Sleeping Bag / Pad

4:21 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Hi guys! New to the forum, and looking for some help. Yearly, a group of friends and myself go camping and rafting / lazy river kayaking.

The last few years, I was a jerk and borrowed stuff from everyone cause I'm cheap. But this year I have a job and can afford to get some stuff for this years trip.

I already got a tent, and am now looking for a sleeping bag / pad. I know I need some kind of pad, because I slept on rocks and branches the year before and woke up in a crappy mood due to lack of sleep. I'm a bigger guy, and tend to move around a lot during sleep.

I figured I would need a rectangle bag as it allows for some extra room. I am looking at the following two bags:

http://www.rei.com/product/780212 AND

http://www.rei.com/product/775917

I am also looking to get some kind of pad. I know I don't want a full air mattress, but I also know that I move around a lot and don't want to fall off. I was looking at this one:

http://www.rei.com/product/778153

Any kind of help or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

EDIT: Sorry, I guess I should've told everyone the environment. It's usually pretty warm, in the southeast in the woods.

6:27 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Well Rob, I am not so good at recommending a sleeping bag, as it took me a few years of experience to get to where I was comfortable with what I use now. I prefer a down bag because as for warmth and being lightweight it falls into both catagories quite well.

I used a rectangular Boy Scout sleeping bag ( my own from my 12-14 years of age hikes with scouts) when I did all my first hikes on my own in 1977 at age 21. But after my first year I decided that I wanted to try winter camping so I bought a bag rated to minus 30 degree's and spent my first and only winter camping trip in the high Sierra of Yosemite. Not to say tho that I did'nt make the best of it as I stayed outdoors there from the beginning of January to the middle/end of May 1980. 150 days under the stars. My bag was down and I never got cold.

Anyway for summer southwestern camps a light synthetic bag would work. How many nights and are you talking about a multiday trip or just over a weekend? Synthetic bags can be bulky, tho some like Holofil can compress quite small and also be light. I have not used a synthetic bag but one winter in the Grand Canyon in 2003, where inner canyon temps are very mild compared to other places, including up on its rims in winter.

The bag I currently use is made by Golite and weighs 1 lb 2 oz of Goose down and will compress to the size of a soccer ball or normally about 12 x 9 inches. Its not good for a down bag to be compressed for longer than a night. If you go that route be sure to store it unstuffed or unrolled. Many manufactuers sell a large pillow slip bag for storage of their down bags.

As for a sleeping pad I have used whats called a ensolite pad for almost my entire hiking life over 34 years. Tho I did try a Therm-a-Rest pad a few times, but always managed to get a puncture in it which when needed for comfort without a patch kit is not comfortable to say the least. A ensolite pad can never trully go flat or loose air. Its like very soft rubberlike foam. So roll up, some fold, some are smooth and others are like a waffle in texture. I use the old fashioned blue ensoloite pads which cast about $10 and weight about 1 lb. You may need two side by side? I am not sure about a company that makes pad that are double wide, but others here may.

This what an ensolite pad looks like unrolled and rolled, this one is about 18 in x 7 feet, I bought it from a place that sold it by the foot. I have two, but only use one at a time.

7:36 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Wow, thanks for the reply. For the upcoming trip, it's only a weekender, but I've planned out a few more trips down here with relatively the same environment. I will look into a few different down bags and ensolite pads. Thanks again for the reply.

8:11 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Where do you live? I am in Flagstaff AZ near the Grand Canyon.

8:25 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Live in Atlanta, mainly hike around N. Georgia / S. Carolina areas.

9:47 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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After 35 years of hiking and backpacking I gave big agnes bags a try and now I like them a lot. I even use them in my hammock.

I have two of the "overbags" - the Lost Dog and the Yampa - which give me plenty of options to meet expected weather conditions where my 0 degree montbell stretch bag (another ingenious idea in my opinion) would be too warm. I use a walmart blue pad in the pad pockets as well as a big agnes insulated air pad when needed.

9:58 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Welcome Rob ATL,

This is just a summer trip, right?

Are you driving or backpacking to camp? If so how far?

Will you be carrying your sleeping bag with you on the water, or leaving it in camp while you raft and then return to the same camp?

Are you by any chance rafting / kayaking / tubing on that ole' muddy Chattahoochee?

If you are just driving up to a campsite, and leaving your stuff in a tent while you go out on the river, you can get by fine with any of the three bags / pads you posted a link to. The type pads Gary suggested work just fine, and will not break the bank, plus it is good to have one under an inflatable pad anyway just to protect from pokes from sticks and such should you decide to get an inflatable.

10:34 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the help guys. To answer your questions:

Yeah, just a summer trip.

Driving to a parking area, but the actual campsite is about a mile, maybe little more than a mile away.

I'll be leaving the campsite to do the water activities, then returning to camp.

Not the Chattahoochee, but the Chattooga this time.

Thanks!

10:50 p.m. on May 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Cool!

I know the Chattooga well, some parts are not all that lazy, beware the banjo music! ( Deliverance joke)

You going to Burrells Ford Campground?

In any event you don't need to go out and spend a fortune on expensive gear for this type of trip, a 40 degree bag and some extra clothing should do you fine.

I hope you have a blast, stay safe!

8:39 a.m. on May 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Ditto on the Big Agnes bags. I'm a big guy too, but don't particularly like rectangular bags. The BA design is a nice compromise. I love the way it integrates the pad into the design. You can get a BA pad, or use any other brand that fits -- I have used Thermarest and the Exped DownMat with great satisfaction.

I bought the Lost Dog because I wanted something lightweight. It is large enough that I can use it as an overbag, which makes for a very flexible system. However, if I had it to do over again, I think I would go with the Cross Mountain. The LD is rated at 50 deg., the CM at 40. I am a warm sleeper, and thought the 50 deg. would be good for six months out of the year. I find that just a little warmer bag would suit my needs better. But that is just me, with my metabolism, etc., etc.

1:56 a.m. on June 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Quilts?

Jack's R Better, and others out there. Lighter weight, generally cheaper, and give you all the thrashing around room you can handle.

Pad? The best you can afford that will pack easily and not go flat on you.

November 22, 2014
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