Best sleeping options for Couples
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Countryman _
(noshroud) - F
Best sleeping options for Couples on 03/30/2008 23:23:05 MDT Print View

Hey all,
I'm looking bring my partner backpacking for the first time. We've gone car camping in the past and she has enjoyed herself; I think she's ready for some real fun though. She's a good walker, so i'm not too concerned about her enjoying the hiking. She gets cold, particularly at night. We won't be staying anywhere below thirty degrees, and probably not in the rain or anything too brutal, but I really don't want her to be cold. An extra pound or so is definately worth it to me. I don't really want to mess around with a quilt systems. I have a JRB quilt for myself that I love, but I want to stick with the simplicity and reliability of a bag system for us at this point.

There's two person bags, and also single bags that can join together. I assume the two person bag would be lighter, but I would like the versatility from the two single person bags that join if there's a good option. I probably want down, but if there's a nice synthetic solution I'd really be interested as well. Ideas for a comfortable pad system would be appreciated as well. Thanks

BTW We'll probably just be sleeping in a regular tent for the time being.

Also, any experience with two person hammocks? They sound like they could be really cool, or really not...hehe.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Best sleeping options for Couples on 03/31/2008 01:29:11 MDT Print View

You've found a hole in the market! Not many options here, really. Here are a few that I've found and the experiences that I've had:

Nunatak makes a 2 person Arc Quilt. This is my favorite design but it's really spendy- never tried it myslef.

Nunatak also makes a 2 person bag

Big Agnes makes a 2-person bag that has a great design but is heavier than 2 lightweight bags

Feathered Friends makes a floor that attaches to their rectangular bags. Great company, but this looks ineffecient to me- nothing to control center drafts and insulation that does tuck under the body. (they also had prototypes for a KILLER two person bag last year but I've heard nothing else about this- and I was on their info list.)

Ray Jardine offers a Ray Way 2-person quilt kit. This is a solid design and inexpensive but you have to be a sewer. I've mean meaning to take this on...

The Sweetie Pie bag doubler. Good idea but no way to control center drafts and it's heavier than a lightweight bag. Mine is collecting dust...

Well, that's about it. The other option is zipping two bags together and I bet that's what most people do. but it's clunky and doesn't control center drafts. When it gets cold, it's warmer to zip them apart.

I'd love to hear if someone else as found a great solution- I'm still looking! Golite- please make a 2 person Ultra!!!

Best of luck! Alan Dixon wrote a great article about backpacking as a Couple a couple of years back. Great article- worth finding.

Derek Goffin
(Derekoak)

Locale: North of England
pads for couples on 03/31/2008 02:49:37 MDT Print View

Doug has covered the options for bags. I expect you will start with 2 bags that zip together because it is flexible, but zipped together they are big in circumference.
To get optimum comfort look at exped down mats, or any other down fill inflatable mat. Exped make full length single mats. They are warm and some say "more comfortable than the bed at home". You will have to find a way to make them stay together, the easiest thing is 2 loops of light strap put on both mats in figures of 8.

It doesnt sound as if lightness is that important to you, but we have made a sleep system from a RAB 400 down bag which has a zip to ankle. We added another zip to open up the footbox. Then zipped on a pertex base sheet. The down top is big enough to cover our sides and go under us a few inches. We added elastic under the base sheet so when we move together the base sheet crumples and the down is pulled in closer. The rab bag has a shoulder baffle to which we added a small triangle to to fill the centre draught hole. The base sheet needed a small triangular down compartment at the foot to complete the double footbox. We use 2 exped short mats in a corset, to squash them even closer together than simple straps. This is because our tent is small for 2,a Terra Nova Laser. The base sheet has pillow cases for clothes and BPL inflatable pillows. We also use a 2 layer evazote foam mat, cut to fit the base sheet below the short mats. This fits in a pertex sleeve and overlaps the zip heads on the side that does not have a down baffle. We use empty rucksacks under the foam to bring our feet level with the rest of our bodies. The foam mat becomes sit mats for 2 during the day. Mats + pump sack, foam, pillows, down bag, base sheet total 2.3 kilo. It keeps me warm at 0C with only base layer clothes and warm head wear. My partner probably needs a light down jacket extra.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Best sleeping options for Couples on 03/31/2008 09:34:36 MDT Print View

Take a long and honest look at how you sleep together through the night.

Some folks can spoon all night long. My wife and used to, but now we've both become very restless sleepers.

Initially a 20 ounce down double quilt, with a wide draft flap at the top-center did the trick. Minimal weight, and the ability to control temps by opening/closing the edges. We snuggled, rolled in unison, were content, and warm.

Now we have individual Nunatak Arcs. We toss and turn, get warmer, get cooler, sleep on a side or back, and don't worry about bothering each other. We get better sleep. It added a pound to our total weight, and is worth every ounce.

BTW, an Arc is big enough to adequately cover two. ;-)

Joseph Reeves
(Umnak)

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Keep the relationship alive on 03/31/2008 11:06:53 MDT Print View

My wife and I sleep in separate bags and bivies. After 6 or 7 days she smells a lot better than I do, so it is in my best interest to remain encapsulated until an opportunity for a shower comes along.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Happy with the Feathered Friends System on 03/31/2008 12:51:58 MDT Print View

My wife and I are happy with the Feathered Friends system. It could use center draft control, but other than that, it works well. We stick a bit of clothing in there and it stops the draft (we should build something but haven't bothered yet). I like the fact that the bag zips into the sides, thus securing you against accidentally creating a gap on the side (unlike a quilt or the Arc). We got the heavier, fleece bottom and still saved a lot of weight over two bags. It is also really roomy. We got the Nano fabric, so it was pricey. They have updated their web site, but in the past, their weights were very conservative. I remember our bag weighed significantly less than was advertised.

If you go that route, make sure you pull out the little tab at the bottom of the bag (otherwise you will have a gap).

Oh, and our Sweetie Pie is also collecting dust (it is heavier and less rommy than our current system).

Countryman _
(noshroud) - F
Thanks on 04/01/2008 01:34:51 MDT Print View

Thanks for your help so far. Yes, Lightweight isn't too important in the area of sleep comfort for a trip for the tow of us at this point. I will of course be using as many other weight reduction techniques as possible for comfort on the trail.

She doesn't have any sort of backpacking bag or sleep gear at this point, so two separate bags would probabyl be more versatile in the long run. Of course the nunatak gear looks awesome. I've craved it for a while. A bit too pricey though.

Do you actually gain much warmth from sleeping together, or is that offset by other issues with draft and additional air space?

Any word on hammocking together? Thanks again.

Shane Perry
(Rymnel) - F
Jacks R Better on 04/01/2008 08:33:12 MDT Print View

My wife and I are always together when we go out and we Share one of the Jack's R Better quilts. http://www.jacksrbetter.com/index_files/Large%20Quilts.htm

When I bought mine this was the cheapest option, I don't know if they still are or not.

I'm a cold sleeper and we've had much success sleeping into the teens with their Katahdin quilt. You do need a couple of extras to make this work though. You need something to close up the gap in between your shoulders and something to keep the drafts out on the sides. It's tough to keep the quilt under you from the side without some fabric extension. We use the hood for the no sniveller and the wings that they sell on the website. If you talk to him via phone, he's great to work with what to give you what you need. They sell stuff that accommodates those functions, but if you're a little creative I imagine you could solve those problems by yourself and come up with a great system.

This is all I ever use when I go out. Works for us, maybe it would work for you!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Best sleeping options for Couples on 04/01/2008 13:34:03 MDT Print View

After trying a lot of different options, we decided the only way to get a 2-person sleep system that would fit our needs was to make our own, as seen in this thread:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/11371/index.html

It addresses drafts along the edges, down the middle, and in the foot of the bag. I'm pretty sure you could do a modification to any standard quilt to achieve this, by adding a draft collar, velcro and drawstrings. Otherwise I would recommend going with two bags which you can zip together if it's warm enough, or use separately for colder weather where you need to really cinch everything down to reduce drafts and keep your head warm.

Quilt sleeping for two really works best if your are hard-core spooners. I'm a back sleeper and my parnter is a side sleeper, so the 2-person quilt is less than a perfect solution in spite of all the mods.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Really big quilts for two on 04/01/2008 17:51:15 MDT Print View

Allison,

We normally recommend that each hiker carry basic protection at all time.... IMHO the best sleep system for two is two separate quilts with full side omni tape modification.... When joined such a quilt is over 50 percent wider than most 60+ inch quilts including our large family quilts....When one partner is a notorious colder sleeper that partner can get and marry a loftier model.... Those that prefer No Sniveller models can have those as well... You can form separate footboxes or one large foot box.... When not hiking together one can combine the two quits for either hammock top and bottom insulation or a double thick winter quilt....And the crowning point is the same combined double is a queen size comforter for use in your home or cabin, year round or at least until it is to warm to require it.

Pan

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Really big quilts for two on 04/01/2008 19:34:30 MDT Print View

Hi Pan

Yeah, we use our quilt as a comforter at home in winter. It's not just the warmth that I love, but the ephemeral lightness of the quilt. Kinda like sleeping in a cloud.

To be honest, most of the time we use either WM POD 30s or WM POD 15s, adapted with velcro as above to secure them to the pad of our choice. We can zip these together if we choose, or sleep apart. It's a much lighter and better system for the way we sleep. 2 POD 30s weigh the same as the quilt, but can be cinched down to withstand a lot of weather that the quilt just doesn't cope with (at least not in a Tarptent). It's also easier to add a bivy to this set-up, but each couple has different needs...

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Really big quilts for two on 04/01/2008 19:58:51 MDT Print View

We will have a two person version of the MLD XP Quilt out in about two months. We will have one at TrailDays in May to show.

It will also pair with a duo size SuperLight Bivy that will have both a L and R zip on the same bivy.

Specs and Price TBA.

Edited by mountainlaureldesigns on 04/01/2008 20:00:23 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: Re: Really big quilts for two on 04/01/2008 20:10:21 MDT Print View

I looked closely at the JRB quilt for use with my girlfriend, but in the end I decided it was too small. I'd go with Nuna, but the rice is crazy. Until something comes along, I'll stick with seperate bags.

Ron, if you are going to make one, make sure it really is large enough for two.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
I'm pretty sure ... on 04/02/2008 15:04:09 MDT Print View

The best possible sleep system for couples and will provide absolutely satisfaction everytime requires a properly proportioned thick lofting dual integrated sleep system.
The real trick is to install system 1 in a completely different mountain range then system 2. Works everytime.

canyon steinzig
(canyon) - F - M

Locale: Nor Cal
top bag on 04/03/2008 00:31:01 MDT Print View

we have a Golite Fuzz 2, best design there is, not quite warm enough for real three season use and bulky. We have mostly used big full zip bags with foot boxes. Current favorite is the WM Badger. We could go lighter, but this works so well. I pin a piece of Epic (that is what I have) to the zippers to keep out drafts and make her feel like she is not sleeping on foam.
Basically, any big down bag unzipped is the best bet. Although I like quilts, why not spend about the same money width and weight to get a zipper? I would like a hoodless version however, as it does end up being mostly extra weight. Oh, and I agree that the lack of a middle (Golite Fuzz) style flap is a problem.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Re: Best sleeping options for Couples on 04/03/2008 09:54:04 MDT Print View

Greg makes a good point. My wife and I are of the first persuasion, and we use the following system with great success:

I cut a triangular piece of ripstop, and sewed zippers on each long edge. When either of our single Western Mountaineering bags is zipped in, the edges tuck under just enough to defeat cold spots. I then sewed two sets of elastic straps to the ripstop piece, which hold our thermarests together during the night.

Using this system cuts probably 5-10 degrees off each bags temp rating, as compared to use with one person. It also allows my greater body heat to warm her, which makes everyone happier.