Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Question for fellow side sleepers
Display Avatars Sort By:
Brian Crain
(brcrain) - F

Locale: So Cal
Question for fellow side sleepers on 01/08/2014 15:26:37 MST Print View

I'm not new to BPing but fairly new to doing it anywhere under 55lbs... and steadily shaving weight and replacing gear. I'm at a point where my next big weight savings will be my sleep system and I have some concerns about the options, being a side sleeper (and fairly restless at that).

Mummies drive me nuts but I suffer through it. I'm currently lugging out a MH Extralamina 20 (long) on the shoulder seasons and a MH Lamina 0 (long) in the winter, both synth bags. Obviously switching to down is the next step but I'm stuck wondering if I stick with a bag or make the transistion to a quilt.

The Xtralamina has a full zip and I've attempted to use the quilt feature of this bag a few times with varied success... as I'm sometimes restless it ended up slipping off and I woke up freezing. I'd assume that straps around the pad would help allieviate that issue... maybe? Not drinking coffee right before bed might help as well, but that's a different issue.

Looking for ideas/recommendations from fellow side sleepers on quilt vs bag vs ?


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Question for fellow side sleepers on 01/08/2014 15:32:57 MST Print View

Many quilt users prefer a full sleeping bag for colder weather, let's say around 20F.

I like quilts, but was hesitant at first. I bought a used synthetic quilt here on BPL years ago, that was only good for warmer weather. But it gave me the opportunity to experiment with minimum investment. I think a lot of people buy quilts that are to small around the shoulders and it causes them grief.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Question for fellow side sleepers on 01/08/2014 15:33:39 MST Print View

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Question for fellow side sleepers on 01/08/2014 15:33:53 MST Print View

I am a side sleeper mainly and use both quilts and bags, if using bags I try to move with the bag, its takes a bit of practice.

Brian Crain
(brcrain) - F

Locale: So Cal
thanks on 01/08/2014 15:41:28 MST Print View

Appreciate the replies and thanks for the link Doug.

Joe Lynch
(rushfan) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
montbell bag on 01/08/2014 16:50:13 MST Print View

I use a super spiral sleeping bag from Montbell. It has a lot of give and is very light. I'm very active and the bag works for me.

Mitch Chesney
(MChesney) - F
Side sleeper/stomach sleeper on 01/08/2014 17:37:23 MST Print View

I purchased a GoLite 20F quilt a few years back and it's been great in weather above 50F since I can spread my hands wherever I want outside the bag. In temperatures between 20 and 40 it's too cold for hands to be outside so I tend to wear a puffy and camp gloves to maintain my freedom. Anything colder and I'm trapped in a mummy bag - where if I were to sleep on my side I need to move the whole bag onto its side and endure a few minutes while the backside down lofts.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Side sleeper/stomach sleeper on 01/09/2014 05:57:55 MST Print View

I'm what they call an athletic "rotissérie sleeper..." and I never liked mummy bags...I always got tangled up in them. I tried the Big Agnes system where you slide your pad in a sleeve in the bottom of your bag...worked like a champ in terms of not letting me get tangled up, kept me from falling off the mat; it was almost perfect. I just couldn't lie on my back with my knees bent - my most favorite position for bedtime reading.

I found a great deal on a golite 1+ season down quilt and I've never looked back. It was literally the solution to all my problems...except for the problem that I now own too many quilts!

I have slept all the way to the mid teens in a quilt with only an occasional minor annoyance of keeping it tucked in under me at those temps (no margin for error there!). But otherwise, they are perfect. I do make sure to buy WIDE quilts so I have enough width at my shoulders and butt to keep it tucked under me if I need to, and so far I haven't used any pad attachment systems. I can roll over on my mat, lie on my stomach, then roll the other way, and it all pretty much stays put.

It's nice because with the quilt system you don't breathe into the hood of the bag. This was a HUGE problem for me as a side and stomach sleeper and I'm sure contributed to some shivering nights.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Side sleeping on 01/09/2014 07:15:54 MST Print View

I am a restless side sleeper. I use a foam pad, so after about an hour of sleeping on one side, I wake up a bit uncomfortable and have to roll over. This happens 5-10 times a night.

I started using a quilt last summer, and I find it much easier (and lighter, of course) than a mummy bag. Basically, I lie on my side, and I tuck the edges of the quilt under myself. When I roll over, I repeat the process. It takes just a few seconds each time. Once I got a few nights' experience, I found that I could do it without even thinking about it and fall back to sleep almost immediately. I only use the clips (it's a Katabatic quilt) to attach to my pad when it's going to be below freezing. Even then, they don't make much difference if you tuck the quilt under you.

My quilt is normal width. If you get a wide quilt, you will find you have even more margin for error, and you'd probably have little trouble keeping cold air out when you roll over.

Brian Crain
(brcrain) - F

Locale: So Cal
re:Question for fellow side sleepers on 01/09/2014 10:14:48 MST Print View

Great info folks and LOL @ athletic "rotissérie sleeper..." Jennifer! I can relate!

It sounds like I just need to make the switch and move to a quilt... and get practice at keeping it on throughout the night.

I'll keep my eye out for good deals on gear swap for a long+wide quilt for me and a regular+wide for the wife.


Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: re:Question for fellow side sleepers on 01/09/2014 10:51:03 MST Print View

"I use a super spiral sleeping bag from Montbell. It has a lot of give and is very light. I'm very active and the bag works for me."


I have the ULSS#3 and it works great for me as a side sleeper.

John Rowan
(jrowan) - M
Mummy Bags on 01/09/2014 13:21:53 MST Print View

I have most of the issues described above with mummy bags, but I'm also at an in-between height (5'8" or 9", depending on who you ask), and I feel like I'm always not fitting into the hood right. (Usually, I get a face full of sleeping bag and a ton of drafts because the face hole is wide open.)

I had a bad first experience with quilts, mostly due to poor choices in sizing, etc., but I picked up one of the Golite Z30 quilts when they were on sale and have been loving it ever since.

That said, my biggest problem is getting my pillow to stay under my head.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Pillows on 01/09/2014 14:48:02 MST Print View

"That said, my biggest problem is getting my pillow to stay under my head."

Let me know when you fix that in a lightweight way. So I can steal you idea! ;^)

John Rowan
(jrowan) - M
Re: Pillow on 01/09/2014 14:49:53 MST Print View

I think my next step is to try one of these:

It looks promising, but I want to figure out the rest of my sleep system (i.e. pad in this case) before shelling out the cash for something that may not fit.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Pillow on 01/09/2014 15:48:43 MST Print View

Wallace is a BPL member. He offered a discount to BPL members a few months back and I picked up a couple of these pillow cases. As one would guess, my teenaged daughter wanted the black one because it was more mature and I wanted the one with the monkeys.

I use it with an Exped UL pillow and when I don't need to sleep with it on, I throw my down sweater in there too. As a side sleeper, it works great and is really comfy.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Pillow pocket on 01/09/2014 15:52:12 MST Print View

I've tried a "pillow pocket" on a BA sleeping bag and that didn't work for me, no where to put my arm...

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Sleeping bag as quilt; pillows are tough on 01/09/2014 23:01:52 MST Print View

I'm a thrasher when I sleep - lots of movement, many different positions. Using a mummy bag as designed, and a thin foam pad, resulted in many nights of poor sleep in the backcountry.

About two years ago, I switched to a 2-inch-thick Therm-A-Rest pad – vastly improved comfort.

I was tempted to try a quilt, but couldn't justify the expense. So I started using my sleeping bag like a quilt. I just open up the zipper all the way, and drape it over me.

Much more comfortable, and just as warm into the upper 20s. Between the thicker pad and the sleeping-bag-as-quilt, I'm sleeping much better. My next major purchase will be a quilt, maybe the EE Enigma.

I'm also a pillow mangler - sometimes I want a thin pillow (on my back or stomach), sometimes I want a thick pillow (on my side). At home, I can reshape a feather pillow literally in my sleep.

Lightweight backpacking is a whole different story. If it's cold enough, I don't have extra clothes for a pillow, and water bottles & similar stuff doesn't mangle.

Just a couple of days ago I got a Big Sky inflatable pillow. Haven't tried it yet, but it looks promising. I can sleep on the skinny part in the middle, on one of the ends, or standing on a long edge.

-- Rex

Edited by Rex on 01/09/2014 23:21:32 MST.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Question for fellow side sleepers on 01/09/2014 23:29:27 MST Print View

". . . being a side sleeper (and fairly restless at that)."

Something that was fairly liberating to me was reading in a BPL thread this idea that maybe it isn't a bad thing that we don't sleep straight through the night. It sounds stupid but it was a real "a-ha" moment where I realized it was ok to have trouble falling asleep (especially when I don't get out for enough nights in a row to get used to it), toss and turn, wake at strange noises and then go back to sleep. You could look at it as just another part of the skill set of UL backpacking, being "comfortable enough."

As for gear, I'm a side sleeper and have also been happy with a quilt (a Nunatak Arc Alpinist) for some time. There are more options that when I bought my quilt, but in general, I'd choose:

(1) a wide quilt (maybe slightly heavier than a narrow one but worth it)
(2) appropriate R-value underneath you.
(3) the right shape of sleeping pad for you (short or full-length, tapered or rectangular, horizontal or vertical tubes)

If the quilt doesn't work, you can always sell it here and go back to a bag (maybe a Montbell stretchy bag or a Western Mountaineering bag. Both brands are popular here).

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Big Sky inflatable pillow on 01/10/2014 10:34:57 MST Print View

"Just a couple of days ago I got a Big Sky inflatable pillow. Haven't tried it yet, but it looks promising."

Be sure to let us know how it works for you. I am curious to know if you liked it.

Kelly G
(KellyDT) - F
Hoodless bag on 01/15/2014 21:51:53 MST Print View

My habit is to turn side-to-side within the bag. I found that a down mummy bag worked most of the time... but a couple times, I had cinched the hood to a small opening because of the cold, and later woke up, not actually panicked because I recognized where I was and such, but probably slightly suffocating from side-sleeping inside the hood and therefore a reduced oxygen supply. Loosening the cinched hood was difficult in the dark when needing a good breath of air. Decided I hated hooded mummy's.

I bought a Z-packs bag (no hoods) and added a separate Goosefeet down hood. Perfect. Hood moves with me, nose is always able to breath, and no issue with air gap/cold getting in around the neck. Love it.