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Winter/Shoulder season Sleeping Bag
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David Stanhope
(stanhope2003) - F

Locale: New England
Winter/Shoulder season Sleeping Bag on 11/30/2009 21:26:25 MST Print View

I am looking at Down Sleeping bags for winter backpacking and mountaineering. And the shoulder seasons.

At first when I was looking at Down Bag, my Criteria: 2.8lbs or less, Temp rating of 0-20 and under $300.

This was extremely hard to find. Then I came across EMS Sleeping bags.I have a coupon to bring it down to the prices that I listed. But the question is Temp rating of 0 or 20? What are the pro's and con's?

Both- 750 Down Fill, water resistant, Mummy, Stuff sack included.

The 0 Rated Bag- 3lbs. 8 oz Price $271.20

The 20 Rated Bag- 2lbs 3oz Price $191.20

I know I could use something like a Sea to Summit Liner to add warmth and put the sleeping bag in a bivy to increase warmth as well. I'm leaning towards the 20 F bag in terms of weight and price. The only other bag that I can find that comes close to this criteria (weight and price) is the Marmot Sawtooth 15F $183 Regular length, weight 2lbs 14oz, 600 Fill.

Location: NH, below treeline
Temp: 0-35F+
Sleep: Warm Sleeper

Advice? Suggestions?

Edited by stanhope2003 on 11/30/2009 21:28:27 MST.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Winter/Shoulder season Sleeping Bag on 12/01/2009 06:43:35 MST Print View

If you want to spend right to your budget, backcountrygear has the Marmot helium in regular length, left zip, on sale for $295 right now. basegear has it for $296. It's a couple steps up from the Sawtooth. You get 850+ down fill in a 31oz bag, saving 4 oz of the EMS 20 degree bag, and I'd trust Marmot's temp rating over EMS's.

I had a sawtooth last winter. It was a fine bag in 20 degree temps, but way, way to warm for me over 30, even unzipped and venting. has the Marmot Pinnacle on sale for $264. It's a step up from the Sawtooth with 800+ down fill and 6oz lighter in the regular length.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Winter/Shoulder season Sleeping Bag on 12/01/2009 07:18:55 MST Print View

Since cost is obviously a factor, be sure to consider your other gear and potential use patterns. What do you already have? Do you own a liner and bivy already?

If the weather will only drop below 20F on a few trips a year, and especially if those would be somewhat short trips (long weekends for example), consider the lighter bag or even a quilt supplemented with your existing summer bag. Are you willing to spend $300 to save a couple pounds carried for just three or four days per year?

Would the 100 difference between the two EMS bags be better put toward a lightweight insulated jacket that could be used both in camp and to stretch the bag rating? If so make sure the 20 degree bag is roomy enough.

REI's Sub-kilo 20 is 29 ounces and currently on sale at REI Outlet for about $160, but it's cut too narrow to really work with a lot of clothing inside.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Re: Winter/Shoulder season Sleeping Bag on 12/01/2009 08:50:13 MST Print View

Are you thinking midwinter in NH? It gets way colder than 0. Even here in n. mass. it gets to -10 or -20.

For midwinter in NH, even a 0 degree bag is too optimistic. A 20 degree bag supplemented with clothes, liner and bivy wouldn't do it for me at below 0. With the liner and bivy, you could be adding 1 lb to 1.5 lb. Something like the Northface Tundra (-20F, 3lb 14oz) or Darkstar (-40, 5lb 15oz)synthetic bags might work; the big disadvantage is not the weight but the volume (Darkstar stuffed size: 12"x25" is 2826 cu inches tundra ~1500 cu in.).

For shoulder season (i.e. now, Dec. 1, not Jan. 1), a 20F bag supplemented with clothing might work.

For summer or warm spring and fall nights the winter bags (rated below 20) will be too warm and a 20 bag is usable.

For myself, I have a good 20F Feathered Friends bag, overstuffed with a couple extra oz of down -- maybe good to 10 or 15. I'm thinking of sewing a Climashield overbag to bring it down to -20. Mine is pretty tight for using a liner or clothes inside. I'm also considering the NF Tundra.

Campmor has Campmor brand down sleeping bags for 0 and 20 that are bargains

David Stanhope
(stanhope2003) - F

Locale: New England
Tough choices, good recommendations on 12/01/2009 11:35:30 MST Print View

Everyone has a lot of good recommendations. Jim you make some great points. The Marmot Helium looks like a great bag weight and fill wise but it is the top of my budget and that's a large consideration. Jim you do make a great point as well that for the most part I won't be backpacking every weekend probably a handful of trips a yr. And I can suffer a little on those trips. I have a second Thread about bivy sacks under Mountaineering/Alpinism, take a look. What's your input on the bivy sacks? I am looking at an emergency bivy sack. And in theory I could use this bivy sack with the sleeping bag to increase warmth as well. I do not have a sleeping bag liner.

Some thoughts I have is to wait till Jan 2010 when the new Marmot Helium will be coming out and the 09 model will most likely be cheaper then the listed price right now. The REI and EMS sleeping bags look like good possibilities as well and within my budget. I would love to get a Feathered Friends Sleeping bag. I rented one last May on Mt Rainier but the price just is out of my price range. And they aren't willing to sell from their rental fleet.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Winter/Shoulder season Sleeping Bag on 12/01/2009 12:38:03 MST Print View

What do you have as a summer bag? What do you need for spring and fall? I would hate to see you spend all your gear money on a bag that works only for a few mid-winter trips but leaves you without a good solution for more frequent summer or spring/fall trips.

Out here in the Sierra where I have done most of my trips, bag choices are fairly easy. A 15F degree down bag with full zip is seldom too hot for summer and is good for about 8 months. 0F degrees of comfort covers the winter (though I've seen -10F several times) I know things are different other places- a good bag for October would kill you in August.

David Stanhope
(stanhope2003) - F

Locale: New England
Reply on 12/01/2009 13:39:08 MST Print View

For the summer I use my LL Bean 30F sleeping bag and fleece blankets. So far it's served me well. You have me thinking though to wait on the sleeping bag purchase since it is not a cheap one. And wait more to see what my needs will be in a sleeping bag. And to go on more trips to see what i really want in a sleeping bag.

My next few trips I would like to travel to Colorado and the West Coast. So maybe after a few more trips I will determine what would be most suitable. In the meantime I could rent sleeping bags from EMS/REI or the like and see what I like.

The Emergency Bivy sack for winter mountaineering is something I would def. like to invest in now though for safety purposes.

Edited by stanhope2003 on 12/01/2009 13:40:13 MST.

Spruce Goose
(SpruceGoose) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Winter/Shoulder season Sleeping Bag on 12/03/2009 15:30:02 MST Print View

Definitely 0F or lower rated bag, for "winter" in New England. I use a 0F bag, and supplement it with a VBL and bag cover/bivy. With these supplemts, I've taken it down to about -15F comfortably, without a tent.

Most of my local friends have -20F bags, though. A couple even use -40F. I can't justify that, myself.