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Winter sleeping bag (-25 rating)
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Max R
(Mantra) - F

Locale: Québec, Canada
Winter sleeping bag (-25 rating) on 10/22/2009 20:12:43 MDT Print View

Hi All,

Im looking to buy a sleeping bag in the -25 range.

I will use it in a floorless tent, sometimes more then 3 days in a row.

Would I be better with a waterproof shell or only water resistant ?

Which, of the two bags below, would you choose and why ?

If you know any other bag that would work, I would appreciate suggestions.

Western Mountaineering Puma MF
3 lbs. 7 oz
MicroLite XP™ Shell (Water Resistant)

Feathered Friends Ptarmigan
3lb 15oz
Event Shell

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Winter sleeping bag (-25 rating) on 10/22/2009 20:48:25 MDT Print View

Either of them are perfectly fantastic bags. I want to Puma, simply because that's the one that I want. I also use a non-fully enclosed tarp winter camping, so I recommend a bivy bag to shield the face from wind drift. I'd buy the "waterproof" shell. I have it on my current bag and like it.

joe w
(sandalot) - F
Re: Winter sleeping bag (-25 rating) on 10/22/2009 21:18:03 MDT Print View


Edited by sandalot on 04/24/2010 11:45:13 MDT.

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
Valandre' and Integral Designs could be considered as well on 10/22/2009 21:34:03 MDT Print View

You may want to consider the Valandre Odin or Freja as well. Or bags by Integral Designs.

The bags that you mentioned are fine bags and would serve you well.

I guess it depends what features are important to you. Valandre bags compress smaller than any other bag I've used, and that includes ID, Montbell and WM.

Disclosure - I am an authorized retailer for Valandre' and Integral Designs, and Montbell. And am also a user.

Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F - M

Locale: Northern Utah
VBL on 10/22/2009 21:36:03 MDT Print View

If you are going out for more than 3 days, I'd take a vapor barrier liner too.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Choices on 10/28/2009 17:59:50 MDT Print View

You can opt for:
1. a nice, light, highly compressable and PRICEY down bag (one of the WM -20 F. winter bags, for ex.)
2. a heavier, not as compresable, and reasonably priced synthetic bag with Climashield insulation (TNF -20 F. Tundra for ex.)
3.use your summer down bag inside a larger three-season synthetic bag.

I'd advise #3 B/c it's cheaper and most of the moisture will end up in the outer synthetic bag, where it's easier to shake over to one side and eventually dry faster. But then I'm the guy with a Mt'n Hardwear -20 F. synthetic fill bag that weighs a ton and is too large to even fit in my big Dana Terraplane pack fer Pete's sake!

BTW, forget the "-25 F." rating. Easier to find -20 F. bags and then just make your extra insulation layers of pile or polyfill bring up the bag's warmth by wearing them to bed. Makes pee runs outside at 3 AM MUCH more tolerable. Plus you're making some clothing items do double duty and carrying less bag weight.

Edited by Danepacker on 10/28/2009 18:04:04 MDT.

Kendra Pyle
(klpyle) - F
More advice on winter sleeping bags, please! on 11/14/2009 05:07:09 MST Print View

I am new to winter camping (one overnight in a quinzhee so far), and I’m looking at getting a winter sleeping bag. This is mostly for camping in lower peninsula of Michigan, with temps probably not often below 0 F. I would prefer a cheaper alternative.

My 3-season bag is Western Mountaineering 25 F bag, which I love. If I go with a large synthetic bag (as suggested by Eric above) to put my WM bag inside, what temperature rating would I be looking for? Is a long bag (6”6”) going to long enough to put my other bag inside? I’m nearly 6 ft.

If I do opt to get a true winter bag, what about down vs. synthetic? I'm wondering whether a synthetic bag will be a better choice for winter camping because of the risk of the bag getting wet. Is 0 F a cold enough rating? Also, what about bag weight? Since I’m going to be using a sled, weight is less of an issue than backpacking.

Any specific bag suggestions?

Thanks very much for any suggestions that you can offer!

James Castleberry
Two Ultra 20s for Winter Camping on 11/14/2009 08:32:17 MST Print View

Does anyone else do what I do for cold temps, say to around 10F? I use a GoLite Ultra 20 Medium with a Ultra 20 Large on top. I know it's not the greatest, but I find it works OK and packs pretty small and drafts are not a problem. It's another reason why I love the Ultra 20 so much - versatility. (Note: The second Ultra 20 is for one of my kids to use during summer camping).

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: More advice on winter sleeping bags, please! on 11/14/2009 09:33:15 MST Print View

Kendra, if your current WM bag is for 25F, then it is either an Alder or Sycamore, both of which are semi-rectangular bags. (Unless you have a model they haven't made for some time.) You wouldn't/couldn't buy a synthetic to put over a semi-rectangular; if anything, you'd buy a bag to put inside it. However, semi-rectangular bags aren't particularly heat-efficient.

Remember, sleeping bags don't produce heat. They merely trap the heat you produce. A bigger bag requires you to heat much more volume, then to waste more energy through the night keeping that extra volume warm.

Since you have a WM bag, my first recommendation for you would be a WM Antelope. Great loft, rated to 5*F, good for most people lower than that. 2.5 pounds, but ~$450.

Trying to keep it on the cheap-ish, check out the TNF Snowshoe, a 0*F Climashield bag. Of the synthetic materials available, Climashield has about the best longevity. Also good weight and compactibility as related to synthetics. ~$200, 3.5#. Edit: Note that you'll have significantly fewer years of use with the synthetic bag as compared to a down bag. Initial investment on synthetic is cheaper, long-term investment down is cheaper. But sometimes a budget is a budget.

There's arguably less risk of getting a bag wet in winter than in summer. Less humidity! No rain! No worries about a down bag in winter. The biggest problem people run into is sweating too much into their bags. If you're doing cold stuff for multiple days, consider a VBL... again with WM, check out their Hotsac. It's pretty awesome. Will also easily add 10-15*F to the bag if needed. If you're going to do the quinzhee thing regularly, perhaps a bit more exposure to moisture... I'd sleep on a ground sheet or something. Might consider a bivy; water-resistant sleeping bag shells are popular with some people, but do add to weight, bulk and price.

Edited by 4quietwoods on 11/14/2009 10:03:14 MST.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Winter sleeping bag (-25 rating)" on 11/14/2009 09:58:48 MST Print View


Does your #3 suggestion work out ok? I have an Ultra 20 I could slip inside my old 3# REI Synthetic bag.

I wouldn't want to carry it around too far, but it might keep me warm?

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Double bags for winter on 11/15/2009 22:01:52 MST Print View


The U. S. military uses a double bag system (plus GTX bivy sack) as their standard setup. Brigade Quartermaster sells the outfit of the items separately. Both their bags are synthetic Polarguard fill.

True the double bag system is heavy since you are carrying an extra bag shell, so to speak, but yes, it works very well. If you're hauling a pulk type sled this extra weight is not as noticable.

I have my Mt'n. Hardware - 20 F. synthetic fill bag which has an expanding zippered gore down the side. If I knew I'd likely encounter -30 F. to -50 F. temps I'd take my WM Megalite summer down bag (AND a vapor barrier liner) and unzip the expansion gore and put the Megalite bag inside. That should take me to -40 F. at least, with heavy long johns and the VBL.

The VBL is essential in subzero weather to keep sleeping bag insulation DRY and thus warm every night, not just the first two nights.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Winter sleeping bag (-25 rating)" on 11/15/2009 22:16:16 MST Print View

Thanks further clarfication....the synthetic bag doesn't compress the down bag too much?

Kendra Pyle
(klpyle) - F
Re: Re: More advice on winter sleeping bags, please! on 11/17/2009 04:30:29 MST Print View

Thanks for your suggestions, Brad. I was mistaken about the temp rating on my WM bag. It's definitely a mummy bag -- 20F ultralight.

I'm looking for something in the $200-$250 range, so I'll check out the TNF Snowshoe. Any thoughts on the Kelty Lightyear 0F down bag? It's about $240--budget for a down bag.