Which entry level mummy bag : Everest -5F, ALPS Crescent Lake 20, or Coleman North Rim 20 ?

3:57 p.m. on February 21, 2015 (EST)
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Hello ,

Which of these three entry level mummy bags would be the most useful and best quality for under 50 dollars ?  

Everest -5F  Mummy  

ALPS Crescent Lake 20

Coleman North Rim 20

Forgetting about the brand names ,  the Everest and Coleman are well-written of  at  cheapism.com  and by Amazon and Walmart reviews.  

Also , is there any compelling reason to instead choose the Mountain Hardwear Pinhole 20  mummy  at twice the price rather than the best one of the three above ?

Thanks,

Joe 

 

 

7:56 p.m. on February 21, 2015 (EST)
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Useful for what? If you are car camping in mild weather, a cheap bag is fine. But, cheap bags are heavy, bulky and their temperature ratings are suspect. The basic rule is this - cheap, light, warm, pick two.

I wouldn't buy any of these bags. Instead I would look for a used TNF Cat's Meow (which I own) or something similar from one of the better brands. Find one for around half retail, get it cleaned, which many retailers can do for a small fee, and you have a much better bag. REI has a wide range of bags, but don't expect to find a really cheap true 20F bag new.

Bag ratings are a whole topic. Even the 20F rating of the Cat's Meow is only the EN lower limit (EN is a European standard for testing bags). This means it's really about a 40F bag and I can personally attest to that, so I wouldn't believe the ratings of those $50 bags for a second.

I read the reviews on Cheapism and the reviewer points out that both the Coleman and the Everest are heavy, bulky and more like a 40F bag as I suspected. There is a big difference between 40F and 20F or the +5F that Everest claims.

8:27 a.m. on February 22, 2015 (EST)
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The best budget bag in my opinion is the kelty cosmic down line. The kelty cosmic 20 might fit your needs. When and where are you planning on using this? What temp ranges are you expecting?

8:48 a.m. on February 22, 2015 (EST)
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Agree.  Try craiglist in a cold and outdoorsy place got a used bag.  Or get the mountain hard wear bag.

1:43 p.m. on February 22, 2015 (EST)
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If you are sleeping out doing any activity where weight is significant, spend some significant money and invest in a decent bag that is warm and light.

2:07 p.m. on February 22, 2015 (EST)
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Thanks for replies.  

Question ---- does the advice about getting a bag cleaned refer to buying a used or new bag ?

The  bag  would be in the mountains of  Virginia and Oregon  during early spring to late autumn.    I would be using a sleeping bag liner by itself for the warmer nights  and always using a sleeping pad.  Liner could also be used inside the sleeping bag along with clothing for nights below the sleeping's temperature rating. 

About 50 percent of the time would be car camping and 50 percent of the time would be hiking inward  fewer than three miles.

4:20 p.m. on February 22, 2015 (EST)
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The advice on grtting it cleaned was for a used bag. If your just doing car camping or only hiking in "less than 3 miles" than it doesnt really matter what bag you get. However I would ensure that it is accurately rated.

if your truly on a budget my advice would still be to get a kelty cosmic down bag of the appropiate rating. They are the best bang for the buck in my opinio. Accurately rated, abd fairly packable/compressable compared to the other bags you are looking at.

You can get a cheap synthetic bag that packs down to the size of a small child and weighs about as much too(kidding! Kinda...) or get a lower quality fill down bag that will pack to about the size of a basketball or so and weigh alot less. You will appreciate the difference if and when you backpack/hike with it.

4:25 p.m. on February 22, 2015 (EST)
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My cleaning suggestion is for a used bag. A synthetic fill bag can be washed at home if you have a front loader machine or at a good laundromat. Do not dry clean, washing is fine. You can take it to a cleaner and have them wash it. I have taken my bags (both down and synthetic) to a local outdoor store  and they sent them out somewhere.

Just as an example, I found a used Marmot bag online on Craigslist. It was a few years old, but rarely used. I talked to the owner, called Marmot about it and bought it for half its original price. The owner had both the stuff sack and the cotton storage bag (never store a bag in the stuff sack, it ruins the fill) plus the original hang tag. When it showed up, it looked brand new, but I had it washed anyway. Not everything you see will be a deal, but if you look around, deals are out there.

A good bag is a long term investment. My Cat's Meow has lost some of its loft because I stored it in the stuff sack before I knew better, but it's still fine for summer. My gear 

doesn't get that much use but I have two bags I bought in the mid 80's including the Cat's Meow and a down bag. The only reason I bought the Marmot is because it is for colder weather.

I understand money is a consideration. However, don't be discouraged if you can't afford what other people have or suggest.  There are ways to save. For example, you can buy an inexpensive canister stove for less than $20 or make an alcohol stove out of a soda or cat food can for about $1. But a decent bag should be a priority. It is one of the most important things you will buy.

5:51 p.m. on February 22, 2015 (EST)
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If price is your biggest concern...but you still want a bag worth having...I was really impressed with this bag: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/ozark-trail/cocoon-200/#review30504.

I believe it is one of the best entry-level bags available...and at 70.00 is about twice as cheap as the next step up Kelty Cosmic. Granted...this is what I call an entry-level bag...but overall it is a great bag for temps above freezing and being down means you'll be able to use it for years.

2:16 p.m. on February 23, 2015 (EST)
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Thanks for mentioning the down bags.  I had been shying away from because of price and moisture issues.  Both Oregon and Virginia tend to be moist  (rain , humidity)  than colder.

Any thoughts  about these users'   review on backpackinglight web site ?

(I attempted to provide the actual web link to the review but the Trailspace system rejected it on account of protecting us from spam)

Also , is the Cocoon 250 the same bag or a different model of different quality ?

Are either the  Coccon 200 or 250 still available ?  I have not come across web links for purchasing.   

 

4:35 p.m. on February 23, 2015 (EST)
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I use down sleeping bags in moist conditions a lot with no worries...I believe my body heat keeps my down fluffy when temps are above freezing...I worry more about moisture with down in the form of jackets and pants because these items are harder to protect. Synthetic sleeping insulation has its strengths (I made a synthetic quilt)...but for your first or only piece of sleeping insulation down tends to be a better all-around choice. Of course...everything I just said in favor of down is really just bonus...because the best aspect of a down bag is that it will perform better over a much longer period of time than a synthetic bag (down ages gracefully).

Looking at backpacking light I think there are a lot of comments that support my take on the bag...which is: 

The Cocoon is a good starter bag for backpacking...it is both light enough and effective enough to be used by most backpackers for most of the backpacking season. There are some serious limitations with the bag (which is to be expected since it can save you hundreds of dollars!)...but most of the limitations either do not impact most users...or they can be worked around for someone who doesn't want to (or simply can't afford to) pay more for a sleeping-bag.

The most serious issues are that 1) the bags seem to have some quality control issues with the distribution of down (I noted this in my review) 2) the bag is not sufficient for a good number of people below 40 degrees. Now these might sound like deal-breakers but as long as you buy the bag in an actual physical Walmart you can hold a bag up to the light to examine how the down is distributed...and as far as the temp-rating...well you would be surprised at just how few of folks actually camp in temps below 40 degrees. If you plan to examine one of these bags give yourself some time to do it (go during a slow period)...shake the bag and give it some time to fully expand...also...get in the bag and roll around...consider the fit for a few moments (you're gonna spend a good amount of time in this bag over the years). Similarly...if you like to camp in cooler weather you probably "run hot"...so you can take the bag lower than those that "run cold"...and if you do as I do...you can take the bag still lower by planning to wear some of your more comfortable layers as "pajamas".

If you are fairly certain that you'll be camping in temp below freezing more than the occasional weekend...then I would suggest (as Rambler did) you spend a little more (almost twice as much) for the Kelty Cosmic 20 degree bag...which is another great bag for the price...and will no doubt get you 10-20 degrees lower for the additional money.

As far as I can tell there is no difference between the 200 and 250...if you read my review of the 200 you should be able to discern any differences that might exist when you examine a 250 in-person...but as far as I can tell remotely they are the same product.

9:25 p.m. on February 23, 2015 (EST)
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jrenow said:

If price is your biggest concern...but you still want a bag worth having...I was really impressed with this bag: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/ozark-trail/cocoon-200/#review30504.

I believe it is one of the best entry-level bags available...and at 70.00 is about twice as cheap as the next step up Kelty Cosmic. Granted...this is what I call an entry-level bag...but overall it is a great bag for temps above freezing and being down means you'll be able to use it for years.

 As you know, I bought one of these. I nearly froze my butt off last March. At best, I would consider it to be a 40F bag. That may be generous. (I'm a cold sleeper)

My latest steal was off Bearfoot Hiker's Gear Flea Market. I just picked up a 0-degree TNF Superlight for only $180. 3lb. 5oz. Guy only slept in it 5 times!

11:31 p.m. on February 23, 2015 (EST)
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Most folks rate the bag at about 40 degrees...there's gonna be some individual differences...but 40 is probably a fair rating for most folks.

By all means if you can find a "steal" somewhere go for it...my recommendation is based on what I know to be the needs of beginner backpackers...specifically those who are looking to save cash.

If you want a bag for backpacking primarily in the warmer parts of the year (almost everyone)...this bag is perfectly suited to the task at a very low cost (by bringing a few extra layers for pajamas a thrifty backpacker could use the bag in lower temps). If you're going to be backpacking in conditions below freezing frequently...or cash is not such a pressing concern...get a different bag.

9:46 a.m. on February 24, 2015 (EST)
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Joe Stevens I live In Virginia and the only bags I use and I travel alot to other states as well are Down..I am a cold sleeper so I go with a colder rated bag personally..But Like Joseph is saying your going in warmer conditons you could use that bag..For.Colder and truer to temp is the kelty...

11:39 a.m. on March 3, 2015 (EST)
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I wrote a review on the Crescent Lake 20, I found it to be slightly warmer than rated (I was comfy at a temp lower than the rated temp) but I tend to be a warm sleeper. It was warm enough to basically be unusable to me at 40F. It packs about as well as you'd expect for a synthetic bag of that temp rating. With my ALPS Mountaineering Razor liner in it I'd use it down to around 10F, maybe even 0F if I was prepared to be a little chilly.

That being said, I'd hit up gear stores like REI or EMS when they sell off their older rental gear, or scour Craigslist, eBay, etc. Get in touch with outdoor clubs or groups in your area, too, someone will probably be selling something suitable.

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