Sleeping bag advice for spike camping

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by porkchop401, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. porkchop401

    porkchop401 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    295
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Hellas I am looking for advise on a what sleeping bag I will need to backpack in 2-3 miles from base camp ( where the rest of our party is ) during the second rifle season . This past season it was in the low twenties and I would get a little cool at night while in my browning zero degree bag . I was camped at about 9500' and the area I am looking to hunt is 10-11k.
    I was sleeping on a cot with a 2" foam cushion on it . In addition I sleep in poly thermal long underwear , socks and a sock hat .
    I am 6' 2 " 250 lbs so I am partial to the bag I have but freezing is not an option (I froze in 96' when it fell to 3 degrees and I was in a 30degree bag) . I will be only making 1 trip in and out so it is not a deal breaker to pack a 8 lb. bag if necessary.

    Also those of you that that doe this type of camping / hunting what combos are you using ? and any secrets to keeping warm at night (diet, ect.).
    Also I will be sleeeping in my 2 man tent .
     
  2. Holmes

    Holmes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Sleeping at high altitude sub-freezing temps requires a good bag.This is one of those purchases where one should definitely buy once, cry once.

    I do quite a bit of camping in the Rockies' backcountry, early and late season. I've done the musical sleeping bag thing over the years but I'm an old fart now and finally wised up several years ago. Spent the bucks, bought the best and slept happily ever after :)

    In my opinion, this is your bag:

    Western Mountaineering Alpinlite Sleeping Bag: 20 Degree Down | Backcountry.com

    Get the long version and pair it with a good insulated mattress.
     

  3. Tim in Washington

    Tim in Washington Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    I'll second the W.M. suggestion !I use a Badger its rated at 15* has a full length zipper plenty of room and has never disappointed me even a few deg. below its rated temp.
    Tim
     
  4. porkchop401

    porkchop401 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    295
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Actually i was considering somthing in-20 range. I see bags with this kind of rating but a third of that price , I can only guess you get what you pay for like most things.
     
  5. Holmes

    Holmes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    If you can deal with the extra weight and bulk for your short hump in then you might be able to save some money by going with a synthetic bag. There is much more to a bag's performance in the field than simply the temperature rating. Zipper quality, draft tubes, type of stitching, etc. A -20 bag that has cold spots due to econo stitching be used only once. A -20 bag that doesn't ventilate or breathe well when used in temperatures above its rating will be used once. The life span of a quality down bag is far longer than its synthetic counterpart.

    Temperature ratings for sleeping bags are second only to political speeches in terms of honestly or reality. WM has the reputation of being on the mark with their ratings. Few other manufacturers can say the same. MontBell is another popular line whose bags have a unique design allowing the bag to stretch somewhat thus fitting a variety of users better. Very popular and well regarded but I didn't care for mine all that much.

    I'm a cold sleeper, 6'-2" and a skinny 170#. I move around a lot at night and sleep on my side. I am a sleeping bag manufacturer's nightmare :) I spent years in roomy bags to facilitate my habits and was never warm because I had too much bag around me. I disliked mummy bags due to their confinement but finally conditioned myself to using one. World of difference. I'm warm and wear the bag which moves with me at night. I have a zipper that goes up and down as needed without snagging or binding. No cold spots and I can move the down fill around in my bag to customise insulation for conditions. Combined with my excellent mattress and a light base layer of clothing, my 20 degree bag will take me into the mid-teens comfortably.

    When I'm doing the backcountry thing I need a good night's sleep in order to function properly and enjoy my adventure. Paying for my sleeping system was painful but I surely do it all over again given the results I now enjoy. And I won't ever have to do it again.

    I strongly caution you against trying to economise this aspect of your kit but I do understand budget constraints. Best of luck to you in your venture.
     
  6. bronco

    bronco Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    153
    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    I have a different approach for you. Like you I am a big guy 6'6" 250 and know that when you find a good bag that actually fits you want to keep it.

    My bag is a +15 North Face. Its great for most trips but I got cold a couple times when it dipped below 20F. Now with a better pad and a liner I can/have comfortably slept in sub zero temps.

    First you need to ditch the 2" generic foam pad and buy a high end insulated pad. I use a Big Agnes Q Core. It's a legit 3 season pad that will insulate your back half. The pad is huge when it comes to keeping warm. And they make big man size 78x25x3.5 Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Pad - Free Shipping at REI.com

    Second look into a bag liner. They can add 10-15 degrees of warmth to system.
    This isn't the one I use but you get the idea.
    Sea to Summit Silk Travel Sleeping Bag Liner - Traveler - Free Shipping at REI.com

    With these additions you can increase your cold weather limit substantially with very little added weight and bulk. And it will still be cheaper than getting a new bag.
     
  7. Leatherstocking

    Leatherstocking Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Western Mountaineering. I've had 3 of these for 20+ years. Keep it dry/dry it out asap!
     
  8. midnightmalloy

    midnightmalloy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    You might look into a quilt instead. I wont go back to a sleeping bag. Try enlightened equipment. Tim is awesome to deal with.
     
  9. Holmes

    Holmes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    172
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Interesting stuff. I'm intrigued now and will have to research quilts further. I wasn't aware of quilts designed that could facilitate truly cold weather camping. Might be a nice option for additional comfort as well as the very attractive portability.

    Thanks for the post.
     
  10. Tim in Washington

    Tim in Washington Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    There is a very good deal on a 20 deg. feathered Friends bag,T I Goat bivy and Kifaru stuff sack on rocslide classifieds
    Tim
     
  11. mtnwrunner

    mtnwrunner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,135
    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Look very hard at the Feathered Friends bags which are made in Seattle. They make a semi rectangular down bag for those who are bigger or want more room than a mummy bag. Before you go to bed, heat a water bottle to boiling, put it in a heavy sock and put it in the bottom of your bag---it will keep you warm and toasty. If you eat right before you go to bed and it is really cold out, eat butter. Man, it is amazing how that stuff warms you up. I always did this when I used to mountaineer and put a half a cube in a freeze dried food meal and it always works. Another thing that works is warm jello.

    Randy
     
  12. midnightmalloy

    midnightmalloy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    Dang randy you always have some darn good advice. Instead of bringing a how water bottle I will bring my hot girlfriend! haha! keeps me a little warmer! I took her elk hunting in wyoming this past late december in 35mph winds, 5 degrees at 9k ft and she loved it. Now she wants to go with me on all my trips! I dont think it gets better than that...oh and she said she would be happy to help me pack one out! yea, a little better than a how nalgene I think!
     
  13. 8Crow

    8Crow New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    I'm going through the process of "field testing" in my back yard right now, so I'll throw in my 2 cents...

    First, you must have an appropriate pad or you can throw everything else out the window. In my ignorance I suffered through the Colorado 1st Rifle Season on a Thermarest Ridgerest and that will not happen again. This winter I tested the new Thermarest Neoair Xtherm with an "R value" of 5.7 in temps of about 12 F. From a warmth perspective, I believe this pad could handle anything the Colorado Rockies could dish out. Even the largest version is unbelievably light at just a shade over a pound. Unfortunately I broke my back a few years ago and the loft of this pad (2.5") just wasn't quite enough for me and I made the switch to the considerably heavier but thicker and warmer Exped DownMat 9. It's rated to something like -38 F so you could consider it overkill, but it's the only one they have with 3.5" of loft and my back insisted.

    As for the bag, I will agree with the folks that say spend the money on a good down bag. The one I have right now is a Marmot Couloir, rated at 0 F, but "EN Tested" at something like -2 F, meaning that it should actually be comfortable at that temp, not just "you will survive at that temp". I've had it down to about 10 F on top of the Exped and I have no complaints from above. I didn't have the pad tightly inflated so I did have some cold spots underneath while sleeping on my side--another lesson learned.

    Something to consider with down bags is that you perspire 24x7 whether you realize it or not and eventually, unless you manaage to dry your bag out well every day or two, that perspiration will condense in your down and make it less efficient. I'll be heading out for about a week without any guarantee I'll be able to dry my bag out each day, so I recently ordered a set of vapor barrier clothes from Warmlite. This will do a few things...1) Keep my bag dry so I get maximum insulation each night, 2) VB clothes actually add 5-10 deg just like a bag liner someone else mentioned, and 3) if it gets REALLY nasty, I can wear my down jacket, heavy socks, etc to bed without all the perspiration effects on those clothes. So then you have a little dual-purpose insurance policy if the weather really turns bad. The down jacket when you first wake up or while sitting around making dinner at night can also make all the difference between shivering uncontrollably and being comfortable. It also weighs next to nothing.

    In the end, everyone has to work out a system that works for them, but there are some points to consider. The biggest thing I would say--wait for the mercury to drop and test it out in your back yard. It's helped me immensely.
     
  14. Speedo

    Speedo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    221
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Down bags are light, warm and absolutely worthless if they get wet. If you are hunting/camping in an area where getting wet is likely or even somewhat likely stay away from down. A good synthetic bag will be in the 90% plus efficiency range when they are soaked. A down bag that is soaked is 2 layers of ripstop nylon with a clump of down in each tube and hard to get properly dried. I like Wiggy's bags.

    Gus