Sub-zero sleeping bag

7:01 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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Hi Guys

Great site! Lots of good info here.

It's been a while, but I'm in the market for a new -10/20 bag. However, all the ones I've looked at have less fill on the bottom than the top, relying on the pad to make up the difference.  Makes sense, but what if you're like me and there is NO WAY you can go to sleep on your back?  As soon as I roll the bag over to the side, I've lost some insulation (or have to sleep with my face sideways in the hood).  Does anyone still make bags with equal fill on the bottom?

Thanks

jopatco

8:40 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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If you move around alot in your sleep I have two suggestions for you. 1)use a quilt, 2)use a sleeping bag without a hood/rectangular bag.

I use a quilt down to -30 and have no issues. You wont really find any sleeping bags with ample fill on the bottom, well not enough to be rated to -10 and beyond IMO. OR you can just forget the hood on your bag and dont use it and just turn inside the bag, vice turning the bag.

I vote quilt.

8:44 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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yes, they do, since some people roll themselves and the whole bag over and over (I'm one of these, sometimes to the consternation of tentmates when waiting out a week-long storm).

However, the thing to keep in mind is that whatever fill is on the dirt-side of the bag will be compressed to 0" thickness for all practical purposes (fill has to be compressible to be able to stuff it in the stuff sack for carrying in the backpack). So the pad (whether closed cell, self-inflating like a Thermarest, blow it up like a NeoAir or old-fashioned plain air mattress, or the mattress on your bed at home) is all there is to provide cushioning and insulation from the hard cold ground (or snow and ice in winter). The pad also provides some cushioning against that rock or stick you somehow overlooked that ends up in the middle of your back, side, and stomach as you toss and turn.

There are some bags that are designed for side-sleepers. This has been in a recent thread here on Trailspace. Nemo makes a sidesleeper line of bags.

9:00 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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I own bags from several different mfgrs, but I have noticed that my Valandre Odin (-40) bag has about 4 or 5 inches of loft in the bottom. The baffles are "anatomically" cut instead of just cut straight, as well. Seems to me that a side sleeper may benefit from their design.

I would imagine that Western Mountaineering or Feathered Friends bags have ample amounts of down on the bottoms too.

DISCLAIMER: I am an authorized retailer for Valandre'.

9:48 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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I own 2 synthetic bags, one by ledge and the other by Alps Mountaineering. Neither of them are high quality, but they serve my current needs for backpacking the the Appalachians. One is 20F and the other is 0F, and Both of those bags have the same amount of insulation on the underside as the topside. 

9:55 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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Oh, and welcome to Trailspace! It's great to hear you have found some help and good information- glad to have you as a member :) 

10:59 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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I want a Valandre Bloody Mary!

11:34 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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rob5073 said:

I want a Valandre Bloody Mary!

 I have on for sale... no I'm kidding, I'll never sell it :D. 

Usually, sleeping bag have a 60 top and 40 bottom ratio. If you take a Valandré odin as suggested or a bag of similar filling and quality you'll certainly be fine. Those bag are easy to find since people usually buy them for one big expedition and then sell them. I bought a WM puma gw that way. I sold it before i use it though.

11:35 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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You should HAVE a Valandre Bloody Mary and Vigilguy is who I bought my Valandre from, he is just excellent to deal with and they are a  superb bag. I vote that you GET ONE!

12:25 a.m. on January 2, 2012 (EST)
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I second Dewey's comment. Better yet get me one while you are at it too. 

1:30 a.m. on January 2, 2012 (EST)
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It would pair well with my bottle of Grey Goose vodka I received for Christmas!

9:58 a.m. on January 2, 2012 (EST)
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Alps Mountaineering makes some of their bags in a wide size.  This allows you to easily turn inside the bag.  The hood is much bigger and it doesn't suffocate you. 

Alps also makes the Browning's Camping line of products. They have a design  that looks like a square bag with a hood.

5:56 p.m. on January 2, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for all the info guys.  I never thought of a used expedition bag.  That may be the answer.  I can grossly over-compensate for the light fill on the bottom.

See ya outside

jopatco

11:15 a.m. on January 3, 2012 (EST)
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I bivy with my new south col bivy bag with the bloody mary last night at 9 F with a VBL and thin thermals (from walmart) and I was super warm. This bag is incredible.

7:43 p.m. on January 8, 2012 (EST)
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I just spent a couple days and nights in the "Badlands" of South Dakota. Not for the meek. Overnight temps below zero (F).

I used my 40+ year old Eddie Bauer Kara Koram down expedition sleeping bag ( I own two of these ), with just a light set of Merino wool undies. I was so warm, I needed to vent the bag (unzipped, but it is only a half zip (in the center).

I used a new Nemo "Astro Air" mat.

Probably good for minus double digits, without a doubt.

I've been doing this sort of Winter hiking and camping for a looping time, so I know my gear, and trust my Kara Korams with my life.

A sound investment.

~ r2 ~

1:55 p.m. on January 9, 2012 (EST)
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I use a quilt down to -30 and have no issues.

 

Care to elaborate on your system? I'm a stomach sleeper and can't tolerate the claustrophobic tightness of most colder-weather sleeping bags. Using a down quilt plus a good pad is my current plan, but I have no idea of just what is needed to make that work in seriously cold weather. I'd love to know how you do it!

3:45 p.m. on January 9, 2012 (EST)
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Ok, well full disclaimer I use a hammock.

That aside, using a quilt is easily doable on the ground. In a sleeping bag your body is compressing the insulation under you making it for all intensive purposes useless.

If you use a quilt wide enough for your needs you will not be able to tell a difference between a quilt and a sleeping bag. You just sleeping on a properly rated sleeping pad like normal and tuck the quilt around you. Most quilts have a footbox(usually with snaps or ties to allow to open up fully if you desire), and also have either a tie or a snap so that you can put it over your head/shoulders to help hold it in position.

I use a 0F under quilt and top quilt w/2oz overfill from www.hammockgear.com, i typically wear some capaline 2 long johns, a capaline 3 top, down pants, and a nano puff jacket and was able to get down to -30F with a bivy around my hammock. My current system is the same except i no longer use the bivy, and use a hammock sock instead. I routinely sleep in -10 to +10F conditions with my quilts with just the capaline base layers on.

Many ultralighters use quilts instead of a sleeping bag because they save alot of weight, because lets face it the insulation in the bottom of a sleeping bag is dead weight and doesnt really provide any benefit, or very little.

Now, it is a quilt, so yes drafts are possible if you toss and turn and dont have a wide enough quilt for you. But this is really only a problem when your cowboy camping, in a tent or bivy you don't really get drafts unless you left the door open.

I have been using quilts for the past two winter seasons and i have no complaints.

8:50 a.m. on January 10, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for all the info guys.  I never thought of a used expedition bag.  That may be the answer.  I can grossly over-compensate for the light fill on the bottom.

See ya outside

jopatco

 

BINGO !

Save yourself $500 ... with a little patience, you will likely find something on eBay, like my Kara Korams.

Disclaimer: I am a thinker, a frugalist, and a minimalist

~~ r2 ~~

1:03 p.m. on January 10, 2012 (EST)
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That seems a very workable system, The Rambler. Thanks for the tips!

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