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Sleeping Bag for Holy Cross area???
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DJ Nestrick
(djnestrick) - F

Locale: Central Florida
Sleeping Bag for Holy Cross area??? on 07/11/2011 15:14:18 MDT Print View

First of all, I live and hike in Florida normally so please help out a warm weather hiker :)

Heading to Vail, CO later this week for a 4 night hike to Holy Cross (14er) and surrounding areas. I sleep in an Expedition Asym Hammock which is great in Florida because it is so nice and cool. I expect that we will be making camp well below the treeline in Colorado, but that uninsulated hammock backside might get a bit chilly.

I have two options:

1. A light fleece sleeping bag I use in Florida (24 ounces). This might work as I am taking long underwear, full rainsuit, emergency blanket, extra socks.

2. 20 degree bag (61 ounces). I expect this will easily do the trick, but is soooo heavy I really don't want to take it.

Is there a better third option this is cheap and fast or will one of the above work best? Thanks in advance for any advice you can share!


todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Sleeping Bag for Holy Cross area??? on 07/11/2011 18:29:18 MDT Print View

Hi DJ,

Greetings from the Panhandle!

I went to HC last Sept with a couple of buddies and had a great time - so will you.

I slept in a 30deg quilt and was fine. Extra clothing helped me thru the coldest night @19 deg.

I wouldn't take either option 1 or 2. I hang too (although not on this trip). I use an underquilt and like it better than any other option. Since you leave in a few days, though, that may not be an option. If I couldn't take my UQ I would take a CCF pad. Pads will not compress under you, thus they will keep you warm. They weigh less than your existing options, too. Your fleece and bag will not keep your underside warm if temps drop. If your only CCF is thin, then the fleece hung like an UQ will help.

Check out for more great info.


Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Trailhead road on 07/11/2011 21:21:17 MDT Print View

I am heading there also in a few months. Just an FYI, the Tigiwon road to the half moon trailhead is closed for the 2011 season due to beetle killed tree removal.

I also vote for not either option 1 or 2. It will get mighty cold up there for a hammock.

But I am a wussy ground sleeper, you are probably alot tougher than me.

Edited by bwortman on 07/11/2011 21:22:40 MDT.

Peter Fogel
(pgfogel) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
Holy Cross Vail Area weather on 07/12/2011 11:03:12 MDT Print View

It has been VERY wet and unusually cold here this so far this summer. It may dry out a bit later this week, however I would not count on it.


DJ Nestrick
(djnestrick) - F

Locale: Central Florida
Thanks! on 07/12/2011 11:27:12 MDT Print View

Thanks for the advice and update on the weather. Looks like I'll be stuck with the heavy bag and taking a set of cold weather clothes just in case. I don't have the time or fundage to look into quilts and, with the big bag, I am at 20 pounds total pack weight to start the trip. My little Murmur would start crying if I shove anything else into it...

If anyone else wants to give advice, please do!

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Thanks! on 07/12/2011 12:24:56 MDT Print View

Ehh.. it hasn't been that cold, the temperatures have seemed pretty normal, so far. However, it has definitely been extremely wet. We are in monsoon season right now.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Sleeping Bag for Holy Cross area??? on 07/12/2011 12:36:40 MDT Print View

Not to belabor the point, but you will need some bottom insulation (pad at least) to stay warm. Your sleeping bag, no matter the rating, will have its loft flattened by your weight and you'll be cold below 55-65deg (YMMV).

Take a bigger pack and add a CCF pad.

DJ Nestrick
(djnestrick) - F

Locale: Central Florida
Maybe :) on 07/12/2011 13:51:23 MDT Print View

Early last month I was in my hammock, sleeping naked, after a hot grueling Florida hike. The temperature dipped down below 60 degrees and all I had was my little fleece bag. This thing has no temperature rating - its the sort of item you'd pick up at Walmart for $15 and let your 10 year old kid use during the summer. Heck, its only 5 feel long...

Anyway. Just wanted to paint that picture for you. I was perfectly comfortable, although I expect I would have gotten chilly if the temperature had dropped into the mid 50's.

Assuming we don't set up camp on top of Mt of the Holy Cross, what is a realistic night temperature in the Vail area this time of year? My research says it will probably stay in the 40's at night.

I don't know if I sleep hot, but was thinking I'd be ok if I layered clothes and made sure to pick a warmish campsite. Am I trying too hard to stay under 20 pounds? Heck, food and water will start the hike at 9.5 pounds...

Nate Powell
(powell1nj) - F

Locale: North Carolina
Holy Cross on 07/12/2011 14:52:07 MDT Print View


First off, that's going to be a great hike. I spent quite a bit of time out there last summer and it's a beautiful area. If it were me, I'd lean towards a warmer bag - the 20 degree is a bit much but if I had to choose between that and a fleece thing I'd go with the 20 degree. It can chilly at night up there. I used my 32 degree bag throughout the summer and was comfortable. If you're at 20lbs with the 20 degree bag I'd say let it ride brother, that's a nice pack weight! You'll probably end up a little toasty but that's better than shivering in my book, and I think that's what will go down if you take the fleece bag. Just my two cents.

Feel free to continue the tradition some friends and I had of drinking a can of Modus Hoperandi on top of every Fourteener we summited, including Holy Cross. Nothing like a super-hoppy brew at 9:30 am on top of a mountain. I daresay I jumped for joy.

Holy Cross

Best of luck and have a great time. I'm jealous!

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Temps on 07/12/2011 15:30:28 MDT Print View

I spent last week just to the east of the Holy Cross wilderness @ 10,000'. Night time temps were in the low 50's/high 40's.

It was really rainy in the evenings and over night. Mornings and early afternoon were nice though.

There was quite a bit of snow over 11,000'. not enough to hinder travel, but something to be ready for. Some high passes in the HCW could be covered in snow in shady spots.

Good luck, and be sure to post a trip report with a load of pictures when you get back.