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Bought a new summer tent, need summer sleeping bag

A Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1, because my other solo backpacking tent (Marmot Thor) would be like a sauna this summer. CampSaver has them for $120 off if you get what I’m assuming is last year‘s color (yellowish.)

Now all I need is a good summer (30-40F) down bag. My 15F Mobile Mummy 800 will be a little too much except for perhaps the tallest Whites, I think. Anyone have any recommendations for a <=2lb WIDE bag, as in 65” or greater shoulder circumference? My shoulders aren’t close to that big but for some reason bags that should fit me are way too tight in the shoulders. The 3 I have that fit well are my Mobile Mummy 800 (68/60/42), my NEMO Sonic 0F (69/63/56), and my WM Cypress -30F (69/61/48.) The WM is the snuggest, the others give me room to move and in the case of the NEMO I have room for clothes and boots between my knees and at the foot. I’d like to keep it <=$300 but I’m flexible. 

Would you consider a quilt? Lots of room inside, especially in size wide. Great for summer, easier to modulate temps by sticking a leg out or allowing light drafts under the sides (or, on a cold night, snugging up without drafts). Weighs less than a bag and packs smaller. I'd recommend Enlightened Equipment, perhaps the Revelation model that allows you to open the footbox and use the quilt as a blanket if you want.

Quilts are definitely easier on those who need more room up top. Many custom made quilts have a wide option which I'd recommend for ground ( as opposed to hammock) use anyway. They also are great for warm weather sleeping. I will often start a warm night with the quilt around my ankles. Then throughout the night I pull it up, first over my legs, but generally it reaches my chin by morning heh.

EE makes killer quilts. I've reviewed their Prodigy a while back which is basically the Revelation of today, built with APEX insulation and a combo footbox that has a gathered end, short zipper and two snaps. That lets me use it in cold weather (its a 20°F quilt) or open it up when warmer.

That is too warm for Summer use though. I have a 40°F down quilt for warmer weather that packs much smaller. Not sure what their build time is right now, but I've been buying the Econ quilts from with good results. They make a Burrow Econ 40 for about $130 which is hard to beat. They also make expensive quilts if you want the really good down, but these are pretty darn nice. Probably too late to get one made for June, but maybe by July if you order soon.

If you go for a quilt on the ground you may want a cover of some sort for your sleep pad. I know I'm happier with my sheet over my XLite if I'm sleeping on the ground.

A quilt is definitely a possibility, or what I guess might be called a quilt-sleeping bag hybrid like the NEMO Tango or Big Agnes bags with pad sleeves and no insulation on the bottom. I tend to move a lot and I’m not sure the pad retention straps or laces I’ve seen on quilts would keep the open side of the quilt down. But I’m sure any quilt users will speak up LOL.

i also need a lighter pad, my Trail Pro (or Trail Scout, I cant remember) is pretty bulky and not exactly light, either. The NEMO Tensor and Therm-a-Rest EvoLite caught my eye, I’d rather avoid spending $150+ on a pad but that’s not written in stone. There’s always GearTrade, too. 

My personal experience...

I never use the straps or snaps to hold my pad to my quilt. The footbox seems to keep the quilt from flipping over. As for rolling around, the body moves under the quilt without rolling it around like happens in a bag. My sleep patterns seem to involve a lot of rolling and bags would end up tightly wrapped around me eventually.

The only time I have any trouble now is in Winter when I am using two quilts and the nights are 15 hours long so there is a lot of time for rolling around heh. Sometimes the inner quilt sneaks away from the outer and I have to reset everything at 2am.

You definitely can find some deals on used pads at this time of year. The early season AT hikers who have given up will often put entire gear lists online at reduced prices. Other folks who tried something new and hated it on their first trip of the year are also ready to deal.

Ah, so the pad goes inside the footbox? I figured it stayed underneath. That does sound like it’d work for me. And if not, I can always try the straps. 

Putting the foot end of the pad inside the quilt footbox is one option, but it isn't the "traditional" way to set up a quilt. Often, the footbox isn't big enough to accommodate the pad and still have enough space for your feet to fit comfortably.

Other than very hot, muggy nights, I always use the straps for my quilt. You can slide the attachment points out to the pad's edge, which gives you maximum room underneath to toss and turn, or slide them in towards the center for a snugger fit on cold nights.

Very true that a good way to distinguish the sleeping experience of bag vs. quilt is to say that with a bag you sleep in it while with a quilt you sleep under it. A quilt is more like being in your bed at home, under a blanket.

What I actually meant was that my feet go in there and keep the quilt right side up. The shoulders wrapped and tucked in cold weather help too. I do put the pad inside sometimes, namely colder, shoulder season nights that are pushing the low temp of the quilt. Keeps me from pulling it off my feet when I'm yanking it up to keep my neck warm :)

With the current trend toward gathered ends I can see where putting the pad in there would be an issue. My 40°F quilt is an older Thermarest model that has a very different footbox. It is rectangular and created by continuing and extending the side draft flaps across the bottom with an elastic gather. This design makes for the best quilt I've ever used as far as ground sleeping and will totally be stolen if I ever decide to make my own heh. The draft flaps are a minor detail that I've appreciated for years and the roomy footbox is great for warm weather. The EE quilt I use in Winter has a gathered end which I stuff with the other quilt and the pad stays on the outside. The gathered end makes a lot of sense in a hammock any time of year which is why I think everyone seems to be making them now.

Well, I think I’ll look for a quilt in the 40F range, if I like it, great. If not, I could either sell it or use it as a liner for my roomy 0F bag. 

That stacking thing is another nice benefit of using quilts. Two bags feels suffocating, but quilts stack well. My sub zero config is the 40° inside the 20° with two pads and added clothing to suit the expected low.

Make sure to look at shoulder width before you buy. You seem pretty good sized so look for wide models. For ground sleeping having a few more inches to wrap around can be really nice.

that is really wide in the shoulders. if it were me, i would contact feathered friends and look into getting a bag that is already pretty wide in the shoulders like the Penguin 30 and get it made extra big.  yes, it costs more, but if you use it for years, that tends to even out.  

Big Agnes makes a bag with 80 inches at the shoulder, but it's 600 fill and pushing four pounds.  

Yeah, it can be a chore finding a bag that fits. But at least it’s not my belly that makes it difficult!

I think I’m going to stick with 800+FP for both weight & packed size reasons. With my 0F bag coming in at 2lb 14oz and the 15F bag 2lb 8oz, I don’t see any reason why I’d have to settle for a good 40F bag/quilt that doesn’t weigh less than 2lb. With a 2lb tent, 2lb sleeping bag, and both pads I’m interested in weighing 15-17oz, I’ll be looking at about 9.25lb for those 3 and my pack, plus I’ll have enough space to carry a few days worth of food in my 50l pack. 

I think I'm going to buy a summer quilt also. My highest temp bag is rated to 30 F and it's just too warm right now for even partial cover. I have an old zippered fleece liner that I sometimes use but it weighs nearly as much as the down. I have sometimes used an old single size top bed sheet but cotton is less than ideal of course and not very versatile (like if the temp unexpectedly dropped).

We just got a plain and simple 50˚F, 1 lb., 700 fill duck down rectangular bag from Etowah to open and use as a quilt over both of us on warmer outings. $80 -- doesn't hurt much. It was good for me (except that it's not made in long!) but not quite warm enough for my wife on a recent trip. Probably not what you are looking for, Phil, but it has its place in our system.

What I really want is a dual density (40˚ on one side, 50˚ on the other) version that comes in a long size. Then maybe figure out a way to add a zip-on footbox made of silk or flannel.

When it comes to real heat I just use a sarong as a sheet.

I just ordered my sleeping pad, a NEMO Tensor 25. 72x25x3 and 17oz, rated to 30-40F, so whether I get a quilt or a bag with a pad sleeve I’ll have something thick enough for comfort and wide enough that I won’t roll off. Hopefully in another few weeks I’ll have my bag/quilt and can spend weekends in the mountains from time to time. If the tent can be squished small enough, I may even be able to pack enough for a weekend in my Manta AG 36. 

After looking around for quilts and finding that I’d be looking at 4-8 weeks to get one, I ended up going with a Western Mountaineering EverLite. It can open up flat for use as a quilt, has drawstrings at the foot and head, and can be used as an inner or over bag as well. Rated to 45F, it should be more than suitable for the Whites. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t rated conservatively, especially if I use my Exped DownMat. So now I’m looking forward to getting out and trying my new stuff! I really need to build a 100% cat-proof storage closet for my down bags and jackets now, I have nightmares about one of the too-smart-for-its-own-good little beasts figuring out how to open a tote and shredding the bag in it. 

I've had a Western Mountaineering Megalite for 6 years and love. I had WM overstuff it ($45.) to take it from the original 30 F. to about 15 F. for shoulder seasons. 

For hot summer nights I unzip it, hook my Prolite mattress inside the foot of the bag and use the bag as a quilt. Very comfortable that way.

It's amazing that with my Tarptent Moment DW, Prolite mattress and that overstuffed Megalite how warm I am even at 15 F., wind and blowing snow. I do augment the mattress with pants and shirt beneath it.

With polar long johns, light fleece balaclava and puffy down jacket I'm sure I would be fine even at 10 F. Maybe a few evergreen boughs beneath the tent floor for a bit of extra insulation would do it.

Eric B.

I got the Fly Creek HV UL1 yesterday and the EverLite today, and am very impressed with what I’ve seen so far. The tent goes up in about 2 minutes (minus the fly and 2 stakes needed for the foot end), and with the stakes & poles in a mesh side pocket of my pack I think I can get the tent down to 1l size using a compression sack. The sleeping bag has plenty of room zipped and with the foot drawstring closed, and in the drawstring stuff sack it’s about 1.5l in size. With a compression sack I can probably get it down to about 1l, too. I think I’ll try to use them on a hike & campout Saturday night.

I almost got the Fly Creek for its roominess and weight.  I really liked the tent from a comfort standpoint, the 2P is a bit tight for two, but plenty large for a solo tent.  Alas I was reluctant, as a friend who owns one warned me the floor is a bit too light, prone to rock cuts (and most of my camping is on rock soils).


I think I’m going to make a footprint out of Tyvek for mine, I don’t camp on rocks very often but a stick in just the right location will make a hole if you happen to roll over onto it at night. 

Well I gave the Fly Creek and EverLite an impromptu test last night, hiking to the top of Maine’s Pleasant Mountain to camp out. I managed to fit the tent w/o fly, sleeping bag, stove, 2 meals, rain jacket, sleeping pad, and 3l water in/on my Osprey Manta AG 36, for an all-up weight of 21lb. There was quite a bit of room left. If I’d received the NEMO Tensor the weight would have been about 2lb less, but I hadn’t so I used my military Therm-a-rest self-inflating pad because it was the lightest and smallest I had. My night was not a very comfortable one because of this! (The pad is 20” wide, 72” long, and only 3/4” thick.) Oh, and I used my boots with my pants bunched on top as a pillow  

Four stakes are needed to set the tent up, and it goes up in about 3 minutes. Guying out the sides gives a little more room, but this thing is really just a double-walled bivy shelter. It’s as tight as you’d expect anything labeled 1 person to be. 

The WM EverLite was the real winner here - a 45F bag that kept me nice and warm on a windy night in a tent that’s mostly mesh, and in which the lowest temp I saw was 42F according to the little thermometer/compass/magnifier/whistle thingie I always have with me. I was wearing a merino base layer, but no socks or hat. The bag has no hood. 

I’ll have to give it another shot sometime after I get the Tensor pad. I’m satisfied with everything, though if I was to do it over I MAY choose the 2p tent. 

Oh I bet the moon was nice with the roof off! I was out on Bondcliff this past week in the hammock with no tarp, just the bug net. Waking up once in a while to note the moon's progression is a great way to pass the night.

I was out cold before the moon rose above the trees, but I haven’t seen that many stars in a long time. It really made me wish I could take long exposure shots with my iPhone. 

I wonder when the last of the snow will be gone from Mt Washington?


Love my Western Mountaineering Megalite bag. Originally good to 30 F. (it worked at 26 F. cinched down to a "blowhole".  But after that cold August night on the PCT I sent it back to get overstuffed by WM. Now it's good to 20 F.

So I'd recommend that WM bag in the Megalite version B/C it's wide enough to permit wearing a light down jacket inside without compressing the bag's insulation.

I've had that bag for 6 years and it still looks new.                                                        Now I'm getting an REI Flash Insulated mattress that has a 3.7 R value for crisp late autumn nights when snow may even be in the forecast at 9,000 ft.

BTW, my summer tent is a Tarptent Moment DW solo tent that is actually modded a bit for 4 seasons.

Eric B.

I sometimes carry my 20 degree winter bag bike and backpacking in the warmer months, I use it as a comforter/blanket totally unzipped. 

But I also have a Marmot 40 degree sleeping bag which weighs about a pound and stuffs into a stuff sack that is tiny compared to my winter bag. And generally I also just use it as a blanket unzipped all the way.


I do the same thing with my WM Megalite in warmer weather.

I unzip my bag all the way and insert the foot of my Prolite mattress in the bottom of the bag. Then I use the bag as a "quilt". I have to say that in that mode I understand the attraction of quilts B/C it is much less restricting than a bag and therefore much more comfortable. With a T shirt over the top 1/4 of my mattress (to protect it from facial oils) I sleep like a baby. 

Eric B.

phil have you gotten out this summer?

REI Flash Insulated mattress

Phil, yesterday I got an REI Flash Insulated air mattress (on SALE at $68.)! Your Nemo Tensor which is very similar to my new Flash Insulated and the same weight. (Great Minds, etc...)

I have a TR Prolite but it's a bit too cool for shoulder season & early winter and the Flash Insulated, while at R 3.7 is not as warm as the Flash Insulated at R 5.2 it is about 3.5 oz. lighter. REI also has an uninsulated version.

Gotta say. I like its comfort better than the TR Neo Air. And naturally, not noisy either.

Eric B.

November 26, 2020
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