold high up.

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joebartels
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by joebartels » Jul 18 2010 11:58 pm

My Marmot Helium EQ has served me well in 20 degree nights repeatedly and some very rainy nights (including a flood in the Grand Canyon).
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chumley
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by chumley » Jul 19 2010 12:05 am

I have a very old sleeping bag and have been looking recently for a new one as well. How accurate are the temperature ratings typically?

I mean ... are they established by the marketing department like hot tub sizes? (where 6-person capacity is only true if you all know each other really well....)
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nonot
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by nonot » Jul 19 2010 12:09 am

Certain brands are accurate, other brands are downright liars about their ratings.
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joebartels
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by joebartels » Jul 19 2010 12:14 am

Mine is rated 15 and I'm plenty warm at 20. Seems many are off by 15 degrees based on forum responses over the last ten years.
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azbackpackr
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by azbackpackr » Jul 19 2010 5:29 am

Being generally a disagreeable character, I tend to disagree that temperature ratings work well for everyone. I believe that temp ratings are just a general guideline, but you have to take your own experience and physiology into account. Some people sleep cold. Some people sleep hot (oooh wooo! ;) ) Sometimes I myself sleep cold, other times not. I was camping in Bear Wallow Wilderness several weeks ago, and had brought my North Face Blue Kazoo 15 degree bag. Temps were probably in the low 50s/high 40s that night, slightly damp but not rainy. I was kind of cold and clammy all night. I did put dry long johns on to sleep in, did not wear damp clothes. I should have brought a stocking cap as well. (And don't tell me I should sleep sans clothing. I can't stand that--I really do get cold and sweaty if I do that. I have to have some sort of t-shirt and at the very least, thin pj pants on.)

I have slept in that bag on much colder nights, down in the low 30s/high 20s and have been warm.

Many times, with that same bag, on colder nights than at Bear Wallow I have slept on top of the Thermarest, with the bag draped over me like a quilt!

Incidentally I will soon be in the market for an ultralight bag that stuffs down really small. I do not want one of those thin 40 degree bags, however. I would prefer a lower temp rating. I guess I will have to pay through the nose for it, too! But that is what I will be looking for. Any suggestions? I am willing to pay $300 or so.
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azdesertfather
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by azdesertfather » Jul 19 2010 7:22 am

I'm looking for something that cam handle the bulk of AZ trips, 32 degree rating is pretty good.

Need 2 more bags for camping with fam, at least one that will work of which that will also work for backpack trips.

Have a Cellcorp Sleepcell e2 that I picked up on clearance from Walmart for $17, it has been great for the price! Goes down to 20F but is 3 lbs and a bit bulky.

Checked on the Marmot Helium EQ, it looks good but would definitely be in the more pricey category at approx. $400.
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by azbackpackr » Jul 19 2010 7:27 am

I am looking for one that is warm but packs down to the size of a cantaloupe. So I will have to pay a lot, I am sure.
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writelots
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by writelots » Jul 19 2010 7:42 am

I have a Montbell Downhugger #1 UL... and thought it's a bit spendy (~$280 on sale), I have never regretted the extra cash out. It's light (a little over 2lbs), compacts tiny and has kept me warm at 15deg. - and I could probably go lower. In fact, my biggest problem with it tends to be that I get too hot many nights (in a tent). I always had trouble sleeping in the backcountry, because I naturally sleep cold. Even with a 20deg bag I would freeze at temps more like 40.

If you can, beg borrow and steal...the nice bags (Montbell, Western Mountaineering, etc) are worth it if you're going to be camping more than a couple times a year.

(I also use my orange dream (#1 above) in my hammock like a quilt. Heaven! : queen : )
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azbackpackr
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Re: The "perfect" sleeping bag

Post by azbackpackr » Jul 19 2010 8:00 am

How about the sub-2 pound bags? My NF Blue Kazoo is about 2 lbs but it compacts to the size of an ordinary medium watermelon. I want one that goes smaller than that. A friend showed me a Kelty, but it is a 40 degree bag and to me it looks cold. I'm with writelots. I gotta have a warmer bag.
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