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Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations?
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Jonathan Liew
(jon720) - F
Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations? on 12/21/2010 05:52:42 MST Print View

Hello. I am in the market for a new synthetic sleeping bag.

either a:
20-25 farenheit temp rating <2lbs 8oz
30 farenheit temp rating <1lb 14oz

I am hoping to use them with a silk liner for most trips or with belay jacket and pants for up to 0 degree.

Any recommendation?


Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
sleeping bags on 12/21/2010 08:18:54 MST Print View

For sleeping bags check out Montbell, Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends.

Mark Ryan

Locale: Somewhere. Probably lost.
Re: Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations? on 12/21/2010 09:40:34 MST Print View

Montbell UL SS Hugger #1 which is rated to 15 degrees. Worked great so me and is barely over 2lbs. Packs small too.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Western Mountaineering on 12/21/2010 11:14:45 MST Print View

The aptly named WM Ultralight bag is amazing. I think it is 1lb 13oz.

One of the best bags in my opinion.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations? on 12/21/2010 11:19:15 MST Print View

he asked for synthetic recs.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Re: Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations? on 12/21/2010 11:26:53 MST Print View

Didn't catch that.

Have you considered a quilt or are you dead set on a bag? For really light you could try Enlightened equipment. They make quilts that would fit your specs.

Edited by climberslacker on 12/21/2010 11:27:39 MST.

Dewey Riesterer
(Kutenay) - F
ID on 12/21/2010 11:27:06 MST Print View

I have an Integral Designs "Andromeda Overbag", rated to 40*F, IIRC, and it is a stand alone summer bag, nice and roomy at warm temps and about the weight you require. It combines with my ID "North Twin" to make a superb 0*F bombproof sleeping cocoon for the worst conditions.

I have had quite a few bags, including WW, FF, three ID, original Marmot Mtn., Wildthings and several other highend ones and this combo would be one of the two bags I would keep beyond all others, the second is my Valandre Shocking Blue.

I once had about a gallon of icy slush-rain fall onto it when a tarp shelter suddenly ripped in a wind and the Pertex shell just beaded and I could shake it dry and without any moisture entering the Primaloft insulation....I highly recommend this bag for your needs as posted.

Clint Newitt
(cnewitt) - F

Locale: Utah
MH Ultralamina or Lamina on 12/21/2010 11:50:15 MST Print View

From my research, it seems that the Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina and Lamina are among the best synthetic bags. The thermic micro insulation gets good reviews. There is an Ultralamina 15 deg. bag that weighs 2 lbs. 14 oz. in regular length. The Lamina 20 is 3 lbs. 1 oz. I think both the Lamina and Ultralamina use the same thermic micro insulation but the Ultralamina has a narrower cut, uses lighter nylon, and has 2 short zippers rather than one full-length zip. This all makes the Ultralamina's lighter. I have the Ultralamina 0 and found the fabric to be nicer than the Lamina 0. I thought the short zipper length might bother me but haven't found it to be a problem in cold weather because I don't need to ventilate much on really cold nights. I've only tested it to about 10 deg. in a tent with a base layer, but I was plenty warm at that point. The Ultralamina 15 has an EN T-Limit rating of 19 deg. I'm impressed with the quality of the Ultralamina 0, the only negatives are that it's not ultralight and does not compress all that small. But I'm sure you are aware of those issues with synth bags.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
bags on 12/21/2010 13:25:41 MST Print View

for 20F

NF cat's meow ... 1200g ... 19F en-rated ... ive used mine down to those temps fine ... wait for a sick sale shouldnt cost you more than $150 or less

MH ultralamina 15F

for 30F ... NF scorpio ... en-rated to 32F

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/21/2010 13:41:42 MST.

John Devitt
(cabana) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re: Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations? on 12/21/2010 14:08:30 MST Print View

Moonstone made good synth bag. Check e-bay or craigslist.


Josh Newkirk
(Newkirk) - MLife

Locale: Australia
bag on 12/21/2010 15:00:29 MST Print View

Marmot pounder

TNF Orion

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 12/21/2010 15:47:36 MST Print View

FF Vario or WM Apache is my vote. WM Ultralite is also nice but very delicate

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations? on 12/21/2010 16:33:22 MST Print View

"Hello. I am in the market for a new synthetic sleeping bag."

Ok. I won't give you any more down bag recommendations :P

I'll second Eric though on a Cat's Meow. If you want a synthetic 20-ish degree it's the way to go. It's insulated w/Climashield, a continuous filament fiber that'll generally last you longer. The TNF Fission is ~6oz lighter & uses the same insulation, though the zipper system isn't ideal. The Ultralaminas have, IMHO, a pretty lame zipper system. Yes, I understand why it's that way, but I'd prefer to have all that zipper length on one side for better ventilation on warmer days.

A silk liner won't really add any warmth, no more than a thin sheet would at home. You could probably gain 10-15*F using VBL clothing. I'm not sure you'd get a 20-degree bag to 0 using your puffies. Maybe you could, but I've never been comfortable with needing to use every stitch of insulation I have at one time... Murphy happens, after all.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations? on 12/21/2010 16:37:16 MST Print View

"Murphy happens, after all."

Murphy was an optimist.


Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations? on 12/21/2010 17:19:40 MST Print View

"0-25 farenheit temp rating <2lbs 8oz" Western Mountaineering Ultralight ~1# 13 oz.

"30 farenheit temp rating <1lb 14oz" Western Mountaineering @ ~1# 3 oz.

Hard to beat these two if you don't mind being a little careful with your gear. They are widely considered to be the gold standard for quality bags. With prices to match.

Jonathan Liew
(jon720) - F
continue... on 12/21/2010 23:55:53 MST Print View

I am really impressed by how helpful this community is and I assure you guys I've taken time to go through every single reply.

Let me expand on what I am looking for here. I have the Mountain Hardwear Lamina 0 bag. Along with the Ultralamina 0, it is probably one of the best single bag of this tempt you can get anywehre. The Ultralamina is about 7oz lighter than my Lamina 0 and as Clint pointed out, the fabric may be nicer as well.

I would gladly replace it for the 7oz but here is the catch: If I am bringing a 0 degree bag, 99.9% of the time I'll have my belay jacket and pants, and other insulation layers with me. If I am lugging them out there, it seems redundant to leave them aside and sleep in my base layers. Just not in keeping with ultralight concept if you ask me. Ok it will NEVER be as warm. But then the mountain will never be as warm as home.

Ultimately I am looking for a sleeping system that utilized all my clothing systems and keep me warm enough for a night sleep. That there is at least a pound of weight saving. And I don't have to leave clothing out. Another big advantage here: I won't need to spend an hour wiggling to warm up the bag before it got comfortable. The same with the dreadful crawling out of bag moment in the morning. All I had to do is to wear my warm layers to sleep. It also has the advantage of versatility, I can adjust the temperature by layering up with bags for extreme temperature.

In any case it sounds like a plus against the one bag system.
I also need to stress the importance of synthetic bag since I'll use it mainly in Patagonia. I will probably incorporate down for trips to Alaska, Canadian Rockies, the Alps and also the Himalayas.

Here are my thoughts to some of the replies:

Synthetic bag.

1. Some excellent suggestions with Western Mountaneering & Feathered Friends, but I doubt they have any synthetic bags. The same with Montbell US SS Hugger #1. Moonstone is not that light?

Overbag combo

2. While I am a big fan of overbag + downbag combom; I have to admit I never did looked into a overbag + syncbag combo.
It wouldn't be bad I guess. Except the ID combo weigh 5lbs 6oz isn't exactly ultralight for a 0 degree combination.
ID Andromeda overbag reg 1lb 14oz + ID North Twin reg 3lbs 8oz

A MEC overbag (1lbs 1oz) with the ultralight WM UltraLite 20deg (1lb 12oz) achieve the same warmth (theoretically) in well less than 3lbs!

But for sleeping in igloos or snowcave in Patagonia, exposed to moisture over time, I got a feeling one piece synthetic bag would be better suited. Please correct me if I am wrong.


3. I am for the quilt option if the primary use is for lying down, but consider I might sit in it bivying on a ledge; not sure if it is a good idea. I can get the GoLite RS3 Quilt for $90, rated to 25f.

Half bag

4. Wild Things half bag is rated to 30F, weigh 1lb 13oz (high for a half bag) and designed to use with all insulation layers. Sounds like what I need. Anyone has experience with it?


5. Anyone know where can I get MEC stuff in the US?

Best options thus far:

Marmot Pounder 40F 1lb,
NF Scorpio 40F 1lbs 15oz,
NF Fission 20F 2lbs 4oz,
NF Orion 20F 2lbs 9oz,
NF Cat's Meow 20F 2lbs 10oz,
MH Ultralamina 15F 2lbs 14oz

Keep it coming please!


Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Quilt for sitting Bivy. on 12/22/2010 00:25:04 MST Print View

I feel like a quilt might be easier on a sitting bivy. But keep in mind I am just a 16 year old who wants to get into alpinism and all that fun stuff (read: I am REALLY jealous) so I have never tried it. As long as you got it wide enough that it.

The Overbag+Ultralight would also be pretty good because you will in the end have most of the water vapor end up in the overbag wich means that you will have any frost formed in the overbag.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
here kittty kitty on 12/22/2010 05:17:41 MST Print View

jon ...

to answer a few questions

- you could prob use down ... i would suggest asking the folks at what they use in pata ... they could prob suggests how down works there

- with a synth however its more forgiving ... the bag will deal with moisture in the PNW, you dont need to worry too much about snow getting on it .. just shake it off, if it gets wet you "may" be able to dry it off with body heat, if you need to wear your damp clothes to bed its not the end of the world

- i havent used overbags too much so i wont say too much about them ... i suspect that it may be a bit more flaff to deal with 2 bags though ... a light bivy/over bag may be worth having if yr going to use down

-the cat's meow is decently roomy, more so than some overbags according to their specs ... can fit inside the bag with my belay jacket

- synth bags have the advantage in that wearing your down jacket inside you bag makes for optimum moisture management ... just like synth overbags

- the cat's meow 20F is 40% heavier than a WM 20F (cross between ultra and alpin lite in size) ... no way around that ... whether the extra weight is worth it is your decision ... ~850g vs. 1200 ... that extra 350 g could be an extra 2 jetboil canister ...

- the fabric is quite durable on the 2008-2009 model ... its thicker than the usual UL fabrics which is nice around crampons, axes, etc ... bottom is very durable

- the dark black and blue color on the 2008-2009 model facilitates drying in the sun ,, the newer ones are a lighter color ... a yuppie decision IMO ... some other bags like the ultralamina 15 are a lighter color ..

- full size 2 way zipper on the 2008-2009 model ... some bag may not have this ... quite useful as you could wear your bag in camp, with the feet sticking out, before sleeping, thus warming it up .... double zip also makes for very good venting ... the zipper can get caught if yr not careful, the trick is to place the index finger on the top edge when yr zipping up from the inside

- there are loops on the 2008-2009 model that you can attach to a bivy bag, or the bag by itself if you are bivying nekkid (no bivy bag) on a route ... the loops also allow you to hitch up and wear the bag with some cord if yr so inclined

- you can buy the 2008-2009 verion for $140

- it packs like an fatty garfield, no ways about it ... figure it taking up 15L+ in yr pack

- it is en-rated for men to 19F ... i have personally used it with a bivy in the open with a neo air ad light layers (base + light fleece) down to 15F before getting cool ... i can easily stretch it to 10F with some more insulating clothing and another foam pad... below that, well that depends on you how hairy you are ... -10F or so is the survival rating, so you likely wont die till then ;)

- if you are going to be in poor bivy positions ... bag over a quilt anyday

are there better bags? ... probably ... will a down bag be lighter and more compressible? ... 800 fill definitely, 650- fill ... not so much

are there better bags for $140 ... nadda chance ... if there was a single bag that i would tell someone to buy for any conditions for 3+ seasons, that needed to be totally bomber, decently light weight (for a synth), fairly cheap ... in other words for yr average joe ... it would be this kitty cat

id put the cat's meow against most 650 fill bags ... it weights roughly the same for similar en-ratings, usually costs less, dries faster, might pack larger, and might not last 10 years ... but hey get a new on sale kitty cat when you abuse the old kitty so much that you need to bury it in the yard

pleaze dun call the spca on me =P

andy kirkpatrick story on synth if you havent already read it

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/22/2010 07:55:14 MST.

Dewey Riesterer
(Kutenay) - F
ID Wildthings on 12/22/2010 08:36:37 MST Print View

Jonathan, I take your point concerning weight and temps., I was not reading quite as clearly as I should have as I was doing two things at once...duh!

I would trust my ID-NT down to 0*F as is and below zero with the addtional insulation of clothing. I use the combo primarily on hunting trips and it gives me both a "basecamp" bag insider my Kifaru 8-man or Hilleberg Saivo tents, and a light bivy bag used with one of my ID bivies and tarps. This, is the most "failsafe" combo I have used in 46+ years of backpacking here in BC.

The weight issue is a crucial one and I much prefer my down bags for most uses, but, the Primaloft bags I have certainly perform well under the very wet conditions of BC hunting season. I tend to err on the side of extra "security" in my gear choices as I am often alone and far from any assistance in case of emergency.

I do have one of the Wildthings halfbags and like it, but, it is fairly snug and really best for shorterm bivy uses, paired with my ID Dolomite jacket, I am not keen on using it for multiday treks, but, one could if it fitted the parameters of a given trip. The quality is excellent and ranks with ID, Mystery Ranch and Valandre as about the best I have seen.

So, hopefully, this will help some and the Kifaru company also has some synthetic bags that look very interesting.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
"Ultralight sleeping bag recommendations?" (synthetic) on 12/22/2010 21:17:10 MST Print View

EMS makes some nice light 30 d. bags in its Velocity series with Primaloft and Pertex shells. Only problem for me is the short zipper used to shave weight.
Montbell also makes some nice light synthetic bags in several temp ranges with its proprietary insulation and fabric, but a little heavier with longer zippers.
Gave up on TNF synthetic bags the umpteenth time the insulation lost its loft.
(The only time they are compressed is when they are in the pack, and no compression straps are used).