Author Topic: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm  (Read 19718 times)

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Offline Calum

Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« on: July 11, 2015, 01:25:38 am »
For a TransAm/Western Express ride starting May 1 from Yorktown to San Francisco, I would greatly appreciate what you think is a practical lower temperature rating for a sleeping bag.  I plan to mostly camp along the way.
Many thanks/Ceud taing,
Lachlan, Scotland

Offline DaveB

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 10:16:31 am »
My experience says that a bag rated at 20F (-7C) is the optimum balance of warmth and weight.  You can use it at lower temperatures by wearing some of your other clothing and it's not oppressively warm in mild conditions.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 01:06:47 pm »
It depends to a large extent on two things:
1. How warm you sleep.
2. How accurately your bag is rated.

Both can vary widely.  If you use a bag with an EN rating the rating will at least be consistent.

On the TA I used a cheap, very optimistically rated 30 F bag.  It is probably really a 40 F bag if it was actually given the EN testing.  I was fine, but I sleep pretty warm.  Starting May 1 in the east I think you might see less cold weather than we did starting June 11 in the west, but it is a bit of a crap shoot.

I put out heat like a furnace, people who sleep colder might want a 20 F bag or at least a 32 F bag with a real (EN) 32 F rating.

Offline Calum

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2015, 09:25:38 pm »
Thanks Dave, Thanks Pete.  I'll look for a bag with an EN between 20 and 30 degrees.
Btw I've read many of your very helpful posts over the last few months in preparation for my ride.  Big thanks for taking the time to answer this one too :-)
Lachlan, Scotland

Offline Venchka

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2015, 10:08:52 pm »
When do you expect to reach the Rocky Mountains? I suggest a 40 degree bag before the mountains and a 20 degree bag through the mountains to the coast.
A backpacking quilt would work well on tour. Lighter and more compact than a sleeping bag. They come in 40 & 20 degree models. A warm hat and extra clothes help extend the range of whatever you choose.
Have a great trip.

Wayne


Sent from somewhere around here.
Wayne
Deep in the darkest heart of the East Texas Rain Forest.
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You've come far pilgrim...Feels like far...Were it worth the trouble?...Huh? What trouble?

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2015, 09:35:02 am »
If you can, get a bag without side baffles which are the inner walls on the side to prevent down from going from the top of the bag to the bottom (or vice versa).  You want to be able to shake/shift the down around as the temperatures on the TransAm have huge swings. This way you can shift the down to the top when in cooler places like Yellowstone and shift to bottom in warmer places like Kansas and Missouri.

My most used bag is a 32 degree bag and it has worked for 25 years. 

John

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2015, 09:57:23 am »
A backpacking quilt would work well on tour. Lighter and more compact than a sleeping bag. They come in 40 & 20 degree models. A warm hat and extra clothes help extend the range of whatever you choose.

Quilts are popular in the light backpacking community and work well for a lot of folks, but I didn't find that the advantages actually completely panned out for me. 

I found that for me a quilt needed to have enough width to prevent drafts that it weighs as much and packs as large as my high end slim cut sleeping bag.  I also found that when it gets really cold zipping up tight and drawing the hood drawstring make the bag substantially warmer than a quilt.  Additionally I find that I can zip my sleeping bag open and use it like a quilt in warmer conditions.

There are times when I would take a quilt instead of a bag, but if I have to pick one to do it all the bag wins out for me.

On the other hand quilts are easy to make for DIYers and can be inexpensive to purchase.

Offline Dreux

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 12:29:09 pm »
Just completed the TransAm - June 10, w to e using a 45 degree bag. I also carried a fleece liner which both packed well. I never used in combination but valued the liner on warm evenings. More importantly was having the nice wool cap for your head and wool socks for your feet on the cold nights. Never had to put on additional clothes.

Offline Calum

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2015, 01:01:44 am »
Excellent advice Dreux. Thanks very much!  And congratulations on your ride!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2015, 01:15:55 am by Lachlan »

indyfabz

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Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2015, 09:19:15 am »
Another vote for a warm hat. When I did my first tour (Northern Tier) I had never camped. I asked my friend who had done some touring what she thought I might miss the most if I did not bring it. She said a good flashlight and a warm hat. She was right. We hit sub-freezing temperatures during the first week. One morning during the second week it snowed a bit during breakfast.

Offline 2Trikes

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2015, 11:01:22 pm »
For a TransAm/Western Express ride starting May 1 from Yorktown to San Francisco, I would greatly appreciate what you think is a practical lower temperature rating for a sleeping bag.  I plan to mostly camp along the way.
Many thanks/Ceud taing,
Lachlan, Scotland

Great question Lachlan!

We are wondering the same but for a July 1(ish), 2016 start from Portland to Astoria, then to Yorktown. Based on some other threads here, I am thinking a 32 degree bag. I sleep just a bit warmer than my wife, but I also have very cold feet.

Cheers,
Mike

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2015, 07:50:50 am »
We are wondering the same but for a July 1(ish), 2016 start from Portland to Astoria, then to Yorktown. Based on some other threads here, I am thinking a 32 degree bag. I sleep just a bit warmer than my wife, but I also have very cold feet.

A 32 degree bag sounds about right.  The two big variables do apply and could make something warmer or colder a better choice.  They are how warm you sleep and how optimistic the rating is.

On the cold feet...  If your feet tend to be cold it makes sense to be certain that you have a loose fitting and dry pair of socks to wear at night.  When touring where it is cold at night I sometimes keep a warm pair specifically for sleeping.


Offline 2Trikes

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2015, 10:53:45 am »
Thanks for the sock suggestion. My feet suffer from the cold so much that even living here in sunny, hot, humid Florida, I wear Crocs with a fuzzy lining.

On the bags, would it be overkill to have a 32 degree bag for the high elevations in the West and then ship it home once into ... Kansas? We will have friends sending us re-supply items via General Delivery as we go along, so I am thinking a swap to a "lighter" bag could be accomplished.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2015, 11:38:37 am »
On the bags, would it be overkill to have a 32 degree bag for the high elevations in the West and then ship it home once into ... Kansas? We will have friends sending us re-supply items via General Delivery as we go along, so I am thinking a swap to a "lighter" bag could be accomplished.

Does your 32 F bag have an EN rating?  The manufacturers ratings can be really optimistic if they don't do EN testing.  I'd say that given your time table you ought to plan on maybe having a few nights that might hit an actual low of 32 F.

On the mail drops...  I always found that I used the mail much more for sending home stuff that I thought I needed and found that I didn't, but yeah mail drops work.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Recommended Temperature Rating for Sleeping Bag on TransAm
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2015, 03:20:59 pm »
On the bags, would it be overkill to have a 32 degree bag for the high elevations in the West and then ship it home once into ... Kansas? We will have friends sending us re-supply items via General Delivery as we go along, so I am thinking a swap to a "lighter" bag could be accomplished.

Makes sense to me.  If you have a bag shipped to some place like Boone, CO, you can stuff the colder bag into the same box, tape it up, and send it right back.  (I only mention Boone because we had a care package waiting there!) 

Whether you need something that warm depends partly on luck -- you might have 45 degree lows all through the Rockies, or it might frost.  Leaving early July, you've got a good chance of hitting the east coast by the end of September, and a 40-45 degree bag will probably be fine.  You may spend more time sleeping on top of it, for padding, than in it for warmth.