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Looking for New Cold Weather Down Bag
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John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Looking for New Cold Weather Down Bag on 03/22/2011 09:59:47 MDT Print View

I thought I'd throw this question at the Mountaineers.... I have an old (25 year old) 650 fill REI bag that's rated at -20F. It's seen better days and I'd like to replace it. I'm looking for a new bag rated at or near -20F. I sleep extremely cold. This bag will be used in the PNW sometimes in snow caves....sometimes in a tent. When in a snow cave I'll have it inside my OR Gore-tex bivy.

Which one should I buy?

Feathered Friends has some nice -10F and -25F 850 filled bags.

I see that Montbell has a -20F bag with 800 fill.

I see WM has a bag called the Puma MF at -20F

I'm sure there are more.


Edited by HairlessApe on 03/22/2011 10:06:08 MDT.

Russ Porter

Locale: Anchorage
REI expedition on 03/22/2011 10:40:11 MDT Print View

For the money the REI Expedition bag is hard to beat. It's 399 for a regular but with the 20% members coupon right now it is 320. It has a mixture of 700 fill down and 800 fill down. I used it this past weekend in Wrangell St Elias at -12. It worked great I was toasty warm just wearing a hat and some smartwool base layers. It's not as good as bag as WM or feathered friends but for half the money I'm extremly happy with it.

will sawyer
(wjsawyer) - F

Locale: Connecticut
Re: REI Expedition on 03/22/2011 14:33:22 MDT Print View

I have the same bag and would recommend it. Cheaper, a bit heavier, but still packs well and will be an improvement from your old bag. If it is -20* out, and you are in a '-20*' and sleep cold, it might not be enough. I assume you'll have a bunch of insulating clothing if temps are in that range, so you can also sleep in that, and you should be alright.


Charles Jennings
(vigilguy) - F

Locale: Northern Utah
Valandre' Odin - another bag to consider on 03/22/2011 14:41:49 MDT Print View

I ordered the Valandre Odin for myself a while is a -40 degree bag, thought I'd mention it since you said that you sleep extremely cold.

Expensive, but high quality. Lots of down.

I had a chance to try it out last weekend. Way overkill for the temps here now, but it was great. Close fitting but comfortable. No room for layering. But that also means no cold spots.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Valandre' Odin - another bag to consider on 03/22/2011 15:22:59 MDT Print View

The Odin is EN lower limit rated to -4 F. -44 F is the extreme or survival rating. Valandre is the only company I've seen using the extreme rating for advertising. Most everyone else uses the lower limit for men and comfort for women.

Edited by simplespirit on 03/22/2011 15:23:59 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
whadda he said on 03/22/2011 18:02:41 MDT Print View

^^^ whadda chris said .... valandre uses the extreme "survival" rating for their bags

you can see the comfort ratings on their site on a pdf ...

not many companies use the extreme rating anymore .... so in other words it aint a -40 bag

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Thank you on 03/23/2011 11:39:06 MDT Print View

I really appreciate all your input. Buying a new bag is never an easy decision. I'm willing to pay up to the $750 price for a good bag. You'd be surprised at how that REI bag is approximately the same total and stuffed weight as the other bags of equal tempurature. It's a great deal! I'll need to make an exel sheet showing weights, fill, material, etc., before dropping the money. I'd never heard of Valandre before...those are some nice bags. I'm walkng distance to Feathered Friends so I might go there and ask them why I should buy theirs over the others...... Thanks again!

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Thank you on 03/24/2011 02:07:35 MDT Print View

I would buy 2 bags. 1 smaller that fits inside a larger bag. Go through Feathered Friends. Talk to the knowledgeable staff and they will tell you how much larger to get the second bag. This way it will fit over a wider range of temperatures and will keep your pack light during the summer.

I have found the Feathered Friends products to be exact matches regarding claimed weight or very nearly so.

Also this way you now have 2 summer bags, so if you wear one out you just switch it out and you will still have -20F capability. In the long run it will be cheeper.

Or, big down jacket and pants to go with said bag. Don't forget the booties.

Get both worlds for nearly the same money, but slightly more weight.

You do use a Vapor Barrier at those temps right? This will extend the loft of said bags another 10 degrees or so depending on how much you sweat.

Edited by footeab on 03/24/2011 02:22:28 MDT.

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Thanks Brian on 03/24/2011 11:00:07 MDT Print View

I do use a vapor barrier when I'm in colder temps. When I'm snow caving I'll also be in my bivy.

I currently have a +20 F Feathered Friends bag that I really like. The feathers like to move to the side, so I have to do some pushing around every so often. That's my only complaint. The bags about 10 years old, so maybe they're resolved that issue. I took it to them the other day and had it cleaned and visually checked.

I never thought about doubling up bags. I also have a Golite 3-Season 20F quilt. I could always throw that over my FF bag like a comforter.......good idea. This will be on top of my Neoair and RidgeRest Solar.