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Sleeping Bag

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Offline Hang10er

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Sleeping Bag
« on: May 18, 2016, 03:47:17 PM »
So I have the Big Bend bug and in the future want to start backpacking.  The majority of my camping gear is not really suitable for backpacking; my tent is giant (heavy), my sleeping bag was for summer camping, I have no sleeping pad having always used an air mattress or cot.  Even my "backpack" is a no name bag I purchased at an auction and I have no clue if it will hold up out on a trail.

I want to slowly start upgrading my equipment and insure the stuff I purchase will work for either car camping or on an overnight hike.  I'm starting with my sleeping bag.  I've read through a lot of the forums and done a lot of browsing on the net.  Some of the forum posts are a bit old.  I really value the opinions of this board and would like to know what you guys are sleeping in.

So for a sleeping bag, I really like the price and features of the Kealty Cosmic Down 20.  I visit BB in the winter, is a 20 suitable in your opinion?  I plan on always being in a tent, can wear some thermals and will likely pair it with the Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus.  It seems light enough for backpacking, warm enough for "kind of cold" and a great price.

Later, I'll start asking about 2 man tents!

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Offline catz

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2016, 03:52:52 PM »
A 20 degree bag will do you just fine using the circumstances you describe.

Feathered Friends, a boutique maker out of Seattle, makes excellent down bags.
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline dprather

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2016, 04:11:07 PM »
Everybody has their opinion about packs, sleeping bags, tents and etc., so take every word with a grain of salt.

That said, I really, really, really like the Big Agnes system of a bag with a sleeve for your air mattress.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Cookie

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2016, 05:00:06 PM »
After making the move to a quilt recently, I will never go back to a mummy or regular style bag. You can configure it several different ways depending on the temperature and it has performed perfectly,  and best of all ....packs small and light!

http://www.enlightenedequipment.com/

Also love REI's AirRail sleeping pad. light, packs small, but has plenty of cushion and insulation.

https://www.rei.com/product/845298/rei-airrail-15-self-inflating-sleeping-pad

~Cookie

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2016, 08:32:43 PM »
I will throw another one out there for a big agnes system.  I really love the sleve design that air pad goes into. Look at their outlet shop for some great deals. The mummy bag and air pad are very compact, the air pad is about the size of a 32 oz nalgene bottle packed down. I think my bag is a zero degree have never slept with it fully zipped up.

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everything is better with bacon!!!

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Offline dprather

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2016, 09:32:59 PM »
Hang10er - heres something my wife did for me when I was just starting out.

I bought a low-temp bag (15 degrees), but what about warm nights?

My wife took a queen-sized sheet, folded it in half long-ways, and sewed across the foot - instant and inexpensive warm-weather "bag."
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Geezer

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2016, 10:16:19 PM »
"Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus" If you are thinking about multi-night packpack trips using an inflatable, you will sooner or later spend three or four nights sleeping on a deflated pad with the desert rocks poking through into your softest parts. Such an experience drove me to closed-cell pads. I have a short Z-lite pad and a light-weight Crazy Creek chair. The latter is good for sitting around the stove and unfolds flat to form a second layer of foam for sleeping. The most experienced desert hiker I know got five cactus spines in his Therma-Rest inflatable recently and spent three nights sleeping on rocks.  Just saying that you have a choice to make here.

20 degree bag is adequate, even if you are sleeping under the stars. "I plan on always being in a tent," Again, it's your choice. But in a tent you will never get to wake up in the middle of the night, watch the Milky Way and see a falling star.

Whatever your choices, you will have fun.

Geezer

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Offline ds9writer

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2016, 10:17:58 PM »
My wife took a queen-sized sheet, folded it in half long-ways, and sewed across the foot - instant and inexpensive warm-weather "bag."

For my warm weather bag, I unzip my bag except for about a foot at the foot ( :icon_lol:), then essentially turn it upside down, put my feet in and use it like a blanket...
You don't travel to see different things,
You travel to see things differently.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2016, 05:49:50 AM »
A 20 degree bag is a good all around choice and fine for Big Bend in winter, especially if it is a quality bag that is accurate in it's temp rating.  For sure get a down bag and know that it will be the most expensive piece of gear you buy but a good one will last for years (decades).  Try hard to keep it under 3 pounds, 2 is even better but you get really expensive to get that low usually.  The Kelty bag is a very good deal but a bit heavy.  If you can try and test the bags out by laying in them for awhile to make sure they are not too narrow.  Fortunately for you REI is having it's big Memorial Day sale coming up and there are some really good deals all around.

I am with many on not using a tent in the desert but if you want to go that way it many folks think it mostly starts and stops with a Big Agnes tent and they are on sale too.  I think Scorpion and Stingrey would agree with that.  The REI Quarter/half Dome tents are well regarded and priced too.

If you can keep your sleeping bag, pack, tent/shelter and pad under 10# that is a really good goal.

I have to agree with Geezer on pads in the desert.  I have come up with my two pad system which has never "let me down" for 8 years now but others never seem to find thorns in the desert with inflatables  :eusa_doh:


"Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus" If you are thinking about multi-night packpack trips using an inflatable, you will sooner or later spend three or four nights sleeping on a deflated pad with the desert rocks poking through into your softest parts. Such an experience drove me to closed-cell pads. I have a short Z-lite pad and a light-weight Crazy Creek chair. The latter is good for sitting around the stove and unfolds flat to form a second layer of foam for sleeping. The most experienced desert hiker I know got five cactus spines in his Therma-Rest inflatable recently and spent three nights sleeping on rocks.  Just saying that you have a choice to make here.

20 degree bag is adequate, even if you are sleeping under the stars. "I plan on always being in a tent," Again, it's your choice. But in a tent you will never get to wake up in the middle of the night, watch the Milky Way and see a falling star.

Whatever your choices, you will have fun.

Geezer
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline dprather

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2016, 06:32:12 AM »
...thorns in the desert.

I've found plenty.  There is nothing quite as annoying as waking up at 3 AM with a deflated air mattress. 

Now is use one of those very inexpensive and light weight blue pads beneath my Big Agnes Q-core to get between me and the sharp stuff. 
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2016, 07:29:49 AM »
Thanks for all the (varied) replies.  I will certainly consider them all and then try and pick what's best for me.

I had forgotten about "quilts" and now I'm really interested in the Enlightened Equipment brand "Prodigy"model.  It's priced really well.

I'm going to keep looking at my pad options.  Not ruling out an inflatable but I hear what you're saying about thorns.  It's really not so much the desert pokey things that worry me.  It's the dumba$$ things I usually do like catching my gear in the door of my truck, packing something sharp next to it, etc.

Being on a budget I am debating what to splurge on and what I might be ok being more penny pinching on.  Someone mentioned it and I agree that my sleeping bag might be the thing to really insure I get something that works. 

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Offline mr.bean5150

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2016, 08:19:54 AM »
Hang10er - heres something my wife did for me when I was just starting out.

I bought a low-temp bag (15 degrees), but what about warm nights?

My wife took a queen-sized sheet, folded it in half long-ways, and sewed across the foot - instant and inexpensive warm-weather "bag."

Genius.....
"Do or Do Not, There Is No Try"
                                  "Yoda"

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Offline Flash

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2016, 08:56:47 AM »
Tent:  Big Agnes Seedhouse 2.  It weighs right at 3 lbs. and fits nicely in the bottom compartment of my pack along with pad and sleeping bag. I have weathered quite a few New Mexico and W. Texas downpours in it without issues.

Bag:  Western Mountaineering Caribou, which is rated around 35 degrees and weighs less than 2 lbs I believe. If I bundle up, I am good for 30 degrees. In the summer, I can unzip and use as a blanket.

Pad:  NeoAir Xlite air pad or a Z-lite foam pad, depending on how worried I am about punctures. The Xlite is comfortable and keeps me insulated well from the ground.

I got this gear for a 10-day Philmont  trek about 4 years ago and it has overall proved a good investment.

- Flash

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2016, 09:06:11 AM »
I'm glad I'm not planning to head back to Big Bend before November because the more I look, the more options I come up with.

For bags I originally had just the Kealty but now I've added the Enlightened Equipment Prodigy quilt and the Big Agnes Encampment (15 degree) to my list.

For the pad, I'm having trouble not looking at inflatables.  I'm on the heavy side weighing about 210.  So, when do must people get their bags poked by cactus?  Moving on the trail or when actually set up?  I'd think some careful clearing of the ground and using a tent would help minimize the chance of having a pad punctured. 

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Offline CC

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Re: Sleeping Bag
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2016, 09:53:12 AM »
I have the Kelty Cosmic Down 20.   It served me very well in early January 2015 when the temperature dropped into the mid 20s.  I slept in my smartwool longjohns with a hat on.  I also zipped up my down jacket and pulled it over my feet for insurance.  There was frost on everything and our water bottles left in the bear box were half-frozen when we woke up. 

This bag seemed to be priced fairly low compared to most other down bags at this rating.  The reason is that it uses lower quality down so is not quite as light as some of the more expensive options and probably doesn't pack down quite as compactly.  If I were taking multi-day backpacking trips on a regular basis, I might look into another option, but for me this bag was perfect.

I had a Big Agnes inflatable pad, and I was fairly careful with it.  After just a few uses it developed a leak.  It was slow enough that I could never find it to repair, but was enough to entirely deflate the pad over a few hours.  Lots of people use the inflatables and seem to be happy with them, but waking up in the middle of the night on the cold hard ground with a deflated pad is simply not acceptable to me.

I use a ridgerest foam pad when backpacking.  It's very light but bulky and I can use it to sit on at camp when the ground is cold or wet without fear of punctures.    I'm 5'11'', 220lb and find it comfortable enough, but not exactly luxurious.  For car camping I have an REI brand self-inflating pad which I have been using for more than 5 years.  It's fairly thick and durable but too heavy for backpacking. 

 


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