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Justin McCabe
(justinmc) - M

Locale: Southern California
Help Me Decide! on 10/03/2013 22:17:20 MDT Print View

Getting a new shoulder season bag, kind of a celebration gift for getting back outside after having a newborn (who finally sleeps through the night) and graduating college. I'll be combining it with a pad with an R value of 5, augmented by a hooded Stoic Anorak, capilene bottoms, and FF down booties if necessary.

Also, I'm pretending it's for my wife (but who are we kidding)

I've got a 20 degree quilt already, just want a 20 ish degree winter bag now. Here are the choices:

Marmot Plasma 15. 17.6 oz of 900 fill down. 30.2 oz listed weight. It's sleek and sexy.

Feathered Friends Swallow UL 20. 16.8 oz 900 fill down. 28 oz total listed weight.

WM Alpinelite. 19 oz 850 fill down. 31 oz total listed weight.

They're all great bags, though the Plasma might be a bit overpriced.

Personal experiences? How low have you gone in a particular bag and using what setup? Things that stand out?

Thanks in advance!

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Second Bag on 10/04/2013 06:20:06 MDT Print View

I can't wade into the specifics of those bags, but I'll offer a few comments on strategy.

A 20F bag isn't going to work in a lot more situations than a 20F quilt does. It may be nice on those October and March trips, but it doesn't open up real winter use. If you do a lot of shoulder season camping but don't get out in the winter then this sounds like a fine approach, but I'd consider heading for a setup that will allow you to camp year round or at least significantly more of the year than you can now.

I use a 30F quilt that I push (via down jacket & pants) to ~20F and then when it's actually cold I grab my GoLite Adrenaline 4-season bag, which is (Rate 0F, 39oz). It looks like their newer winter bags are a bit heavier as they go to -10F (and are a bit wider).

You know your likely usage better than me, but my suggestion is to broaden the capacity of your kit with a 0F - 10F bag to reduce the overlap with your quilt.

Edited by dandydan on 10/04/2013 06:22:43 MDT.

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Help Me Decide! on 10/04/2013 08:46:29 MDT Print View

i have had great service from my WM dryloft apache. the extra duty outer shell makes it less subject to dampness on longer trips.
it is also the bag of choice to hand to my lady when she's with me. girls seem to run colder than guys, and she's quite the chilly little thing. so even in summer in california, the apache is a good call for the likes of her.
in any situation where the weather is colder than it can handle, well heck, it's too cold for my skill set as well. effectively, if the bag is at it's limit at night, i know the morning is going to be quite challenging. freezing hands, gloves on 100% of the time. cold feets. nasty winds, that whole lot of yucky stuff that it's only grace is the the bugs are down for awhile.
so what stands out ? for the apache dryloft, it's going to be solid service over a wide array of conditions. lots and lots of area under the graph.
note : some folks may find it confining. but in my op, the footbox is still to spacious.
in retrospect, i wish i'd had it overfilled a little bit. that would be perfect !

cheers,
v.

Justin McCabe
(justinmc) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Help Me Decide! on 10/04/2013 10:21:50 MDT Print View

Hey Dan,

MY only thoughts behind a 20 degree bag is that in California the most I'll see is 0 degrees with a slight wind chill if hiking at a higher elevation. I think augmenting it with down clothing would get me down to 0.

I personally converted to a quilt, but my wife wants a bag, but I doubt she'll go much with me, hence saying it's for me.


-Edited, pressed enter too soon.

Edited by justinmc on 10/04/2013 10:22:57 MDT.

Andrew Manies
(amanies)

Locale: SF Bay Area
Simple suggestion on 10/04/2013 10:26:00 MDT Print View

Justin,

Given that you already have a 20° quilt, I'd recommend shooting for something closer to a 0-10° rating, as Dan initially suggested. There's a WM Antelope on Gear Swap right now that's selling for $410, which seems like a fair price for a great bag. Only 2.4 lbs, and you'll extend the temperature range of your backcountry trips by a huge margin. Probably it would cover everything from -10° to 15°. Alternatively, if you're determined to get a 20° bag, I'd recommend the Alpinlite over the other two (Plasma or Swallow) because it gives you more room to layer.

Cheers,
A

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: Help Me Decide! on 10/04/2013 10:49:25 MDT Print View

I agree with those who recommend going for a lower-temp-rated bag... not only because you already have the quilt, but also because the new bag will be used (at least sometimes) by your wife. There's a reason that the European Norm comfort ratings for women are substantially different from those for men! Even if it's only occasionally, do you really want your wife shivering all night, and then have to hike with her the next day? LOL ;~)

Justin McCabe
(justinmc) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: RE: Help Me Decide! on 10/04/2013 11:30:25 MDT Print View

Ok Valerie,

You win the logic on this one.

I only want her to have happy experiences!

Maybe I'll look into Andrew's idea for the WM bag in gear swap. Or I could buy a cheaper bag and get her some down gear (she already has a FF Daybreak jacket) to augment a bag...

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: RE: Help Me Decide! on 10/04/2013 12:00:23 MDT Print View

First of, Congratulations! (on the little one, school, and new trips ahead.)

Fwiw, my wife has been using an old SD women's bag and I've been using an old 15 degree TNF bag for many years, and we have typically zipped them together. When the kids were small, they'd tuck themselves in between us. Nowadays, all the kids have their own bags and we toss a 40d down semi-rectangular bag over the lot of us if the weather is cold (when car camping). I also have a winter bag, but honestly, my wife would never consider using that (she's half my weight & a foot shorter than me.)

I know this might not help you decide what to do, and even create more confusion, but I know that my wife very much appreciated her getting her own bag that she could call her own. A sleeping bag can be considered a very personal item for some.

In summary; consider that this might be two different choices at two different points in time. One for you and one for your wife. Given the rating of your quilt, what about considering something lighter with more versatility that you could add to what you already have?

Matt

Justin McCabe
(justinmc) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: RE: Help Me Decide! on 10/04/2013 12:10:20 MDT Print View

Hey Matt,

So would you say I should get a lighter bag and her use the quilt? Sorry, I am misunderstanding!

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
"Probably it would cover everything from -10° to 15°." on 10/04/2013 12:46:15 MDT Print View

i love my antelope. i have no problem with the bag in that range. the only reason i'd go with a 20* bag is to go lighter on bag weigth and push it colder, paired with the right clothing. the wm alpinlite is a great choice for layering because of the bag width. that being said, i'd really have to be watching my weight because the diffrence between the antelope and alpinlite is all of about 7 oz.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: RE: Help Me Decide! on 10/04/2013 13:07:41 MDT Print View

I guess what I "think" I am saying is:

If I were in your shoes, I'd probably look at a real light semi-rectangular bag that I can supplement my 20d quilt with, and then help my wife get her own bag on her own terms. That way I could use the light bag either on it's own, with my 20d quilt, or over top of myself, my wife & my child.

Who knows, it could all end up costing the same as one winter bag.

Matt

Justin McCabe
(justinmc) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: RE: Help Me Decide! on 10/04/2013 13:22:16 MDT Print View

Oh I understand. We have a TNF rectangulars for car camping, so covered if we wanted to go that route. I think I just really want to stick with a 20 or 0 degree bag.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Bags on 10/04/2013 14:32:22 MDT Print View

FWIW, my wife uses a 15F rated WM Apache MF and she miraculously manages to not get too warm in it even in the summer. We were out last month with a night time temp around 55F and she had it all zipped and cinched up. I was there with my 30F quilt half on.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: Bags on 10/04/2013 14:37:58 MDT Print View

LOL, Dan's situation sounds just like me & my husband!

I think a 15F bag is a "summer" bag; my winter bag is a -20C Taigaworks, and I use it if it's going to be much colder than 30F...

Of course, your wife could be one of the rare women who sleep hot...only you would know.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: RE: Help Me Decide! on 10/04/2013 21:22:08 MDT Print View

Hey Justin,

If that's the case, then by all means, indulge yourself with a kick assed winter-esque bag. No reason to create a redundancy with your quilt. As far as I'm concerned, a quilt removes the insulation where the pad takes the job over, so a 20d quilt "should" perform the same as a 20d bag.

I just know I wouldn't try to encourage my wife to test drive my winter bag or my quilt either way.
"So, my dear, how do my long johns feel? Will they keep you warm at night?"

:)