Those little sleeping bag compartments.......

10:54 p.m. on June 29, 2007 (EDT)
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I have a couple of packs for my son and I, a Kelty 3900 and a Rokk Talkeetna. But my sleeping bags will never fit into these packs! (I have traditional bags made by Coleman.)

I do have a fleece bag that will work. I guess that'll be OK in the summer. But I'm reading all these reivews on here and I see no distinction in sizes. It is assumed that these will all fit the sleeping bag compartment of a pack?

Am I missing something?

5:52 a.m. on June 30, 2007 (EDT)
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If those Coleman bags are the ones I have somewhere in my attick (40 degrees, weigh 8 - 10 lbs and are 14" x 24" when rolled up), then hell no, they ain't gonna fit into your backpack.

Sort of a rule of thumb...if your sleeping bag didn't come with a stuff sack and that stuff sack won't fit into your pack, you might start thinking about lashing it to the outside.

2:32 a.m. on July 1, 2007 (EDT)
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I'm guessing that any sleeping bag compartment is for goose down bags that compress to that size (around 20F). I can get my bag in there as well as my sleeping pad.

8:12 a.m. on July 1, 2007 (EDT)
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genghis,

I asked the same question on this list a while back. I guess my problem was that I have never owned a real down bag, and that my pad will just barely fit in my Kelty compartment, so I can't imagine any bag ever fitting into one of those compartments.

My bag is not one of those Colemans (well one of them isn't, the other is a 40F Coleman), and it's relatively new, so the fill technology isn't old style.

I just bought some nice straps for the outside of the pack and lash the bag there. And the pack seems a lot bigger, also.

Blackbeard

9:55 a.m. on July 2, 2007 (EDT)
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The sleeping bag compartments are designed for backpacking sleeping bags - typically mummy bags with goose down or advanced synthetic / high loft fill.
They don't seem to accomodate true winter bags very well and I don't think there's a packer around who could fit a rectangular "comfortable" bag into one (although I've been proven wrong in the past!) - as mentioned before - use the compartment for other stuff and lash your (wrapped in waterproof plastic) sleeping bag to the outside of the pack -

11:44 p.m. on July 2, 2007 (EDT)
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DON'T carry your sleeping bag outside the pack. The bag is among the most critical, and least robust bits of your gear. In fact it's desirable to keep ALL your stuff safely inside the pack where it is relatively protected from abrasion, moisture and loss.

I first learned this sensible rule of thumb in "The Complete Walker." Many here recall that Fletcher liked to carry a massive amount of stuff, sometimes including a typewriter (it was the 1960s) and for a pack he therefore used what he called a "bloody great sack."

Take less stuff or a bigger pack but DO get a sleeping bag that isn't overkill so you don't waste any space.

To repeat myself here: A bag rated at 40F is adequate for most people most of the time, and can be significantly stretched for colder weather with extra clothing, up to and perhaps even including parkas etc., or what ever is appropriate for the conditions you anticipate.

4:27 a.m. on July 3, 2007 (EDT)
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you know, back in the days when everyone had an external frame pack....how often did you manage to get the sleeping bag inside the pack?

6:00 a.m. on July 3, 2007 (EDT)
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Well, I might suggest getting a pretty sturdy stuff sack for the sleeping bag. Nothing says you only have to use what comes with the bag.

A good waterproof, ripstop nylon compression sack (if yours does not already come with one) is sort of designed for something just like this.

Blackbeard

7:17 a.m. on July 3, 2007 (EDT)
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Ed - well, I still carry an external frame pack most of the time and I still carry my sleeping bag and pad strapped under the bag. I use a codura nylon stuff sack and use a full pack cover if it starts to rain. Never had a wet sleeping bag - of course I don't just drop my pack in a puddle or creek - if the ground is wet I'm careful about where and how I put it down.

My internal frame pack is an ancient NorthFace Ruthsack (the spelling IS correct, by the way) which I bought in 1973 or '74 - it has one big compartment SO when it gets used everything gets jammed inside (except for my sleeping bag - which generally gets strapped onto the top!) -

Steve

7:34 p.m. on July 3, 2007 (EDT)
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Until Colin Fletcher switched decisively to Gregory brand internal frame packs in the mid or late 1970s, he used Trailwise brand (defunct?) external frame with FULL LENGTH sack and decried the use three-quarter-length-bag frame packs.... Yet the old Kelty 3/4 length bags, in production until about 1980, were widely revered at the time. The old Keltys were clearly photographed in use during 1963 Everest Exped, with bag flipped to bottom of frame for supposed added stability and/or I suppose, strapping heavy oxygen tanks on top....

By way of stuff sacks, the most widely available current brand at a quasi-reasonable price with durable waterproofness and some degree of abrasion resistance, it seems to me, is OR brand. Probably a sack designed for canoing with PVC would provide the best protection at higher price and weight..... I've had sleeping bag drenched by downpours while inside stuff sack and backpack.... an incident which caused me for a time, to always travel with rain cover....

7:49 p.m. on July 3, 2007 (EDT)
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OK, you guys have temporarily saved me some bucks, as long as I go when it won't be raining. My wife really appreciates that!

10:54 a.m. on July 5, 2007 (EDT)
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genghis - roll your bag up as tight as you can - tie it nice and tight so it won't come unrolled - double bag it with heavy duty trash bags - strap it to your pack frame below the main bag - you'll be fine even if it DOES rain.

Generations of Boy Scouts have performed those very steps - you won't look as sleek on the trail - but who cares (I looked like a walking yard sale when I took my three kids backpacking when they were young) - the point is to get out there and have a blast.

Oh - when you roll your sleeping bag - roll it so the foot section is on the outside of the roll - if IT gets a bit damp you can always put your feet into a plastic garbage bag and shove 'em into the damp bottom of the sleeping bag while your torso will be in the nice, dry section!

Have a blast

Steve

1:14 p.m. on July 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Another alternative to the "dry bag" approach is to put the plastic garbage bag inside the stuff bag. They are called "stuff bags" for a reason - you just stuff the sleeping bag into the stuff bag - no rolling required. But it is best to stuff the bag foot end first. This is required if the bag has a very windproof or a waterproof outer shell, since it is very difficult to squeeze all the air out as you shove the bag into the stuff sack head-first. Doing it foot-end first allows the air to get out more easily (the inner liner is not wind-resistant, so passes the air through more easily).

But you may find that the slippery plastic garbage bag tends to allow the bag to expand back out as fast as you stuff it in, especially for synthetic bags.

The idea here is that the garbage bag on the inside of the stuff sack is less likely to snag and tear on tree branches or on that log you leaned your pack against when you took it off for a rest break.

When you attach the sleeping bag (or anything else) to your pack, or if you roll the bag instead of stuffing it, do NOT use bungee cords to secure the bag. The reason is three-fold - first, safety - bungees have this tendency to come unhooked, and when they do, the flying hook on the end can do serious damage to the human body, especially eyes. Second, security - bungees have this tendency to come unhooked at awkward moments (during a stream crossing or when the trail traverses a steep slope), which means your sleeping bag goes into the water or rolls down the steep slope into the canyon, disappearing into the brush. It doesn't matter if the stream crossing involves wading, rock-hopping, or on a bridge - there are trolls at all bridges with magic powers to flip the bungees loose, and their cousins just waiting on the steep slopes. Third, the bungee, being elastic, allows the sleeping bag to bounce as you walk, which is much more tiring.

Use straps to secure the sleeping bag - much more secure, less tendency to come loose, no bouncing. Same thing goes for water bottles, cameras, pots, etc. Bouncing things on the outside of your pack make for a much more uncomfortable hike.

One of the things I have seen far too often when being the adult leader on scout hikes is the sleeping bag that was attached with bungees bouncing off into the distance or floating downstream. And I have had to do first aid on a bungee-hook catch too many times to remember (think of a high-speed fish hook catching you).

1:26 p.m. on July 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Bill - good warnings about bungee cords - they were something I never allowed with my troop. I like the plastic bag in the stuff bag idea, but am under the impression that this guys sleeping bags are of the "rectangular with plaid flannel lining" variety -

As for trolls, I've run into a variety of 'em - including the "dry socks in the water", "bird crap dropping into the cookpot just when dinner is ready", "tent stake stealers", "match wetters" and probably countless others - hey - at least they keep you from being lonely -

Steve

9:30 p.m. on July 5, 2007 (EDT)
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The point is indeed to "get out and have a blast" and also, when possible, be open to good advice from people like Colin Fletcher and other reliable sources.

If you manage this, you might increase the fun factor slightly (or a great deal) depending on how many times your (rolled or stuffed) sleeping bag gets set down in a mud puddle, gets thrashed by wet branches or trashed by abrasive rocks.

10:19 p.m. on July 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Bill, thanks a lot, I got a new bag today and had a hard time making it fit in the stuff sack rolled up. I ended up just stuffing it in. I wondered if that was a bad thing or not. Glad to know I did it right.

You guys are a great help, as always.

October 1, 2014
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