How good is my old sleeping bag?

4:48 p.m. on March 5, 2008 (EST)
7 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

I just pulled out my Northface Bigfoot sleeping bag that's been stuffed away for around 9 years or so. It's a down-mummy style sleeping bag that was rated at 0 degrees. I'm about to embark on a river rafting trip and didn't feel like spending a couple hundred bucks to get a new bag. My question is how good do you think a sleeping bag that's been stuffed away that long is? Does keeping it compressed for a long time like that make it lose its effectiveness for keeping you warm?

6:46 p.m. on March 5, 2008 (EST)
4,404 reviewer rep
6,005 forum posts

First, the Bigfoot is a synthetic bag, using an early version of Polargard for your 9 year-old one. They changed the rating between my 1992 Bigfoot and your 1998 or 1999 one from -10F to 0F (I think the change was about 1996 or 1997).

When you say "stuffed away", do you mean stuffed tightly in the backpacking stuff sack that came with it (or some other backpacking stuff sack - the Bigfoot requires a "large" or maybe "extralarge, depending on how hard you wanted to work at shoving it in)? Or did you store it in a large laundry bag or leave it laid out on a shelf (I'm guessing not)?

My Bigfoot got a fair amount of use and has definitely lost loft, now being probably more like a +10F bag. For a river trip, the Bigfoot is probably good down to +10F, or if you kept it tightly stuffed, +15 to +20F. Since it is synthetic, I would say you are good to go (dangerous to offer an opinion without seeing it, so take this with a grain of salt). A test is to lay it out and fluff it up well. Then measure the loft (how thick it is fully fluffed and stretched out. If it is 5 or 6 inches or more, it should do for your river trip. And being synthetic (Polargard has always done well when it gets wet - dries fairly quickly, you can wring most of the water out if it gets soaked, retains some insulating quality, even if soaking wet; it's just bulky and doesn't compress well, though that doesn't matter on a river trip).

7:43 p.m. on March 5, 2008 (EST)
7 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

Thanks for the advice. The bag they (Northface) provided for it was too small so I ended up storing it in one of those thick clear plastic bags that new comforters and bed sheets are in when you buy them. Every time I go outside at night and feel the cold, around 15 degrees, I start picturing myself freezing on this trip. That's why I was kind of worried about it.

9:18 p.m. on May 22, 2008 (EDT)
3 reviewer rep
7 forum posts

Bring along some polypros, capaline (spelling?) or a space blanket bag in case it isn't warm enough. I had a Cat's Meow I forgot to unpack for a year or two. Washing and drying it fluffed it up a bit but not like when it was new. I use it as a spring/summer bag now.

1:26 a.m. on May 23, 2008 (EDT)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

My old Cat's Meow also suffered from being stuffed for too long. It is now a summer bag I lend to friends. Starsea has a good idea-I have a Capilene midweight top and bottom that I wear in winter. A Fleece top and pants are also very useful for colder weather. A bit heavy, but if that isn't a big concern, very comfortable to sleep in.

April 26, 2018
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