What's a good sleeping bag for an adventurous couple?

12:37 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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my girlfriend and I are looking for a good 2 person sleeping bag. we would like 1 that we can split and carry seperately because we dont want to be dependant on the other person's pack. Does any one have any suggestions? We plan on basicaly living out of it as we adventure across the country, so we need one thats versatile in most conditions. Any info will be greatly appreciated & taken into consideration. Thanks

2:38 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi Roman Free and welcome to Tailspace.   Most of the quality bags that I am familiar with have a left and a right hand zipper that allows them to be zipped together.  With that bieng said zipping to  mummy bags together means you are stuffing two bodies into 3/4 of the bag(s),  the top part that you will share,  while your feet will continue to be in the mummy part of each seperate bag if the zipper does not go all the way down and around the foot.  First I would identify the conditions you will be using your bag(s) in.  Some of use here have 5 or more bags for the different conditions we may need them for.  Then you will have to decide the amount of money that you are willing to spend on a bag(s).  Next you will have to decide if you want synthetic or down bags.  A lot to think about which can seem daunting, but you have come to the right place here at Trailspace as most of the people here are are very knowledgeable and like to help others.  1st off when you have two people in a bag you give of twice as much heat+/-. so you will need mush less bag (insulation) wise than if you are sleeping by yourself.  You my think you can sleep in a bag with another person but it is kinda like wraping two gerbils in a burrito wrap.  It can get down right squirrely, and not in a good way.  I would suggest that you maybe consider buying one bag for the two of you (a rectangular style) and seperate bags for each of you if your budget allows.  Buying them used or 2nd hand gives you a much greater buying power as well as recycles perfectly good equiptment that is already out there.  I buy almost all my gear second hand of off either Craigslist or Ebay.  I personally have a Nebo (great quality, and I believe made in the US) rectangular bag that is about the size of a Queen side bed.  The thing is freekin huge, you could actually fit four people in it if it came down to saving lives in a crisis when needing body warmth to stay alive.  I bought it about 12+ years ago and I don't remember what model it is, but I'm sure they have moved on in model names.  It is large enough to fill up the entire floor of my 4 man TNF Oval intention and is the gig if your with another person or two.  I do not currently use it as I'm single and it is way, and I mean way, to much bag for one person.  It is a synthetic bag.  I like down best for bags in which I sleep by myself  and synthetic bags when I have a larger bag to be shared with another.  This is of cource personal preference.  Have fun shopping

2:55 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Roman Free said:

my girlfriend and I are looking for a good 2 person sleeping bag. we would like 1 that we can split and carry seperately because we dont want to be dependant on the other person's pack. Does any one have any suggestions? We plan on basicaly living out of it as we adventure across the country, so we need one thats versatile in most conditions. Any info will be greatly appreciated & taken into consideration. Thanks

Roman Free, first and foremost welcome to Trailspace.

Now, I have a few questions for ya. My biggest is what kind of temps are you going to be exposing yourselves too? This will be a good starting point as far as what is available to you choice wise. Then we can get into the down/synthetic/hybrid thing.... :)

"Most conditions" is somewhat vague. Across the country could mean a southern route, northern route, I am sure ya get the idea of where I am going with this... All of which will call for different temp ratings etc. Also what time of the year are you going to do your trip. One again different seasons call for different gear. 

I am just trying to gain a lil clarity here. Also is there a spending limit you have set for this set-up.

As it has been already stated previously, there are alot of variables that play a major part in what will work for you 2. 

3:20 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Like apeman said to give advice we need to know the temps you are going to sleep at.  All the double size bags I've seen are square bags. 

Please note the following is not a recommendation! If you choose to purchase and use this bag I and all other trailspace members are not responsible for weird looks, grins and out right hysterical laughter that maybe aimed at you.

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-selection/topics/91734.html#95382

My recommendation is to go with name brand square bags that will zip together and watch the weight.

Another thing to consider is how you sleep.  Side sleeping and mummy bags.

Don't forget sleeping pads. They are a necessity in winter to provide insulation for the cold ground.  Self-inflating pads that are 1.5 or thicker provide a lot of comfort from uneven/rocky/rooted campsites.

3:32 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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3:52 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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"Adverturous?"  

Some climbers use a down quilt and snuggle up back to back.  Its light and efficient.  I don't have any climbing partners who I'd get that snug with but for a "couple" it might do fine.

4:04 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I don't know if this one will split but if one of you sleeps hot and the other sleeps cold this might be the best choice.

http://www.geartrade.com/browse/106/94/181/item/204462  

4:11 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I think its smarter to wait for your response in regards to the questions above before I personally start throwing out suggestions. I would be here forever firing out ideas w/o any info on what your needs are.

4:56 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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First, I have to say im very impressed with all of the feed back. Thank all of you, this is helping my research greatly.

Now for the specifics. We are on a budget, but we plan on living out of a tent for a while, so we dont want to skimp on the necessities. I'd put the limit somewhere around $250 ish. We have our 3 season tent & are waiting on the mats until after we get our bags. We like the moutains, so I'm sure we'll be spending some time at some high elevations and experiencing some cold temps at night. As for the material, I dont think I want down because it's useless once it gets wet and there's a good chance we're going to get wet.

I think that covers most of the questions. Thanks again

5:06 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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One of the things you might want to consider is that if you sleeping pads are not attached they "will" move in seperat directions, out from one or both of you and your sleeping partner and one or both of you will be of off the pad(s) by morning.  There are easy cheap was to take care of this problem.

5:08 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Ok, 1st the down thing. Yes synthetic will still generate heat wet so you are on top of that one. Wet down sucks, trust me I know. Hmmmm. But there is the trade-off when ya take weight into consideration(synthetic is heavier.)

Well there are alot of options out there. 

When ya say you are planning on living out of a tent for awhile then ya add you are going to get wet....

Ummmm, is your faith in the water repellent characteristics of your tent in question or are you speaking in reference to gettin caught in a washout mid trail and the bag getting wet in your pack?

If it is the latter of these 2 scenarios just put your bag in garbage bags before ya put them in your packs and that should not be a problem. 

5:10 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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apeman said:

One of the things you might want to consider is that if you sleeping pads are not attached they "will" move in seperat directions, out from one or both of you and your sleeping partner and one or both of you will be of off the pad(s) by morning.  There are easy cheap was to take care of this problem.

 Or if a bag is utilized like a BA there is a sleeve that the pad goes that is built into the bag to keep this from happening.

These bags vary in price but seem to meet your requirements.

Big Agnes Doublewide bags-these utilize pad sleeves in their design:

http://www.bigagnes.com/Products/ProductFinder/Bag/filters/7


big-agnes-cabin-creek.jpg


5:31 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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One post suggests you may like to sleep colder than your mate - usually the case.  Consider getting two different models, one rated 10 degrees warmer than the other; that can be zipped together.  They don't even need to be the same manufacturer.  The zippers don't have to be the exact same length, but they must be the same tooth configuration.

Ed

5:35 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

One post suggests you may like to sleep colder than your mate - usually the case.  Consider getting two different models, one rated 10 degrees warmer than the other; that can be zipped together.  They don't even need to be the same manufacturer.  The zippers don't have to be the exact same length, but they must be the same tooth configuration.

Ed

 Each individual could also utilize base layers/sleep attire accordingly. This would probably be a more feasible option based on the vast range of different climates they will be exposed too on a trip of this nature.

They are going to cover many different elevations/regions on such a long trip.

5:45 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Mountains?  Which ones? Rockies or Appalachians....  Which Seasons?

Is that $250 for sleeping bags alone or bags and pads?

Rick - how wet do you have to get the down before it is useless?

Are you going to be backpacking long distances or day hiking from a base camp?

If you live near an outfitter or store like REI which has sleeping bags out for you to try I HIGHLY recommend you go and try them out.  Some mummy bags are very tight and can be claustrophobic to some.  If you don't like/can't sleep on your back you don't want one of the bags with the sleeve for the pad.  

I recently got my first mummy bags (I live in Florida you don't need mummy bags 90% of the time and you definitely don't want much of anything in the summer). I ended up with an Alps Mountaineering Clearwater 20 degree wide. It's like a tapered bag with a hood. I can roll around in it with ease. My daughter has a regular size and the bag has to roll with me.

5:48 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Campmor made a good inexpensive bag with left and right zippers. One bag will need to be the extra large, then they mate pretty perfectly. They make straps designed to hold the pads together, they look like figure eights made of nylon ribbon. Light and small. I had reason to zip the bags together once, and since then they made good three season bags on their own. Being able to carry your own bag helps distribute gear load evenly (you can fight over the tent and food bag.) These bags are down. They are light and warm. Every couple of days out in the woods I lay them out in the sun during a  lunch break to dry out any moisture they may have collected from me sleeping in them. Otherwise I religiously keep them in garbage bags or waterproof stuff sacks. They only come out for drying or inside the tent or bivy bag. The difference for me is very worth it.

6:38 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I love this place, you are all extremely helpful. Thanks a bunch again.

I know there are preventative ways to keep the sleeping bag dry, but you have to respect the 20% rule of an extended hike (20% will be too hot, 20% will be too cold, 20% will be too wet, 20% will be too dry, & 10% will be perfect.), and the occasional bad luck is sure to strike. I'm willing to sacrifice a little weight (to a point) to ensure that we stay warm after a rough day. I've looked at a few big agnes bags, but alot of the reviews say they don't pack down well, & I don't think they separate do they?

We'll probably be venturing into the higher elevations in the spring, summer & fall, and head south for the winter, but it does snow in vegas occasionaly these days.

The best way would be to go to an outfitter's, but I'm very far away from any that I can find online, except a tiny gander mt. & they aren't much help, and a little overpriced. This complicates the zipper matching of 2 different bags

10:21 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Roman Free said:

I love this place, you are all extremely helpful. Thanks a bunch again.

I know there are preventative ways to keep the sleeping bag dry, but you have to respect the 20% rule of an extended hike (20% will be too hot, 20% will be too cold, 20% will be too wet, 20% will be too dry, & 10% will be perfect.), and the occasional bad luck is sure to strike. I'm willing to sacrifice a little weight (to a point) to ensure that we stay warm after a rough day. I've looked at a few big agnes bags, but alot of the reviews say they don't pack down well, & I don't think they separate do they?

We'll probably be venturing into the higher elevations in the spring, summer & fall, and head south for the winter, but it does snow in vegas occasionaly these days.

The best way would be to go to an outfitter's, but I'm very far away from any that I can find online, except a tiny gander mt. & they aren't much help, and a little overpriced. This complicates the zipper matching of 2 different bags

 I disagree with the whole 20% rule... Its all perfect. Just depends on your outlook. ;)

11:44 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I feel the same about the 20% rule, but you have to respect it & plan for it, or it can kill your outlook.

After debating with the girlfriend, we've decided on a rectangular shape for leg comfort (I'm a sprawler & she hates it). so far I'm looking at:

Slumberjack Telluride 30 degree (the shell is only attached around the outside, will the insulation move around & thin out in spots?)

Kelty callisto 35 degree double sleeping bag

Coleman green valley 30 degree

Slumberjack bonnie & clyde 30/40 degree

11:14 a.m. on August 18, 2011 (EDT)
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i've researched what type of fill i want to use a little bit more, and most of the things i read say synthetic will break down & compact over time, thus reducing it's temp rating, where as down does not (or at least as fast). but my fear with down is that i will be dealing with humidity, sweat, wet seasons & wet lands, & there won't always be an opprotunity to dry out the bags and down takes longer. so now i have all sorts of questions for you guys. 

first, how long should it take the synthetic sleeping bag to get worn out after being used daily(intimacy wear & tear included), & how much would it effect the temp rating?

how long will down last?

will it reduce it's temp rating as much as synthetic once its worn out?

what's a good cut off point for weight on a 20-30 degree synthetic rectangle bag?

how about down?

if i opt to go with down for durrability & weight, how much longer does it take to dry?

does a 500 fill power bag take longer to dry than an 800 fill power?

how water resistant is the shell on a down bag?

will waterproofing it effect its breathability and drying time, and by how much?

i think that's it for now, thanks again every one, your help is priceless.

3:19 p.m. on August 18, 2011 (EDT)
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I don't own a down bag here but I am going to make some assumptions please anybody with experience correct me if I'm wrong. 

Ordinary sweating and condensation are not enough to give you problems. Problems arise when the bag gets soaked. Most bags are somewhat water repellent. If you spill a little water on it, it will just roll off. Leave it out in a rain storm and it's soaked.

Quote from Feathered Friends interview:

Q: Is there a personal favorite feature that you try to incorporate in most designs?

A: For down in particular, we always try to use a water-resistant fabric of some sort. That’s the biggest hurdle a customer has with down, that they think if their down gets wet they are going to die or it will ruin their trip.

To some extent, that’s not an unreasonable fear. So we always push the envelope in terms of fabric. Back in the day when Gore was coming out, we were the first to put it in our sleeping bags.

How many of you guys have actually gotten your down bag so wet that it lost it's usefulness? If so how did it happen?

As for the 20% rule I would agree with it. Most of the time it's not perfect. But how imperfect is that 20%? It's when several of the 20% happen at once it becomes miserable.

As for square synthetic bags take a look at Alp Mountaineering also. The owner formerly ran Kelty and their motto is "A little more for a little less." Most of their products are spec'ed with more durable fabrics than others but they are usually heavier.

1:31 p.m. on August 26, 2011 (EDT)
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hi rick, i've been considering going with a down bag for durability & weight, but the horror stories of wet down kinda drive me away from it. one person stated how the companies usually focus on a water resistant shell for this reason, and another was saying how there were very preventative ways to avoid this. my question for you is, how wet did your sleeping bag get before it became useless? how did you get it wet enough to become useless? how did you transport it(any waterproof bag?)?  any info will be greatly appreciated, thanks.

1:57 p.m. on August 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Well, it was in colder temps(below 35 outside) it was caused by condensation in a singlewall shelter a buddy of mine had(can't remember which one.) I didn't notice until the weeee hours of the morning I started to feel my feet were wet and cold. 

It wasn't like it was soaked to the point that I could wring mass quantities of water out of the footbox of my bag but it was wet. 

Throughout the course of the night my bag decided it wanted to hug the sidewall of the shelter. Being there were 2 of us in the shelter and we had it sealed up condensation was a big issue. 

The thing about synthetics, while most certainly being heavier they retain a good bit of their insulating characteristics when wet, down on the other hand doesn't. Made for an interesting morning and an early start on the trail lol. 

Live and learn, hey things happen. That was quite a few years ago (10+) but I never had that problem again... at least not yet. One of the main reasons I tend to steer clear of singlewall shelters. I am looking into eVent models at the moment though.

As far as transporting a bag the way to do it on the cheap is just use a trash can liner and stuff the bag in it prior to putting it in your pack. If ya want you could always snag up a dry sack from a company like Sea to Summit etc.

My feelings towards down is any moisture is bad moisture lol.

2:33 p.m. on August 26, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

.  The zippers don't have to be the exact same length, but they must be the same tooth configuration.

Ed

 

How 'bout "BUCK-TOOTHED" zippers ?

Or, those kinda teeth found in people with an "under-bite" ?

Then, of course, there are the "GAP-TOOTHED" zippers, inspired by one of the characters from "Hee-Haw".

(Many of my zippers have become "gap-toothed", and it's time to replace them).

 [ *insert smilie emoticon with big smile, showing lotsa teeth* ]

                                                 ~r2~

2:39 p.m. on August 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Roman Free said:

hi rick, i've been considering going with a down bag for durability & weight, but the horror stories of wet down kinda drive me away from it. one person stated how the companies usually focus on a water resistant shell for this reason, and another was saying how there were very preventative ways to avoid this. my question for you is, how wet did your sleeping bag get before it became useless? how did you get it wet enough to become useless? how did you transport it(any waterproof bag?)?  any info will be greatly appreciated, thanks.

 

Something that will work, to a degree, with keeping a down sleeping bag from getting wet due to contact with condensation of tent walls, is to drape your water-resistant shell (over-jacket) over the foot-end ... which is where most bags contact tent walls (due to tent not being long enough)

"Necessity is a mother ...."

                                                    ~r2~

3:03 p.m. on August 26, 2011 (EDT)
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This would work as well, I was just caught off guard. I did have my MH shell with me but it was too late by the time I realized I was in a flash flood. Plus I toss and turn at times in my sleep. I hardly doubt the shell would've stayed where I put it. :p

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