I can afford a better sleep system ?

9:50 p.m. on July 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I just started shopping for a new bag.My 5 pounder is giving me a work out . I'm looking at the  mountain hardwear Ultralamina32degree. I hike in ga mostly . I'm 5'9  1/2" 165 lbs.  I mostly use my hammock (hh). Feet are always cold . I'm using a cheap 0 degree bag at 30 and above your ok . I do use a silk liner .  I will cover most of my face . I don't really want to spend over $180. Cheaper the better. I have looked at  few marmont bags . I kind a like moountain hardwear bags better. I do use under quilt on my hammock. I really don't hike or camp in nite temps below 25  . I try to stay in weather about 32 or higher, but temps do dip. What do you people think.

11:40 p.m. on July 2, 2012 (EDT)
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When cost is a factor in a bag it's usually in weight and bulk that you suffer.  In the old days when I was dirt poor I managed to stay warm with 2 cheap bags sandwiched together.  Very cheap but bulky and heavy.  In subzero temps I even carried a third bag, etc. 

Most mid-priced sleeping bags are compromises using untested ratings.  My rule of thumb is simple---if a bag gives a rating at 25F whatever, jack it up 15 degrees and you'll be fine.  A good warm sleeping bag is the most important piece of gear you'll be carrying if you're into winter hiking, otherwise almost any old thing will work in the 45F to 70F range. 

But if you go out at 35F it's pretty certain Miss Nature will captivate your butt with 10F somewhere along the way, and then it's important to bring adequate insurance for the party.  Skirting around the edges with middling to low temps ain't fun unless you have security in the form of a good bag. 

The best is always the warmest and the lightest and by warm I mean magically warm.  Compare a cheap down bag (campmor comes to mind) with a lightweight Western Mountaineering or Feathered Friends and you'll experience the magic. 

Nowadays there are dozens of good bags available in the 20F to 45F range and I don't pretend to know what they are or who makes them.  It's alot easier to shop for subzero down bags in the -15F to -20 range as the selection narrows quickly---and the prices are astounding.

4:07 a.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Regardless of other considerations, I would suggest you stay with a synthetic bag, given the region and temps you camp.  Whenever I camp near freezing or above, and rain is a possibility, I always choose a synthetic bag, despite the added bulk/weight.  While rare for a seasoned camper with a tried and tested system to have problems with water, I see no need to flirt with the consequences of a damp down bag.

9:13 a.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I do lots of kayak trips, so synthetic would dry quick if gotten wet. I know what you mean worry every time I go on a fishing hiking trip we get record rain fall . That is why I use my hammock. Only twice did I get below freezing temps. I do my camping in north ga mountain most. You see a lot of temps in 30s at night in spring and fall. Ty guys Mud

1:15 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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The deals are out there. Ya just need to know where to look. 

I know ya stated ya didn't want to go over $180(new) but for a few more $$$s you could snag up a bag such as this and it weighs under 3lbs:


This might be a bit more bag than ya need but my thought is that you can always vent a warmer bag but in order to make a colder bag warmer ya have to add a liner like a reactor, more layers, or double up on bags like Tipi mentioned and you are pretty much shooting yourself in the foot as stated in regards to weight. 

If it was me personally I would keep and eye out at the site above(geartrade.com.) I have seen some pretty sweet deals hit the boards. 

Another option would be watch for a really nice used high end bag on the cheap that has been taken care of meticulously(and/or) has seen minimal use. 

Here is the direct link to geartrade if you are interested in considering going this route:


Look under "Hiking and Camping."

If you are set on going the synthetic route you should be able to snag up a pretty decent bag at that price. 

4:06 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Actually, Synthetic insulation does not dry faster than down.  It simply provides some, although very little, insulative warmth when wet.  The negatives are vast, however.  Heavier for the weight, does not compress down as well, insulation begins to degrade as soon as it is made, and less warm for the weight.

Unless you believe you will fall in a river and soak your bag, go for a decent down bag.  About 1/2 of my trips are on Vancouver Island and it rains all the time.  I use down exclusively.

4:25 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I was quite happy with my Big Agnes 0 degree. I got it on Steep and Cheap. It is a great site for finding great deals CHEAP.

4:35 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy said:

Heavier for the weight, and less warm for the weight.

I am not quite sure if that is 100% accurate. I think there are alot of factors that play into this such as type of fill for instance.

For humid weather in winter I use a TNF Tundra -20 with Primaloft Infinity as its fill. 

It weighs in at 4lbs. With a compression sack I can make it smaller than a soccer ball. 

Now in regards to a comparable down bag temp wise MH had the Wraith -20 which came in at 4.8lbs. 

I almost bought one but for the price would rather go with WM, FF, or Valandre...

So the Tundra with its synthetic fill is actually .5 lb lighter than a comparable down bag. I have used this bag down to its temp rating(w/windchill) not in a shelter(just on snow w/a pad and it was fine. 

So the weight issue is solely dependent upon which bags you are comparing.

4:44 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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The synthetic bag rated the same won't be as warm as the down rated the same.  You would be best to compare EN tested bags.  Do so and you will see a difference. 

5:03 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I do have to agree that I wish all bags carried EN ratings. At the same time I have had good performance with this bag.

They made alot of versions of it. Some with Polarguard and a whole slew of other different fills which have received various feedback.

Not much feedback with the Primaloft Infinity version.

Alot of the problem is people don't pre-heat their bags(ie warm water bottle;) or do a few jumping jacks/push-ups before they crawl in to elevate their core temp.

A bag doesn't provide heat. Just insulation to retain said heat.

I think that is a big thing people tend to forget.

I will say(from various experiences) it is definitely harder to dry a down bag than it is to dry a synthetic.

Family Guy said in a previous post on the matter:

If I trekked in really wet climates (i.e.rain forest) I might go synthetic if it would be impossible to dry out the insulation at any point over the duration of the trip(pulled from thread linked below.) 

Just out of curiosity it seems as though you have had a change of tone today compared to what ya posted in this past thread(which I pulled the quote above from:)

This is a very informative thread:


I recall the above a topic of discussion here before but for clarification purposes your "synthetic doesn't dry any faster than down" comment is based on?

Is there any other testing to support this theory other than small samples of each tested?

As mentioned in the thread you can wring synthetics out when wet but not so much w/down being the down clumps.

On the warmth thing there has been alot of progress in regards to synthetics today as opposed to the synthetics of "yesteryear." 

There are pros and cons to both down and synthetic but then again there are alot of different types of down and synthetic insulations.

Fun days in the land of insulation.

9:09 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I guess the operative word is "might." 

9:22 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I guess the operative word is "might." 


Well being synthetics are heavier, bulkier, and don't dry any faster than down I think this consideration is kinda odd being if ya break it down from what you have previously stated there really aren't any pros to synthetics and your "might" statement somewhat contradicts what you have stated here.

I am just confused to a point. I remembered that thread because I was the one that started it.

Please don't think that I was necessarily trying to "nitpick" but was more or less confused due to the change in thought.

I thought I may very well be missing something. Hey let's face it new products come out all the time(ie. water resistant down.)

10:05 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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My experience is that synthetics have too many drawbacks with respect to down, and I will qualify, given the same cut, shell fabric, and fill weight.

10:24 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I can understand that.

10:34 p.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Mudd,

I'm not too clear on what temps you intend to use it in but I have the MH Lamina (minus the Ultra (can't remember what the diff is) 35. Been using it for a few years now for my three season bag and I like it a lot. We also have a Marmot Trestles 30 that my wife uses and the MH is a world better. A pound lighter at under 3Lbs. and stuffs small as a football. Even came with a nice compression sack and mesh storage. The Marmot is big & heavy by comparison. They both get used for our paddling trips. I'm going to replace my wife's Marmot with something smaller/lighter for her first backpacking trip this year.

I've not been down to it's limit yet, low 40's so far, but it is a warm bag, I have no doubt it can handle freezing. I am a warm sleeper though. If there is a possibility of colder weather I bring a liner that adds about 5-8 degrees and there is always the fleece...

I do find it too warm on Summer trips when it's hotter & humid, I'll just drape it over my torso. You being in GA, I don't know... Though if your using a zero.

The zipper is a bit of a pain until you get used to it. We are about the same size but I have about 10 pounds over you and I find it plenty roomy.

Hope this helps.

2:46 a.m. on July 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I have yet to use a marmot synthetic...

but when I went out with a group, I used a Eureka! 15* synthetic w/o a mummy and the rest of the group used a marmot synthetic 20* I woke up with frost around my bag  and no one else with a mummy did! So I suppose get a mummy, regardless of your decision!

My Eureka! was great, it was about 100$ from cabelas, and I bet it'd do you better because I just bought one not knowing sizes... didn't realize at all too look for regular and extra large... bought an extra large at 5'8"!

If your feet get cold, buy a pair of really thick wool socks! hopefully that'll help! On my NOLS trip they made us have 3 pairs, 2 to switch every other day and one thick pair to sleep in. Clean your toes from lint every night before putting the sleeping socks on!

EDIT: if you do go down filled, just get a Sea to Summit, eVent dry/compression bag to keep it safe while paddling! I'll be getting one in the next few weeks! I'm going to send in the dimensions of my bag (dimensions of it in the given stuff sack) to Sea to Summit and see what they recommend. As proven by Backpacker Magazine, all or most bags can be sat on by a car and fluffed out within 2 hours if down or within 4 hours if synthetic. So, nothing to worry about with compressing with your body weight for a day or so.

7:03 p.m. on July 5, 2012 (EDT)
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MikeyBob365 said:

..I woke up with frost around my bag  and no one else with a mummy did!..

The frost appearing only on your bag is more likely due to other considerations.

  • You may have slept in a stance more protected from a breeze that would carry away moisture expelled by your body. 
  • Your sleep space may have been less warm, causing the frost to form on your bag and not elsewhere. 
  • The fabric of your bag may have allowed the moisture to pass through to the surface more readily than the bags of your fellow campers. 
  • Your sleep space could have been more humid, than that of the other campers.
  • Your bag may retain heat better, resulting in a colder outer shell.


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