Originally Posted by lerch
I have been packing the whole system and my inflatable sleeping pad. But keep in mind that i am not packing any kind of tent though so in my mind that makes the weight less of a issue.
For less than that weight you could easily pack a 2-3 man bomber mountaineering expedition (not to mention a lighter built tent) tent and be much more comfortable if any weather hits.
One thing I've learned about big game hunting and multi-day outdoor activities in general is that if you can warm up and dry off after a cold/wet hard days hunt, you will generally be able to hunt harder and better the following day. Isn't that the reason we're out there? That's why a tent with a wood stove that heats the place and dries you out and that you can cook on is so important (IMO) to a cold/rainy weather hunting trip.
I've got a Bibler expedition tent and a Marmot 3-4 season tent that weigh about 7 lbs each. Combine that with a -30 down bag (or a 2.5 lb 15 deg bag in warmer weather) and I'd still be about 10lbs and sharing the weight of the tent with someone else.
The 10' diameter and 7' tall Kifaru tipi knockoff with integral floor I made weighs about 6.5 lbs and with Kifaru's 2.5 lb parastove, a buddy and I are very comfortable in weather.
I've spent nights in bivvy sacs and many nights in rain and on glaciers with just a sleeping bag, but there is nothing that compares being able to heat your shelter while drying out effectively and cooking dinner all at the same time.
Another issue brought up earlier in this thread had to do with synthetic bags drying out quicker and insulating better when wet. This is a fairly widespread belief that I used to have as well. Since then I've found that synthetic may not be any better than down in this regard (trying to dry out synthetic bags after sleeping in just the bag in the rain). If synthetic does do better in these categories, it becomes virtually a non issue if you purchase a good quality down bag with a shell that is waterproof/resistant and breathable such as Gore Dryloft, etc. (although some folks feel this particular shell is not as waterproof as it should be). In the mean time, quality down is much more compressible (won't take up 1/2 your pack), I typically sleep more comfortably in down as I think it's comfortable over a wider range of temps than synthetic fills, and a quality down bag will retain it's loft many times longer, in my experience, that a synthetic bag will. That synthetic bag that had 10" loft when you first bought it may have 7" loft two years later even if you store it properly--I've seen it many times. Less loft = less warmth. High quality down won't do this. I fully expect to have my good quality down bags for 20 years. This would be a laughable amount of time for the synthetic bags I've seen where your lucky to get a good couple of years out of them. A quality down bag with the appropriate shell is a more expensive initial investment, but over the long haul it will pay much higher dividends in my experience. Just leafing through all the mountaineering/outdoor catalogs I get it seems that over the past few years, the number of down bags advertised has shot up considerably likely due to the fact that quality down with the proper shell is a very tough long term deal to beat.
If you are in very cold temps, (very cold such that body moisture freezes within the bags insulation and cannot evaporate out of the insulation leading to a loss of loft) over time the body moisture given off into your bag (if it's not getting dryed out by your warm wood stove because you're hunting musk ox in winter and there isn't any wood...) can make the loft of the bag decrease which decreases the amount the bag can insulate you. Non-breathable sleeping bag liners can be used, but you'll be swimming in your own juices by morning. But it does protect the loft. Sometimes a necessary evil for higher altitude expedition climbers.