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Sleeping Gear The Sleeping Gear forum is for the discussion of sleeping gear (bags, mats, quilts...).


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  #1  
Old 08-12-2014, 12:57 PM
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Wildfield Wildfield is offline
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Pushing The Limits of a Sleeping Bag

I have a 40+ degree goose down bag (700 fill) that I have been using for about 9 months now. I've used it 3 or 4 times in the local state parks during spring and summer months where the temps don't get much lower than 50 to 60 degrees. I'm perfectly comfortable at these temps in shorts and short sleeve base layers with this set up and under these conditions.

I'm going for a short 3 day trip next week to Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe (Sierra Nevada mountains). Altitude is around 7,500 feet and night time temps are in the mid 40's.

I'm planning to have a down sweater, lightweight rain pants and jacket, base layer, LS shirt and long pants (for the nights and in case of rain), cap and wool socks.

Do you think I will be pushing the limits of a 40+ degree bag in temps down to 40 degrees, if I also have the option to wear a down sweater, rain gear, etc?

I'm guessing this is not an issue, but checking to see how far you all have pushed your bag ratings.

Thank you in advance for your comments.
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2014, 01:13 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Location: Oregon
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You'll likely be OK. I know that's not definitive. But, as you know, there are other variables (e.g. how your body handles cold, current metabolic issues,...).

I've used bags rated at 40 deg F in the upper 30s (without significant wind or precip) while supplementing with a mid-layer on my body.

If I'm at altitude in the summer, I usually take a quilt "rated" at about 30 deg F and also have a synthetic jacket (...) handy. [I prefer the synthetic jacket over goose-down for sleeping (compressing) in).]

Up here in the PNW Cascades, there have been plenty of times when it was in the 80s or 90s F during the day and dropped to the 30s F at night.

It seems like you've got it covered. Obviously, if you get in trouble, get moving and/or start an appropriate fire.

Reality
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  #3  
Old 08-12-2014, 04:51 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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Backpack: GoLite Pinnacle
Sleeping Gear: Moonstone Lucid 800 w/Neo Air pad
Shelter: Tarptent Sublite Tyvek & Tarptent Double Rainbow
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 430
I've used a 30ºF bag at 17ºF a number of times by wearing long shirt, pants, etc. I also have a silk mummy liner, which is good for about another ten degrees. Probably the worst that could happen is that you'd be a bit uncomfortable.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:16 PM
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Slosteppin Slosteppin is offline
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Location: Grand Traverse County, MI
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I get cold feet very easily. A few times when it got much colder at night than expected I used a hot water bottle.
Platypus one liter works for me. Nalgene bottles are easier to fill with hot water. A second advantage is I have water almost hot enough for coffee in the morning.
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  #5  
Old 08-12-2014, 08:00 PM
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Wildfield Wildfield is offline
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Thx everyone...great comments and very reassuring.

Because I have a relatively decent tolerance to cold (i.e. I have extra insulation) I wasn't overly worried...just mildly worried.

I'm guessing I'll be fine. I've camped in the sierras before but always with a 15 degree bag.

Hearing your comments reinforces that I'm heading into this situation decently prepared.

Reality - great suggestion about the fire should things get "bad". While starting a fire in the Desolation Wilderness is against the rules, it was a good reminder that man's rules can be broken, in a survival situation. Nature's rules are far more realistic.

I'll be sure to post a trip report.

So looking forward to getting out into the backcountry next week. Work has been awful. Looking forward to breathing clean air and renewing my soul.

Thanks again for the helpful comments!
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  #6  
Old 08-15-2014, 03:52 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
Shelter: SD Superflash, GoLite Hut 1
 
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Location: California
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I've made many mid-summer trips into the Desolation Wilderness with sleeping bags that were comfortable to 20* or 30*. (Not EN ratings of 20* or 30*, but bags that were actually comfortable down to those temps.) I almost always had to sleep with them open, since they were a little too warm. 40* ought to be about perfect. If the temperature does drop, just put on your extra clothing, and I bet you will be fine.
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  #7  
Old 08-16-2014, 08:20 PM
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tonto tonto is offline
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I was out on the AT in GA last year in May expecting fairly mild weather.
So, I took along an old down bag I picked up at a thrift store for $2.
The loft was shot and it had sown through box panels.
I've used the thing before in dry conditions in the 50s with no problem.

But, the first five days it rained off and on and the temps hit the 30s.
I'd sleep with everything I had in my pack, including my rain gear on.
I survived but it wasn't comfortable.

By the time I reached NOC at Wesser, NC I seriously thought of getting another bag.
But, the prices in the gear shop where steep and I hesitated.
The floor monkey in the shop was and old trail hand.
I explained my problem but stated I wasn't willing to spend the money.
When I mentioned I had been using my rain gear INSIDE the bag he told me that was the wrong thing to do.

He told me to drape the rain gear on the outside of the bag to keep warm.
In my mind I kind of doubted what he was saying but thanked him and left,
Later down the trail I encounter more cold weather.
I used the trick the guy at the gear shop had explained to me and it worked.
I never had another night I couldn't handle after that.
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  #8  
Old 08-17-2014, 03:02 AM
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Bushwalker Bushwalker is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New South Wales
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonto
..................................................

The floor monkey in the shop was an old trail hand.
I explained my problem but stated I wasn't willing to spend the money.
When I mentioned I had been using my rain gear INSIDE the bag he told me that was the wrong thing to do.

He told me to drape the rain gear on the outside of the bag to keep warm.
In my mind I kind of doubted what he was saying but thanked him and left,
Later down the trail I encounter more cold weather.
I used the trick the guy at the gear shop had explained to me and it worked.
I never had another night I couldn't handle after that.

I WAS going to point out the same thing, but you beat me to it, tonto !

WEARING your rain gear inside your sleeping bag interferes with your body's heat radiation, circulation, breathing ~ thereby, actually making you colder !

LAYERING that same rain gear over the top of the 'bag, however, adds another layer or two of insulation ~ worth maybe another +5 --> +10 ℉ to the mix..

THAT'S the way I learnt to do it back in the early days, and the way I've always done it since...

(One layer of dry and clean thermals, and maybe a pair of socks, is usually sufficient clothing inside the bag; and one can also consider using your backpack to encase the foot of your sleeping bag, and maybe a layer of fleece clothing between the 'bag and sleeping pad for that final touch in more extreme conditions..).

Last edited by Bushwalker : 08-17-2014 at 03:14 AM.
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2014, 12:54 PM
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Wildfield Wildfield is offline
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Thanks again for all of your comments and advice...very helpful!

Well, it turned out to only be about 48 degrees at night...not much colder than the last several hikes I've taken at my local state park.

The 40+ degree bag was more than enough. I wore my lightweight pants and long sleeve base layer (polyester) and used the bag fully unzipped as a sort of blanket (quilt). I slept on a Exped SynMat UL7. I think I could have easily been comfortable at 35 to 40 degrees, and I had a lightweight down sweater if the long sleeve base layer was not enough.

It's good to know I can get by in colder temps with this bag. I like it because it only weighs 1.54 pounds and packs very compactly.

I would like to find a torso sized pad though. I'm find that the full length is not necessary. I can put my pack under my legs and torso pad would be enough.

Slowly trimming the weight down.

The trip got shortened by a couple of days unfortunately. A friend who joined at the last minute had difficulty with the altitude and wanted to shorten the hike. I'll post some photos and a trip report later.
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  #10  
Old 08-21-2014, 09:38 PM
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tonto tonto is offline
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The last two week section I did on the AT I used a Thermorest Pro-lite Xsm.
The pad is 20"x36"X1" at 8oz and cost $60.
I'm 6'-2.5" and the thing fit just right between the shoulders and just below the butt.
It's a great, light, comfortable piece of equipment

I use to use my pack under my legs for padding.
I'd empty it & flip the thing over with the back padding facing up.
But, I don't do that anymore because it would get real wet from my sweat.
Because I yanked all my gear out I'd have everything available.
But, it didn't make for quick starts in the morning.

So, I started carrying a 12"X9" tapered section of yoga mat for under my feet.
I salvaged that free from an abandoned mat at a campsite on the AT in GA last year.
It also doubles as a sit pad or something to stand on bare foot off the ground.
That only weighes in at 0.65 oz.

The sleeping pad and sit pad combo is a great versatile system for the trail.
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