Bag Temps

1:39 p.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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First. I know that bag temps vary between manufacturers. I know that some people sleep warm, others cold. I wish the US had a standard like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeping_bag#Temperature_ratings. I'm trying to figure out what temp bag to get.  I'm not worried about Summer in FL the $9.88 bag from wally world is good, so what if it won't last long, where are you going to find a thinner bag? I just got a couple of Alps lightweight pads (long size 25x77x2)  for $28 a piece off steepandcheap.com.  Anyway I wondering what temp bag you use in what conditions. I am thinking about doing some hiking in the Smokey Mountains and on the Southern end of the AT. Other places I would like to go are the bottom of the Grand Canyon and the High Sierra Camps at Yosemite. I figure I could rent bags at Yosemite if I needed a colder rating. I don't plan on doing any really cold weather camping/hiking. I never actually seen snow on the ground. Honest.

7:01 a.m. on June 20, 2011 (EDT)
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I have a Valandré Bloody Mary and a Shocking blue. They maybe overkill in your case.

Both the SB and BM are snug so you can layer a lot and take them well below their comfort temperature. The BM has a removable collar and has 3 different configurations. Even without layering you can take it down 10F, though this depends much on your metabolism and acclimatisation. 

I just bought them from a friend of mine and they are awesome. Brand new it's expensive though.

For a higher temp range there's the Mirage 32F. Seems really good stuff toon though I don't have one. you can wear additionnal top layer. For the legs it's a tight cut so I don't think layering is possible.

Good luck. 

11:03 a.m. on June 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Renting bags in your case sounds like a good idea if you don't plan on spending much time in temps below freezing.

The Valandre' Mirage is a lightweight bag that I use from 20 to 50 degrees.  Lightweight and compresses the size of a cantaloupe.

You may want to consider down quilts, or the down liner from Mont-Bell.

DISCLAIMER - I retail Valandre' bags.

6:59 p.m. on June 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Just a note from personal experience about the Smokey Mountains,

If you should venture up that way during winter (sounds like you don't plan on it) do not underestimate the potential for ice storms, snow, high winds, and temps in the single digits since it can and does happen.

I personally don't go into the S. Appalachians during winter without a serious winter bag, I learned the hard way.

In that region I like a 5F - 10F bag for winter, and a 20F - 30F bag for three season. Both bags are usually warmer than I need, but I like the safety margin.

In the South Carolina Coastal plain where I live I can easily get away with a cheaper 40F bag for fall & spring, and use the same 20F - 30F bag for winter. During the hot, muggy summers here on the coast I sometimes just sleep on top of the bag, or use a hammock and sleep in my clothes only.

11:54 p.m. on June 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Summer seasons I use a TNF Wasatch 40(cheap synthetic.) It does what it needs to do.

Cold temps I opt for a TNF Dark Star. Heavy synthetic but an oven.

I have been a fan of synthetics for some time now. If they get wet they still retain their warmth.

Now granted you do have a substantial tradeoff with weight when compared to a down bag. Also there is the cost factor and how much they compress.

I am in the market for a cold weather down bag now. I have my eyes set on WM and FF. I plan on using it with a bivy in the cold temps. I am sure I will drive myself nuts with this one just like I do all of my gear purchases. :p

In your case renting seems like a very good option unless you plan on using the bag enough to justify the cost to purchase.

8:33 a.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Lucky guy, has BOTH a Valandre Bllody Mary AND a Shocking Blue; these are THE finest down bags I have ever seen or used, they are works of art. I have owned and used, (extensively) bags by the original Marmot Mtn., a custom Integral Designs,a custom FF and a WM and Valandre is a better bag than any of these superb sacks.

I also worked in he industry and nothing else compares to the above list of bags, at least not production bags available in North America. The only other one I would consider in this range would be PHD from "Merrye Englande".

For most people, I consider the BM to be the ultimate down bag and about the best choice for many years of use in typical North American weather. I would buy an ID eVent bivy with it and trust that combo in any conditions to 10*F and maybe a bit colder, when wearing a merino "skin" and being hydrated, fed and so forth.

Synthetics have their place, most are pretty crappy, however, the Primaloft bags by ID are excellent and what I prefer for hunting and, if I rerturned to wilderness work, that, as well. I have yet to see/use a synthetic bag in serious cold that is even remotely close to a good down bag in comfort and in weight/cold ratio. In real cold, keeping a down bag dry is easy and doing so becomes second nature as you gain experience in winter camping.

1:32 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Ok, now that everyone has talked about the best of the best. I use High Peak synthetic bag for the summer. The comfort rating is +52 but it takes me down to 40. Winters are not cold here. But we do get into the teens 2-3 nights a year. For that I use a Kelty Cosmic Down, rated at 20. I've used this bag down to 25 and was warm and snug, with a thin pad.

3:32 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Yes Valandré's gear is awesome. Don't know much about ID (Rab bougt them and as far as I know they don't produce sleeping bag anymore). But I own a PHd customized rondoy jacket and xero mitts. They are awesome pieces of kit but from my point of view valandré seems even better.  Of course its a feeling since i don't own every items of each brands. The valandré's 800 down is better than the PHd 800 and the baffle construction of valandré's products is absolutely superb. 

8:14 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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ID is still producing limited models and amounts of their superb bags and some other gear; they consistently hold one of the finest levels of manufacture of any gear maker I have seen in my 47 years of backpack-type gear purchases/uses and that is a LOT of gear because I used  my own equipment in much of my wilderness employment. I consider ID and Westcomb to be the finest makers with Valandre an equal and their gear WORKS and is damned well worth what it costs.

Thanks for the opinion on PHD, although I see that they offer a superior quality of down as an option, i.e. "900 fill". The down in my wonderful 1978 vintage Marmot Mtn.Works custom winter bag was listed as "600 fill", IIRC and it was as good as anything I have ever used, so, take the numbers with a little grain of salt.

 

 

9:14 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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 I didn't see any bag exept on their military website and the only model was the XPD III.

For down fill power you can read my thread :

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-selection/topics/90935.html

Obviously conditionning method back in 1978 weren't as good as nowdays. 

The design and contruction is also really important.  For example if you take a close at a valandré or PHd jacket you will notice how baffles are made, the down density varies from one compartment to the other. And this can change a lot from one brand to another and even from one model to another.

I was thinking about posting a thread about down sleeping bags and Garments construction and design. Maybe 2 posts. Anyone interested?

9:31 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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mikemorrow said:

Ok, now that everyone has talked about the best of the best. I use High Peak synthetic bag for the summer. The comfort rating is +52 but it takes me down to 40. Winters are not cold here. But we do get into the teens 2-3 nights a year. For that I use a Kelty Cosmic Down, rated at 20. I've used this bag down to 25 and was warm and snug, with a thin pad.

 That's amazing, cause 18 oz of 550 cuin down. You're a super warm sleeper. you're lucky. I would have frozen my B... A friend of mine use an old synthetic bag rated 5F and He slept in it at -30.  

Talking about warm sleepers I recently read that Jean Louis Etienne from france, had an incredible metabolic rate and acclimatization to cold after his expedition in antartica. His average core temperature for example was 95F and he was fully functionnal. 

12:13 a.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the responses. Thanks for the info on the Smokey Mountains Trout. Mike the weather where you live sounds like Florida's winters.

6:30 a.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Brumo, I should add that I sleep with light weight thermos on. And I have a light liner too. These things add up. Plus the bags fit me very well. I had another bag that was rated at 20, it was a looser fit. Froze at 40 degrees. I'm a firm believer that the bag must fit right.

9:13 a.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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mikemorrow said:

Brumo, I should add that I sleep with light weight thermos on. And I have a light liner too. These things add up. Plus the bags fit me very well. I had another bag that was rated at 20, it was a looser fit. Froze at 40 degrees. I'm a firm believer that the bag must fit right.

 It depends on your style. If you want to layer or keep some of your stuff inside a loose fit is great. Some people don't like to layer though, I guess it's because it's harder to handle moisture. Personally I prefer loose fit for really cold temp. You should choose your sleeping bag accordingly.

10:59 a.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Brumo said:

 I didn't see any bag exept on their military website and the only model was the XPD III.

For down fill power you can read my thread :

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-selection/topics/90935.html

Obviously conditionning method back in 1978 weren't as good as nowdays. 

The design and contruction is also really important.  For example if you take a close at a valandré or PHd jacket you will notice how baffles are made, the down density varies from one compartment to the other. And this can change a lot from one brand to another and even from one model to another.

I was thinking about posting a thread about down sleeping bags and Garments construction and design. Maybe 2 posts. Anyone interested?

 That was my point about ID and too bad, as the bags they made are simply awesome and also they offered a wide range of sizes.

I am not certain what you mean by your comment on ...conditioning methods... and I base my opinions on gear solely on actual field experience in western and northern Canada, plus what I experienced in "warrantee returns" while employed in a large equipment retail operation.

I am quite familiar with the importance of design, construction and fit in outdoor equipment, as I posted, I used a lot of gear in my working life for over 30 years. There are some famous and "cool" brands which I will not own and other brands that I prefer due to performance; nation  of origin, cost, "cool" factor and popularity mean jacksquat to me.

2:38 p.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Dewey said:

I am not certain what you mean by your comment on ...conditioning methods... and I base my opinions on gear solely on actual field experience in western and northern Canada, plus what I experienced in "warrantee returns" while employed in a large equipment retail operation.

I am quite familiar with the importance of design, construction and fit in outdoor equipment, as I posted, I used a lot of gear in my working life for over 30 years. There are some famous and "cool" brands which I will not own and other brands that I prefer due to performance; nation  of origin, cost, "cool" factor and popularity mean jacksquat to me.

 Before the actual fill power test, the down is conditionned either by steaming (US and Japan) or tumble drying (EU) and then the down rest in a screen box for 2 to 5 days.

What I meant was that I'm not surprise about your claim about your marmot sleeping bag. Basically i think you can add 30% to your Marmot 600 cuin cause at that time they only use the screen box or maybe nothing.

Concerning the design you obviously not my "target" as you seem to have a lot of experience. But I think it would be a could idea to share informations on those topics. 

 

3:33 p.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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A Valandre is on the list of items that I am determined to own someday, along with a Hille. I imagine it'll be a while before I can afford most of the items on that list :)

9:20 a.m. on June 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Gonzan- I've been trying to save/scramble/gather/work my way to a Hille as well. Which model do you have your eye on?

11:11 a.m. on June 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Jake,

 I am looking at the Nallo 2GT, which would virtually double the ammount of space of my current 2man but at approximately the same weight. I go light with just a bivy and tarp when solo in 3 seasons, but want a solid roomy tent for winter, or with the wife,  or with a group. I am thinking the Nallo3 might be a bit of overkill for 98% of all my trips. I am sure there would be times when a 3man would be great to have, but I would rather have a tent I use more often without carrying the excessive weight. The Kaitum is tempting, but I don't know that I can justify the difference in weight and price.

1:23 p.m. on June 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Funny you say that because I like the Kaitum the most. I agree with you on the increased weight and price, the thing I like about it is the 2 doors and 2 vestiblues it has. I realy hate having to crawl over someone when midnight nature calls.

The nallo3 also only adds 12 inches on the width (52 versus 64), so you go from having 26 inches each to roughly 21 assuming you have it full.  I do love the size of their vestibules, that GT version is massive. You can store anything, dogs, packs, even another person in an emergency.

2:36 p.m. on June 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Jake W said:

You can store anything, dogs, packs, even another person in an emergency.

 Being able to have open functional space like would be wonderful. I am thinking in three seasons it would be reasonablycomfortable for another person to sleep in there. I often just use a tarp and bivy when solo anyway, so at the least I'd be willing to bed down in the the vesty.

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