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Stomach Sleepers?
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Michael Brizendine
(TrailEater) - F
Stomach Sleepers? on 06/04/2008 21:41:16 MDT Print View

I'm fairly new to the lightweight backpacking world and have been doing some research on sleeping bags and quilts. My question is, everything reviewed discusses which bag is best suited for back sleepers and side sleepers, but I have yet to see anything mentioning anywhere about a bag suited for sleeping on your stomach. I sleep on my stomach with my head on my arms and that generally poses a problem when it comes to a bag that closes in around your head via draw string or other design. I don't have experience with any UL down filled bags, so I'm unsure how to make a purchase with the way I sleep. Any suggestions would be great!

I live in Houston, so it's of no great importance at the very moment since its brutally hot and humid, but I want to be ready for hiking outside of my state later this year where I would require a much warmer sleeping bag.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Stomach Sleeper on 06/04/2008 21:55:20 MDT Print View

Check out Western Mountaineering- there bags are top of the line. And maybe a custom bag made by Nunatak USA. Since you are stomach sleeper consider a Quilt that you simply just pull over your body w/ a good sleeping pad underneath you. BPL has great quilts, Nunatak and Golite. Goodluck

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Stomach Sleepers on 06/04/2008 22:19:19 MDT Print View

Jay's right - check WM

I sleep on my stomach a lot as well as my side. I have the WM Sycamore MF (microfiber shell with hood)for here in the PNW and PCT. WM also makes the same bag hoodless as the Alder MF.

Both are rated to 25°F and weigh 32 and 31 ounces respectively. GREAT BAGS.

If you tend to roll around a lot, go for the hoodless bag, but add a seperate down hood from Nunatuck or Jacks R Better so it turns with you without having to worry about turning the whole bag with you.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Stomach Sleepers? on 06/04/2008 22:32:29 MDT Print View

I am a stomach sleeper (at first, then end up on my back) at home, but do not do that on backpacks.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Stomach Sleepers? on 06/04/2008 22:35:01 MDT Print View

> I sleep on my stomach with my head on my arms

Both mummy bags and quilts can work. In the case of a mummy bag, I would put my arms into the hood and cinch the "head" opening down enough to keep the bag sealed around my shoulders and wear a warm hat. This works particularly well if the sleeping bag has a good draft collar. It's also possible to have your head mostly inside the bag, but that's trickier. With a quilt, you stay completely under the quilts, tucking the front of the quilt under your arms and leave space for the front of your head to stick out by tighting up the top with a draw string or completely cover your head if you don't need to worry about moisture accumulating in your insulation. The downside is that there is nothing to keep your arms tucked in, so if you move around, your arms can end up outside your quilt. Sometimes I will wrap my arms in some high loft clothing and not worry about keeping them under the quilt.


Edited by verber on 06/05/2008 01:19:47 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Stomach Sleepers? on 06/04/2008 22:59:25 MDT Print View

Hi Michael

> My question is, everything reviewed discusses which bag is best suited for back sleepers and side sleepers, but I have yet to see anything mentioning anywhere about a bag suited for sleeping on your stomach.

One of the problems here is that many proposed solutions involve sleeping bags whose design is not suited for you. Some of the so-called quilt solutions are poorly designed as well. A bold and controversial statement perhaps, but let us consider it.

Do you use a quilt or doona at home (or even blankets)? Does this have a hood? Does it have a bit going underneath you? Nope. So what do you do when it is really cold? You pull your quilt over your head. This idea works regardless of what position you sleep in.

OK, now back to camping. Why do so many people use such strange compromises for sleeping? Things like the WM Top Bag recently reviewed here? A weird beast - part quilt and part sleeping bag, but not very good at either role.

If you want to use a sleeping bag, do so. If you want to do the hood up and roll onto your stomach, do so. Do the hood up first, THEN roll over. But don't do such silly acts as trying to do the hood up while your face is buried in it. The hood is meant to cover the back of your head, not your face. Use it as it is intended.

If you want to use a quilt, then use a QUILT! Use one which is long enough that you can do in camp just what you do at home: arrange yourself on your mat(tress) however you like and pull the quilt over you and as much of your head as you need (as several others have suggested here).

Yes, there are many strange things offered out there. Most of them are pretty weird and don't work very well. Define what you need and look for THAT.

My 2c.

PS: I use a quilt exactly as described, summer and winter.

Edited by rcaffin on 06/04/2008 23:01:11 MDT.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Stomach Sleeper on 06/05/2008 06:03:09 MDT Print View

I sleep on my stomach and I prefer a hooded bag. All the quilts I've tried are too small, in that you can't pull them over your head or tuck them in adequately round the sides. I also like to use my sleeping bag as clothing while sitting in the tent, pulling it up under my arms and across my chest and fastening the drawcord. You can't do this with a quilt with a sleeping pad inside, though you can wrap a quilt round your shoulders (as you can an unzipped sleeping bag).

If it's cold enough to do up the hood I usually end up sleeping with my face in the bag, which I find very warm and efficient. I've never had problems with moisture from my breath dampening the bag - and I normally use down bags. I find it very difficult to sleep on my stomach with the hood round the back of my head even if I start out like that. Sleeping bags are designed for back sleepers!

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Stomach Sleepers on 06/05/2008 08:02:22 MDT Print View

That's why I recommended the WM Sycamore and Alder. They are semi-rectangular bags with two zippers - one along the side and another across the foot. You can unzip one or both and open the bag into a quilt, with or without a footbox.

Tremendous flexibility.

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
Jacket needed on 06/06/2008 12:01:46 MDT Print View

I think you will need an insulated jacket to sleep with you arms overhead. Head can be protected by the hood or a beenie, but no quilt or bag that I've seen will protect your arms.


Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Stomach Sleepers on 06/06/2008 18:31:38 MDT Print View

Just this past week I have been training myself to sleep on my back. Basically this just means forcing myself to sleep laying flat on my back in my normal bed. I think...that sleeping in a hooded bag on your back improves heat retention...i.e. allowing me to get away with a lighter bag. It seems to be the only way to really use the hood effectively. Over the last week it has gone fairly well...anyone else tried to convert?


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Stomach Sleepers on 06/06/2008 19:01:44 MDT Print View

I too am a stomach sleeper, but didn't find hooded mummy bags to be any kind of a problem for me. After all, the hood opening can be left facing up -- or turned from side to side. For me, whichever side my head is tilted, my hood -- cinched up to just a small opening (aka breath hole)-- faces the same direction -- even at an angle downward!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Stomach Sleeper on 06/06/2008 19:35:48 MDT Print View

I too am a stomach sleeper. Never really had much a problem with my sleeping bag hoods. Though, when it is cold, I tend to try to sleep on my back and cinch up.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Quilt for me on 06/06/2008 22:29:52 MDT Print View

I like a quilt and hat. I had mine made longer than I needed simply so I could pull it over my head and/or arms. It's really nice used in conjunction with an insulated hooded jacket and pants to extend the temperature range. It's really nice to get up in the morning and still be wearing part of my warmth.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Stomach Sleeping - bivy on 06/07/2008 05:33:39 MDT Print View

After thinking about I'd say my real problem is not really the sleeping bag hole as much as it is keeping the sleeping bag hole lined up with the bivy hole (also cinched) especially when there is a sleeping pad inside the bivy. I can not seem to roll over keeping all the holes lined up and keep the pad on the ground. I should point out this is only an issue when I push my sleeping systems beyond the bag's temp rating. When I go beyond the rating I find I need to sleep on my back to keep everything lined up to retain the most heat. So it sounds like maybe I am a bit strange to try to teach myself to sleep on my back to shave ounces, forget I mentioned it and don't tell my wife this is the reason I am now sleeping on my back...she already thinks I am crazy enough about this stuff.

Eric Ragle
(eragle) - F

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
I am a stomach sleeper as well. on 06/07/2008 19:42:12 MDT Print View

I also kick a knee out to add support for my core, which eases any potential for back pain. So that means that not only is a hooded bag not going to work, neither is a foot box, especially a mummy bag. I am working on making my own quilt. It's the only way to be satisfied.

Matthew Elam
(slashpastor) - F

Locale: Colorado now!!!
Stomach sleeper... on 06/14/2008 13:33:21 MDT Print View

I sleep in every position imaginable; stomach, side, back, head... Whatever. If you want warmth and a great trip. Buy what you can afford. Then make it work.

I have an REI Mojave 15. Its a mummy. If I'm in a stomach kind of sleeping mood I just flip the thing over and go to sleep. But Then again, I am CHEAP... Read C H E A P.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
switch hitting sleeper on 06/16/2008 20:51:11 MDT Print View

If you are a stomach down sleeper and want to break the habit, switch to a hammock. They are surprisingly comfortable and you will be stiff when you first stand up in the morning. Quilts work fine for stomach sleepers, too!

Eric Ragle
(eragle) - F

Locale: Cumberland Plateau
I tried... on 06/24/2008 08:18:29 MDT Print View

Hammock camping but couldn't pull it off. I just laid there and looked up at the trees and stars, waiting to go to sleep. 3am came and I figured that was it. Got out, threw the sleeping bag on the ground and went to sleep on my stomach.