Suggestions for 3-season sleeping bag

11:29 a.m. on March 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm a 5'6" woman with a small frame looking for a good 3-season sleeping bag. I would like a synthetic, under 3 pounds, packs smaller than 8"x12", comfortable down to at least 20 degrees. I am wondering if anyone knows of a youth bag I might fit in? I was researching some of the youth bags out there and many of the 15 degree bags are close to 2 lb. and pack down to 7"x11", but I've only found one that could fit my height. Any suggestions?

11:42 a.m. on March 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Capow welcome to trailspace!!!...Have you looked at golite's website they have synthetic 3 season bags that made backpackers 2008 award less than 3 pounds and in womens sizes all refurbished Green award..I left a code on here on this site and it should be no more than 115 with shipping....have you thought of down maybe? I dont know if your allergic..campmor has their own down bag rated 20 degree's and it runs about 115 as well..Hope that helps you...

12:45 p.m. on March 28, 2011 (EDT)
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North Face makes a bag called the Cats Meow that fits your specs.

Golite also has some good bags as Denis mentioned.

1:36 p.m. on March 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Cats Meow is a great synthetic bag, if you would consider down for the money the Kelty Cosmic Down 20(-$100) is hard to beat. Not to mention it compresses very small and it is light compared to most synthetics. Plus if ya go beyond the temp rating you could always snag up a liner that will add warmth to it at a very minimal weight/space penalty but you can add a liner to any bag.

If you are going with synthetic the Golites are nice as well.

6:54 p.m. on March 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Thank you all. I will look into your suggestions. I haven't looked at any of the Golite's. I have seen the Cat's Meow and was keeping it in mind. I would kind of like to stay away from down. I live, camp, and hike where it rains...a lot! So I would rather be safe than sorry just incase my bag gets wet.

1:51 p.m. on March 29, 2011 (EDT)
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Yes, down is good if you can keep the bag dry. It clumps easily and makes cold spots, synthetics dont move around with your body either, making cold spots. I used a Cats Meow for many years, I have a Golite Down bag rated to 20.

3:55 p.m. on March 29, 2011 (EDT)
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Check out Mountain Hardwear. Their synthetic bags are notably smaller/lighter than many other companies. I have the Lamina 35 and it packs smaller than a football @ around 2 lbs. 11 oz. or so. Came with a compression sack & storage back. Look at their web site, I think some of their youth bags actually expand for growth. (zipper lets more length out.)

9:19 p.m. on March 29, 2011 (EDT)
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I was also impressed with the mountain hardwear latest synthetic bags. Very soft and down-like.

10:36 p.m. on March 29, 2011 (EDT)
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Capow21 when you have found some seemingly good bag, do yourself the favour of checking what temperature range the bag has in Europe! With just a few exceptions most of US bag producers are overoptimisic about the insulating capacity of their bags. Here in Europe the EU has ruled that all bags MUST be tested according to the EN13537 standard. This is a much tougher test and usually more in accordance with what people say is correct. It even specifies difference between male and female users. My own bag has a male rating of 15F and a female rating of 28F! It is not unusual that a bag rated for 20F un US gets a 30F rating here in EU. (OT and strictly between you and me I suspect some US bags are rated so good as possible and just under the limit of getting a lawsuit for lying in advertising )

And btw welcome to the forum from a snowfilled north Norway.


11:17 p.m. on March 29, 2011 (EDT)
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Otto, I remember hearing this before. Is there by any chance you could recommend a site so I could look into this further? I find things like this very intriguing. Thanks alot.

5:07 a.m. on March 30, 2011 (EDT)
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my vote go with the M.H lamina as well! or if you really want the ultra-lamina - the women bags will fit you well!

7:32 p.m. on March 30, 2011 (EDT)
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10:08 p.m. on March 30, 2011 (EDT)
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:) Thanks Otto

10:56 p.m. on March 30, 2011 (EDT)
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I think I'm going to go with the women's Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15. It has really good reviews and I read it was overall the best bag for your buck in 2009. I found a brand new one for $110.00!!!

Otto, you made a good point. I have noticed I sleep colder than men do. The US should do ratings that way. If I have to, I figure I can add a silk liner. I only sleep a few nights a year where it gets cooler than 15F-20F, so I think it will be a good bag.

Thanks for your help and the welcomes everyone! I like this website.

4:22 p.m. on March 31, 2011 (EDT)
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This from moosejaw on the Ultralamina 15.


  • Loft: 5" / 14 cm.
  • Fill Weight: 2 lbs. 1 oz. / 0.94 kg.
  • Total Weight: 2 lbs. 14 oz. / 1.30 kg.
  • Inside Length: 78" / 198 cm.
  • Shoulder Girth: 60" / 152 cm.
  • Hip girth: 56" / 142 cm.
  • Foot Girth: 38" / 97 cm.
  • Stuff Size: 7" x 12" / 19 x 30 cm.
  • Bag Shape: Performance Mummy Cut
  • Materials: Fill Type: Synthetic
  • Insulation: Thermic Micro
  • Lining: 20D Nylon Taffeta
  • Shell: 20D Micro Ripstop Nylon
  • EN Rating: T-Limit: 19 F / -7 C, T-Comfort: 30 F / -1 C

Note the Comfort rating is for an average female the lower limit is for an average male.



Below is from this website. I found it useful when I first heard about the EN rating system. It explains, at least, this companies take on the the EN rating system and warmth in a sleeping bag. Too bad you can't find them in this country. Some other interesting info under the "nice to know" link.


Understanding warmth

Perception of “Comfort Temperature”
The perception of comfort is different from person to person. It will also vary from day to day based on your physical fitness, mental condition, what you have eaten and when, how you have organized your bivouac, humidity and even the altitude you are at. It is also a fact that the lower the outside temperature the more clothes you wear in your sleeping bag.

At Nanok we base our Comfort Temperature rating on a male, 18- 24 years, with an expectation to sleep 6-8 hours without waking up because of being cold. All our bags are tested according to EN 13537 and ISO TR 11079. The temperature settings are based on lab. tests, field tests and our years of Norwegian outdoor experience.

How to interpret “Nanok Functional Temperature”:
• In the temperature range of +15 C to -5 C it is expected that you will wear short underwear and a T-shirt in your sleeping bag.
• In the temperature range from -5 C to -20 C you are expected to wear a thin “1st layer” that is normally a set of thin, long woollen underwear.
• When it is colder than -20 C you will normally use a thin 1st layer and in addition a 2nd layer on your upper body.
• Women should add 4-5 C to the comfort temperature in outside temperatures down to -15 C.
• Women should add 8-10 C to the comfort temperature in outside temperatures below -20 C.
• Those older than 30-35 years you should add 5 C to the comfort temperature.
• If you are going to altitudes above 3.300m you should add 5-10 C to the comfort temperature.

4:26 p.m. on March 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Just realized I looked up the men's bag. Curious though, the ratings for the women's Ultralamina 15 are higher.

EN Rating: T-Limit: 23 F / -5 C, T-Comfort: 34 F / 1 C

7:15 p.m. on March 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the link JerseyWreckDiver. Very informative and good to know.

Yeah, it is definitely true the temp rating isn't always correct. I bought a bag once that had a 20F rating, but I'd give it more like a 35F. Thanks for the info, it's very helpful and I will have to keep that in mind when/if I purchase another bag in the future. 

That's interesting the women's Ultralamina is a 4 degree difference. I'll have to remember that too. I still think the Ultralamina 15 will work for me. I usually wear a base layer when I sleep and I can take a liner if I know there will be a chance of temps dropping below 20 degrees.

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