1 Set of Gear for All Weather

12:08 a.m. on July 18, 2017 (EDT)
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So, I was wondering if it were possible to buy 1 set of gear for backpacking for All Season weather. Mostly concerned with sleep gear.

If I get a insulated pad (Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated), 10 degree quilt (Enlightened Equipment Revelation 10 Degree), a liner (Sea to Summit Reactor Extreme). Do you think this would work from summer weather to -5 degrees?

3:41 a.m. on July 18, 2017 (EDT)
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It will "work".  But a 10 degree sleep item will be God awful in the summer heat, and not warm enough for -5.  Invest in you hobby!  Camping is a relatively cheap pastime.  Even outfitting for all the seasons cost WAY less than a vacation home, or motor home, or a bass boat or Jet ski, or an alpine ski set up (with clothing), snow machine or a motorcycle.

Start by acquiring gear for the conditions you intend to visit most frequently.  Many items can be bought second hand, gently used for substantial savings.  As the budget permits expand your seasons with additional acquisitions.    

7:14 a.m. on July 20, 2017 (EDT)
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You can, but I also second buying gear for the season you expect to backpack in the most. Most people are spring-fall or mild winter types. For this you can use all the same gear really fairly easily.

However, your biggest concern should be sleep gear because you will sweat your butt off in the middle of the summer trying to use winter bags etc. The sleeping pad isn't as big of a concern, but definitely get yourself a lightweight summer bag or quilt to use instead of a 10 degree bag. The warmest I would want to use, and it would end up being used as a blanket would be a bag rated in the 30F range in the summer. A very cheap budget friendly option would be a military surplus poncho liner. It makes a great summer blanket, is big enough to burrito yourself in if you so desire, and is probably good from temps 45F-50F+ provided you are using an appropriate pad

Other than clothing, my stove, and sleeping bags none of my gear really changes all that much season to season. I have a -10F underquilt, a 30F underquilt, and a -10F top quilt, a 40F top quilt. They serve me well. As the warm weather starts to arrive in spring but its still getting cold at night, or in the fall, I will often mix and match quilts to match the weather and to save weight from carrying both winter quilts.

1:17 p.m. on July 20, 2017 (EDT)
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I second the poncho liner as a late spring through early fall blanket. If you're going to be in mountains it may only be suitable for the summer, I've spent easily 2000 nights with a woobie during 12 years in the army and 40 is about the lowest I'd go in one if I wanted a mostly comfortable night's sleep. 

The army actually came up with a somewhat decent sleep system back in the 90s, it's called the Modular Sleep System and it consists of 4 items: a patrol bag rated to 30F (haha), an intermediate bag rated to -10F (HAHAHAHAHA!!), and a Gore-Tex bivy sack. (The 4th item is the stuff sack.)

The bags can be used separately or together, intermediate bag snaps inside the patrol bag and both snap into the bivy sack. Supposedly it's rated to allow you 4 hours of sleep at -40. From my experience, this is only true if by "sleep" they mean "not having frozen to death yet," but I've used mine in temps around -10F before and was comfy. This was with the poncho liner stuffed between my body and the snaps/zipper - the draft tube doesn't cover the snaps and they conduct a LOT of cold into the bag. The draft collar also sucks, and only the intermediate bag has one.

But despite the cons, it's actually a decent bag. Heavy and bulky, its 80s technology continuous hollow filament insulation isn't very compressible compared to down. Using the compression straps on the stuff sack you can get all 3 pieces down to a little bigger than a basketball, and I'd say the whole thing weighs about 10lb. Much better for car camping than backpacking, but not impossible to carry. They can be found very inexpensively at surplus stores, the bivy sack is the most expensive component of the system. If I could only have one sleep system I'd probably take this one because it works well enough for me. 

5:47 p.m. on July 23, 2017 (EDT)
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For some gear you could supplement rather than have completely different equipment. For example, you could get two sleeping bags/quilts, perhaps a 40F synthetic and a 20F down, and then you have the choice of using only the 40 in warmer weather, only the 20 in colder weather, and layering them together for really cold temps (rather than get a third bag). If you truly are talking nighttime temps ranging from 60 to -5 across the whole year then you might need a third bag, but again layering would save you needing a separate bag for the coldest temps you might face. Test out ahead of time what temp a layered system is comfortable for you.

8:50 a.m. on July 24, 2017 (EDT)
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I agree, laying does work well. I have some friends that are just getting into backpacking/trying it out that will occasionally want to come with me on a trip. I have had them layering different sleeping quilts/bags on several occasions with great success. I have had two different people come with me on their first winter trip with temps around 0 to -5F that were perfectly comfortable layering a good 3 season bag rated at 28F with a fleece sleeping bag layered inside(the thickish blue Ozark trail one). When I had them layering my 40F quilt inside the bag they stated they were a little too warm. So it is definitely possible you would just need to experiment a little to find what works best.

February 21, 2019
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