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Modified Sleeping Bag Build-up Problems
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Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Modified Sleeping Bag Build-up Problems on 07/31/2008 11:07:38 MDT Print View

Hi, everybody-

If it seems I'm hogging new threads, I'm sorry. None of my projects seem to be going right and I'm getting stressed out. (Any homebrewers out there? Papazian: "Relax, don't worry. Have a homebrew.")

I'm trying to build up a UL kit for northern clime, shoulder-season weather with my gal and two big dogs. For this sleeping bag, what I'm shooting for is a solid 20F down bag (still taking silk recommendations) that'll be used 50% solo, 50% w/other half. I spent a bunch of time working out design, patterns. Thought I was so smart. Out"smarted" myself.

Center, full-length zip, chin to separated zipper at foot--so I can flap it open and use quilt-fashion with companion. Pet peeve about hood design, virtually none are deep enough or insulated enough for my preferences--so I've designed a deep poofy one. Really wanted full, even loft; Cut out top and bottom "silhouette" pattern, join top/bottom w/6-inch fabric strips running full periphery. At foot, will (plan to) use 6-inch zips from bottom to top, allowing to open and flap for tandem use.

Problem: I mocked up the outer shell last night w/some old sheets, spread it out in two-person configuration, and found that the top third of the bag gets all bound up/constricted by hood section. Basically, instead of about five feet across, the bag narrows (at the chest, how convenient!) to about 2.5 feet.

Potential Resolution:
1) First and most obvious is to split the hood from forehead area to bottom layer of bag along the center line. I'd rather not, because I don't see a good way of doing that without losing thermal efficiency of the hood. Very, very open to suggestions.

2) There's a wonderful site that I think I found through a link on BPL, or perhaps a link thru a link thru... by a lady who's done some great historical backpacking work. She talks about the Early Winter's hood design (yes, I know Nunatak has a separate "hood," but it's balaclava style), which was huge, separate, but also collared sorta aka old chainmail hoods. I've thought about doing that, using the collar as draft tube, cinching down neck of bag around the collar. But if there's any way to avoid doing this, I would much prefer to have an integrated hood.

3) I could do a traditional side-zip bag. Not really considering that as an option yet. I think the ventilation possibilities of full-length opening zip are much more practical, functional for me.

Any ideas on hood modifications? Any other solutions, such as flapping the top part down in some way?

Thanks!!Opened "fully"

Edited by 4quietwoods on 08/01/2008 12:13:27 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Modified Sleeping Bag Build-up Problems on 07/31/2008 11:27:25 MDT Print View

It sounds like you really want a quilt that could be wrapped around into a sleeping bag. But in quilt mode, my preference would be the separate balaclava style hood and have a collar and drawstring to sinch around the neck.

That is not the only way. Some prefer to make their quilts longer and simply cover their heads completely with the quilt. While some are totally comfortable doing this, I keep having dreams of being buried alive if my face is covered :-)

Hence, my preference for the balaclava.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Modified Sleeping Bag Build-up Problems on 07/31/2008 12:12:54 MDT Print View

Sounds like you need to think about making your dream bag with 1 attached hood and a separate balaclava. If you are using the center zip on top when sleeping double, the weight and size will be overkill for one person, but the single attached hood should work OK. The bag would then zip on the side. But the bag would still be really big and hard to heat for one person.

You might want to consider putting the zipper on the bottom and making a tulip-shaped bottom sheet with a matching zipper for using the bag as a double. The insulation would be on top and sides and a little underneath the sleeping pads. That's what I have done for years and it has a lot of miles on it. We (Frito and I)put the pads inside in really cold weather. 42 ounces for the bag and sheet, 11 ounces together for the two balaclavas - 3 1/3 pounds - not bad for 2 people. This bag has a fleece draft flap across the entire shoulder width. It is overkill, but keeps The Princess from whining.

Frito is shorter than I, so the foot section of the bag is sized for my feet alone, then the bag flares out because of the tulip shape (or rounded, wavey "V"shape) of the bottom sheet. With the bottom sheet removed, the separating, two-way zipper on the bag works just like normal, and the bag is properly sized for me - maybe a little big, but much smaller than it would be if sized for two people - that is, without using the bottom sheet to expand it for two.

This top bag I described started as a traditional semi-rectangular bag. It requires 2 balaclavas in cold weather, but they can serve another purpose - as the hoods for hoodless jackets. That cuts the "cost" of the balaclavas to 5.5 ounces. If your target is 20F, separate balaclavas won't be a problem if you make a draft-blocking tongue at the center of the shoulder(top of the bag)to fit between two sleepers. 100-weight fleece will make a quick and comfortable draft blocker. If you were shooting for -20F, the situation changes and the attached hoods would make more sense.

Edited by vickrhines on 07/31/2008 12:24:05 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Modified Sleeping Bag Build-up Problems on 07/31/2008 14:56:53 MDT Print View

I don't see why you can't just design the hood with a drawstring so it would lie flat when used as a quilt, but can be drawn in to a nice puffy hood when used solo. Many bag designs work this way. Western Mountaineering uses this method to actually make their hoods MORE poofy, as the extra fabric and down billow in when cinched tight, creating a cocoon for your head.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Modified Sleeping Bag Build-up Problems on 07/31/2008 18:08:59 MDT Print View

Michael, I'm leaning toward the chainmail-ish balaclava...

Vick, the bag isn't all that big. Essentially the same dimensions as a Western Alpinlite: 64" shoulder, 54" hip, 38" foot. Maybe a couple extra inches added for lofting... Basically, I just moved the zipper from the side to the center, like a jacket or FF Rock Wren or some such thing. My thought was to use it like you have w/the one-time semi-rectangular, sorta. We use a MityLite semi-rect. in the summer blanket-fashion, planned on doing the same with a puffier baffled one.

Allison, I laughed out loud when I read your comments about Western hoods. I have several WM bags, I love 'em, but I absolutely loathe the hoods. I've always thought they're about the worst out there--but that is distinctly IMHO. My beef with them is how shallow they are, and although they'll puff around your head, a bunch of the down tends to get compressed a bit. I suppose I could do a Caribou/Highlite style drawcord hood... maybe with a giant ruff?

Thanks for all your thoughts so far!

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Modified Sleeping Bag Build-up Problems on 08/01/2008 11:55:57 MDT Print View


I think the problem is that you want to use your quilt as sleeping bag. why not just use quilt even when you are solo?

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Simplest answer... on 08/01/2008 12:17:35 MDT Print View

I had one of those groaning "Duhhh" moments this morning. My intention for this bag is a roomy mummy bag for one, that I can use as a quilt for two. For whatever reason, I got stuck in the mindset of "Head needs to be at hood for both one and two-person use." As it turns out, if I just flip the thing end for end, the hood works out rather nicely as a footbox for two-person use. I should probably add a couple more inches of girth in the mummy bag foot section for it to work best. I'll get some pics up when it starts shaping up better.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Disregard... answered my own question on 08/06/2008 10:10:46 MDT Print View

Hi, all-

Um, cheers!

Edited by 4quietwoods on 08/07/2008 10:33:01 MDT.