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Sleeping bags

 
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lilbitmo
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Location: Orange County

PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:41 pm    Post subject: Sleeping bags  Reply with quote

Looking to get a new sleeping bag, have a credit at Cabela's of all places so I'm trying to use that up before the holidays are over, I'll get extra discounts.

Any way they are limited to some Kelty Dri-down bags and some other limited selections.

Can anyone tell me about the fit I'm 6" and weight in at 215 lbs and I roll during the night so I need a little extra room so sleep well.

Right now I'm looking at:

Kelty Ignite Dri-down 20
Kelty Cosmic Down - one review on this said it's very tight fit but I trust the group here to tell me more if possible.
Marmot Sawtooth

Thanks in advance if you can shed light on this subject
Lilbitmo
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have any of those three bags, but I'll make a couple of general comments:
1. If you're a side sleeper, you can usually get by with a slightly smaller bag. Case in point, I'm 6'0" and 220#. A Western Mountaineering Summerlite is typically a bit small for someone of my girth, but I do all right in it because I'm a side sleeper. If I were a back sleeper, I don't think a bag that narrow would work for me.
2. I've invested in a couple of nice sleeping bags. I'm pretty sold on higher end down. My "summer" bag has 800 fill as does my "three season" bag. Very light, very compressible, and very warm. My summer bag weighs 19 oz and fits inside a zip lock bag. Having experienced high loft down, it would be hard for me to go back to the "average" stuff (600 fill). My three season bag is a Mountain Hardware Phantom 15 which I got on sale at REI for $250. My Summerlite I got used off of eBay for around $240. Pricey, but not as bad as full retail. Shocked

I have not yet experimented with the new "dry" downs.

Dunno if those comments about size and loft are helpful. I'll look at the specific bags on Cabelas when I get more time.

HJ
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atomicoyote



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Location: on the road to Purgatory

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experiences:

Get a longer/wider bag.  You can always fill the extra space at the bottom of the bag with clothes/shoes.  And the added gitrh can be helpful if you get into a situation that's a little colder than expected - just add a layer of clothes.

Marmot Sawtooth:  I bought one of those a few years ago when REI had a sale, and it was definately NOT a 15F bag - the 15F is the newer 'EN' (?) rating system, and that 15F is the temp you can use it at if you like sleeping cold (I like to stay toasty warm).  I took it back and got a Marmot Never Summer bag (0F) - much better.  Can't coment on the Kelty bags.
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Mike P
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Location: Glendora, CA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hikin_Jim wrote:
2. I've invested in a couple of nice sleeping bags. I'm pretty sold on higher end down. My "summer" bag has 800 fill as does my "three season" bag. Very light, very compressible, and very warm. My summer bag weighs 19 oz and fits inside a zip lock bag. Having experienced high loft down, it would be hard for me to go back to the "average" stuff (600 fill). My three season bag is a Mountain Hardware Phantom 15 which I got on sale at REI for $250. My Summerlite I got used off of eBay for around $240. Pricey, but not as bad as full retail. Shocked
HJ

Jim, a big second on the MH Phantom 15. I have used this bag for about 8-9 years. Fantastic. I always use a liner to keep it clean - for better or for worse "heatwise". If the nighttime lows are in the upper 40s I frequently have to sleep with the bag partially unzipped.
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of more general points re sleeping bags:
-- A full length zipper although a bit heavier than a half zip makes for a much more versatile bag. In the summer, I open my bag fully and lay it over me like a blanket. In warm, "middle of the road" temps, I half zip it. In cold, I fully zip and pull on the hood.
-- The "conventional wisdom" is that one should get a 20F/-7C rated bag for all around, three season type use. While that may be true in the Pac NW, I've found that a lighter bag is good for California. My bag is rated at 32F/0C, and I've gotten a lot of use out of it. If it's a bit colder, I wear a down sweater or down vest to bed along with a beanie, gloves, long johns, and socks. I've been down to the mid 20's and been quite comfortable. A lot depends on you and what you want to do, but if it were me, I'd get a lighter bag, something around 30F/-1C, and then get a second bag for colder weather. Two bags is a pricey way to go, but man is it nice to go light in the summer. I had my pack down to about 25 lbs including water for a three day trip last July.
-- Volume is a mixed bag. The more volume inside a bag, the more space your body has to keep warm. Generally, people sleep warmer with a closer fitting bag (and of course a closer fitting bag will generally weigh less). On the other hand, it's really nice to be able to wear a down sweater or vest to bed on really chilly nights. In winter, you may want room enough for a fuel canister and water bottle. Some people even sleep with their boots in a plastic bag inside their sleeping bag so they won't freeze overnight. You kind of have to think about what the bag is for and what you want to do with it and then strike a balance.

HJ
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JeffH



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Location: Claremont

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Marmot Sawtooth - it's OK, packs kind of small but not real small, keeps you kind of warm but not real warm, kind of light but not real light. Scratch that, it's over 3 pounds so not light at all.
Still, it's the only down bag I own so I use it all the time. I was fine in the Sierras in July, I've also slept pretty well in a tent on Sunset Peak when it was about 23 in the morning. Bag ratings are all over the place, what you sleep on and what you wear can make a huge difference in feeling warm.
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JeffH wrote:
Bag ratings are all over the place...
You've got that right.  Manufacturer's ratings have to be taken with grain of salt.  There are no standards in the US.  The European EN standard is objective, but a lot of bags sold here don't have an EN rating.

Some companies have a good reputation on their ratings, for example Western Mountaineering and Mountain Hardware have been really good in my experience.

Coleman's ratings are pretty much a bald faced lie.  I saw one of their bags rated at 30F that I would think twice before taking out on a 50F night.

You're also right that a bag has to have proper insulation underneath and also from the wind.  I spent a very cold night one time in a hammock in 50F weather in a 30F bag. Miserable.  The bag was fine, but being in an exposed hammock with no shell around me was really cold.

HJ
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, so I've looked at the three bags that you mentioned. They're all a little heavy. But you knew that. Cabelas is for hunters and they are usually looking for cheaper gear than backpackers/mountaineers for whatever reason.

I don't see where they say what constitutes a long vs. a regular. If you're about 6', then you might want to check into it. Some bags are better in a long for a 6 footer; it depends on the brand. Generally though, you'll probably want a regular and save the weight.

The Kelty Cosmic is 2 lbs, 11 oz (regular size) and is rated at 20F with 550 fill. I don't know Kelty's reputation on temp ratings.

By contrast my Mountain Hardware Phantom is 1 lbs, 15 oz and is rated at 15F with 800 fill.

The Kelty Ignite is 2 lbs, 15 oz (for a long -- I guess they only carry long?) but has DriDown with a 600 fill rating and as 20F temp rating. I personally would not buy a long unless I needed it. Don't know that much about the DriDown but it sounds intriguing, particularly for colder weather use. I haven't checked into it since I have purchased two expensive sleeping bags since 2006. I'm just not in the market.

The Marmot Sawtooth is is 3 lbs, 1 oz (regular size) with 600 fill and is rated at 15F. Maybe go with this one if you're wanting to use it in colder weather and/or if you sleep cold (different people sleep differently; I tend to sleep cold).

Another bag to consider is the North Face Gold Kazoo. I've had a North Face bag before, and I generally consider them good quality. The Kazoo has 650 fill and is rated at 30F, weighing in at 2 lbs even (regular size).

I think 30F is pretty practical for most of the year in S. California. You'd save a pound. You'd be out in the cold, if you'll pardon the pun, this time of year, particularly further north. For those times you go out in cold weather, you could rent at A16 which does rent winter bags. But if you do a lot of cold trips, it's probably better to buy. Friends of mine who bought 0F rated winter specific bags have bags that mostly sit.

Me? I'd probably buy something else with my Cabelas coupon and get a high quality bag at another site. I generally won't consider a down product for backpacking unless it has at least a 700 fill rating. But I'm a bit of a gear snob, and it sounds like you've got a good coupon and need a bag. Smile

HJ

P.S. Here's sort of my thumbnail sketch of down ratings:
Below 600 -- cheap crap
600 -- OK, but just OK
700 -- Good
800 -- Excellent
Above 800 -- Freaking amazing. Pretty rare, but it's becoming more common to see 850 or even 900 ratings.

P.P.S. Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering are top brands if you've got the cash.
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Last edited by Hikin_Jim on Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
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atomicoyote



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Location: on the road to Purgatory

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little more on my comments above.  Gotta agree that most bag manufacturers' ratings these days are kinda sketchy.

MArmot. I bought a Marmot 'Never Winter' bag (30F rating) before the EN system came into effect, and when MArmot bags were conservatively rated. It's still warm after 10 years of summer use (including a few bivies), and the water repellent shell still works. IT was also wider than similar bags I looked at (but that's my preference).

TNF - They also used to have very conservative ratings on their bags. I still have a 1987 (?) Superlight (15F rating) and while its a little bit flattened, its still warm. And its 550 fill down in a simple ripstop nylon shell.

Best bag I ever bought was made by Feathered Friends (Seattle) when I used to do some foreign climbs.  Still have it, but its way too warm for most winter conditions in Southern California (even the Southern Sierra Nevada).
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Last edited by atomicoyote on Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JeffH



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Location: Claremont

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hikin_Jim wrote:
OK, so I've looked at the three bags that you mentioned. They're all a little heavy. But you knew that. Cabelas is for hunters and they are usually looking for cheaper gear than backpackers/mountaineers for whatever reason.
....

The Kelty Cosmic is 2 lbs, 11 oz (regular size) and is rated at 20F with 550 fill. I don't know Kelty's reputation on temp ratings.

.


Just based on the weight and fill power of that Kelty bag I highly doubt it would be a 'real' 20F bag. The Marmot is heavier with better down and is rated at 15. Anyway, that's what I use and I know it's not the best but it's a nice compromise between weight, warmth and cost.
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I honestly haven't been that impressed with Kelty's products.  I haven't used one of their sleeping bags, but their tents and packs aren't as good as some of the other major brands (let alone specialty high end brands).

HJ


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