Sleeping Bag: Full zip v Half zip

10:52 a.m. on November 1, 2010 (EDT)
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I'm looking at buying a new bag and I'm narrowing it down.  One feature I'm struggling with is buying a bag with a full zipper or a half zipper.  Any suggestions/advice?

11:25 a.m. on November 1, 2010 (EDT)
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my winter and 3 season bags both zip most but not all the way down - call them 3/4 zip, i guess.  I don't recall thinking that I would love to see them zip all the way down.  in fact, i think a zipper that runs all the way down or around would compromise the warmth of the foot area to some degree.   i usually don't unzip the bags more than halfway in most situations, except to fish for some garment that's hiding in the foot of the bag, or to air the bag out when i'm home. 

if this is a question of a mummy bag vs. semi-mummy or rectangular, i would go with the mummy.  warmer, and saves a little weight. 

to me, the big issues with zippers are, how well do they avoid snags, how smoothly and easily do they open and close, and how well does the draft tube (or tubes, as winter bags sometimes have a double tube) behind the zipper keep cold out. 

11:42 a.m. on November 1, 2010 (EDT)
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I have a Golite 20 degree mummy bag with a chest zipper. It only zips down the top front to about my stomach. I have used this bag for about 10 years and really like it not having the full length zipper. Sometimes I miss the full length zipper when I want to cover up on warmer nights with just my feet inside and the rest covering me like a blanket, like I did with all my previous bags in the past. So I guess each has its advantages?

12:01 p.m. on November 1, 2010 (EDT)
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My feet get too warm when I first get into a bag at night so a full zip or an opening at the bottom is essential for me.  This may not apply to you.

I also like a full zip so I can use it as a quilt.

12:59 p.m. on November 1, 2010 (EDT)
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A full zip bag permits venting the foot area if you are one of those with sweaty feet.  It also allows a more complete inverting the bag inside out, thus more complete drying when you lay the bag out in the morning to dry in the sun.  Lastly some bags come in his and hers models; a full zip design better facilitates these bags to be zipped together, forming a single bag for double occupancy.

Ed

9:45 p.m. on November 1, 2010 (EDT)
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My Golite old featherlight chest zip bag has a slot at the foot end to let me stick my feet thru to vent. Its a down bag rated to 20 and weighs 1.4 lbs.

1:00 a.m. on November 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Well, I'll give this a second try.  Must have done something wrong the first time.

I prefer a full zip.  My feet get too hot in a partial zip.  I also like to open the bag up fully and use it as a quilt.

11:58 a.m. on November 2, 2010 (EDT)
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I find a full-zip welcome with warmer, summer-type bags...Easy to "spread out." My 15F bag, a Marmot Helium, is better because of its half-zip. By consequence, the half-zip design means a shorter draft-tube, and warmer, more efficient foot-box. In the temps that I'd be using the Helium, I would rarely--if ever--need to vent the footbox. I have the 2007 long version with a Pertex Quantum shell and 850 fill.

10:51 p.m. on November 3, 2010 (EDT)
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I have full zip, 3/4 zip and 2/3(?) zipper bags. I dont really prefer one over another.

3:35 p.m. on November 9, 2010 (EST)
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I have an ultra light 800 fill bag with half zip and a foot slot but even though iam small in build it is kind of tight fitting and on warm nights being unable to unzip the length of the bag kind of sucks.It is a 32 degree Wicked fast Sierra Designs coming in at 1lb 7oz.My Western Mountaineerin Alpine Lite weighs just afew ounces more and goes to 20 degrees and has a full side zipper.I love this bag.It is all in what you find comfortable for yourself.I prefer the longer zippers and a little more room in a bag.ymmv

1:05 p.m. on November 11, 2010 (EST)
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I never vent my feet, but I prefer having a 3/4 or full zipper so that I can use the bag as a quilt.  I can do without a 1/2 zip- I'd rather have a no-zip bag than a 1/2 zip and save the weight.

10:52 p.m. on November 17, 2010 (EST)
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I have a half zip and a full zip sleeping bag both have there advantages but overall I must admit that the full zip sleeping bag is best for me. Reason being said, I can regulate my body tempature on hot or warm nights much better then with a half zippered sleeping bag. I think if you are winter camping a half zip sleeping bag would be better because it would hold in body heat better. Only my opinion!

1:16 a.m. on November 18, 2010 (EST)
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I have a 30 degree Kelty Lightyear with half zip side and zip across the feet.  This bag comes in different cold ratings.  The benefit of half zip for me is the compact travel size and weight savings.  I think flexability comes into play for entering and exiting a half zip bag. 

I have five different sleeping bags right now and this is by far my favorite one.

9:47 a.m. on November 18, 2010 (EST)
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I  personally must have a full zip, which as Gary mentioned, can also be used as a quilt. But My feet cannot stand to be covered at all times. I see some bags have a short side zipper and a foot-box vent. I thought this would become a trend but it doesn`t seem to be catching on judging by the new bags this year. Also if you are an ultralighter the more zipper length themore weight.

August 29, 2014
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