Let's talk sleeping bags

Discussion in 'Camping Toys' started by BaRRaCuda1974, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. MartiniUp

    MartiniUp Long timer

    Jul 14, 2010
    Snapper33 likes this.
  2. Siki

    Siki always n00b 2 sth

    Mar 24, 2014
    PRG, CZ, Wild Wild East
    didn't read entire thread, yet my2cents, moving away from ground made major positive change. Struggled for decades with roots, rocks, pinecones, dead squirells etc, kept falling off best mats, back not in best shape after riding. Then experimented with hammocks for two years (incl winters) and managed to finetune the rig to be portable, light, warm and yet affordable.

    In short:
    - diagonal lay hammock with mosquito netting (uk hammocks, netting helps keep warmth in)
    - down underquilt- half kilo good for 0 celsius (snug fit!!! works like cocoon)
    - down sleeping bag- 3/4 kilo good for 0 celsius (can serve as topquilt when warm)
    - tarp with sides UNDER the hammock to derail cold wind

    entire set is neither lighter nor smaller than compact ultralight tent/mat.
    What is light years better is the comfort - hammock just gave me the quality rest and warmth needed for the hard offroad trips.
    Bikerboy, Maggot12 and Emgo like this.
  3. FAW3

    FAW3 Old wanderer

    Mar 13, 2009
    The bag is only one component of a sleeping system. Don't get target fixated on just "the bag"...you need a good thermal pad, a good bag, and proper sleeping clothes/base layer. They all come together for a nice comfortable night of rest.

    On a MC based trip the base layer I wear is my big variable item...I can change it up a bit to match the temperature. I take a bag that will match the coldest weather I anticipate. I've been wrong a few times and have learned...you can open the zipper on a hot bag...but when your cold, that's it.

    Best "oh shit" an unexpected cold front is coming in fix: taking the inner liners out of my jacket/pants and wearing over my light base layer in the bag.
  4. Hannda

    Hannda Short, fat, bearded, old & slow

    Apr 27, 2005
    Not yet far enough away from town
    I got claustrophobic just looking at that. :uhoh No more mummy bags for me. I've got a 40" wide camp bag that probably weighs more than all your camping gear combined.:shog
  5. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

    Oct 17, 2006
    Around Denver
    Although I don’t get the claustrophobic feeling, the mummy style is more confining than I like.

    It’s a great bag; I really like it... but I think I might find something similar with a little more internal space.

    I’m a side-sleeper, and this bag doesn’t allow me to turn from side-to-side very easily.

    Hannda likes this.
  6. mbikeboy

    mbikeboy Adventurer

    Apr 26, 2015
    Victoria, Australia
    Sleeping bags depend on so many variables, so it's very much a personal preference as to what you use and what your circumstances dictate.

    For me, I camp in cold climates, but just as much during hot weather (both hiking and riding). I wanted the best, lightest, and most compact, and stuff what it costs (but did shop wisely). The best solution that I've found for me is:


    combined with:


    This setup with thermals, beanie, and a thin synthetic down jacket which I wear under my riding jacket, laying on top of a Nemo mattress, I've been roasty-toasty with perfect nights sleep in minus 4 celcius. The compact size and "not even there" weight is a huge bonus too. ;)
  7. SenorCollin

    SenorCollin Adventurer

    Mar 18, 2015
    Costa Mesa
    I use a ~14 year old Big Agnes Lost Ranger (long) 15 degree bag along with a BA insulated air core pad, and will be purchasing another BA bag when it is time to retire this one. I sent in my pad that was purchased at the same time as the bag to get some pinholes I was unable to patch repaired, and they sent me the most recent model. I've always scoffed at the concept of buying a higher priced product that is marketed as "for life" because they will repair/replace like several other popular brands do, but I think BA has converted me.

    I like that I can't roll off the pad when it is in the sleeve, and that the pad acts as the insulation on the bottom to cut down on extra bulk. Since I am 6'4", the long size is necessary for me and obviously more bulky- so every bit of reduction in packed size that I can get is worthwhile.

    If it is going to be extra cold, I also use the popular costco down throw blanket inside of the bag. If I am warm weather camping, I only pack the blanket and possibly a lightweight bag liner.
    DirtyOldMan, BIG-E and Maggot12 like this.
  8. tastroman

    tastroman Long timer

    May 9, 2009
    Collinsville Va
    I've been doing this for years with no complaints.
    ohgood likes this.
  9. BIG-E

    BIG-E AKA; Mongo-E, Sexy Grande Supporter

    Jun 28, 2007
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I too am a huge fan of Big Agnes! My set up is this,


    It's a Anvil Horn 15 degree in wide and long. And this pad,

    It's the Q-Core insulated at 4.5r value 3-1/2" thick wide and long.

    I am a big guy and I sleep very cold, (i know, fat guys are supposed to be hot) This set up allows me to sleep very comfy at 25 degrees. And it's big enough that i can actually get Both of my shoulders inside with a little wiggle room. The pillow barn works really well as does the neck gator that pulls up so you don't loose any heat when turning over. It packs down to 6" by about 10" long, the pad packs down to 5" by 10" and they both weigh next to nothing in my Jesse's.

    I really like how the bag has a "bra" that the pad slides into and the pad is shaped like a canoe so you don't roll off the pad and it stays in place all night long!!

    I have tried alot of sleeping set up's, this is by FAR the best I have used, not cheap, but worth every penny on the trail when it's cold!

    Good luck in your search, Mongo.
    WDG likes this.
  10. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Feb 17, 2010
    below the sea
    If you are looking for a bag, you really need to be there, to try it on. See if you can move if you need, it fits your height and width. I wasted a lots of time and cash making those mistakes.
    30+ years ago I bought one of the then newish hydrophobic down bags - I think almost all decent bags are proof these days. It was the only bag that physically fit me. At the time I thought it outrageously expensive, but the rationale of how many nights in a hotel would cover the cost hit in.

    Down is lighter and packs down much tighter, and according to the supplier, no need to roll, just stuff. The sac supplied is a compression one. Cinched up, about the sie of an old football, but you can mould the shape to fit your cases.

    I have been flooded out, so it has been wet, not soaking. Dried out the next day laid out. Each morning, I throw it over the tent, to air and fluff up. End of each trip - usually 6 to 8 weeks - before packing it away.

    Down, like many natural materials seems not to gather odours as much as synthetic. I have never washed mine, but I always use a liner. With the liner I can make a year round system. From just laying on top of the bag opened out, used as a quilt, or under me, me in the liner to fully sealed in with base layer.
    Another natural characteristic is that to some extent is that down is far more self regulating. Temperature changes through the night seem to affect me less, no seats or chills.

    Perhaps if I were looking for a replacement, I would start exploring quilts. I don't do cold weather much any more. The flexibility, not just night by night but hour by hour looks good to me. And I am always looking for less bulk and weight.

    A decent under mat, appropriate to your climate is necessary too - and to your desired comfort level - of course
    WDG and BIG-E like this.
  11. spagthorpe

    spagthorpe Long timer

    Aug 9, 2002
    San Diego

    I get what you mean. I do have a mummy bad that I can live with though. Sierra Designs, and it has this middle section that stretches, so you can move around in it, but it still stays against you. It's really not bad. It's my 0 degree, why the fuck am I camping sleeping bag. I used it quite a bit on the East Coast. It's down, and it packs down to nothing.

    I have a warmer, square shaped bag that I use most of the time now, but I haven't convinced myself to sell the mummy.
    WDG and Hannda like this.
  12. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

    Feb 20, 2007
    Burbank CA
    same here....and i find this the best so far. i weigh 185# and 5'10, but having the room to turn from side to side make this bag perfect. this is my 2nd bag which is 18F and an older one that's 30F. i haven't seen any others that's a Regular length and Wide.

  13. kenbob

    kenbob Gnarly GnOOb

    May 1, 2009
    Beverly Hills, Mt -swimmin pools,movie stars
    I spent $ 500 on a 0' degree Western Mountaineering bag . Goose down , made in Sunny California .

    This bag has been the ultimate in comfort for me . Me thinks I have around 200 nights in it .

    Divide that $ 500 dollars by 200 and you have some great value . It will still be around when I'm done camping .

    Fantastic piece of kit .
    MtnRider likes this.
  14. WDG

    WDG Not entirely domesticated

    Sep 29, 2011
    Fort Worth, TX
    How’s the foot room in that bag?
    I always wonder if I’ll have enough room to move around in a bag, though I admit I’ve never actually tried a mummy-style bag.
  15. DirtyOldMan

    DirtyOldMan Motorsickle enthusiast

    May 2, 2006
    Cass Co MO
    This is just about my strategy as well. My bag is a 10 year old BA bag rated at 35 degrees. I’ve been comfortable in it down to about 30 wearing a base layer and socks. I’ve replaced the zipper, the old one kept getting blown out if I rolled over against it in the night. It sucks to have to fix a zipper in the middle of the night groggy and cold. Ive also found that washing a down bag (or coat) really fluffs it up and restores its insulating value.

    I’ll eventually replace it , a coupla things that would be handy would be a zipper that would unzip all the way to the bottom. As someone else mentioned, in warmer weather my shins get sweaty.
    Also , a zipper that was sewn together at the bottom so you couldn’t run it off the track and then have to re thread it in the night.
    Most people find it strange that a 64 year old man would enjoy sleeping outdoors on the ground but I just ain’t right unless I do it fairly regular.
    nzrian likes this.
  16. WDG

    WDG Not entirely domesticated

    Sep 29, 2011
    Fort Worth, TX
    I was just looking at a couple videos on the BA Anvil Horn, and it looks like a well thought out feature set. Also looks like the foot room may be fine for me.
    BIG-E likes this.
  17. Cromoth

    Cromoth fan of the magic carpet ride

    Aug 24, 2010
    Down so hydrophobic it keeps the rain away!
    Anyone experiment with air mattress inside bag & how was it?
  18. squish

    squish Out of the office.

    Dec 4, 2003
    Where the Ghetto meets the sea.
    It too me a damn long time to figure out that i sleep COLD, and what to do about it.

    I finally ended up with a truck camper.

    But before that here's what worked best for me;
    Down zero degree dryloft bag, (Mine's a 20 year old REI store brand)
    Thermarest self inflating mattress
    Ridgerest mattress under that (it's a closed cell foam that works as both comfort and insulation)
    I use this shelf, tool drawer liner to keep this whole shebang in alignment and it works great.
    When not camping, do not keep your back in a tight stuff sack, keep it in a breathable and large holding sack.
    This keeps the down from getting crushed. When I use a compression sack, the sleeping bag is pulled out as quickly as practical both during camping and when I get home from a trip. I then air the bag out for a couple of days afterwards.

    When camping and before I head off for bed, I heat up some water and fill a soft Nalgene bottle with it, not boiling, maybe about 150-170 degrees.
    I put that where my torso is about 10-20 mins before I head to sleep, when I get into my bag I move the bottle to my feet.
    In addition I have a silk liner in the bag and I sleep in long johns (of the polypro or wool versions)
    Getting into a warm sleeping bag is so, so much nicer vs getting into a cold one, espeically the older lined with the cold nylon that old bags were lined with.

    This has kept me warmish on nights when it's so cold there's frost inside of your tent. (sometimes even on the bag itself.)

    I try and limit drinking booze when it's cold and I like to keep hydrated, enough but not too much so I don't have to pee in the middle of the night.

    Wool socks and a thin wool or fleece beanie also help a lot.
    I don't know who makes good bags these days, but I'd look for an 800 fill down bag with at least a zero degree rating, or a rating at least 20 degrees below the coldest I expect to be camping in. So 40 degrees at night, I'm looking at a 20 degree bag, and so on.
  19. MtnRider

    MtnRider Been here awhile Supporter

    Nov 23, 2008
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I was so pleased with my 15° Ponderosa bag I bought two more of their bags
    kenbob likes this.
  20. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

    Aug 4, 2007
    Northern Vermont
    I have the same gear as Big-E. The spoon shape of that bag gives me plenty of room to toss and turn, and the sleeve keeps the bag from sliding off the mattress when I turn over. I also carry a sleeping bag liner. In hot weather I just sleep in that. In serious cold I slip it inside the bag for additional warmth. If it's wicked cold I pull my dog inside the bag with me.

    spdtrpl, FAW3, RJAMT and 2 others like this.