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Sleeping bag input needed from the Ladies
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Heather Hohnholz
(Hawke) - M
Bags on 03/08/2013 08:28:22 MST Print View

I have both a Zpacks 20deg in regular/wide, and an EE 40 deg quilt in regular/wide.

I have used the Zpacks down to about 20 degrees, but it was pretty cool, and I wished I had more insulation (like a nice down jacket). On the other hand, unless it's down in the 30s, I was was too hot. My version is the full side zip version, but I too use my feet poked out for air conditioning, and that isn't really an option with this bag. I'm also a side sleeper, which makes a traditional bag harder to get along with.

I got the EE for warmer weather, and I found that I LOVED that it's a quilt. I can still cinch up the foot box & lower part of the bag if I need more heat, but it's so much more versatile in different situations. I'm seriously tempted to get a 10 or 20 deg quilt & sell the Zpacks just for that reason. I didn't have any problems with the quilt coming off, even when I had it fully open in "quilt mode". The other thing I really liked about the EE quilt is that I could un-cinch the foot box, but leave the lower part of it snapped closed to help hold it in place.

Anyhoo, YMMV.

Jan S
Re: Re: 10-15 deg lower on 03/08/2013 09:01:33 MST Print View

"so I want her to get a good nights sleep without waking up several times because she's kicked the quilt off."

I've found that quilts are considerably better if you sleep on the side or thrash around (take a wider one then) in your sleep. Why? Because modern mummy bags are way to tight for me and I don't turn in them but with them. That combined with less insulation on your back leads to quite cold mornings and a freezing back.

Edited by karl-ton on 03/08/2013 09:50:37 MST.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
WT and sleeping on 03/08/2013 09:45:28 MST Print View

I've done both the Wonderland Trail and the Northern Loop. I'm a side/stomach sleeper and a thrasher. Here's what I found for myself. On the Wonderland Trail I used a Neoair pad and a Big Agnes Peggy SL, rated to 15 F. Way too much for the east side of the mountain, where the temps were 80-90 F during the day. Ok for the cooler west side of the mountain. Last summer, I did the Northern Loop with a EE quilt--perfect. I do wear sleeping clothes--light merino long-sleeve shirt and Capilene long-johns, plus socks. I did have down booties with me, but find in the quilt, didn't need them. The last night we were out it was cold and raining, was never cold at all. The quilt allows me to regulate temperature much better, and with Tim's modified attachment system I think it will be easier to keep the quilt tucked around one if wanted.

Down works perfectly well on the Wonderland Trail. I will add the caveat that I carry mine in a cuben dry sack, and have never had more than a day or two of rainy drizzle on the trail--lucky!

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: I'm a thrasher too on 03/08/2013 11:28:14 MST Print View

"Right now I'm giving the Zpacks (with zip and draft tube) serious consideration due to its hybrid design and very low weight."

Just a word of caution here. I had a Zpacks bag with draft tube. Unlike other bag makers, Zpacks does not take any measures to minimize zipper snags. The first time I unzipped mine, it snagged 3 times. With extreme cognizance, out of the bag and in my living room with great lighting, I could unzip it with no snags. I doubt I could have that success in a small tent, in the dark. Factor in the ultra thin liner too. A snag, or series, could easily damage it, I'm guessing.

IMHO, the Zpacks bag is best used as originally designed: no draft tube. It's a unique bag that has a good combination of very favorable features. I hope to see them refine their draft tube though and add a foot box.

Good luck with whatever decision you come to. I'm envious that your daughter wants to join you. I can only hope my daughter will ask to join me when she's that age and older. For now, at 9, she wants little to do with backpacking. I love her the same though.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Sleeping bag input needed from the Ladies" on 03/08/2013 12:38:42 MST Print View

I am a cold sleeper and have found I need a bag to be rated for significantly (at least 20 degrees) colder than the temperature I'm going to be sleeping in. I also wear a balaclava to help prevent heat loss at my head and to prevent burrowing into my bag and getting it wet with breath vapor while sleeping. I am often cold but rarely overheat. But everyone is different. I'd probably go with the warmer bag and she can unzip it a bit if she starts to overheat.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Sleeping pad on 03/08/2013 15:07:22 MST Print View

While not female I am (was) a "cold sleeper."

I had a women's REI bag rated at 10F that I froze in at around freezing when I first started backpacking and was incredibly disheartened by the experience. I eventually bought a WM Ultralight for fear of freezing.

Subsequent backpacking trips saw me sleep at similar temps with just fleece clothing and WPB bivy (ie a lot less lofty insulation) perfectly fine. My WM bag rarely gets used now because I'm a "warm sleeper" somehow. The difference? A better insulating sleeping pad and some techniques.

First off better food and hydration allows a bag to stay warmer (just make sure you empty your bladder first, a full one cools you down). Fatty foods gave me enough calories to stay warm long into the night. With women generally having higher fat content in their bodies than men (you'd think that'd be insulating) I wonder if women need more night time calories to thermoregulate. Fat is preferred because it's a slow burn compared to carbs.

Situps/crunches are also great for generating heat late in the night. It doesn't take much to warm up quick.

Lastly a better sleeping pad/camp site. I underestimated how much warmth rock and sand can suck from your body. Camping on forest duff or having a better sleeping pad will make a huge difference in perceived comfort. Notice that the neoair xlite women's has a higher R value than the regular pad.

I'd still aim for a 10+ degree difference between rating and actual temps but teaching your daughter about these other techniques will also greatly improve her comfort. I think "cold" temp sleeping, at least compared to at home, is as much if not more an issue of skill and technique than it is of proper insulation. Also test out some gear (rent from REI and such) in the backyard or on the weekends just to see how she reacts to various temperatures and bags.

Regardless, cold and miserable or not, it sounds like you two will have a blast.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Bag vs quilt on 03/08/2013 22:56:32 MST Print View

I'm 5'-2", about your daughter's size now.

My last bag was a TNF Cat's Meow bag rated for 20F. I found it to be a Good economical option you may try since your daughter is still growing.

I now have an EE 40F synthetic and a Katabatic Gear 30F down quilts. I sleep "cold," but I find the KG quilt warm below 30.

I don't use the attachment system for either one because I toss around quite a bit and think it's both unnecessary & too confining.

I love my KG, but would now rather have synthetic instead of down.
FWIW - As your daughter gains experience, she'll settle in on what works for her. Given that and that she is still growing, I would recommend shopping for a gently used bag or quilt for now instead of spending a lot.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
What Susan said... on 03/09/2013 07:04:25 MST Print View

Your daughter is young and will develop her own tastes and her own sleeping style. I could not agree more than you are putting way too much on yourself right now to pick the perfect quilt that will last her until she's 45. Besides, technology is going to get better and heaven knows I myself have already gone through too many iterations of my sleeping system trying to find what works best for me.

So...yeah Susan for bringing that up!! Just get something inexpensive that fits her now, will be very comfortable for her now, and let her find her own way as she grows. Nothing is more important at this point than making sure she's comfy and has a good she'll want to go out more.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
EN Ratings on 03/09/2013 08:15:00 MST Print View

EN ratings have their Comfort rating and their Limit Rating. The limit rating is generally advertized which is the mens rating. The Comfort is about 10f to 15f higher depending on temp and is the womens rating.

For a 40f comfort rating you need a 30f limit rating bag.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Bag vs quilt on 03/09/2013 17:50:31 MST Print View

I just wanted to reiterate my gratitude for all the thoughtful advice. I'm going to buy her the Exped Synmat UL 7 for the time being and allow her to try a variety of bag and quilt configurations under a variety of conditions before I commit to anything either way. I've learned from this thread that while women generally have a tougher time with thermoregulation than men, there isn't necessarily a once size fits all approach for the ladies.

Best regards,