Tell me what degree bag I need!!

DudefromOhio

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Feb 17, 2015
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Please pardon my ignorance. I am absolutely losing my mind trying to pick a sleeping bag. The multitude of options boggles the mind.

What degree bag do I need for 10k feet in August and September? I sleep cold so I'm afraid a 20 degree bag won't be enough, especially when I look at EN ratings and half the bags are only comfortable to 25 degrees!

I was looking at zero degree bags but that extra pound is really making the decision difficult. Is it stupid to try and use a zero degree bag all year? I hate to spend $300 on a bag and it only work for a few months.


I know a sleeping pad is important. I have a Neo-air Xtherm and a closed cell foam pad. But do I get a 20 degree or 0 degree???
 

Parma

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I have the north face blue kazoo which is rated at 15° and I love it so far.
 
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Opi

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Get a 20* bag and supplement cold nights with your puff jacket if need be.
I'll be using a 20* quilt on the CDT in the Weminuche first part of September. Should be plenty warm.
Or get a 10* quilt or bag split the difference.
 

Bob

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I use a 15 degree Ultralamina. It's good to about 20 I think. I supplement with a silk cocoon liner, I think that adds about 5 degrees. Inside a tent adds another 5, maybe 10 degrees stretching it. Add thermals or down jacket or vest, thermal gloves and a beanie (really important). Think with your bag the same layering principle as clothing..... Then you are not stuck with a heavy bag in a warm season. Buy a warmer one for the colder trips.

Like you said everyone sleeps different and gets cold differently......system has to be tailored to you, not me. Blue Kazoo is a good bag..
 
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steve

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Are you backpacking? Car camping? Do you sleep cold or hot? Is weight, warmth, or cost most important?
 

DudefromOhio

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Are you backpacking? Car camping? Do you sleep cold or hot? Is weight, warmth, or cost most important?
Backpacking. Sleep cold. Warmth is #1 factor... I think, but I'm not sure.

Cost isn't too big of an issue but would like to stay under $300. I've got a bunch more gear to buy.
 
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DudefromOhio

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The blue kazoo looks nice. I haven't looked at that one yet, I had myself talked into a Kelty Ignite 20 degree but I'm not sure about that one now.
 
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Vegan.Hiker

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I tend to be a fan of lighter bags and supplement them with a fleece liner in the cold season. Plus as @Opi mentioned, if it's gonna be that cold, you'll be traveling with a puff jacket, thermals, balaclava, gloves, etc. Doesn't make sense to carry a heavier bag, just to take all that stuff off when you go to sleep. I've slept in a 32 degree bag in sub-zero temperatures supplemented by a fleece liner and all my winter layers including balaclava, winter hat, gloves, etc., and was actually too warm.
 
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ogg

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Jan 23, 2015
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I use a 20 degree down bag (old Moonstone, out of business) in similar conditions. I like having a well insulated pad(s), currently using a NeoAir Allseason. It works for me. I'm a cold sleeper, sleep in long johns. If the weather forecast calls for unusually cold conditions, I might bring a coolmax bag liner as a backup, which I think I've used once in the mountains.
 

Absarokanaut

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When it comes to one of your unequivocally most important pieces of gear don't skimp. I haven't bought a bag in years but have worked a few seasons of outdoor retail and I think the range you should consider should be focused on 15 degrees if not the zero you alluded to. It's been more than 35 years but I'v e been at less than 9,000' in the Teton Wilderness in single digits the second week of August.

Better to take stuff off and leave the zipper open than be unprepared for considerable discomfort.
 

WasatchWill

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Just echoing pretty much everything already said. A 15-20 degree bag should be sufficient. Throw on a puffy jacket and take some base layers or long johns to have extra layers, if needed. That X-therm is amazingly insulative (is that a word?) My wife has one and I used it last month. If you can afford a bag with the newer water resistant down, I'd go for that. But since I can't, I have a 3 lb 20 degree synthetic bag that I'm happy with for the time being.
 

steve

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I think water-resistent down is cool, but not necessary 99.9% of the time. For your budget you're not going to find water resistent down.

I also vote for an x-therm, as it's the warmest sleeping pad under 1 lb. A warm pad will make a big different.

Go for a 0-15* bag, then in a year or two you can tailor it to your needs. It doesn't sound like you're backpacking every weekend, so if it's a little hot or a little heavy, it'll only be for 2-3 trips a year, then you can gain some experience and learn what you like.
 

Hurakan

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If you sleep cold then you want a warm bag, 0-15 degrees, the rating are usually meant for people that either sleep warm or its the lowest temp most people will find bearable. You can always warm up with tossing a Nalgene bottle with hot water (not boiling) wrapped in your spare hiking socks at the foot of the bag as im sure you feet are likely cold. A hot drink or a shot or two also help. I wouldn't worry too much about it, do the best you can and worst case if your cold and toss a beanie or jacket on.

@ogg, my wife has an old moonstone down 25 bag that I use all the time in the summer. Great Little bag, weighs nothing and packs very well.
 

Nick

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For me a warm pad and wearing more stuff to bed means I can get away with an unzipped 32˚ bag that weighs a pound and change through most of the year. I despise zipping up my sleeping bags. I'd probably go to a quilt but I'm a bigger guy and so I just use my sleeping bags as quilts. Much like feet and boots, everyone seems to be quite different on what they need to be comfortable. I second what Steve says, particularly that a 15˚ is a good all around bag and starting point that you can work from as you get out more and learn better what works for you.

Keep in mind the ratings are not held to any particular standard, so a 15˚ bag by company A might not be that close to a 15˚ bag by company B. And a men's 15˚ is different than a women's 15˚ because women generally sleep colder. A warm pad is critical. It is amazing how much warmth you lose from a non-insulated or inadequately insulated pad.
 

DudefromOhio

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Feb 17, 2015
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Thanks guys. The advice really helps. Kinda got my eye on an Ultralamina 15. Seems like a good bag for weight to warmth ratio.
 

toejam

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Oct 2, 2014
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Quilts take some getting used to, and until then you'll be cold. I think you want a 15-20 degree DOWN bag. Down is so much lighter, packs smaller, and lasts longer because it can be cleaned. All the people I know who backpack regularly use down bags or quilts.

I got my Blue Kazoo around '97 and last year slept in it on the ice (with an Xtherm) on the summit of Mt. Rainier. Spent a lot of nights in it at 10,000' or better, although I more often use a bag that's lighter and good to about 30 degrees.
 

Witt

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Feb 22, 2015
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If you are living in southwest Ohio you should look at the North Face outlet store in Monroe. I got a Blue Kazoo for a around $100 and a -20 Inferno 850 down fill for about $150. The other place to look is the Eddie Bauer warehouse in Columbus they have some good deals on First Ascent gear sometimes.
 

DudefromOhio

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Feb 17, 2015
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Is moisture and a down bag a big concern? I want a do all bag. If im hunting Elk 15 miles off the road in Colorado a wet soggy bag could be an issue, or am I being too paranoid?
 

DudefromOhio

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Feb 17, 2015
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If you are living in southwest Ohio you should look at the North Face outlet store in Monroe. I got a Blue Kazoo for a around $100 and a -20 Inferno 850 down fill for about $150. The other place to look is the Eddie Bauer warehouse in Columbus they have some good deals on First Ascent gear sometimes.
Great tip thanks. I didnt even think about the outlet mall. Im only about 20 minutes away from Monroe.
 
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