Recommendations for sleeping bags/pads on a college student budget?

Keliko

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Apr 20, 2012
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Hey guys, looking to gear up now so a few friends and I can head down to Escalante after finals :D
Except none of us really have any backpacking gear, have mostly heavy car camping gear, do you guys have any suggestions?
I already got a Kelty Gunnison Pro tent for my birthday and a old 55L pack from Costco, but any suggestions would be appreciated since I have to help other people get geared up too.
Primarily I think we will do Escalante a few times in May/June followed by the Uintas in July/August.
Not looking for awesome world class gear, just decent stuff to get us by.
Basically needing help with sleeping bags, pads, and cooking supplies.


Thanks in advance
 

Udink

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Jan 17, 2012
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For my first few backpacking trips I used a cheap, heavy Wenzel 0-degree sleeping bag that I bought online from Walmart for about $30 (I've since gotten a Marmot bag but haven't used it backpacking yet). For a sleeping pad I used (and still use) a Big Agnes Air Core inflatable pad that I paid about $40 for. Coleman makes a cheap (~$30) and lightweight stove that I've been using for years and haven't found a good reason to go with a more expensive one. I use a small metal mug for heating water for coffee and dehydrated meals.

It's all cheap and pretty decent and will get you by until you either graduate and start earning more money, or you decide that you need better gear. :) I found that one area where I couldn't skimp was on a pack. My first trip in the Uintas I used a crappy Outdoor Products pack and it was horrible. After that I got an Osprey Atmos 65 and have been very happy with it.
 

Artemus

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Jun 25, 2012
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Good advice from Dennis. And I still get buy with a Thermarest Z Lite pad because it is indestructible even though my friends here think I am not hip as a result. Or that I don't care about my hips.... One thing's for sure, an adventure with a little hardship is better than no adventure at all!
 

Nick

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I bought most of my early backpacking gear on super discount through Sierra Trading Post. If you're not on their email list, get on it, then they send you coupons all the time. Usually an extra 35% off stuff that is already 35-70% off. It's not always the best stuff but it's typically much better than the department store versions but for a really good price.

Also check the 'Outlet' sections of sites like CampSaver and REI. Often lots of good deals to be had.

Aside from that, I've become too much of a gear snob to offer much advice. I can barely bring myself to be seen in public with langutah because of his lack of hipness on that closed cel foam pad... :lol:
 

Keliko

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Apr 20, 2012
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Thanks for the advice guys, I will probably be asking a lot more questions.

Mainly I've budgeted for about $150 for a bag and pad but it seems to me the $40 bags-$100 are pretty similar in quality and weight

Nick, I will def sign up for the Sierra Trading Post, I have the Gear of the Day app on my phone but that requires me to check it constantly for deals...
 

Aldaron

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Jun 16, 2012
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Yeah, I wouldn't spend that much on gear at this point. As others have said, if you spend $60 or $150 on a bag today, you'll still be replacing it in a few years when you can afford more. That's how we ALL started!

Just watch the weight, because you don't want to haul around a 50 pound pack that makes you miserable and then you never go backpacking again.

I had a lot of Campmor and Kelty gear for my first set of gear.
 

Artemus

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Just watch the weight, because you don't want to haul around a 50 pound pack that makes you miserable and then you never go backpacking again.

Mind the ultralight ethos! A 30# pack is your goal. :twothumbs: OK, on a budget, 36#...
 

Yvonne

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I just signed up at campsaver.com. They also offer a College Student discount. 20% each time you buy something there. It's automatically added to your cart when you check out.
I'm a college student, too and it saved me a good amount this morning. :)

I would also check Sierra Trading Post like Nick recommended, they often have really sweet deals. Sometimes just check for a while and when they have some extra percentage off pull the trigger. I bought my last tent at STP and it saved me 51%
 

Aldaron

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I'd be scared to go that cheap, I think, but it might work out. Here are some other ideas:

http://www.campsaver.com/lamina-35-sleeping-bag-synthetic-cl

http://www.campsaver.com/wild-bill-35-sleeping-bag-synthetic

Remember that the cheaper the bag, the less accurate the temperature rating is. And sometimes even $400 bags have inaccurate ratings. I carry a $400 sleeping bag that's rated at 15 degrees, and I get chilly below 35...which happens almost every night in the middle of the summer in the Rockies. But you can mitigate some of that by just wearing warm clothing layers. But I would probably still stick to no higher than 35 degree bags for the Rockies. Back east, of course, you could go higher.

And definitely don't take the kitchen sink. I took a couple out for an overnighter in the Uintas last year, and they didn't want to let me help them pack or take any of my gear. I didn't know what all they had until I saw them start unpacking at camp. It wasn't pretty. They had enough food for 5 dinners, and they had enough water for about 3-4 days. And water is HEAVY. The girl ended up badly hurting her shoulder from her pack weight.
 

Nick

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I tried laying on some of the newer therm-a-rest pads, and the loud sound-crinkle, crinkle drove me crazy. Anyone else hate that noise?

I love the Xlite pads, crinkly noise and all! I think when you're in the store focusing on it, it sounds like it would be loud, but when you're out there using it, it's not really a problem, IMO. The price on the other hand....
 

Keliko

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Apr 20, 2012
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I'd be scared to go that cheap, I think, but it might work out. Here are some other ideas:

http://www.campsaver.com/lamina-35-sleeping-bag-synthetic-cl

http://www.campsaver.com/wild-bill-35-sleeping-bag-synthetic

Remember that the cheaper the bag, the less accurate the temperature rating is. And sometimes even $400 bags have inaccurate ratings. I carry a $400 sleeping bag that's rated at 15 degrees, and I get chilly below 35...which happens almost every night in the middle of the summer in the Rockies. But you can mitigate some of that by just wearing warm clothing layers. But I would probably still stick to no higher than 35 degree bags for the Rockies. Back east, of course, you could go higher.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003G5U1NM/?tag=backcountrypo-20

Would this be an overkill, I tend to like to sleep warm.
 

Yvonne

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. I tried laying on some of the newer therm-a-rest pads, and the loud sound-crinkle, crinkle drove me crazy. Anyone else hate that noise?

I really hate the noise, too.
One of the reasons I bought the therm a rest trekker. Still a bit noisy, a compared to the XLite a big difference.
Eventually I upgrade to the All Season version this year, because it's a lot warmer than the Trekker.
 

HomerJ

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Jimmy Olsen

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REI has a member garage sale about every other month. The membership fee is $20. The stuff is all returns but a lot if it is in excellent if not new condition.

Also, you might want to go the rental route. I believe REI and EMS both rent equipment.

Finally, have you tried your local Goodwill store?
 
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