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Right size sleeping bag

Discussion in 'GATE Survival & Preparedness' started by HKLovingIT, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles
    In terms of thermal rating I've always been told to add 10-20 degrees to what the manufacturer says on the tag. What are your thoughts on how to approach getting a bag that will do the job while not adding unnecessary bulk and weight. Or I guess another way to ask is that you can certainly buy too little bag but aside from weight considerations can you buy too much thermal protection?

    Maybe some guys have summer bags and winter bags but if you can only get a set for a family of four what are your thoughts? Worst case scenario would be outdoors use with night time temps in the teens.

    I'm interested in getting some quality bags for both preparation plus camping use.

  2. JC Refuge

    JC Refuge

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    Oct 8, 2007
    HKLovingIT ... I like your sig line.

    Sleeping bags ... hmmm ... well, I for one do believe that your sleeping bag can be too warm on a hot summer night.

    Not sure that there is a single bag that will do it all. Sorry--I don't have a loophole for you on getting around using the right bag for the particular conditions--especially if we are talking a wide range of temps.

    It really depends on how you will use your sleeping bag--when, where, etc. You mention temps as cold as in the teens. Given that, and assuming you want just one bag--I'd go with a bag rated for 0 degrees. Then, I'd spring for a silk sleeping bag liner. They're not expensive. A silky liner can add additional protection within your bag ... or you can use it by itself on top of your bag on a warm night.

  3. TBumps


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    Sep 11, 2014
    Flathead Valley
    Unless they've stopped making them, several major manufacturers produce a dual bag system: one light summer bag that nests inside a larger, heavier 3-season bag. Combine the two bags and you have a winter bag that rates somewhere in the 0 degree temperature range. That would cover all bases.

    Synthetic filled sleeping bags, while heavier and more bulky than down filled ones, are less expensive when it comes to outfitting a family. Weight and bulk make a difference to avid backpackers, but it hardly matters to car campers. Another advantage is the poly or other synthetic fill will retain loft if they get wet, while wet downfill loses its lofting properties and takes a considerable time to dry.

    As mentioned previously by another member, silk or synthetic bag liners can add 10 or 15 degrees of warmth to an existing bag, turning a summer bag into a 3-season bag, or increasing the warmth of a 3-season bag into the winter range. The liners are easily washed and will help keep your sleeping bags clean.

    Mummy or modified mummy bags give the best warmth without leaving cold spaces, but some folks like the room of the rectangular bags. If you buy a mummy bag for use in cooler weather, I recommend that you buy one that is a little longer than what your height requires for the additional storage space in the foot of the bag that you can fill with clothing you want warm when you roll out of the bag. In winter, I keep a quart water bottle in the foot of my long bag to keep it from freezing.

    One last thing to consider: a quality tent will add warmth, as well as protect against bugs and bad weather. But tents are another subject altogether. Shop around for bags online, and if you want to talk to experts, the folks at REI will chat with you online. They know their products, and they know backpacking and car camping gear. They have a great selection and closeout specials on all kinds of outdoor gear.
  4. Bravo 1

    Bravo 1 Serious Infidel CLM

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    Sep 21, 2005
    I really like the older 4 piece military bags. They are modular and dry.