Winter in the desert

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Wanderlust073

Member
.
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
744
Recommendations on brand and temp rating for a bag that could pull double duty in the Utah/Arizona lower elevation deserts in Jan/Feb as well as the alpine? -10F? -20F?

From the other threads it seems like Western Mountaineering is the goto but figured I'd see if anyone was using other brands. Really love my REI 10F but they don't appear to make anything warmer.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
1,685
I've taken my wife's 0º bag out in January. Down south of the Waterpocket fold and slept real warm. If it were much more cold I'd probably try to layer with a lighter bag instead of getting something real else.
 

Nick

Spiral out.
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,816
I use a 0˚ synthetic North Face bag with a heavy, warm car camping pad like the Thermarest Dream Map or REI Camp Bed 3.5 in the winter. With that combo I'm good without a tent and without even zipping up the bag for most winter trips. If the temps are down into the lower teens I start to think about zipping it up (almost did one night last weekend). I camp throughout the winter but it's just not much fun once it gets much colder than that (unless you have a LOT of wood).
 

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,381
Western Mountaineering has always been one of my GoTo brands. Another has been Feathered Friends. Both are made in America and both are hand made and expensive. Worth it, to me. The WM I have is a -20F and will last me 40 years if I live that long. My FF is my GoTo bag for mountaineering and, more often, ultralight backpacking down to 20 Deg F and lower with clothing inside. It gets used probably 20 times a year and is 30 years old and shows some signs of wear. FF allowed me to round trip it back to them for another 1# of down that they hand added to offset down wear and my increasing cold sensitivity. That said, I am looking for a new ultralight and will probably try one of the Nunatak bags our friend @Kullaberg63 is building: https://nunatakusa.com . I prototyped one of their quilts last spring and the build quality was impeccable.
 
Last edited:

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
1,995
Art nailed. WM and FF are the gold standard for bags.

I really like the weight and packability of my FF bag. I tend to sleep quite cold, so anything below freezing, even fully layered up, makes me a little chilly (in a 20f Hummingbird). I don't know, despite extensive research, whether that's specific to FF bag ratings, or whether I'd be cold in ANY 20f bag. I suspect it's the latter as I was cold for the first 2 months of the AT in a 0f bag. Granted, I started on the last day of Feb.

For the CDT, I think I'm going to spring for a WM Versatile (10f), at least for Colorado and montana.
 

gnwatts

Member
.
Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
1,682
X2 on the Western Mountaineering/Feathered Friends combo. I have a 40 degree MityLite inside my 10 degree FF (Puffin?). My FF bag is not as old as Art's, but close. They made it with extra down at my feet, I assume they still do custom modifications.
 

Brendan S

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
379
Also worth checking out zpacks and @Kullaberg63's nunatak.

I'm a big advocate of the dual bag/quilt system: down 25-30ish degree bag and in colder weather add a lightweight synthetic quilt (which is what I use for warmer weather summer trips). Adding a synthetic layer is great for managing condensation because moisture will condense in the synthetic layer rather than the down. I've used this system below zero quite a few times.

Also make sure you have a warm enough pad.
 

KevinD

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
41
I've used both WM and FF bags and love em. If I had to pick, I like the FF hoods better than the WM hood. The way they shaped the top part of it allows me to not have to cinch down so tight to keep warm. That being said, you can't go wrong with either.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Tystevens

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
47
Also worth checking out zpacks and @Kullaberg63's nunatak.

I'm a big advocate of the dual bag/quilt system: down 25-30ish degree bag and in colder weather add a lightweight synthetic quilt (which is what I use for warmer weather summer trips). Adding a synthetic layer is great for managing condensation because moisture will condense in the synthetic layer rather than the down. I've used this system below zero quite a few times.

Also make sure you have a warm enough pad.
Do you just drape the quilt over the top of your bag? I've been thinking about taking this approach (although with a down quilt, probably). Also, what is the temp rating of the quilt you use?
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
143
Is anybody using enlightened equipment? I have a 10 degree enigma and love it, but i think they only go down to 0 degree. I also have a WM bag and love it too, but the Enlightened is way more bang for the buck. I use the 10 degree bag in the dead of winter (with a puffy jacket) and stay pretty warm.
 
Last edited:

b.stark

Forever Wandering
.
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
642
Been using an enlightened equipment quilt for a couple years now, a 10 degree one. good for me down to a bit below freezing, but I sleep super cold. amazing upgrade from my 0 degree marmot bag that itself weighed 5 pounds. The EE quilt isn't good for winter for me, but most people sleep warmer so take my word for what it's worth. overall I have been very happy with the quilt.
 

Wanderlust073

Member
.
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
744
I sleep like I have ice in my veins. Which I might.

WM bag is $775. North Face Inferno is $600. I'm up in the air. At that price point you may as well go all in.
 

Wanderlust073

Member
.
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
744
Backcountry.com customer service actually applied their 15% first purchase discount to a western mountaineering bag, so I ended up getting a -25F Puma for 50 bucks less than the -10F Lynx. Plan on going out to RMNP in a couple weeks to overnight it.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top