November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Sleeping Bag Questions
Display Avatars Sort By:
john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
Sleeping Bag Questions on 01/03/2009 13:28:53 MST Print View

I'm looking at both which are on clearance for $100. Both are rated rated at 30 degrees.

The Sierra Design is the 2006 edition I believe and weighs 2.0 lbs. The fill is primaloft.

The Lafuma is 1lb 12 oz and is 650 down.

I'm torn between the two.

I've also considered the Big Agnes Fish Hawk and the Campmor 20 degree down. But the the Sierra Design and Lafuma look like too good of a deal to pass up.

I'm hiking the AT for the first time in April. Temps may get down to 30s, possibly 20s. I'm a warm sleeper and I may purchaser a bag liner.

What should I do?

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Sleeping Bag Questions on 01/03/2009 15:36:15 MST Print View


Both are great prices.

I would ask you to think about the the conditions in which you will be using your bag.

Are you going to be in a lot of wet weather?

If you are, the synthetic bag does have the advantage over the down bag in keeping you warm, should your bag get wet.

The negative to a synthetic bag is that is does not compress as small as a down bag.

Warmth in wet conditions vs. compressability.

I live on the West Coast, so I do not know if the humidity that you will face will cause a collapse in your down loft and rendering the down bag less warm.

Something else that you might consider, rather than a bag liner, how about using the jacket/clothing you have to layer over yourself inside your sleeping bag to provide additional warmth?

This gives you the advantage of duel usage: warm clothing for standing around in camp and to add warmth inside your sleeping bag vs. a liner which can only be used while sleeping.

As a side note: Given that sleeping bags are one of the most expensive items that a light weight backpacker will invest in, would you want to spend more money (if it is in your budget/means to do so) on a higher down fill bag that would be lighter? I would hate to see you spend $100 on a bag, only to realize later that you wish you had saved that money and bought a more expensive and lighter bag that would serve your light weight needs for years and years to come.

My 1st bag was a Sierra Designs Rosa (women's bag) that was on sale for $100 and it served me well before I learned about light weight backpacking.

Now my Sierra Designs bag sits unused and I have a 1 lb Marmot Atom 40 F bag and a 2 lb 3 oz Marmot Helium EQ 15 F bag.

Hope that this helps you out and good luck on your trip!

One day, I hope to hike the AT too.


Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Bag on 01/03/2009 15:53:32 MST Print View

Lafuma has a reputation (or so I've read) for overestimating their temperature rating. I know I have two of their synthetics that are about 10 degree off.

Tim F
(kneebyter) - MLife

Locale: the depths of Hiking Hell (Iowa)
Re: Lafuma Bag on 01/03/2009 16:23:14 MST Print View


The Lafuma sounds like the "Warm n Light 800". I ordered one of these when I first started getting into light weight backpacking. I also thought that it was too good to pass up. Turned out it was too good to be true. It had about 2" of total (two-layer) loft. Just feeling the bag I didn't think there was much fill in it. I used it one night in my bed with it zipped most of the way up and did not overheat in a 60 degree room. I returned it, but still thought there was a possibility it was just a fluke. Since then I have seen them many times in stores, and it has confirmed that there is very little fill. I would higly encourage you to examine one in person, if you can, before you buy.
Also, if you can wait another month or two, more bags will probably go on sale as outfitters gear up for spring and get rid of last year's models. It may give you more options, but it does leave you less time to test it out. Good luck on your hike. I will do the AT someday. Someday...


Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Sleeping Bag Questions on 01/03/2009 16:44:14 MST Print View

Sleeping bags are one of the few gear choices where extra $ can really pay off with few, if any, drawbacks. If you can find it in your budget to stretch even to $200-250 down bags, and keep an eye out for sales (or our own Gear Swap forum here), you'll end up much with a much better, longer-lasting piece of gear (that will also have better resale value down the road).

On a long hike, having a reliable bag that delivers a sinfully good night of sleep is priceless. I'd hold off on the two bags you mentioned.


john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
Thanks Guys.... on 01/03/2009 17:50:06 MST Print View

Thanks for the replies.

Oh, the Sierra Design bag is the Lazer.

The weather may get down into the low 30s.

I realize I should get a 20 degree bag. However, I'll use a bag insert because I live in Florida and I don't really need a 20 degree sleeping bag for another other occasion than the AT. Of course, I do hope to hike it again later this year or next. Is this a good idea to get a 30 degree bag and use an insert?

I wouldn't mind spending MAYBE $150-175 or so if I found a good deal on a bag. Thing is, I don't really need a low temp rated bag unless I hike the AT again.

Is the Big Agnes bag or the Campmor a good bag?

Edited by Hitman on 01/03/2009 18:01:07 MST.

Rich Steixner
(neognosis) - F
money on sleeping bag on 01/03/2009 18:26:56 MST Print View

I understand if you can't spend the money. But in my opinion, a really good sleeping bag is the one piece of gear that I would never skimp on. A good sleeping bag can save your life. I would suggest to you, if you happen to suddenly find yourself with 500 bucks to spare, a quilt by Nunatak. Their Arc Alpinist is very light, and I've used mine down to 20 degrees with a down jacket and a beanie on, and in weather as warm as 85 degrees just draped over me with a leg and an arm sticking out. A quilt is pretty versatile.

Take if from me, there's nothing worse than realizing that you shouldn't have gotten the "bargain bag" when it's 3am and you are freezing and shivering and can't sleep.

I mean, consider that if your pack is uncomfortable, you go slower and throw some stuff out. If your shoes are falling apart, you go slow and get another pair when you can. If your tarp rips, you might get a little wet, but you can pull through. But if you get stuck in a freak storm and the temp dips way down and you are stranded for a day, a good bag can keep you alive.

Dramatic, I know, but no other piece of gear, IMO, is as important.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Bag on 01/03/2009 18:29:59 MST Print View

A real 30 degree bag (real rating) like a WM would probably be easy to take to 20, with some added clothes. You don't need to think of it as a sleeping bag, you need a sleeping system.

Dan Cunningham

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Lafuma Sucks on 01/03/2009 18:34:22 MST Print View

I had the Lafuma Warm 'n Light 800 for one trip. Same as above - maybe about 2 inches of loft and I froze at 45 degrees. It was a very unimpressive waste of money.

I sold it on craigslist for $60 and got a new Western Mountaineering MegaLite. The Western Mountaineering bag is fantastic. Realize that you'll spend 1/3 of your trip in the sleeping bag, and the rest of the time you have to carry it around. Warm, light, comfortable.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
LaFuma is a Dream on 01/03/2009 18:43:42 MST Print View

I too bought the Warm 'N Light 800, and it was a dream! It packs sooo small, weighs practically nothing, and the warmth it provides is so illusory, you'll freeze your balls off! A dream, alright, a dream that won't come true.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Sleeping Bags on sale on 01/03/2009 22:20:19 MST Print View

Well, I will concur with what others have said. If you are going to be on the trail for four to six months, miserable sleep will make the rest of your trip awful. I would suggest that on occasion crawling into your sleeping bag will be the day's highlight! That isn't a knock on you, the AT or hiking in general, just when it's cold, you're exhausted, your stove stops working and you are forced to eat cold ramen for dinner, a warm bag is a welcome respite.

That much said, here are some suggestions....

ON sale now at Altrec, a 20 degree, 800-fill down bag by GO Lite (in regular length) for $211.00.

Mountain Hardware has its 32-degree rated Phantom for $190

Yeah, considerably more than you would like to spend, but in my mind, excellent value.

Bear in mind, that it is unlikely the same bag that would serve you well in Florida is going to be appropriate for the highest points along the AT. I would personally favor buying equipment that is appropriate to the AT and buying other gear later appropriate to Florida. Who knows, maybe you become inspired by your AT journey and decide to hike the PCT, CDT, the Colorado Trail, Wonderland Trail, etc. All would require a warm, high quality bag!

Have fun and best of luck! Let us know of your decision and keep us posted on how it worked out for you!

Edited by dirk9827 on 01/04/2009 03:56:56 MST.

john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
Great.... on 01/03/2009 22:57:37 MST Print View

Thanks Dirk. I'll check out those bags.

And thanks to you who steered me away from the Lafuma.

BTW, I'm only hiking it for a week. It I were going for several weeks, it'd be a no brainer to spend $400 on a bag.

I may go again in the Fall though.

I'll look around and let you know what I decide.

And ppppplllllllleaaassse post any sales you know about here or message me.


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Sleeping Bag Questions on 01/03/2009 23:11:35 MST Print View

If you only need a bag for a week why not rent one from REI?

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
A bag for one week on the trail on 01/04/2009 02:59:35 MST Print View

John -

The fact that you are going for a week (and possibly two) does clear up things quite a bit. I would say that Ken and Mark both offered some good advice: either rent a bag from REI or frequent the Gear Swap forum and post a WTB (Want to Buy) ad there explaining that you are looking for a 20-35 degree bag.

Many, but not all, REI locations rent gear. THe full listing of stores and gear they rent is listed here. Many of the stores are near the trail.

Depending on the cost of renting, you *might* be better off just buying a good used bag from the Gear Swap forum here. The great things about the Gear Swap forum on BPL is that the place is full of UL Enthusiasts with full gear closets and empty bank accounts. Thus, in order to finance next season's purchases without arousing the suspicions of the spousal unit, they clandestinely sell their lightly used equipment.

And because this entire board is dedicated to light, lighter, lightest, many of the people here change out gear fairly regularly, thus ensuring the gear they do sell is in good shape.

Here is a good example of WTB gear posting:

I will keep an eye out for any other down bag deals. Let us know what you end up doing and please, do post a trip report.

Warmest regards and best of luck,


Edited by dirk9827 on 01/04/2009 03:54:35 MST.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Buy then sell on 01/04/2009 04:37:59 MST Print View

Alternatively you could pick up a WM bag and sell it when you're finished.

There's a 15% coupon for Bentgate in Gear Deals at the moment, valid until tomorrow. That makes the Summerlite $255 with free three day shipping. With a week or two of use it would sell on Gear Swap for between $220 and $250.

Pretty hard to beat $2.50 a night for a bag like that.

john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
Gear swap is a good alternative on 01/04/2009 11:30:38 MST Print View

Good suggestions. I'll post and look on the gear swap forum.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Gear swap is a good alternative on 01/05/2009 10:25:26 MST Print View

Yep. The Lafuma wouldn't be worth $100 if someone paid the $100 to use it. Not worth a nickel. Can see all sorts of daylight through it, not so much down. Definitely consider the renting for a one-time trip, save up some money for a good bag. If money's impossibly tight, haunt ebay and gear swap religiously.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Money on 01/05/2009 10:52:33 MST Print View

Money's a funny thing--we get a number in our head, and think that we're stuck with it. For example, say you've decided to spend $100 for a bag, but can't find anything that will work for that much, this in preparation for a several month trip. One possibility is to postpone the start of the trip 3 days, and, at $10/hr, work to have $240 more to put toward the bag. Now you've got $340 to work with, which will buy a great bag. Of course, this is just a conceptual exercise, but you get the idea.

Mike Feldman
(harpin) - F
Bags on 01/05/2009 13:02:40 MST Print View

John, I also found Lafuma to be very generous in bag ratings. I believe for a cold sleeper that might be a 45-50 degree bag, maybee warm sleeper a 40 degree bag. Hey your trip isnt til April. Maybee save another hundred or so, wait for an REI,ect. sale, or even advertise on BPL gear swap for a bag. I understand the expense thing. The MH synthetic 30 degree bag mentioned is a nice bag. I have 2 section hikes scheduled on AT in NC to S.VA in April, along w/5 days/4 nights on 77 mile Fothills trail in SC/NC border end March, 1st couple days April and am dealing w/whether I need anything beyond a 5 ounce XP Climashield quilt w/insulated jacket, ect in Tarptent?

john braun
(Hitman) - F

Locale: West Florida
Correction on 01/05/2009 20:52:18 MST Print View

I'm only hiking for a

If I were doing the whole AT (which I'd love to do some day), I'd surely get a $400 bag.

I may have found a Kelty Light Year 25 for $109 I may purchase.

Are keltys okay? The temp may get down to the 30-40s at night in North George of the AT where I'll be hiking.