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What's your temp?

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What's your temp?

Postby maverick » Wed May 11, 2016 11:38 am

- What is your ideal bag temp in the Sierra, that sweet spot, not including the shoulder seasons?
- How many of you get a higher temp bags and combine it with a down jacket to lower cost/weight, or maybe a liner?
- Has anyone jumped from a down to synthetic bags?
- How many of you have become colder sleepers as you have aged?
- By how many degrees have you increased you bag temp by?
- Who here cowboy camps most of the time?
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Re: What's your temp?

Postby rlown » Wed May 11, 2016 12:02 pm

Mav, you start by answering your own questions.

But I always cowboy camped after memorial day for a good 15 years. memorial day until June is tent weather.. Skeeters are another concern which is July-Aug, depending on snow/hatch.

We carried a basic tarp and a visqueen cover to match for small showers.

Now that I have a tarptent, I carry it anyway. I find it useful in Sept.

15-20 degrees for the bag. I run hot so i'll open it almost as a quilt (tent, not cowboy)
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30 Degree bag sufficient for summer in High Sierra?

Postby Asolthane » Wed May 11, 2016 12:09 pm


I currently have a 15 degree Marmot Pinnacle. It's been great, it's not an ultra light bag, but it's 800 down and it's TOASTY. I have never been cold, even up above 10000 feet.

I am trying to lighten my pack. I always carry a down sweater for wearing around camp at night. I wonder if I would be comfortable sleeping in a 30 degree bag (Marmot Hydrogen or WM Summerlight/Megalight) if I slept in a down sweater and heavyweight baselayer bottoms?

Do any of you take a 30 degree bag with you for summer trips in High Sierra?


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Re: What's your temp?

Postby gary c. » Wed May 11, 2016 12:46 pm

I carry a 15 degree bag and have a 5 degree for colder nights.
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Re: What's your temp?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed May 11, 2016 12:46 pm

I do not have the luxury to have an "ideal" bag for Sierra summers. I have one sleeping bag that has to do it all, shoulder season plus adequate for the Wind River Mountains too. I have what is called a "5-10" degree WM Super Antelope. I bought this in the days before gender-based temperature ratings. For me it is basically a 20-degree bag. In fact I can get cold at 32 degrees! One reason I think it does not live up to its rating for me, is that it is too wide for me so have a lot of dead space to warm up.

I have not noticed sleeping colder as I age- always have been a very cold sleeper.

If using a bivy sack is considered "cowboy camping", then I have done plenty of that in the Sierra, up to 12-day trips. Mostly before the days of light weight tents. Nowadays, with a 2 pound tent, it hardly is worth it.

I do not count on any of my regular clothes to supplement the bag's rating.

I used a synthetic zero-degree bag from about 1980's until I was able to afford to buy a down bag in 1998. The bag was warm, but really heavy! I do have a 45-dgree synthetic bag that I use for some coastal backpacking.

I also have a homemade sleeping bag cover (cheap nylon taffeta- very light weight) that I use when we backpack with the dog. I really do not want a dirty wet dog to be laying on my very expensive sleeping bag! It may add a few degrees to my bag, but the purpose is to keep my bag clean.
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Re: What's your temp?

Postby Jimr » Wed May 11, 2016 1:50 pm

As did WD, I used a 1980's synthetic zero-degree bag (Qualofil), but I used it until 2013. A 6 lb bag! Now I use a +15F down bag. Yes, I sleep colder these days and use a higher rating bag. The zero bag was always toasty warm, but I cannot compare my sleeping temp vs bag rating for then and now. I do know that my bag keeps me warm if I use it correctly ie: cinch up everything to minimize heat loss. Something I rarely had to do with the zero, so I had to learn that. I have added my down jacket to the mix for occasions when the bag doesn't quite do it. I used to cowboy camp most of the time, but not for the last few years. Hobbes commented on how my 25 year old tent is in perfect shape. That's because I carried it, but rarely put it up. These days, I cowboy camp maybe 1/3 of the time. The Tarptent I use now is pretty nice and easy.
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Re: What's your temp?

Postby sambieni » Wed May 11, 2016 2:01 pm

I use a +10 REI UL Nooksack https://www.rei.com/product/700564/rei- ... g-bag-long
It is about 10 years old.
Described as a synthetic down.

While it is described as 10 degrees it is much warmer than that so I have run cold on somed nights - Glacier NP comes to mind (Have not really tested in Sierras save 1 SEKI night) - to really layer up w long tops/bottoms and I believe fleece/socks too. Doubtful a hat or down jacket.

I never cowboy camp.

I am going to test it on solo in the Sierras over July 4 weekend. If I run cold, it may prove time to upgrade to a new bag like about 20-25 range.
Last edited by sambieni on Wed May 11, 2016 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's your temp?

Postby longri » Wed May 11, 2016 2:25 pm

My first bag was rated 5°F, second 25°F and current home made bag would probably be about 32°F.
I have a 40°F bag I've used on certain trips; I've used it with bivy sack and all my clothes at 14K a few times.
I rarely take a down sweater in the summer in the Sierra.
I have synthetic bags but never use them in the Sierra.
If I'm sleeping colder now than when I used a 5°F bag I haven't noticed.
Sometimes I cowboy camp but it's less than 50% of the time.

I have a question:

Who takes the temperature? I mean, who bothers to accurately measure the temperature when they're in the Sierra?
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Re: 30 Degree bag sufficient for summer in High Sierra?

Postby Chris B » Wed May 11, 2016 2:33 pm


Unless you sleep very cold you should be fine with a 30 degree bag especially if you use a tent. Typically for summer trips in the Sierras I use an old REI Halo which is a 40 degree rated bag. The only time I woken up feeling cold was after a hard days hiking and temps dipped to 10 degrees, after pulling on a fleece I was fine. I typically sleep in shorts and T-shirt.

If you are prepared to spend $400 on a sleeping bag the WM Summerlite is an awesome choice especially for people that sleep a little cooler. I'm not sure how WM rate their bags but my Summerlite is way warmer than any other 30 degree bag I have used so much so I tend to only use it it in winter.

Check out this thread.

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Re: 30 Degree bag sufficient for summer in High Sierra?

Postby markskor » Wed May 11, 2016 2:57 pm

Asolthane wrote:Hi,
Do any of you take a 30 degree bag with you for summer trips in the High Sierra?

No...30º might work, most of the time, especially if lower, but you will be thankful for having 15º down, all the other times higher.
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