Author Topic: Sleeping Bag Recommendation  (Read 9317 times)

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Offline Shipper

Sleeping Bag Recommendation
« on: April 29, 2004, 01:41:33 am »
Following my retirement two years ago I took up road cycling.  This has now inspired me to look into touring.  My first tour will be the American Explorer this September and I eventually want to get into self-supported touring.  This leads me to my inquiry/question of sleeping bag recommendation.  I have done some research as to down vs. synthetic, mummy vs. semi-rectangular, cotton liner vs. silk liner, weight factors, and temperature range of all.  I surmise that the final decision is based upon personal preference, but what does the experienced touring cyclist recommend? Most, if not all, of my tours will probably be during the months of April through October.

May the wind be at your back.

Offline DaveB

Sleeping Bag Recommendation
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2004, 02:18:12 am »
Some general thoughts on sleeping bags:

1. Avoid down. It is lighter and more compressable for a given warmth rating but water is it's deadly enemy.  Get it wet and you are doomed. Down is at its best in extremely cold conditions when all of the water is frozen!  Synthetic insulation still works when it is wet and it dries fast. Modern synthetics don't give up much in weight or perforannce to down.

2.  Avoid cotton at all costs.  Cotton is a moisture absorber and dries very slowly and wet cotton is a tremendous heat extractor.  Synthetics are the ONLY liners/covering to consider.  There is a saying among outdoors people; "cotton is a killer".

3.  Mummy bags are lighter, pack smaller and are much warmer since there is less space to heat. However they are confining.  If you need a lot of sleeping space, you may have to go with rectangular and pay the weight and space penalty.

4.  The manufacturer's temperature ranges are usually based on ideal conditions.  Buy a bag rated for at least 10 degrees below the worst you think you will need.   April and October can be mighty cold in the North and worse in the mountains.  Also, do you sleep cold?  Are you piling on the blankets when others are sleeping under only a sheet?  Take this into consideration when buying.   You can always sleep on top of a too warm bag but if your bag is inadequatly insulated you will be miserable.  

Offline OmahaNeb

Sleeping Bag Recommendation
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2004, 05:38:27 pm »
Weight and volume are big issues during any outdoor travel experience.  A down bag will weigh less and consume less space on your bike.  They also cost more money.  I have used my current down bag for over 30 years.  I have worked as a canoe guide and mountaineering instructor during the summers in college.  During all the years of use, I only got my bag wet once and that was on a bike tour.  To dry my bag, I went to the town laundry mat, put my bag in a dryer with a tennis shoe and 15 minutes later had a dry bag.  To keep the bag dry, put a trash bag inside your sleeping bag stuff sack, then stuff your sleeping bag into the trash bag/stuff sack.   As far as sleeping in a mummy bag, the bag moves with you.  If you bend your knees, the bag moves/bends at your knees, you don't bend your knees within the mummy bag.   If you don't plan on using a good tent, then I would use a synthetic bag and use a compression stuff sack.

Offline wanderingwheel

Sleeping Bag Recommendation
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2004, 07:58:57 pm »
There is really no reason any more to buy a down bag.  Modern synthetics such as Polarguard 3D can actually come in lighter than a similar down bag, and is cheaper.  The down bag can be packed smaller, but the difference is not much.

I like mummy bags with hoods; they are lighter and warmer than a rectangular bag.

Temperature ratings vary a lot between manufacturers.  If it is possible, rent the bag you ant to buy and try it out for the weekend to find out if the temperature is right.  My bag is rated at 30 deg. and I have taken it snow camping without a problem, but some of my friends need a 0 deg bag when the temperature drops below 50.  A ski cap can add an extra 10 degrees to the bag, as can a thicker sleeping pad.


Offline Jackalope

Sleeping Bag Recommendation
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2004, 06:51:38 am »
I think the only reason to get a down bag is you're obsessed with space (like me.)  Personally, I know that I can pack up my bag, and get into into it's waterproof kayak bag and not have to worry whatsoever about it getting wet.  I toured for 3 months 2 years ago and had 2 problems, but that had to do with sleeping outside and being woken up by sprinklers!  My own fault.  Anyway, if you want a good weight: warmth ratio, choose down.  It's light, small and I think it feels nicer than any synthetics.