Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: Nyimbo on February 03, 2016, 05:55:02 pm

 
Title: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: Nyimbo on February 03, 2016, 05:55:02 pm
I'm organizing my first tour that is not credit card style.  I ordered the North Face "Aleutian" sleeping bag and when it arrived I was really surprised at how big it is. (16" long and 10.5 across) Its big enough to take up a whole pannier.  I assume it doesn't need to go inside the bag, except what about rain protection?  So my question is how to carry/pack the sleeping bag on my bicycle? 
Keith
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: RussSeaton on February 03, 2016, 06:33:31 pm
You may want to trade that bag for a smaller one.  I have a 800 down bag rated for 45 degrees and it packs into a size about 10 inches long and 5 inches diameter.  You could put 3 or 4 of them in one pannier.  Its perfect for summer.  It never gets near 45 degrees in the summer where I ride.  If you are camping on the top of a mountain at any time of the year, then its probably not the bag to use.  But why carry an arctic bag if you are riding in the tropics?  As for carrying it so it does not get wet, plastic garbage bags or grocery bags will keep the water away.  I'd suggest putting everything in a pannier inside plastic bags.  And then put those plastic bags inside a big plastic bag that goes inside the pannier.  I'm an advocate for using plastic bags when carrying stuff on a bike.  Keeps it dry and organized.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: John Nelson on February 03, 2016, 08:23:07 pm
My sleeping bag takes up less than half of my pannier, and I keep it there because I darn sure want a dry sleeping bag after riding all day in the rain. Use the lightest bag for the anticipated conditions. There are various ways to make the bag warmer on the occasional night in which it might be colder than the bag is designed for, including wearing extra clothes, using a liner and/or using a bivy over the bag.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: Pat Lamb on February 03, 2016, 09:29:50 pm
I've packed a large poly fill bag in a pannier with some heavy stuff, such as tools and stove.  The bag can probably be compressed into a smaller space than your stuff sack, and if you put the heaviest and densest items in your load in the same pannier, it can end up balancing surprisingly well.

FWIW, I agree with Russ and John, especially if you got the 0 degree bag.  That might be appropriate for winter touring where it snows, or high altitude camping in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.  But if you'll be touring in the summer like most people, it's going to be too warm to miserably hot 95% of the time.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: Nyimbo on February 03, 2016, 10:22:19 pm
My bag is rated for 20degrees.  I did a forum search for recommendations on temp rating of bag for the transAm and that seemed to be the consensus so I ordered that rating, of course if I would have ordered a more expensive bag I could have gotten the size down.  I wasn't so worried about the extra pound or two as opposed to the extra $100 for the lighter bag but I didn't consider the difference is physical size.  It will fit fine in the pannier so perhaps packing with some heavier items is the best plan. 

Now that I have mostly all my gear at hand I guess I need to start packing it all in and see how it fits.  I have front and backs, so maybe I'm ok with space??? Maybe!
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: Pat Lamb on February 03, 2016, 11:19:16 pm
I have front and backs, so maybe I'm ok with space??? Maybe!

You will be OK with space.  It might take trips to 2-3 post offices to mail stuff home, but by the end of your trip you'll find there's plenty of room.  :)
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: staehpj1 on February 04, 2016, 07:32:29 am
My bag is rated for 20degrees.  I did a forum search for recommendations on temp rating of bag for the transAm and that seemed to be the consensus so I ordered that rating

A few factors come into play on that choice:
1. Bags are very often not rated honestly.  When comparing, using the EN ratings is the way to go if the manufacturer gives them.
2. Users vary widely on how warm they sleep.
3. Supplementing with clothing can allow for comfort in lower temperatures.
4. Being in a tent or a bivy make the bag warmer.

I will say that for me your bag would be way more bag than I'd want on the TA.  I did the TA with a real cheap bag nominally rated at 32 F and was fine.

I did the ST with a good down 40 F (EN rating) bag (Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45) and was fine down to the 18 F low of the trip with tights, a warm pile sweater, and thick socks inside my bivy.  My bag weighs 1 pound 1 ounce and packs a little bigger than a large water bottle.  I love that bag and found it well worth the $280 I paid for it.  I apparently put out heat like a furnace though.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: dkoloko on February 04, 2016, 11:46:05 am
In my experience, a 20 degree sleeping bag is overkill. I pack my bag in an ordinary stuff bag in a waterproof pannier. If you cannot get your bag inside your pannier, I recommend lashing it to your rack in a dry bag (waterproof seal) or two waterproof stuff sacks, with openings facing opposite. I am not much for garbage bags or other disposable plastic bags, except in an emergency.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: Patco on February 04, 2016, 12:03:08 pm
I use a waterproof compression bag for my sleeping bag (same that I use when backpacking), and I attach it to the rear shelf. With the compression bag it packs very small, and with the compression bag being waterproof, I have been rained, snowed, and hailed on and my sleeping bag has stayed dry.

Just as an aside, I also use compression bags for my tent and fly. 
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: DaveB on February 04, 2016, 05:51:09 pm
In my experience, a 20 degree sleeping bag is overkill.
No, a true 20 bag is not overkill even in the summer unless you are staying in the deep south and at low altitude.  I've experienced low 30's temperatures in mid-June in Ohio and high altitude can  produce low temperatures any time of year.

However, there are 20 degree bags and 20 degree bags with expensive ones being a lot lighter and easier to compress than cheap ones.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: staehpj1 on February 04, 2016, 06:00:18 pm
In my experience, a 20 degree sleeping bag is overkill.
No, a true 20 bag is not overkill even in the summer unless you are staying in the deep south and at low altitude.  I've experienced low 30's temperatures in mid-June in Ohio and high altitude can  produce low temperatures any time of year.

However, there are 20 degree bags and 20 degree bags with expensive ones being a lot lighter and easier to compress than cheap ones.
A lot depends on the bag, the rider, and how the bag is used.  The TA, the ST (winter), half of the SC, and a bunch of other routes with my 40 F bag.  I have also done some high altitude backpacking with it  I have used it comfortably down to the mid to upper teens F with a layer or two of clothing.  Others who camped right next to me were cold in much warmer bags at times I was comfy.  My point is that blanket statements don't work.  So saying something is or isn't overkill would need to take in a few of the specifics of the bag and the person using it.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: Nyimbo on February 04, 2016, 07:38:18 pm
I am comfortable with the 20en rating of my bag.  I get cold easily and don't mind sleeping on top of the bag for the warm days.  But the question of where most people pack their sleeping bag makes more sense to me if most folks buy more expensive bags that require less space. 
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: RussSeaton on February 04, 2016, 08:07:04 pm
But the question of where most people pack their sleeping bag makes more sense to me if most folks buy more expensive bags that require less space.

Down bags have the advantage of packing/squeezing into a smaller space and lighter weight at a temp rating.  Down bags have the disadvantages of being susceptible to failure if they get wet and being more expensive than synthetic.  Down bags also come in 600 and 800 down so that magnifies the advantages or disadvantages too.  Your choice.  Down or synthetic sleeping bag.

Kind of like frame material.  Contrary to some claims, there are pros and cons of each material.  Pick one.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: RussSeaton on February 04, 2016, 08:48:11 pm
No, a true 20 bag is not overkill even in the summer unless you are staying in the deep south and at low altitude.  I've experienced low 30's temperatures in mid-June in Ohio and high altitude can produce low temperatures any time of year.

Because I have nothing better to do, I decided to look up the temperature in Ohio in June.  I picked Columbus since its in the middle of Ohio.  The average low in Columbus is 61 degrees in June.  Average high in June is 82 degrees.  And the record low in Columbus in June is 35 degrees on June 11, 1972.  Cleveland is in the north of Ohio.  Might be colder up there.  Its coldest temp for June was 31 degrees on June 11, 1972.  Not saying it does not get into the low 30s somewhere in Ohio in June once every 20-30-40-50 years.  It might, maybe, possibly.  But its been 44 years since it was in the low 30s in June in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.

http://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/ohio/united-states/3205
https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/43210

I will repeat my suggestion to the person who posted this thread.  For the Trans Am trail in the summer.  Get a DOWN sleeping bag that is rated for about 40-45 degrees or so.  It will be warm enough for everything except sleeping at the top of mountains.  It will be small and light too.  You can always wear tights and socks and a hat if it gets extra cold.  I assume you will carry some warm clothes along on a cross country bike ride.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: John Nelson on February 05, 2016, 10:08:50 am
if most folks buy more expensive bags that require less space.
I believe most people don't necessarily buy more expensive bags that require less space, but lighter bags that require less space.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: DaveB on February 05, 2016, 10:20:52 am
Because I have nothing better to do, I decided to look up the temperature in Ohio in June.  I picked Columbus since its in the middle of Ohio.  The average low in Columbus is 61 degrees in June.  Average high in June is 82 degrees.
As a friend of mine is fond of saying; "climate is what you expect, weather is what you get".  Averages are just that with the range being ±3 standard deviations. 

The small town in Ohio I was camped in on GOBA in the early '90's did reach 35°F two mornings in a row and those who believed the averages and brought a single blanket or "sleep over" quality sleeping bags suffered very noisily.

The point about individual cold tolerance is well taken but most people are better served with a sleeping bag a bit too warm than a bit too cold.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: RussSeaton on February 05, 2016, 10:57:28 am
Its kind of odd you did not quote what I actually wrote.  You seem to have left off the record low I quoted.
I picked Columbus since its in the middle of Ohio.  The average low in Columbus is 61 degrees in June.  Average high in June is 82 degrees.  And the record low in Columbus in June is 35 degrees on June 11, 1972.

As a friend of mine is fond of saying; "climate is what you expect, weather is what you get".  Averages are just that with the range being ±3 standard deviations. 

The small town in Ohio I was camped in on GOBA in the early '90's did reach 35°F two mornings in a row and those who believed the averages and brought a single blanket or "sleep over" quality sleeping bags suffered very noisily.

My quote contained both the average and RECORD LOW temperatures for the middle of Ohio.  Not sure where you camped on this GOBA ride.  But if it was in the middle of Ohio, then on your camping you equaled the RECORD LOW twice.  Seems odd the websites I looked at did not mention record low dates for both 1972 and 1992(?).  Did it reach upper 30s, low 40s on your camping?  Maybe, possibly.  And a 40 degree bag with some clothes on while sleeping would have worked fine.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: staehpj1 on February 05, 2016, 11:14:15 am
The point about individual cold tolerance is well taken but most people are better served with a sleeping bag a bit too warm than a bit too cold.

On the other hand I think one reason people get cold is that they use too warm of a bag zipped all the way up too early in the night.  They sweat and then get cold as the temperature drops through the night.  The warmer bag can work, but you need to take a little more care in regulating it as the temperature drops.  I find I am a lot more comfortable if I have just enough bag.

My strategy is to be comfy in my bag in normal overnight temperatures and OK with all my warm clothing items either worn or draped over me for a record low.  I have rarely not seen frost at least some point during any of my long trips or backpacking trips and the odd colder night is not all that rare, but my Phantom 45 (EN 40) has worked out extremely well for me.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: Nyimbo on February 20, 2016, 03:45:29 am
By the way, I bought a waterproof compression bag.  It looks like it will stuff and fit nicely on the top of the back rack between my two rear panniers.  The side benefit of taking the large sleeping bag out of my pannier is that now I will have some good room for food. :-*
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: 2 Piece on March 14, 2016, 06:02:34 pm
Do not forget about a mattress, a sleeping bag is only as good as the mattress it is laying on.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: Bikinchris on April 21, 2016, 12:20:29 pm
If I had a 20 degree bag, I would be sleeping on top of it.
Title: Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
Post by: meakulpa on May 09, 2016, 04:41:40 pm
I also use a waterproof compression bag- it works remarkably well.