sleeping bags tested

Discussion in 'camping equipment and clothing related' started by grumpyvette, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    theres few pieces of equipment that will make or break a hunting trip as fast as a good or defective sleeping bag and pad combo on a cold night spent in a tent under cold conditions,

    a few tips, I learned the hard way hunting ELK over 40 plus years in Colorado & Wyoming & California sierras, hunting in the high county during snow and rain,

    always have a warm watch cap,and a sleeping bag with a head hood, it retains body heat

    an inner liner bag tends to add warmth and prevent some wear and dirt issues and an outer gortex bag tends to help with moisture issues

    compressed insulation has far less warmth so you'll NEED a decent pad UNDER the bag, and ALL air mattresses, that you blow up will eventually leak and prove worthless, you need a closed cell foam pad, that won,t allow moisture to pass thru to the bag, and although its a P.I.T.A. to transport its worth its weight, in keeping you warm

    synthetic bags tend to be heavier and harder to pack into small stuff bags, but they also tend to be warmer if they get wet than down bag insulation which can be near worthless once soaking wet.

    down insulation is effective but generally youll need to be careful reading labels, and look for ( PURE GOOSE DOWN of 550 loft or better, the BETTER BAGS HAVE 650-800 LOFT DOWN)
    duck and chicken feather insulation, is NOT THE SAME AS DOWN and tends to be vastly inferior

    wearing a parka while inside a bag may add insulation but pre-test any bag to make sure youve got room,to do so ,it can reduce insulation if its too tight, in an emergency, if the bags too, wearing it confining youll spend a miserable night, its best to spend a bit more and get the lower temp rated bag , you can always open them partly to release heat, but your screwed if the temp drops any your bags rated far above the temps your dealing with, thats why Ive always suggested a -20F rated bag and a decent 4 season tent

    All insulation tends to lose loft and insulation effectiveness if you store the bag packed in a stuff sack over time so store the bag in a large hanging plastic bag

    mummy style bags are lighter but far more confining, the rectangle bag designs tend to be far more comfortable, in most cases, but more difficult to pack longer distances, and larger when packed, in a stuff sack

    if you expect to see snow get a MINIMUM of a 0F degree rated bag and a gortex outer bag, you can partly unzip a bag to cool off but hypothermia from cold can KILL YOU if you can,t stay warm, laying extra clothing between the pad and bag can increase warmth

    always allow decent air flow thru a tent, no matter how cold it is or your breath condenses on the tent walls & roof and can potentially get equipment damp over time, when it eventually warms enough to drip, and it ALWAYS DOES

    all bags can rip, have a small sewing repair kit and duct tape available


    watch and read the linked info its critical that you understand the concepts
    read thru this ... cking.html ... re=related ... re=related ... ng%20Bags/ ... gear/15919 ... ag-Reviews ... eping.html
  2. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    a couple bags that work reasonably well, I usually bring a serious cold weather bag for emergency use but the cheaper bags get used when the temps are more moderate, keep in mind we back-pack into an area and frequently get snowed in while sleeping in a 4 man dome tent, but we listen to weather reports and select bags for the weather predicted, but most of us have two bags and leave one locked in a truck
    I back-pack in and sleep in the cold frequently, heres a few tips
    Sleeping bag temperature ratings can be misleading. When manufacturers tell you a bag is rated for -10°, we mean that it will keep you alive at a temperature down to -10°. We don't mean you'll be comfortable. You won't. You will be COLD! But you'll be alive.
    Ive back-pack hunted for elk in Colorado for decades, temps range from the 80F down to -20F on very rare occasions.
    youll find early season archery ,far warmer than third rifle season up at 10,000 plus feet elevation.
    now you should obviously consider what you NEED to stay reasonably comfortable under the likely conditions you'll see.
    one of the most miserable nights I ever spent was the first night I camped in the California Warner wilderness, temps dropped to -5F
    I had a SEARS sleeping bag rated for 10F and even wearing a parka and sweater inside the bag I felt like I was freezing to death,sleeping in the tent.
    light weights great, but the object of having a sleeping bag is to allow you to stay at least semi-warm while you sleep.
    now having a good insulating pad under the bag helps and having a pull over face mask to restrict heat loss from your head and face helps,but think thru your choices based on the likely conditions and don,t get mesmerized by light weight or low price alone, your life could depend on staying warm and dry.
    Temperature ratings are really survival ratings. For comfort, most people need a sleeping bag rated about 20° to 25° colder than the expected nighttime temperature on their camping trip. If you are expecting zero degree nights, then buy a -20° to -25° sleeping bag.

    (1) you should have a good water proof stuff sack to carry the sleeping bag and rain gear, getting soaked sleeping gear while packing in, in the 33f-50f temps sucks.

    (2) the smaller MUMMY bags tend to be easier to pack and lighter but a TOTAL P.I.T.A. as they are restrictive so Id strongly advise a semi-mummy or rectangular bag

    (3)you need to have a sleeping pad thats water proof you don,t want mud or snow soaking thru from under your bag and you can.t depend on any tent floor being 100% water proof

    (4) Ive always preferred to travel as light as possible so having a 8 mill plastic drop cloth, about 6ft x 10ft thats not taking up much room or weight to place under the sleep pad and provide a moisture barrier helps

    (5) you don,t need to spend a fortune on a decent 0 deg-F-to minus 20 deg-F rated bag, shop carefully

    (6) youll want a tent that breaths with a water proof outer rain fly, a stupid beginner mistake is to close all the doors and window panels, your breath will form ice on the roof that drips on you as soon as temps get high enough to soak your gear, if you leave the windows just a bit open with a slight breeze that won,t tend to happen

    (7)use a decent bag liner to protect the bag from dirt and rips, its far cheaper and easier to replace a liner than a good bag,,and use an outer gortex bag if you can afford it ,wear a good insulated ski mask and a bulky sweater over your long thermal underwear, it helps retain heat

    this is a decent bag if its not real cold, above 20f its fine ... eeping-bag
    AL,used this last year and loved it ... eeping-bag
    FRANK, used an early version of this bag for several years and said its fine as long as its not fully zipped closed, because it gets to warm ... tionId=7D8
    I used this REI LONG INFERNO BAG, for several years, but its not unusual to find its a bit too warm unless its below 10F, unless you unzip it just a bit and its a bit restrictive, for a bigger guy like myself at 6'3" 250lbs

    several guys in out elk hunt group have one of these two bags (the long -40F rated versions)(below)and the previous versions of these two bags and everyone likes them, in fact almost without doubt these are the bags Id suggest for a new elk hunter, you could very easily spend $100 more and get an inferior bag ... m1&Go.x=21 ... rt_slp_bgs
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2019
  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I got asked what sleeping bag and tent I used to back pack into rough country,
    theres ALWAYS compromises made in your sleeping bags price, its weight, its compacted carry size,
    and ability to keep you reasonably comfortable in rather extreme cold weather
    Ive always felt that the MUMMY style bags were very restrictive ,
    I prefer the rectangular type of bag, but the mummy style allows a lighter weight,
    and more easily compacted for carry size and weight. this is an advantage if your packing in to remote areas.

    youll want a two to three man 4 season tent.
    my late hunting partner and I purchased a tent very similar to this one but its no longer made 45 years ago , each paid 1/2 of the cost which even back then was over $340. btw get the aluminum rib poles that cost more not the less expensive fiber glass poles
    If your hunting rough country in conditions that may easily be in below freezing temps,
    you'll really appreciate a good nights sleep and a warm & dry tent & sleeping bag.

    you can always open a bag thats too warm and in many cases throw your parka over any bag if you need more heat retention
    it also makes a great deal of sense to have an outer water proof bag cover that adds warmth and a moisture barrier .
    don,t forget youll need a pad under the bag to provide a moisture barrier, some level of cushioning and a heat retention barrier.
    everyone needs to think through the compromises they are willing to make, I would certainly advise a -10--20F
    rated sleeping bag if you intend to back pack into who knows what conditions with an outer water proof shell

    I,ve used the REI inferno for decades, of course when I purchased mine it was far less money,
    but 40 plus years ago I made considerably less also.

    youll want a loose roomy gortex upper sleeping bag, cover, the upper 1/2 outer gortex breathable cover with a water proof lower 1/2

    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019 at 11:38 AM
  4. T-Test

    T-Test reliable source of info

    I still have my Military down bag circa WWII that started with the Boy Scouts when I was 1o. Have used in -40* with snow in Alaska.
    Also have a Coleman summer bag I used in summer months that was good for about freezing temps. And they both still work and look nice and have no intentions of ever using them again.

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