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Advice on a good sleeping bag

Howling Dingo

Richard Proenneke
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I been looking around for a new sleeping bag lately.The one I have is from the mid 90's and just to bulky for my pack.I was looking at this on at the local mountain design store yesterday.

http://www.mountaindesigns.com/online-store/products/Travelite-330-Std.aspx?prodID=605

I what something that will pack down small as my pack is only 55 liters.I am using the sleeping bag in N.S.W woodland spring and summer mostly.MY budget is going to be around the $200 to $300 mark.Any suggestions guys..??
 

Greatbloke

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I don't recommend this one as it's too heavy and too cold, but I was shocked at the cheap price on sale. You might like to check out what else they have on offer though. I bought a synthetic one there several years ago that I love, and it only weighs a kilo is very warm, and a little water repellant.

http://www.snowgum.com.au/shop/product/8853/c-wills-sleeping-bag
 

Corin

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My advice is save a bit more and get the best quality down bag you can.

I know they are expensive, but I bought mine back in the early 90s and it has endured many hundreds of nights (like close to 500-1000) It has been re packed once and it is one piece of kit I know I can rely on. I can't remember what it cost me but I know it was super expensive. I can remember all the good nights sleep it gave me, and continues to give.

Mine is a mont. http://www.mont.com.au/index/catalog/category/2/6/18

I only needed customer service once, when the fill needed replacing, and it was exceptional.
 

Templar

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Look into a Snugpack Softie 3... It's the one the Army guys buy for a light weight bag option... i still have my original one from 10 years ago and its still working well. Takes up as much room as a NATO canteen and cup.
 

chutes

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The bag I use for 3-seasons in NSW is the Roman Extremelite. http://roman.com.au/website17.aspx?...&parentid=1573&sideparent=1573&midparent=1580 - Mine is the Extremelite (Rated to +5 deg C)

If the weather is a little cold, I'll add a silk bag liner and if it's colder still, a fleece blanket.

You can get an extremelite zero or an extremelite sub-zero for a few more bucks than the $85-$90 you'll pay for the basic extremelite model, but the lower rated bags get much bulkier the lower you go and aren't worth it to me when I can pack a fleece blankie and a silk liner away separately and get similar comfort ratings.

Extremelite.jpg


However if you've got a couple of hundred bucks to spend on a sleeping bag, you might find something more suitable in down. Personally I have kept to synthetics because while they are not as warm as a down bag of the same weight, they stay relatively warm when damp/wet. Whereas I found my old Fairydown bag would suck the warmth right out of me if it got a bit of liquid on or in it.
 

Walker

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My advice is save a bit more and get the best quality down bag you can.

I know they are expensive, but I bought mine back in the early 90s and it has endured many hundreds of nights (like close to 500-1000) It has been re packed once and it is one piece of kit I know I can rely on. I can't remember what it cost me but I know it was super expensive. I can remember all the good nights sleep it gave me, and continues to give.

Mine is a mont. http://www.mont.com.au/index/catalog/category/2/6/18

I only needed customer service once, when the fill needed replacing, and it was exceptional.



Although I don't have a Mont, I vouch for that brand - it was on a short-list many years ago for me, but was pipped at the post by a NZ Fairydown that was on special. (Right place at the right time)

Down is lighter, more compact, and warmer gram for gram than synthetics, but synthetics maintain their warmth if they get wet - down is useless. That said, down bags just need a bit more care - I always put the sleeping bag, silk inner sheet and change of clothes in a dry bag, then into my rucksack - no chance of it getting wet.

I have three bags:

1. an old synthetic one I won in a primary school competition (only good for indoors or family type camping with the kitchen sink, etc),

2. an Aussie made Downia brand which is no longer made (this is my general bag, is over 25 years old, has been washed twice and down topped-up once) - tapered rectangular and unzips to a quilt - REALLY good bag for summer, spring and low alpine.

3. a NZ Fairydown mummy shaped down mountaineering bag with a box foot. The Formula One of bags - only good for seriously cold conditions.


A coupla things to look out for:

a. for the condtions you mentioned, go with a rectangular or semi rectangular bag - more versatile as the sides and bottom can unzip if it gets warm.
b. a neck muff and 3D draft excluder along the zips add much more warmth.
c. the shape of the baffles and the way they run can be important, but normally only in the top end bags.
d. size - is it wide enough to encompass your shoulders and arms - too tight and you lose heat at pressure points.
e. Down content - the cost of a bag will be cheaper if it has a higher feather content or lower quality down. E.g. 30/60 bag may have 30% down with 60% feather = not as warm and cheaper. Make sure you compare apples with apples to save $$. Similarly, goose down is much dearer than duck down - and man there is a big difference in the warmth value too.
f. it may actually be cheaper to buy a mid range down bag and have it topped up with down - you pay $$ per gram of down, sounds a lot but there's a lot of down in, say, 100g.

Try giving Australian Feather Mills a call - they use to make sleeping bags (my Downia), and I know they use to arrange washing and topping-up of down too because that's were I had it done. Would definitely go back to them becasue they did such a good job - even gave me the choice of different downs to choose from! Contact details below:

Australian Feather Mills
35-41 Newton Road
Wetherill Park NSW 2164

Ph: 9756-2099


I came across an American brand L.L Bean who sell in Oz via the web - may be of interest to many others too for various gear other than sleeping bags:

http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/97

Hope this assists.
 

darren

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I can tell you my experiance. For hiking i have the following, 2x macpac latitude 700 sleeping bags, a mont bell super stretch down hugger 5, and a golite featherlite.
For your conditions i would recomend the montbell http://www.moontrail.com/montbell-ul-ss-down-hugger-5.php
These bags have a gathered elestic stretch system in them and allow heaps of movement while still being close around your body. As you can see the stuffed size is 5"x10" and only weigh 510 grams. They also use 800 loft down. I have bought from moontrail before and they are great to deal with
My all year round 'goto' bag now is the golite feather lite http://www.sierratradingpost.com/go...leeping-bag-regular-semi-rectangular~p~92787/. This bag also uses 800 loft down but has no zipper or hood. It stuffs to the same size as the montbell and combined with a Bozeman mountain works cocoon pullover and montbell thermawrap pants it will go down to -4 in comfort. For summer though no zipper make it hot so i use the montbell.
These are high performance bags made out of lighweight matererials and high quality 800 loft down. I only use a 35l pack for most of my multiday walking so i know what you mean about space.
If you like i could bring one down to show you one day when i'm in Newy
From the above post We buy the kids school bags and stuff from LL Bean. They are good to deal with.
Hope that helps.

Just checked. Montbell has replaced the ss down hugers with these. http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?cat_id=796&p_id=2321140. I would only assume they would be slightly better.
 
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koalaboi

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I bought a Paddy Pallin Hotham with one of my first paychecks when I was 15 years old in 1968....it cost the huge amount of $80 then and it's still going strong!

I also still have and use my first billy.

Only a rrich man can afford cheap tools.

KB
 

Bartnmax

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Look into a Snugpack Softie 3... It's the one the Army guys buy for a light weight bag option... i still have my original one from 10 years ago and its still working well. Takes up as much room as a NATO canteen and cup.

Yeah my Bro has one of these he bought for hiking down Wilson's Prom way a few years back.
I've pinched it off him a few times to use & they are as good as Karl says.
Will be looking to get hold of one of these myself soon.

The other one I'd recomend is the Recon 3 although bat a ratting of minus 5 they can be a bit too hot in most conditions.
http://www.cadetshop.com.au/recon-3-military-sleeping-bag.html

Down bags are great but they must be carefully stored when not in use to maintain their lofting ability.
Down is also all but useless when wet, whereas synthetics such as qualofil, etc will maintain at least some level of insulation when wet.
The down side to synthectics is that they generally pack into larger bundles than does down.
However, there have been great strides made with synthetic fills lately & now they pack down to incredibly small size.
It's well worth doing some research in regard to what features to look for with sleeping bags.
The whole issue of whhat makes up a good sleeping bag can become quite drawn out. Baffles, anti snag tapes, composite fills, etc, etc.
If you've never researched it before you'll find there's a lot to learn about sleeping bags & it's well worth knowing those things before purchasing.

Bill.
 
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darren

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Down is also all but useless when wet, whereas synthetics such as qualofil, etc will maintain at least some level of insulation when wet.

Bill.

Very true. Thats whay i dont completely rely on down for my insulation. The cocoon pullover uses polargaud delta insulation and the pants use exeloft. If i was unlucky enough to get completely soaked and my waterproof stuff sacks fail i would still be able to survive a cold and uncomforable night in minus conditions. With this being a summer/ spring bag the outcome of a wet bag is not as bad. Most good down bags come with a large mesh or calico bag to store them in at home. It a compromise like everything. Size and weight saving v ability to treat it rough.
Thanks
 

Moondog55

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I can offer you my older MD Travell-lite for $55- post about fifteen dollars, in my opinion they are only good for summer but I mainly hike in the High Plains where it can drop below freezing at any time of the year.
The big advantage is the ability to open into a quilt for really warm nights or as a cover for two people in an emergency, they are a stitched thru design and not suitable for anything cooler than 10C in my opinion, but I do sleep cold and you can of course always wear a set of clothes inside if it is colder than that or put a lightweight synthetic quilt over the top.

Snugpac have QC issues, some do last 5 years but I have heard of others that self destruct on the first use.

0C is the minimum I would look at if buying a new mummy bag, it drops well below freezing at night in a lot of Australia away from the coast-even in summer depending on climatic variation. Easy to cool off, harder to keep the warmth in.
A bivvy bag or windproof sleeping bag cover can add 5C to a bags warmth rating but overall it is the sleeping pad that will contribute more to safety and comfort, spend at least as much on the pad as on the main sleeping bag if looking at temperatures at or below freezing and the minimum is a 10mm closed cell foam pad from a reputable maker, the cheap K-mart ones need to be doubled as they are only 6 or 8mm thick and don't forget a decent groundsheet, even if it is only a section of builders plastic.
Any building going on in your area, try and get an off-cut of Tyvek building wrap, makes a reasonable sleeping bag cover that is windproof and showerproof
 

Howling Dingo

Richard Proenneke
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Thanks for the info and input so far guys!!!I think I can do better than the one I was first looking at.Some really good brands out there..!!It is just a question of get the the most bag for you buck I guess..

I am liking this one for montbell..

http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?cat_id=796&p_id=2321140

I like go lite but not too sure about lack of a zipper in a hammock..??

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/go...leeping-bag-regular-semi-rectangular~p~92787/

I seen the Recon 3 in some outdoor stores but there is a lack of real info on them..

http://www.cadetshop.com.au/recon-3-military-sleeping-bag.html
 
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Moondog55

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It seems that for a hammock most people use a specialised quilt, no zipper and a decent foot box. No zipper just wrap around and use an underquilt for weather protection below.
needing to change sleeping bags is one of my reasons for not trying a hammock again.
honestly, you would be much better off buying mine from me, that lets you experiment for less than a hundred dollars, add a light synthetic quilt on top if you need extra warmth in cold weather.
 

Wentworth

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Hi Oz,
I didn't realise it was for your hammock. Top quilt is definitely the way to go. This is my winter quilt:
http://warbonnetoutdoors.com/topquilt.php $275US for the long/ wide model. The regular is fine for my height in a hammock, as your legs are slightly elevated, reducing your "height" by a few inches, but I found it just a tad too short on the ground, so I've got the longer one incase I go to ground.
It's tapered so it's only wide where you need it, tapering at the legs and neck. The quilt uses 850+ fill power down, just about the best you can get, and a huge step up from the 600 FP stuff Mountain Designs and most Aussie bags use.
Mine weighs around 650g and has at least 3 inches of loft on top of you.
Regarding the down being useless when wet; all ripstop nylons being used in bags now have a great DWR (durable water repellany) which means you can have a little puddle sitting on your quilt (not on the stitching though) and it won't really soak through. Having washed quilts with DWR in a bathtub, and seeing how hard it is to actually get the whole thing under water, you'd have to try pretty hard to get it soaked. No issue if it's in a drybag.
I've spent a night in a wet synthetic bag and that was pretty bad. I'd have been warmer just exercising all night.
Look at the baffle width with quilts and sleepingbags. The good ones will have baffles every 5 inches or so, the cheaper ones will do 7 inches or more, which means there is more tendency for the down to shift around and leave cold spots.
Whew. I can rant.
 

Joe

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I am currently sleeping in a Kathmandu bag. Now normally i dont like much of their gear as for the most part it has been pitched at gucci walkers and daytrippers and the most extreme conditions it faces is between a porche 4wd and the coffee shop. Having said that the 'Navigator' bag i bought from them is excellent. I got it during one of their many sales and from memory it was around $250. Down, some tech fabric that repels water yet breaths.

I use to climb every weekend so was also using this bag every weekend and i can say it was warm as toast and the best bang for buck i could find. A few climbers were in $700 alpine bags from when they went mountaineering and i thought that the navigator was only a slight step down from those bags, yet at a fraction of the price. I think when not on sale they are around $500+ but they always have 50% off sales on. If you are every going past one of the stores drop in and have a look.... definately worth thinking about.

Joe.
 

climbndrive

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lots of choices.

i have had a plethura if sleeping bags in 30 years ,i have alpine bags,swag bags,Blah Blah,but my favorite is my Snugpak softie 3 ,small light and warm,it suppose to have an in built thermal reflective blanket all i know is its goood,if your of the ground probably better,i sleep hot aswell, my alpine bag is good aswell but even in a snowcave i was sweating. hope this helps.
 

Mountainwalker

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I been looking around for a new sleeping bag lately.The one I have is from the mid 90's and just to bulky for my pack.I was looking at this on at the local mountain design store yesterday.

http://www.mountaindesigns.com/online-store/products/Travelite-330-Std.aspx?prodID=605

I what something that will pack down small as my pack is only 55 liters.I am using the sleeping bag in N.S.W woodland spring and summer mostly.MY budget is going to be around the $200 to $300 mark.Any suggestions guys..??

Hi Ozhagis, I actually own the travelite bag you are considering. I have owned it for about 6 years, it's only a 2 season bag however, I recently used this bag in NZ combined with a silk liner and sea to summit Reactor bag. This allows you the flexibility to modify the warmth of the bag by adding or removing layers and the system is very compact. I personally think this is a great bag and for the type of use you have in mind.
 
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