Sleeping bag help

pixie1339

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I'm trying to decide what sleeping bag to buy for backpacking. The criteria the bag must fit: down bag, 0-15 degrees (I get pretty cold on all, but warm summer nights), max. weight 3 1/2 pounds, and I'm looking to spend $250 or less. I was just about sold on the Big Agnes bags, until I read several reviews that people had written saying they were no good for side sleepers, since the bag can't move with you. I move around quite a bit when I sleep, so some wiggle room, particularly in the lower half would be nice. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! I'll also want to pick up a waterproof compression sack to store it in, so any input on those (size, brand) would be great, as well.
 

DOSS

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I have become a huge fan of the Quilt, I don't like the restrictive nature of a bag, down under you is compressed so useless.. I do a good job of keeping a blanket on me when at home so in the field it is no different... http://www.backcountry.com/therm-a-rest-alpine-35-sleeping-bag-35-degree-down is a great bag.. only 35 degree but add your pants, shirt and a good sleeping pad (can use better pad as this is so light) and be super toasty :)
 

pixie1339

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I have become a huge fan of the Quilt, I don't like the restrictive nature of a bag, down under you is compressed so useless.. I do a good job of keeping a blanket on me when at home so in the field it is no different...http://www.backcountry.com/therm-a-rest-alpine-35-sleeping-bag-35-degree-down is a great bag.. only 35 degree but add your pants, shirt and a good sleeping pad (can use better pad as this is so light) and be super toasty :)

That's an interesting option. I hadn't looked at that. So lightweight! I'll look into this further. Thanks!
 

Nick

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I think I'm going to try one of those quilts this year. I rarely have issues being cold so I think it would be particularly nice.

Now, keep in mind I've never used one of those, but I wouldn't recommend that to someone totally new to backpacking. I would probably start with something a little more conventional to get you going until you have more experience in varying conditions and what your particular needs are.

I started out with Big Agnes Lost Ranger 15 down bag and enjoyed it, even as a side sleeper. But I've since decided I like to be able to flop around more and hang off my pad. I sleep so hot that I like to move onto the cold ground just to kind of regulate my temperature.

Since then I've bought quite a few different bags. Currently I switch between the following:
  • Marmot Flathead 20 degree down (primary backpacking)
  • Marmot Snowcrest 5 degree down (cold weather backpacking)
  • North Face Goliath zero degree synthetic (primary winter bag)
  • North Face Mammoth 20 degree synthetic (used to be primary backpack bag, rarely used now)
I like the North Face bags because they are HUGE but still relatively light weight. Probably not an issue for most people but I'm a really big guy. With the North Face bags I've been able to stuff a 80lb dog in with me as needed.



The Marmot bags are more standard sized but still roomier than 90% of the high performance bags on the market.

I think you're on the right track with the degree rating you want, given that you sleep cold. Also make sure that you get a pad with a good r-value. A good pad can make all the difference in keeping warm. And if you're debating between a 15 and a 0, you could always go with the 15 and then buy a liner for colder situations.

As far as a waterproof stuff sack, I don't bother with it. Unnecessary weight, IMO. Carry a pack cover or poncho that covers the pack if it is raining. If you go for an accidental swim with your pack on, the waterproof stuff sack isn't going to do much good. And always carry a mylar blanket as a last resort safety measure.

Here's a sweet looking bag that might be just right for you.

Marmot Ouray Zero Degree Women's Down Bag

You can get an extra 20% off of it today so it would be $179 compared to $299. Pretty sure I might have a 25% off coupon code in my inbox too if you want it. Sierra Trading Post is probably the best place to get cheap yet awesome gear, IMO. I've gotten almost every sleeping bag I own there.
 

Nick

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Correction, I have a code to get an extra 30% off so it would only be $156. Use coupon code ALFEB2. Not bad for a $300 bag! :)
 

pixie1339

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Correction, I have a code to get an extra 30% off so it would only be $156. Use coupon code ALFEB2. Not bad for a $300 bag! :)

Thanks for the input, Nick! I've been researching online for the better part of the day. I decided I need a better sleeping pad, as well. I bought an Exped Synmat 7 last year, and took it on my trip to the Sawtooths to test it out. I slept terribly every night, and was exhausted pretty much the whole trip as a result. I think the problem is that when I am on my back my arms hang off the 20" wide pad, so I spent all night on my side, and 2.8 inches of air apparently wasn't enough cush for my hips. I think I found the solution, though. The Exped Synmat 9 Deluxe is 26" wide, and has 3.5 inches of air to sleep on. It's a little over a pound heavier than my Synmat 7, but if it helps me sleep it will be worth its weight in gold!

The R value on that pad is quite high, at a 6. With that in mind, I was thinking I could get away with a 20 degree bag to save some money and some weight. Like you said, I can always buy a liner if need be, for colder trips. I'm primarily looking at North Face, and Marmot, but the Kelty Cosmo and Light Year bags have really peaked my interest because they're such a bargain. Have you heard any feedback on either of those bags from anyone you know?
 

Nick

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My friend Smokey has a Kelty Lightyear and loves it. I think his has some sort of waterproof coating or something which is also nice. Otherwise haven't heard much.
 

pixie1339

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Ok, I think I've got it nailed down to the Exped Synmat 9 pad, the Exped Air Pillow, and the North Face Blue Kazoo 15 degree bag. 5.8 pounds for the whole set up, at $325. Yay! Now I can just wait for the goodies to come to me in the mail. I know REI's return policy is in theory kick ass, but I've yet to return anything without a receipt or the outside packaging. I am a member. Does anyone know if they'll take back the Exped pad I bought last July without the outside packaging, without a receipt, and because I just don't like it?
 

Nick

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They'll take back anything, in any condition at any time. I've heard stories of 5 year old sleeping bags getting returned amongst many other things.
 

DOSS

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Ok, I think I've got it nailed down to the Exped Synmat 9 pad, the Exped Air Pillow, and the North Face Blue Kazoo 15 degree bag. 5.8 pounds for the whole set up, at $325. Yay! Now I can just wait for the goodies to come to me in the mail. I know REI's return policy is in theory kick ass, but I've yet to return anything without a receipt or the outside packaging. I am a member. Does anyone know if they'll take back the Exped pad I bought last July without the outside packaging, without a receipt, and because I just don't like it?

If you got it and are an REI member they will have the purchase and price on your account.. otherwise they will take it back but only give you the lowest price that item was sold for during the time you have had it.
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
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congrats Lisa, that's a great deal. :twothumbs:
So far I'm only using synthetic sleeping bags and happy with both of them. For summer backpack trips I have my 35F EMS Velocity, an ultralight one with only 1lb and 11 oz and I love it.
I'm not getting that cold at night, especially in summer, so I'm really good with the 35F.
For cooler temps I use the Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15, and it was never cold in it. For extra warmth I sometimes use a liner and that helped a lot to keep me warm.
So I guess the Blue Kazoo 15 degree bag should be okay for you.


But:

I just saw the one Nick added and also the coupon code. And now I'm very tempted to add that bag to my equipment. Sooner or later I want to go winter camping here in Western New York and need a really warm and toasty bag. :D
And the bag would perfectly match with my orange Marmot Grid 2 winter tent ;)
 

audraiam

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So, for posterity I feel the need to add a comment. Even though it is of little use to Lisa, since she has already scored her great gear. This is regarding bag fit. For those of us ladies who want to be able to move around in a bag (rolling side to side and the like). There is an important consideration in bag purchases. Bags are designed for those who are of a more "athletic" build. If you are like me and a bit more curvy you may find that a bag designed for men has a larger fit around the chest and shoulders. I have some extra room in my foot box because of the length (but I just shove a dog in down there anyways). Just a tip from a girl who couldn't zip up a women's bag. ;)
 

pixie1339

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congrats Lisa, that's a great deal. :twothumbs:
So far I'm only using synthetic sleeping bags and happy with both of them. For summer backpack trips I have my 35F EMS Velocity, an ultralight one with only 1lb and 11 oz and I love it.
I'm not getting that cold at night, especially in summer, so I'm really good with the 35F.
For cooler temps I use the Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15, and it was never cold in it. For extra warmth I sometimes use a liner and that helped a lot to keep me warm.
So I guess the Blue Kazoo 15 degree bag should be okay for you.


But:

I just saw the one Nick added and also the coupon code. And now I'm very tempted to add that bag to my equipment. Sooner or later I want to go winter camping here in Western New York and need a really warm and toasty bag. :D
And the bag would perfectly match with my orange Marmot Grid 2 winter tent ;)

Thanks Yvonne! I'm pretty excited to get my new gear and take it for a spin. Eventually I would love to have a winter and a summer bag, but for now I need one bag for all seasons, and since I sleep cold the setup I chose seemed like a good choice. During the hotter months I can always unzip my bag to air out. The bag that Nick provided a link to was a good bag at a great price. It would be perfect for you for a winter bag. You should go for it! The only thing that held me back from getting it myself is that since I chose such a gargantuan sleeping pad I needed to save some weight with my sleeping bag.

So, for posterity I feel the need to add a comment. Even though it is of little use to Lisa, since she has already scored her great gear. This is regarding bag fit. For those of us ladies who want to be able to move around in a bag (rolling side to side and the like). There is an important consideration in bag purchases. Bags are designed for those who are of a more "athletic" build. If you are like me and a bit more curvy you may find that a bag designed for men has a larger fit around the chest and shoulders. I have some extra room in my foot box because of the length (but I just shove a dog in down there anyways). Just a tip from a girl who couldn't zip up a women's bag. ;)

Well shit. I didn't even think about that. I'm not only on the curvy side, but the plump side, as well. Hopefully I can actually zip up the damn bag, or I may have to start the process all over again. Fingers crossed!!!
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
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Miss Buffalo, if you're still thinking about that bag, I just posted an even better coupon. :D

http://backcountrypost.com/forum/index.php?threads/sierra-trading-post-coupon-codes.260/


just saw your post and couldn't resist. The deal was too good. And now I can't wait for the bag to arrive.
With having two women sleeping bags and no problems I know I fit into them. For me a women's bag is perfect, but if someone is a little bit more curvy it'll be a problem and the lack of space inside the bag can be a no go.
Before I bought my first bag last year I tried it in our local EMS store and I was happy with it.
 

pixie1339

Desperately Seeking Sandstone
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just saw your post and couldn't resist. The deal was too good. And now I can't wait for the bag to arrive.
With having two women sleeping bags and no problems I know I fit into them. For me a women's bag is perfect, but if someone is a little bit more curvy it'll be a problem and the lack of space inside the bag can be a no go.
Before I bought my first bag last year I tried it in our local EMS store and I was happy with it.

Congrats on the new bag Yvonne! I hope it fits your needs for a winter bag. It looks like a winner! It will be interesting to see what happens when I get my new bag. Nick said the North Face bags are pretty roomy, so hopefully it will work. If not I'll go to REI and actually try some bags out before buying. I guess I could have just done that in the first place.:p
 
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