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CT, WM sleeping bag dilemma
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brandon reynolds
(brandonreynolds85)

Locale: Rocky Mountains
CT, WM sleeping bag dilemma on 12/16/2011 21:51:33 MST Print View

So my wife and I are hiking the CT this august and I am debating between a WM summerlite or ultralite.

there is a ten once weight difference between the two and I'd really like to get the summerlite, but not at the expense of freezing. I would prob wear a down jacket, thin long underwear, wool socks and a hat to layer. Would that be enough layering to get the summerlite? Would I miss the draft collar of the Ultralite? AHHH

Also, what are the low temps on the trail in August? 20's?

Brandon

Edited by brandonreynolds85 on 12/16/2011 22:16:19 MST.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: WM bags on 12/16/2011 22:30:36 MST Print View

I went through the same process 6 months ago. I got a Summerlite, and while other people will probably tell you different, I found that it just wasn't a very warm bag, even with extra layers. I shivered my way through two 38F nights and sold it. I got an Ultralite and had the exact opposite experience - way roomier and way too warm/heavy almost all of the time. I ended up with a Katabatic Alsek 22F quilt which has 12 oz of fill (halfway between the Summerlite and Ultralite) at 22oz. I've had it for 6 months now and it is the right compromise of warmth and weight for me. Same weight as the Summerlite, but almost as warm as the Ultralite. I've had it down to 21F with layers and was warm. If you can wrap your head around a quilt, it's an option you should think about. With the pad attachment system it feels close to a well-fitting mummy bag anyway.

Andrew

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Trying to go to a quilt on 12/16/2011 23:36:59 MST Print View

Thank you Andrew. One of the older guys I bp with has a quilt and swears by them. I need to pick one up as my WM Caribou can be a little cool when temps get down to the upper 20's, it is a 35F degree bag after all, not that conservative of a rating, unlike my Antelope. It would be nice to have something warmer and lighter too boot. Win win.
Duane

Serge G.
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
32 deg on 12/17/2011 01:22:02 MST Print View

I section hiked most of the CT last july with a 40 degree quilt the katabatic chisos. For one trip I skipped torso insulation and was a bit chilly early in the morn. When I wore a light hooded down the nextdirt weekend I stayed warm. I'd compare this quilt to the summerlight in warmth. I think it'd be enough for me but we ll tend to sleep a bit different. I would recommend you a katabaric palisade. My frien yo-yo'd the CT, pulling about 30to miles a day eith only the palisade and hood for insulation, and he said he didnt have a cold night on trail.
Or sticking to the topic, a summerlight. Have an extra peice of insulation like a jacket or vest in a bounce box in case you find its not enough. Have fun!

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: CT, WM sleeping bag dilemma on 12/17/2011 06:22:40 MST Print View

I had a Summerlite for a few months and got rid if it and bought a Ultralite.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: CT, WM sleeping bag dilemma on 12/17/2011 06:58:03 MST Print View

Sleeping bags are sleeping bags. Quilts are quilts. I used a quilt but after several nights, I could not get used to the middle of the night draught from rolling, soo, went back to a bag.

The Summerlite is a nice bag and the temp rating is fairly accurate. The Ultralight is a good bag and is accurate to. But they are much different and designed for different conditions. My choice would be the 1#13 Ultralight for general good looks and function. Probably too much for mid summer. Probably not enough for late fall/early spring (OK with additional down and good padding in a tent or enclosed tarp, though.) Note that most good bags are rated for wearing a base layer of some sort in them, often a functioning set of long johns and socks. The down jacket will add maybe 10F, depending on your pad. Often a good pad selection will warm a bag by as much as 10F. Or cool you off in summer by about the same by simply removing it and using a 1/8-1/4" piece of foam. So, there are other factors to consider. Shelter will have some effect on temp, also. Fully enclosed tent? Open Tarp? I usually figure about a 5* difference. Winds...how much? In the woods? On grass or other high humidity ground cover making your bag damp? Anyway, I figure about 15-20F total. Then you really need another bag.

Not quite straight forward, get one over the other. But, it should give you a bit more to work with. The Summerlite may work well and save you some weight depending on where and how you intend to sleep.

Chase Norton
(Micronorton) - F
+1 Summerlite on 12/17/2011 07:03:55 MST Print View

It seems I am in the minority but I carried a summerlite along in 20F weather and loved it.

Rutherford Platt
(tunaboy999) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: CT, WM sleeping bag dilemma on 12/17/2011 07:04:35 MST Print View

Consider the marmot Hydrogen. At 25 oz not the lightest but it's wider and warmer than the summerlite (EN rated at 30 degrees compared to 36 for the summerlite). You'll save a little weight over a 20 degree bag.

Mike Feldman
(MikeF) - M

Locale: SE USA
Marmot Hydrogen on 12/17/2011 07:34:56 MST Print View

Agree on the Marmot bag! I have the older model w/half zip, in long, 13 ounces of 850 wht. down. I have been comfortable at 27 degrees in a Shires Rainbow Tarptent w/socks, Patagonia Cap 2 johns.

brandon reynolds
(brandonreynolds85)

Locale: Rocky Mountains
RE: so the quilt thing is intriguing on 12/17/2011 08:55:12 MST Print View

So I cant find alot of info on Katabatic quilts. how do they stack up compared to other quilts. I have heard alot of good things about Nunatak arc alpinist.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re Quilts on 12/17/2011 09:00:08 MST Print View

"Sleeping bags are sleeping bags. Quilts are quilts. I used a quilt but after several nights, I could not get used to the middle of the night draught from rolling, soo, went back to a bag. "

Another hiker that used a quilt too narrow for them.

My Katabatic Sawatch Wide is perfect. I can toss 'n turn underneath it without getting any drafts.

If i was hiking as a couple, i would get a quilt wide enough to cover both of you. Share that body heat. :)

Edited by MikefaeDundee on 12/17/2011 09:01:57 MST.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
wm on 12/17/2011 09:13:50 MST Print View

The best aspect of continuos baffle bags like the summerlite is how flexible they can be. I dont have experience with the summerlite, I have a megalite.

You can shift the down and increase the top loft a fair amount. When sleeping on a warm pad when its cold, shift as much down as possible to the top. You will have more loft of up to 3-4" on top of you, and likely find its much warmer that way. Dont need any under you, just like a quilt. Just dont roll to the side exposing your uninsulated backside to cold. This works great with my megalite into the high 20s,without additional clothing, and I sleep cold with a low bodyfat percentage.

I too am interested in the alpinist bag for colder conditions at a lighter weight. Some reviews had bad things to say without having some customization done, dont recall what those were offhand.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: RE: so the quilt thing is intriguing on 12/17/2011 09:36:32 MST Print View

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/katabatic_sawatch_quilt_crestone_hood_review.html

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re wm on 12/17/2011 10:02:19 MST Print View

"The best aspect of continuos baffle bags like the summerlite is how flexible they can be. I dont have experience with the summerlite, I have a megalite.

You can shift the down and increase the top loft a fair amount. When sleeping on a warm pad when its cold, shift as much down as possible to the top"


If the down can move, the baffles are underfilled.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
Re: Re wm on 12/17/2011 10:25:44 MST Print View

Yes, but its by design. That is why these WM bags have the continuous baffle design and dont appear very lofty compared with colder weather bags. They have just enough down for their intended use. WM will add 2oz more to a megalite for $36 if you want.

My point is that many who are dissatisfied, probably havent tried to get the most possible out of the bag this way. The summerlite is also notoriously snug, which might prevent some people from using extra layers effectively.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Re: Re wm on 12/17/2011 10:30:33 MST Print View

"If the down can move, the baffles are underfilled."

The baffles on my WM bags don't seem too underfilled but they are continually baffled to move the down from the bottom underside to the top of the bag. Being a rolling side sleeper, I keep about a 60/40 ratio top to bottom and find it works ok.

Regarding the OP, I would suggest you consider the 22F Katabatic Alsek too. For me the Summerlite is what it says it is: a summer bag for temps down to 40F. If my metabolism is running warm (not usually the case) it can work to freezing. Below that and I pull out my 15F Apache. If I had to get another high end bag right now, it would be the Alsek and lightweight hood.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re on 12/17/2011 11:30:53 MST Print View

"Yes, but its by design. That is why these WM bags have the continuous baffle design and dont appear very lofty compared with colder weather bags. They have just enough down for their intended use."

If the down can shift during the night, leaving your hip cold, then it's a bad design. They don't have enough down. I'll say it again, if the down can shift leaving empty spaces, then the baffles are underfilled.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"CT, WM sleeping bag dilemma" on 12/17/2011 12:26:01 MST Print View

Brandon,

To answer your question in comparing Nunatak to Katabatic. I can tell you having owned two different Nunatak quilts, including the Alpinist, and now a new owner of a Katabatic Sawatch WIDE, that both of these companies are making the highest quality quilts you can purchase, without a doubt. If you don't require the tailoring or specific shell needs offerend by Nunatak, then Katabatic Gear is probably your most affordable option right out of the box.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
Re: Re on 12/17/2011 12:58:27 MST Print View

Have not had any problems with down shifting by itself during night. It takes holding the bag up on edge and shaking, and squeezing it down with a hand to force it to move from the bottom into the top of the bag. It cannot just migrate back to bottom by itself.

If someone was to put most of down on the bottom, leaving top seriously underfilled, then some settling to sides might be possible, however that would be done because the bag was too warm for the conditions in the first place, and it likely would be their desired result.

There is no reason to fill the bottom of a bag to capacity normally, there is no reason to have much insulation there anyway, as it does little good. Hence the popularity of quilts to save weight. So the bottom of the bag can become a reservoir for excess down to customize the loft of the bag for temperature conditions. It results in a bag that can be used in a wide range of temperatures comfortably, if used smartly.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Summerlite on 12/17/2011 13:01:04 MST Print View

I used to be a cold sleeper. I eventually became a warm sleeper after many nights in an old inexpensive budget sleeping bag. My body just acclimated.

I have taken my Summerlite down to about 20 deg F. Although I also wore a hooded fleece and a light vest. I did actually leave the vest unzipped to avoid sweating.

The weird thing is that I sometimes wake up in the early warmer part of a cold evening with a chill, but go back to sleep, only to wake up in the much colder early morning to pee and realized that I am not cold at all.

I think if you condition yourself, your body will kick in and provide extra heat as needed, or maybe become less sensitive, I don't know.

We all know that the more time you spend outdoors in the cold, the less it bothers you. I find the same is true for sleeping in the cold.

Be aware that the hood on the Summerlite is not designed for cold. A warm hat/hood makes a lot of difference, but you carry one of those anyway in cold weather.