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1/19/2016 9:23 AM
 

Hello from Pennsylvania. I have been lurking for awhile and thought I would decloak to ask for some advice.

I am seeking recommendations for a sleeping bag with a 10 - 20 degree Fahrenheit rating. This will be used when backpacking in Pennsylvania, so it needs to be light. I am open to down or synthetic insulation.

I currently own a USGI MSS (way to heavy to backpacking, and the temp ratings are optimistic in my opinion), a British jungle bag (not warm enough), and a HPG Mountain Serape (which is awesome, but not warm enough for what I need).

A few relevant things about me:

* I'm about 5'6" with a spare tire.
* I sleep on my side, and tend to switch sides during the night.
* I wouldn't say that I sleep especially hot or cold.

Aside from the temp rating, I'm looking for a good quality bag that has a water resistant shell. I do have a SOL Breathable Escape Bivy that I could use with the new bag, and I'm willing to mod the bivy to make it wider so as to fit over the new bag (I may do this anyway).

Also, I'd prefer a subdued color.

Ideally, budget for the new bag would be $300 or less, but if there's a bag up to $500 I'm willing to look at it, if it offers substantially more than the lower cost bags.

Thanks in advance.


Dave Markowitz
 
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1/19/2016 3:30 PM
 
Have you looked at the quilt offerings by Enlightened Equipment? Some pretty good deals there.
 
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1/19/2016 3:59 PM
 
I was looking at them earlier today. Someone on another forum pointed me to them. Definitely worth consideration.

Dave Markowitz
 
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1/19/2016 4:25 PM
 

I will second Collin's recommendation on the Enlightened Equipment Quilt. I use the Revelation 800DT, 20°F version. I use the HPG Serape as an over bag if the temps are going to be below 20. I flip a lot too so I find the quilts work much better for me. They have straps that keep the quilt connected to your air mattress too. They sometimes have a Garage Sale where you can save money on quilts. Do not forget to get an insulated pad too as that is vital to having your sleep system work the best. 

 
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1/19/2016 7:46 PM
 
I have the Climasheild one in a 20 degree rating. I'm about 5'9", 190, and I got the regular wide. I can turn in it as well with the straps on the pad no problem. I haven't really had it out in cold weather though to know if the temp rating is accurate. I would think with long underwear and such though that it would be if your pad is solid.
 
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1/19/2016 9:06 PM
 

Right now I have a Feathered Friends Rock Wren, the FF Winter Wren, a USMC center-zip synthetic, and tow Jack's R' Better quilts, the Sierra Sniveler and the Stealth.  For most of what I do (nothing below zero F), I could make do with just the JRB Sierra Sniveler.  I ordered mine with 900 fill, but I'd go with 800 dry down today.

 Having said all that, if money was really tight, I think I could do just fine with a North Face Cat's Meow.  At 5'6", you should find a store that has them and see if the women's version would work for you, that would save several ounces and some pack space.

 
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1/23/2016 12:44 PM
 
As a a die hard Western Mountaineering Fan, I can tell you it would be awful hard to find something better then an Alpinlite in a short for your needs.

Being a side sleeper myself I enjoy the fact there is plenty of room for tossing and turning but it snugs up plenty against the cold.

My Hiking and camping takes place in the Catskills and Delaware River area so face similar conditions as you.

With long johns, a balaclava and my ever present Micropuff Vest Been down to 12 degrees with wind in an open Adirondack lean comfortably and I sleep cold these days.

That said, any synthetic bag rated around 10 degrees that packs small enough for your pack and you should be fine.

I think the sleeping mat you use is as important if not more so then the bag.
 
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1/25/2016 8:52 PM
 
CollinAshmore wrote:
I have the Climasheild one in a 20 degree rating. I'm about 5'9", 190, and I got the regular wide. I can turn in it as well with the straps on the pad no problem. I haven't really had it out in cold weather though to know if the temp rating is accurate. I would think with long underwear and such though that it would be if your pad is solid.

So cold weather, you need to keep warm.

 
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1/26/2016 5:59 AM
 
Lersanyu, could you please elaborate? I'm sorry, but I'm not following.

The lowest temps I've used it in were low 30's, not quite freezing. I had it on top of a Neoair Xlite. I went to bed with socks, baselayer bottoms, a cotton thermal long sleeve shirt, and a hat. After about an hour I was sweating and had to take the pants off and the hat. The rest of the night I was comfortable, although I did have some sweat between my thighs. If I hadn't been too lazy / not wanted to uncover a second time I would have taken the long sleeve shirt off as well.
 
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1/26/2016 8:59 AM
 

Collin....if you were sweating that much in the bag, I think I might suggest that if you were in those same conditions again (30s), you could probably just go with using a Mountain Serape in sleeping bag mode, with a light base layer top and bottom, or light shirt and a pair of shorts.  However, if it's cold weather like you describe...I would shy away from cotton.  Truly not the best fabric choice for that environment.

Based off of your posts it sounds like you are a "warm sleeper"....the bag you are currently using ought to take care of you in most situations...then maybe just use a Mountain Serape as an overbag to take you into colder temps.  Plus, you could use the serape by itself in warmer temps.  

During a number of trips in the US and overseas, I've been able to get away with using a puffy jacket and pants, and sometimes a pair of booties, with the Mountain Serape in sleeping bag mode....that has kept me pretty comfy in farily cold temps.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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1/26/2016 4:39 PM
 
North Face Cat's Meow. That, in conjunction with a medium Mountain Serape as overbag, is what I personally use. One thing to keep in mind is that the amount of R-value underneath you makes a huge difference. I use a neoair in the summer and shoulder seasons but in deep winter that's cutting it close and I change to a synmat deluxe. Or you can throw a ridgerest on top of your current inflatable pad and have all the R-value you need.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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1/26/2016 6:11 PM
 
Hey Ken,

Thanks for looking out on the cotton...that's a lesson I did learn the hard way. The time in question though I was car camping and was just too lazy to change, but had better stuff around if needed. I even had the Serape near by in case I got too cold! Far from needed though obviously, but if I do get the chance to do some true cold weather winter camping, the EE bag with the MS over will be my combo. I'd like to pick up another true cold weather bag, but it will have to wait a few months...the missus would kill me.

I have yet to try the Serape on it's own, outside of a couple nights on a friend's couch where I figured he wouldn't have a blanket around. I should try it as you said though in those temps. I do believe you're right that I would have been good in it and some base layers, and plus it would cut down on one thing to carry.

What's the coldest you can recall using the MS, the puffy layers and the booties in? I"m guessing you made it below freezing in that?
 
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1/26/2016 6:46 PM
 
CollinAshmore wrote:

What's the coldest you can recall using the MS, the puffy layers and the booties in? I"m guessing you made it below freezing in that?

The coldest I've gone with a full Primaloft puffy suit / Mountain Serape combo is the mid to low 30s...so yes, I think for a warm sleeper, such a combo would work down to around freezing.  With a bivy bag overtop, I'd wager you could go even a bit lower in temps.  Before I owned a Mountain Serape, I used a Primaloft insulated Wild Things Tactical blanket liner attached to the WTT tarp, tied together on three sides bivy style, with a puffy suit underneath in the 20s at a COP in Afghanistan.  It worked pretty well on top of a cot (with sleeping pad) in an unheated military tent.  Since I've gotten a Mountain Serape, the WTT set up rides in my truck, as that it's quite a bit bulkier and heavier.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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1/27/2016 3:49 AM
 
Cool. Thanks for the detail Ken.
 
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1/27/2016 9:35 AM
 
Does anyone use or recommend Snugpak sleeping bags? I'm referring more to their UK made products (Special Forces line, Tactical series, etc) and not the made in China line. Seems to be decently affordable in subdued colors.
 
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1/27/2016 2:19 PM
 
msilk00 wrote:
Does anyone use or recommend Snugpak sleeping bags? I'm referring more to their UK made products (Special Forces line, Tactical series, etc) and not the made in China line. Seems to be decently affordable in subdued colors.

I've got the Snugpak Special Forces 2 bag...it's pretty dang warm, with a center zipper and a reinforced foot box to allow sleeping with your boots on.  That said, it is pretty bulky and heavy.  I used it in Afghanistan...but only for sleeping in CHUs...not on patrols.  Now, it only goes on vehicle-based camping trips or rides in the truck as an emergency bag.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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1/29/2016 6:57 AM
 
Thanks for the info, Alpendrms. It can be a challenge to find a quality sleeping bag in subdued earth tones. I guess a good alternative would just be to use a Serape as an overbag. Always on the hunt.
 
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1/29/2016 3:17 PM
 
msilk00 wrote:
Does anyone use or recommend Snugpak sleeping bags? I'm referring more to their UK made products (Special Forces line, Tactical series, etc) and not the made in China line. Seems to be decently affordable in subdued colors.

 

Not a bag, but I do have a Snugpak Jungle Blanket. It's a great piece of sleep gear for warmer weather. One side is water and wind resistant, and it comes with a nice compression stuff sack that allows you to smash it down not much bigger than a 32 oz. Nalgene. The quality is quite good, too.

Thanks again to everyone who made suggestions in this thread.


Dave Markowitz
 
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3/19/2016 9:51 AM
 
Revisiting this thread since I finally pulled the trigger on a bag.

I used my substantial REI dividend and 20% off coupon today to get a Kelty Cosmic Down 20 19*F rated bag. It weighs 2 lbs. 9 oz., and is filled with 600 fill moisture-resistant DriDown. It came with a stuff sack but no storage bag so I also bought an REI-brand cotton bag to store it in uncompressed.

If I'm expecting colder weather I can use my HPG Mountain Serape as an overbag.

While at REI I also grabbed a couple packs of Nite Ize Gear Ties, which are very handy for organizing cables that go with electronics. Between my dividend and the coupon, I was only out about $50.

Dave Markowitz
 
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4/18/2016 3:14 PM
 
Hi first post on here, I have a wiggys bag and love it. It's a zero dev tHat I use in winter but ill also lay on top of it in summer.
 
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