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Deciding on budget Sleeping Bag

I have been looking around for budget sleeping bag. Also, I searched different threads for getting worthy piece. We are couple and will be doing car camping in range of 35 to 50 F. Either I will two separate bags or one double. We are occasional camper, not frequent. Can somebody help me in giving opinion about below options ==>>>
North Face Wasatch 20F  
North Face Wasatch 30F 
North Face Dolomite 20F Double Wide -- this one is double
I am getting good deals on (may be) 4th July, so a early respone will help me. Last one (North face Dolomite Double) is having a benefit to be used as blanket also in moderate climate. If that is not bad, I can go for that.
Please suggest.

Honestly, spend the extra fifty bucks (pushing you into the $150 range) and spring for a down, 20F bag. Between eBay and a filtered Google search, you should be able to find some options from Kelty, Marmot, etc. in the aforementioned price range. My current bag is a Marmot 20F "Never Winter" that I picked up new on eBay for about $155. The light weight (less than two pounds!) and compressibility totally justify the purchase. The Never Winter even uses a treated, water-resistant down, making it very difficult to find cons with a $155, new, treated down bag.

While North Face makes some good stuff, don't get hung up on having to get big name gear. I've got a "Field and Stream" branded 0F down mummy-style bag that I picked up for $60 on a holiday sale and I'd put it toe-to-toe against any of the "big-name" brands. (i.e. North Face, Marmot, etc.)

My 0F is about 3lbs and left me nice and toasty on my Alaska trip 2 years ago with night temps in the upper 20's without having to clothing bundle before getting in.

I'd also second Eric's suggestion of searching eBay/craigslist and even yard sales. Just last week I picked up a old but fantastic camp hatchet for the high price of $1, and a $60 Penn fishing reel for just $3! People buy these awesome sleeping bags and backpacks with the thought that they'll be free every weekend to plunder around the forest, then use it once, get blisters and never return, so they get rid of their camping stuff for pennies on the dollar. Good luck!

Thanks Eric and Swampcat for replying.
I will search more as you suggested, though I was checking something within my budget (say about 150-160$ for two people). I know, down bags will not come in this range.
In continuation of my initial query, I want to know another aspect of it. As I mentioned earlier that I will not camp below freezing temprature.
1- Is 20F mummy bag good enough for that ?
2- Will I feel hotter if sleep in 50F ? If yes, should I take 30F and that should be sufficient ?
3- On another hand, I have been reading in few old posts that for freezing temprature, 30F should be ok if it is mummy and 20F should be ok if it is ractangular. Is this correct ? (Yes, I am considering only good branded bags). That was the reason, I was considering two North Wasatch 30F or one North Face Dolomite 20F.
Please suggest.

Kelty Cosmic 20 down bags are listed as $160 on their site. You can probably get them cheaper by browsing.

Kmart and Walmart have some good rectangular bags. If you are on a budget and just car camping their bags are good, usually Coleman brand. And unzipped they make great comforters for the bed at home.

Just realized you're using these for car camping! D'oh! Weight and compressibility probably aren't as important to you, then, if at all a priority.

A lower temp rating, mummy style, and single occupancy bag will allow you more flexibility, should you ever want to take a solo trip, camp in colder weather, or drag the bag along to crash someplace. The resale market for two-person bags is a tough one, and should you ever decide to sell it, it probably would prove difficult. If you only are camping as a couple, only going when it's warm out, and don't ever intend to sell it, that's cool - more than anything, you should buy something tailored for the places and times you'll travel.

For awhile I slept in a Marmot "Minimalist" synthetic mummy bag, that was rated at 40F. I sleep warm, and almost always sleep with my clothes on, so it worked fine for me. Was around $80 from Dick's. May be discontinued now, but the aforementioned venues may have one for sale.

You can always supplement the sleeping bag with an inexpensive fleece liner, or simply by wearing more clothing, thicker socks, gloves, etc. to bed. We always pack fleece liners on our car camping trips, if only to leave them in the car as a backup option should it get colder than we expected.

Don't let name brand price point become a barrier to entry, and find something that works for you and your budget. And when time comes to get newer or better gear, sell them on an online forum and pay it forward - there's always someone looking to get their spouse, scout, or kid into camping without breaking the bank. HammockForums and WhiteBlaze in particular sell gear with the rapidity of the NYSE. A lot of these folks will buy gear and only use it for a short while (if at all) until they find something they like more - but don't have the money to afford unless they sell the item being replaced.

I have five active sleeping bags, covering the full range of climate one encounters on the planet.  But when I go car camping my wife and I sleep in regular bedding - comforter, blankets and sheets and pillows.  That is by far the cheapest most comfortable way to sleep while car camping.  And if you need purchase additional warmth for car camping, thrift shop bedding is cheaper than other options.


If I target for 35-50F, a 20F rectangular or a 30F mummy should be ok ? Usually this formula should work, while considering bags ?

Ed has it right. For mild conditions above freezing, blankets, comforters and pillows from home are really comfortable. They are just as good as "cheap sleeping bags" and you already own them.

I agree with the purchase of a down bag like a Kelty as the logical next step.

Many people, especially the UL bpers are giving up on sleeping bags and going to quilts to save weight.

Eric Labanauskas said:

For awhile I slept in a Marmot "Minimalist" synthetic mummy bag, that was rated at 40F. I sleep warm, and almost always sleep with my clothes on, so it worked fine for me. Was around $80 from Dick's. May be discontinued now, but the aforementioned venues may have one for sale.

I bought one of these Marmot "Minimalist" bags in 2008 or 2009 (can't remember) from Dick's Sporting Goods and it still works perfectly fine for 3-season car-camping purposes. I was at Dick's a couple weeks ago and noticed they still sell them. It's a line Marmot sells exclusively through Dick's, so you won't find them elsewhere new. You could likely find a used one though. At $80 per bag, you could get two and still be in your price range. 


Thanks for all your valuable responses. Marmot Minimalist seems to be 40F, so I doubt if it will work at freezing temperature, will it ?

As I mentioned in my initial post that down will be out of my budget. I have been looking for different bags in my budget (after getting some discount codes) and able to figure out these sleeping bags :-

North Face Wasatch 20F
Marmot Sorcerer 20F
Mountainsmith Redcloud 20F
Kelty Mistral 20F
Slumberjack Latitude 20F
Kelty Cosmic 20F

Except Wasatch, I was not able to find any of above in stores, so I am not able to decide if any of these will work for me. Can you please help me in suggesting any of these or anything else. Pictures don't do justice so I will not know, if any of these bags have good roomy space, as well as, should let me sleep comfortably in temperature range of 35 to 50.

Abhishek says: Marmot Minimalist seems to be 40F, so I doubt if it will work at freezing temperature, will it ?

I have used a summer bag in winter by using a military wool blanket sewn together to fit around it on the outside and a simple tarp around me as well. I slept many a night in the Grand Canyon in Dec/Jan with this and stayed plenty warm below freezing. A bed sheet sewn to use on the inside also improves the temp rating of a bag plus keeps it cleaner inside.

Here's a LLBean rectangular flannel lined bag rated to 20 degrees for $79.99 


As others have mentioned, you could make the Marmot Minimalist work in lower temps by adding a liner of some kind. 

I don't have experience with any of the bags you mentioned, so I can't be of much help.

But, at quick glance, it looks like at least three of the six bags you listed have been reviewed by members of the Trailspace community. If you haven't done so, I recommend reading those reviews. 

If you need additional reviews I would suggest some of the websites from retailers like REI, Backcountry Edge, Sierra Trading Post, Campmor, or Backcountry. I'm sure there are lots more places out there that you can read reviews.

Best wishes with your purchase. 

The Minimalist would make the easiest transition into backpacking simply for its weight and compressibility. Again, possible to supplement this with a liner or clothing to upgrade the temperature rating. Aside from my personal experience with the bag, it's mighty hard to beat for the $.

Read all the reviews you can. Toss out the highest and lowest and take the consensus average of them.

And if you can't try it out prior, buy from a retailer that easily accepts returns on unused gear or offers store credit for lightly used gear (within their specified timeframe). REI, Backcountry Edge, and all have effortless and easy return policies.

Thanks. Got very valuable and nice suggestions. Let me search in my area. I think it would be a good start to check on stores.

Appreciate your all help.

After camping an average of 276 nights a year in fall, winter and spring weather since 1980, I have learned:

A liner is a better idea than clothing. Clothing can absorb perspiration then cools you off more when it cold out. A silk or nylon liner does not soak up body sweat and allows it to breathe out. Sleeping naked in a bag makes it work best. Or at the least just underwear briefs or boxers.

About an hour before I get out on cold mornings I stuff my clothes I am going to wear into the bag to warm them up before putting them on after crawling out of my bag.

A tarp makes a good bivy cover and I use my also as a tent footprint and lean-to cover when in wooded area where downed dead trees are available. 

Great suggestions Gary. Thanks for sharing your wisdom from your years of experience. Never thought about putting clothes in my sleeping bag to warm them up before putting them on, but it makes perfect sense.

Gary knows stuff. He lives out there.

KiwiKlimber said:

Great suggestions Gary. Thanks for sharing your wisdom from your years of experience. Never thought about putting clothes in my sleeping bag to warm them up before putting them on, but it makes perfect sense.

 It gets cold enough you'll want to snuggle up with your water filter and/or fuel canister when you bed down for the night too :)

I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the temperature rating of the bag.  Cheaper bags tend to be more likely to exagerate how warm they keep you.  On the other hand,  I often get warm and then also find that I end up doing a lot of my camping in the summer when it is warm, so I prefer a lighter bag that unzips around the outside so I can stick my feet out, or even just cover myself with it if I get too warm.  I did see that they have some climashield mummy bags at Walmart for $40 that are supposedly rated to 30 degrees, but that is probably exagerated as stated above.


I bring a heavier bag when it is going to be cold, but also always bring a couple of those powdered chemical handwarmers that you can get 2 for $1 just in case.  This spring, I was in a 30 degree bag and it got down in the teens, but with one of those going I found myself overheating.  It was still going when I got up in the morning.  They have larger size ones, too.  And then you could always put on a jacket or more clothes.     


Regarding double sleeping bags, we also have a double sleeping bag from a good maker that my wife bought at an extremely low price at a clearance sale.  It seem slike a good idea, because my wife coudl have soem of that heat I am trying to get rid of, but we don't use it as much as you would think, even car camping, because it is incredibly large even when packed.  


Also a water bottle stored in a wool sock then kept in the bag will keep at least on quart/liter unfrozen. The sock makes it more comfortable to sleep with inside.

Slumberjack Latitude 20F, Kelty Cosmic 20F, North Face Wasatch 20F 

Of these 3 bags, I own all 3.

Kelty then Slumberjack then North Face.


Slumberjack for car camping is AWESOME!!! My Favorite Bag of all.

Check Ebay you will get one for around 50 bucks. As above, people buy them with great ideas of camping but don't go. So you save money for their mistake.

As Gary said - BUY A LINER!!  You can control the warmth by unzipping it or zipping it all the way up. The liner is a good "summer" bag too.

Kelty - next cost more money but very good.

North Face if you shop you can find a "deal" on them but DO NOT wait till the last minute to get it. start looking early.

Post on here what you are looking for in the "Classified" someone may have what you want and will "DEAL" with you. It may be used but not abused. most of us try to take care of what we own.

Good Luck.


Get that Cosmic, yo!

So what did you get???

I've never had an issue with high peak synthetic bags. Used them for years in the nasty winters of the white mountains and on mt rainier.

for car camping, those coleman bags at walmart should do just fine. if they are not warm enough, go with a kelty cosmic.

abhishek, you did not say where you are located. that would be a big help in helping to locate stores to try.

December 1, 2020
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