what degree sleeping bag for WA (not Rainier) for Oct 4-5?

9:51 a.m. on September 27, 2008 (EDT)
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Im going to visit a friend in Washington and we're going to be backpacking next weekend. I'm an experienced backpacker in CO and UT, but don't quite know temps to expect in WA. We don't quite know where we are going yet, but I do not think we are going after any summits. Probably a loop hike.

So, not knowing exactly what elevation we're going to be at, what is bag should I bring to handle varying temps?

I have a 35 degree bag, which I figure I can veto. It's colder than that, right? This doesn't seem quite as versatile as I might like, and my Helium just doesn't weight that much more.

I have a 15 degree Marmot Helium.

I have a -20 degree Western Mountaineering Puma. I really just use this in CO winters, and it's an inferno. Easy enough to vent with opening the zipper, tho.

I sleep a little cold, but will be wearing capilene, etc. as insulating layers. I imagine that I'd be fine with the 15 deg. What do you think?

11:52 p.m. on September 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Not knowing where you will be backpacking in Washington State makes it hard to say what sleeping bag would be required. Parts of eastern WA are fairly warm this time of year, parts in the Cascades could get significant snow this early, much of the Cascades, Olympics, coast are likely to get significant cold rain and/or fog. I think, going blind and since you say you sleep "a little cold", I would probably opt for the WM and vent it if it's too warm. That's better than getting there and finding you are under-prepared.

Washington is famous for its widely varied microclimates and extreme changes of weather (except Seattle where it is always wet and rainy ;=>} ). That's why the typical Seattle complexion looks like a wrinkled, whitish prune (that's what Washingtonians tell us Californians, trying to discourage us from moving there).

And, of course, you could ask your friend where s/he has in mind, then check the web and the Weather Channel to get some idea of what the actual weather is going to be. Depending on how soon you are leaving for Washington.

Oh, and given that it is Washington, I would take a good rain suit, even if it turns out you will be in the eastern part of the state.

1:47 p.m. on September 30, 2008 (EDT)
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hey, it only rains 300 days out of the year here haha. Its been fairly warm this week though all over the state, however i dont think itll be long before we slip bak into our weather groove. cgray go synthetic, and try to stay dry! best wishes, maybe ill see you out on the trails this weekend?

5:59 p.m. on October 16, 2008 (EDT)
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Bill and donkeypunch85: thanks for the tips.

Because of the small weight difference and some of Bill's other points, I did opt for the WM, warmer bag. Since I didn't know where we were going (no one did), I didn't want to be the one to set limitations on the trip due to temp ratings. We ended up road tripping into British Columbia and doing several hikes near Rogers Pass (e.g. Glacier Ridge from Illecillewaet trailhead).

While probably not that much cooler (temp. wise) than WA, we never actually backpacked (just car camped and hiked days), and I feel like I was pleased to have the extra warmth.

We ended up getting into Alberta a little bit, coming back through Idaho, and then doing a little hike to Snow Lake (near the top of Snoqualmie Pass) in the WA Cascades on the last day.

Fun trip, and thanks for the tips!

October 1, 2014
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