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Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

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Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby craftyone » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:31 pm

Sleeping bags are, to me, an essential item to keep in a BOB*. Your mileage may vary, of course. For those of you who have sleeping bags in your BOBs, what kind did you pick and why? My daughter only has a sleepover-type sleeping bag, which is fine for when we bring her summer camping, but I want to get her a much more robust backpacking type bag for the BOB. My hubby swears by his Moonstone down filled bag, and I swear equally by my Wiggy's polyester filled bag. His packs much smaller and weighs a little less, but it is an absolute pain to clean. Mine packs larger and weighs a bit more, but the care is much simpler. We both have mummy bags, not the typical Coleman style rectangular bag. We have both camped in temps ranging from 20° (March in a PA state park in the mountains...brrrr!) to 85° (Tuba City in Arizona in freakin' August!) and we have both been comfortable in those temp ranges. In your experience, what is a better bag, down or poly? Down costs a lot more, so that is a consideration for us.

On a related note, do you use a sleeping pad, and if so, which one? Hubby, again going with the high tech gadget-type stuff, opted for a Therm-a-Rest inflatable, while I, liking to keep things simple and maintenance-free, went with the Z-Rest. My kiddo needs a sleeping pad and I was curious as to what most of you prefer.

*Note: don't keep your sleeping bag packed in your BOB, keep it open right next to your BOB, ready to stuff and go. Why? A sleeping bag that is packed all the time develops creases from being kept in a stuff sack and creases turn into areas where the insulation shifts and you get cold spots!
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby sbsion » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:47 pm

everything from 2-6lbs, from down to "air"...he he, we've been picking up sleeping bags for years, we have LOTS :clap:
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby goodoleboy » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:14 pm

I prefer My army surplus mummy style sleeping bag. it served me well when i was in the military. I never used a pad to sleep on, you can have too much gear. usualy when i slept I threw it out of the hatch (i was driver on a 113) where it landed is where I slept. No time for setting up anything fancy, to do anything more was cutting into my sleep time.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby Lostfalls » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:20 pm

I have two sleeping bags for my BOB, I have a separate compartment for it so I can just grab one throw it in there and go. One for cold weather and one for warm weather as you really can't get buy with just one in our area (winters as cold as -20 Summers in the high 90's sometimes triple digits). For my winter bag I have down - like the way it heats up faster and what I save on weight. For my summer bag its synthetic, both weigh about the same. The negative side to down is that it completely craps out on you when its wet. So if there is a chance of that you may want to stick to the faster drying, will still keep you warm even when damp synthetic. In my neck of the wood there is GOOD chance of that so unless its the dead of winter I am grabbing my synthetic.

I also have two mattresses and don't use the Air pad in the winter. My air pad is probably the one your Hubby has. I just freeze my YKW off in the winter if I try to use the thing even with the metallic lined side that's supposed to reflect your body's heat back to you - but its great and light weight in the spring, summer and fall.

As far as cleaning goes - every time you wash a sleeping bag - any kind - the fill fibers compress a little reducing the temperature rating of the bag. Therefore I clean mine as little as possible. I wear clean clothes to bed, monitor my temperature so I don't sweat - its not gross if you figure how many days do you actually sleep in it. And if you are getting your bag out for camping or practice or whatever through out the year your bag shouldn't be in any danger of compressing the fibers to the point where a good fluffing wouldn't eliminate any cold spots. At least from my experience and research anyways. But yes, if you are going to only use them when SHTF by all means store your bag ready to pack near your BOB or you will have some funky filling to deal with when you go to use it.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby tigger2 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:19 pm

I have a generic, standard bag that's rated to 40F and weighs 4-5 pounds. i have a Coleman Mummy that's rated to 20F. I have two light, cool weather standard bags. Why? That's just what I wound up with. I never have used a pad.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby craftyone » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:07 pm

I hear you about down being useless when wet Lostfalls...I camp and backpack a LOT so that was one of the main reasons I went with poly. Whenever the grandparents want my daughter for the weekend, hubby and I hit the nearest trail. :D

It seems like the majority of you so far have poly. Most long distance backpackers I've met seem to prefer down for the weight consideration. But in a bug-out situation, we wouldn't be hiking the Appalachian Trail. :lol:
Are you getting all this, NSA, or should I send you a .pdf?

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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby Lostfalls » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:36 am

Down wouldn't be bad in a dry environment, in the winter or cold weather I would pick nothing else - I actually prefer natural fibers over synthetic, but even though I am not in Seattle - its plenty wet where I am, and in a BOB I wouldn't want to risk hypothermia because I was on the move all day and my down filled bag got soaked. At least with a synthetic you can get as much water out of it as possible and it will still trap some of your body heat and actually begin to dry the bag out. Assuming you have no warm fire to set by instead.

My synthetic is only 3 lbs and my down bag is just a tad lighter so I don't think I am sacrificing much. Plus synthetic is way cheaper - did I mention that? Love saving money. They both have their advantages. Weight is a big thing though - i don't think you have to buy top shelf, but most people who do not backpack have no idea how heavy that pack is going to feel after a mile and tempted they will be to ditch it or lighten it (both no no's)... I train for most of my trips and still don't feel up to par for the first couple of days on a long hike.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby Hunter » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:49 am

One thing about sleeping bags is that in most homes they are like pillows. They just always seam to be around long past being good. While old bags are ok for warmer seasons they should be given to the dogs for anything else.

I seldom back pack so I stay with an oversized poly filled bag with flannel liner and a heavy wool blanket and a top sheet wrapped up with it to use either on top or bottom. I also have a couple of cold weather mummy bags that I have used for fly in hunting trips to Canada. but thats mostly do to the weight limits on the planes. A sleeping bag should be large enough that you could also fill it up with leaves and dried stuff for insulation and still have room for you. make sure to keep a few plastic bags in the foot of the bag. they can be used in many ways from transporting to putting the foot of the bag in them or lining the ground under them.

PS, keep a needle and tread in your pack as you can sew up a broken zipper should you need to.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby Lilredmg » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:08 am

I have a 20* down bag made by Campmor. Weighs around 2 lbs and compacts well. I love it for around $110! Down has to get soaking wet before it will lose heating value. I keep my bag in a stuff sack while hiking, and line my stuff sack with a turkey roasting bag. Stuff my sleeping bag in both of those and I can float it down a creek and it won't get wet!! Keeping gear dry is very important. I also line my food bag and clothes bag. Those turkey roasting bags are bombproof!!! Many folks even line their pack with heavy duty garbage bags, along with a pack cover. I've hiked in two weeks worth of rain in the Smokies and never got my gear wet, except for the tent of course. Down is lighter, compresses smaller and keeps you warmer. A few simple preventive measures and you will be a much happier camper in the long run.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby TheLight » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:52 pm

I have a Wiggy's Sleep System, which I documented here: viewtopic.php?f=230&t=1973
I still have it. I still love it. I still use it all the time. Can't recommend it highly enough.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby repsfo » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:12 pm

I have several. My universal bag is a Holofil bag with a nylon cover, I have used it snow camping into the teens. I also have a military Artic bag good down to -30. I have a generic summer polyfill bag I use now and then and a 100% Down fill bag. The Down bag is good for dry cold but not wet enviroments. Which is why my "universal" bag is a synthetic fill. I also have the covers for the artic bag and a Gortex Bivy I use with my "universal" bag. And also a summer fleece sleeping sack that could be stuffed inside one of the other bags especially the summer polyfill bag.

For sleeping pads I have a self-inflating full length Terma-rest for comfort and several full length closed cell pads for insulation from the ground. I also have a 3/4 length open-cell pad in a waterproof cover I use in winter on top of the closed cell pad. I will also add that I have a wool blanket poncho liner that can be folded up and used under the sleeping bag for additional padding or insulation.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby Scudrunner46 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:08 am

I love this topic and have learned many lessons over the years. I’ve owned dozens of sleeping bags some good some bad but the real key is what the needs are... What’s temperature? How long will you need it? How are you traveling and where will you be… sheltered, tenting or open? A backpacking sleeping bag is far different than a camp bag… size and weight has to be considered.

I do long distance adventure motorcycle riding year round. Depending on what time of year and how I plan on traveling (fast or slow, roughing it or more easy going) will determine which sleeping bag I’m going to take. If I’m roughing it or the temperatures are going to be cold, I’ll take the Military Modular Sleep System. This is one of the best things the military has come out with. The system has three bags that come together and form an extremely warm and dry sleeping bag. The great thing about the system is it adapts to the environment, if hot just use the light weight bag, if cold use the heavier black bag and if it’s extremely cold use all the bags. I forgot to mention, the outer bag is a gore-tex bivy and while it’s not as comfortable as a tent it certainly works. I’ve slept in the rain and a few times I’ve woke in the snow. For survival you can’t beat this system and it has many other uses. The down side it’s a little bulky but pound for pound you can’t beat it. You can find them reasonably cheap on Ebay but beware of the fakes.

Now the other bag I swear by is the Marmot Trestles 20 Degree Semi-Rectangular Sleeping Bag. This bag is light and very warm. I like it if I don’t have to rough it and I really like the foot area where I can move, unlike the mummy bag. Last month I took this on a camping trip, the temps dipped down to the 20’s and I woke warm and well rested.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the one thing everyone should have, whether you are bugging out short term or long term, cold or warm. I’ve traveled all over the world, lived in several war zones and I wouldn’t leave home without it. It’s affectionately known as the “wobbie” or poncho liner. It’s great to have when you get stuck somewhere… in an airport waiting on cancelled flights or if you get stranded off the road. It’s also a great warmth multiplier for any sleeping bag or just a cover in warmer weather.

I nearly forgot the sleeping pad which as I get older is needed more. I use a Coleman self inflating mattress pad and I have an egg crate closed cell pad which I cut down to about four feet. I put the egg crate pad under the self inflating pad from my shoulders to hips, this is the main pressure area. I’ve found this combination adds to warmth and comfort.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby repsfo » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:45 pm

Scudrunner46 wrote:I love this topic and have learned many lessons over the years. I’ve owned dozens of sleeping bags some good some bad but the real key is what the needs are... What’s temperature? How long will you need it? How are you traveling and where will you be… sheltered, tenting or open? A backpacking sleeping bag is far different than a camp bag… size and weight has to be considered.

I do long distance adventure motorcycle riding year round. Depending on what time of year and how I plan on traveling (fast or slow, roughing it or more easy going) will determine which sleeping bag I’m going to take. If I’m roughing it or the temperatures are going to be cold, I’ll take the Military Modular Sleep System. This is one of the best things the military has come out with. The system has three bags that come together and form an extremely warm and dry sleeping bag. The great thing about the system is it adapts to the environment, if hot just use the light weight bag, if cold use the heavier black bag and if it’s extremely cold use all the bags. I forgot to mention, the outer bag is a gore-tex bivy and while it’s not as comfortable as a tent it certainly works. I’ve slept in the rain and a few times I’ve woke in the snow. For survival you can’t beat this system and it has many other uses. The down side it’s a little bulky but pound for pound you can’t beat it. You can find them reasonably cheap on Ebay but beware of the fakes.

Now the other bag I swear by is the Marmot Trestles 20 Degree Semi-Rectangular Sleeping Bag. This bag is light and very warm. I like it if I don’t have to rough it and I really like the foot area where I can move, unlike the mummy bag. Last month I took this on a camping trip, the temps dipped down to the 20’s and I woke warm and well rested.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the one thing everyone should have, whether you are bugging out short term or long term, cold or warm. I’ve traveled all over the world, lived in several war zones and I wouldn’t leave home without it. It’s affectionately known as the “wobbie” or poncho liner. It’s great to have when you get stuck somewhere… in an airport waiting on cancelled flights or if you get stranded off the road. It’s also a great warmth multiplier for any sleeping bag or just a cover in warmer weather.

I nearly forgot the sleeping pad which as I get older is needed more. I use a Coleman self inflating mattress pad and I have an egg crate closed cell pad which I cut down to about four feet. I put the egg crate pad under the self inflating pad from my shoulders to hips, this is the main pressure area. I’ve found this combination adds to warmth and comfort.


I just purchased in August a Green bag from the military system and I really like it, I have thought about getting a Black one to go with it. But with all the others above I would have to get rid of something.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby bane5150 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:35 pm

I have a Teton XL 0°F mummy bag 7.5 Lbs... Need something for warmer months it gets to hot to zip up.
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Re: Sleeping Bags...what do you own and why?

Postby Scudrunner46 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:40 pm

[/quote]

I just purchased in August a Green bag from the military system and I really like it, I have thought about getting a Black one to go with it. But with all the others above I would have to get rid of something.[/quote]

I know what you mean. My problem is getting rid of my old stuff... guess I should put it on Ebay... Just never seem to get around to it. The black bag is worth getting... it's twice as warm as the green bag and both together are almost too warm. I was in Bosnia one winter and had to sleep in a building with no heat for two weeks... the two bag combination kept me warm with no problem. That was the deepest snows ever recorded in Sarajevo.
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