Choosing a down bag

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rayfound
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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by rayfound » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:48 pm

kpeter wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:33 pm
I've got a Neolite 3/4, not a full length. I have been putting my empty pack, padded backrest side up, under my feet to complete the elevation off the ground. It works for insulation, but I see that the various quilts attach to pads and I wonder if I need the full length pad to make those attachments work.
Would absolutely work fine. I am a toss-turner in my sleep too - side, stomach, other side, etc... The natural feel of the quilt is what makes it work best for me - its simply a lot like using a blanket at home. YMMV but EE does offer their "Convert" quilt which is able to be used as a quilt or a bag if you're indecisive... weight penalty is around 6oz though. Assume other brands do too.

I guess in the time since I purchased they've increased their "overfill", meaning the fill weights all went up some for a given rating. I've used my 10F bag well into the 20s and been plenty warm, and from a brief glance it looks like the 20f version now has roughly the same fill weight as my 10f.

Again, the thing that has really impressed me is that this 10f rated quilt has been comfy on nights from the low 20's up through the low 50s, all by simply changing the way I cinch it down.








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Bellathomsan
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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by Bellathomsan » Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:07 am

you can choose hiking bags of full size, they're good at carrying and easy to move forward

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Iriscaddis
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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by Iriscaddis » Tue May 26, 2020 10:34 pm

Great topic with great responses. Here’s my dilemmma and looking for a recommendation. My wife and I want to get back into overnighters in the Sierra. Saddlebag area, mosquito flats, McGee canyon, etc. BUT, we need sleeping bags and pads (R3 probably) and we might go a few times in summer and fall. Spending $1500+ seems foolish because I’m a practical man but also there’s the romantic side of me which is to say, I’m not getting any younger and there’s a lot to see out there.
What are some options for me in getting sleep gear? Thanks.

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bobby49
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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by bobby49 » Tue May 26, 2020 11:19 pm

Some of us are not getting any younger. So, as each year passes, I try to lighten up my summer gear weight by one pound per year. To do that, it is necessary to go after the biggies. I keep my down sleeping bag less than one pound, my backpack less than one pound, my shelter less than one pound, my sleep pad less than a half-pound, my stove burner less than one ounce, but my carbon fiber bear canister is always the heavy item at 27 ounces. The new item is a synthetic insulation vest that weighs less than five ounces.

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freestone
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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by freestone » Wed May 27, 2020 6:48 am

bobby49 wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 11:19 pm
I keep my down sleeping bag less than one pound
Since this thread is about sleeping bags, care to share the details?
Fram...

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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by bobby49 » Wed May 27, 2020 10:45 am

It is a 30-degree bag that I purchased from Zpacks several years ago. It weighs 15.8 ounces. However, the size is critical. Zpacks used to have an _unusual_ method for describing the size (length). I pointed out the error of their method, and they corrected it.

In other words, read the fine print.

The good news is that there is such a relatively small amount of very high fill power down that the whole thing packs down very tightly, so it makes a pretty small lump in the backpack. If you do the same thing for the other lumps, you end up requiring less volume in your backpack, and that often means a lighter weight backpack.

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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu May 28, 2020 10:38 am

First decide what kind of backpacking you want to do. If your goal is "light and fast" and long thru-routes then spending a lot on reducing the weight of your pack is justified. If on the other hand, you are more into a few "go slow", low mileage, or base-camping and then day-hiking from the base, unless the money is no issue, I doubt you would get your money's worth. There is a vast price difference between a 900-fill high-end brand goose down bag, and a 750 or 650-fill duck down bag (or even synthetic) for about a 1-2 pound weight difference. There are cheaper ways to get rid of 1-2 pounds pack weight, such as carrying less water, recycle light plastic bottled water containers instead of Nalgene bottles, carrying slightly less food, or doing without non-essential gear (such as camp shoes or water crossing shoes). Regardless of the fill-weight of down or source, be sure the bag is well made and fits properly. The high-end expensive stuff does pack down to less volume, so allows a smaller pack, which adds also to some weight savings.

Think of a "sleeping system" rather than individual items, which also include the clothing you plan to sleep in. But, compare total weight, total packed volume and total cost. Comparing total warmth is much harder and very qualitative. Ounce-for-ounce adding 10-degrees to the warmth with a bag is more efficient than adding extra clothing. If you are buying for your wife, be aware that women sleep about 10-degrees colder, and women-specific sleeping bags take that into account. Bags rated for lower temperatures (usually 20-degrees or lower) have a draft collar or equivalent design to keep out drafts if you do not cinch up the hood. If you cannot stand to cinch up a hood, maybe a blanket would suffice (I am not a blanket user but there are plenty here who can add their comments on that).

Everyone is different, but I have not felt the need for a plushier sleeping pad as I age. My old-age aches and pains occur regardless of my sleeping pad, so I still use the same non-plush system I have used for decades, but now take an Advil before sleeping. The sleeping pad for me has more to do with warmth it provides, in fact, I do not like the thicker pads.

If you want to save money, keep an eye out for sales. Pads and bags are very often on sale and you should easily find something about 30% off list price, excluding some brands, like Western Mountaineering, who only sell very high end bags and rarely on sale. There are some good deals on REI-brand bags of moderate quality. For both pad and sleeping bag, be sure you can return the items, and then sleep on your floor at home several nights (leave on all tags and save the packaging) to be sure it works as intended. As much as you lay down on the stuff in the store, spending an entire night on the gear is different.

If you are talking 2-5 years of backpacking in your future, you could also spend the high dollars, get top quality "light and fast" equipment, care for it properly, do your few trips a year, then when you are done, sell it. Better yet, pass it down to the grandkids! Every high-end item I have purchased, even when at a steep discount on sale, has caused my to wince in pain when purchasing, but after many years of use, I never have regretted it.

I am a very cold sleeper, so my "system" is: Western Mountaineering Super Antelope bag (older version before women-specific versions were offered, with 750-fill goose down at 2lb, 14 oz. about 5 to10-degree rating), x-small shoulder to hip Therma-rest Pro-lite self-inflating pad at 8 oz., my backpack below my "pillow" which is a stuff sack with extra clothing, one 2.5x2.5 blue foam pad for feet (for fall or early season I use a 45-inch long blue foam pad). The small blue foam square also is my sit-pad in camp. The blue foam pads are cheap and you can cut them into various widths and lengths. I NEVER take my inflatable sleeping pad out of the tent. I also take a 4-oz down sweater which I sleep in on very cold nights or wrap around my neck. A 1.5 ounce fleece balaclava is added for shoulder seasons.

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markskor
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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by markskor » Thu May 28, 2020 11:26 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 10:38 am
my "system" is: Western Mountaineering Super Antelope bag (older version before women-specific versions were offered, with 750-fill goose down at 2lb, 14 oz. about 5 to10-degree rating), x-small shoulder to hip Therma-rest Pro-lite self-inflating pad at 8 oz., my backpack below my "pillow" which is a stuff sack with extra clothing, one 2.5x2.5 blue foam pad for feet (for fall or early season I use a 45-inch long blue foam pad).
I got a kick out of this as my sleeping system is amazingly similar...great minds think alike.
Just to clarify, I'm 6 foot, 220 pounds, so mine a little more robust than above, but IMHO, as all gear proven, possibly the best sleep system for the High Sierra, especially if you regularly go high and deep.
Subtle differences - WM Badger - 850 goose... 6 foot...15 years old - looks brand new...have the dsl model...2 pounds 8 oz and rated to 10 degrees,
Thermarest pro-lite plus "shorty" pad...13 ounces...shoulders to knees...3.4 R value,
Blue closed cell pad for feet (maybe 40 inches),
Wool warchcap and fingerless wool gloves completes the comparison.
Only addition is a 3 oz, montbell, blow up pillow.

Nice job Daisy
Mountainman who swims with trout

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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by oldranger » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:15 pm

markskor wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 11:26 am
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 10:38 am
my "system" is: Western Mountaineering Super Antelope bag (older version before women-specific versions were offered, with 750-fill goose down at 2lb, 14 oz. about 5 to10-degree rating), x-small shoulder to hip Therma-rest Pro-lite self-inflating pad at 8 oz., my backpack below my "pillow" which is a stuff sack with extra clothing, one 2.5x2.5 blue foam pad for feet (for fall or early season I use a 45-inch long blue foam pad).
I got a kick out of this as my sleeping system is amazingly similar...great minds think alike.
Just to clarify, I'm 6 foot, 220 pounds, so mine a little more robust than above, but IMHO, as all gear proven, possibly the best sleep system for the High Sierra, especially if you regularly go high and deep.
Subtle differences - WM Badger - 850 goose... 6 foot...15 years old - looks brand new...have the dsl model...2 pounds 8 oz and rated to 10 degrees,
Thermarest pro-lite plus "shorty" pad...13 ounces...shoulders to knees...3.4 R value,
Blue closed cell pad for feet (maybe 40 inches),
Wool warchcap and fingerless wool gloves completes the comparison.
Only addition is a 3 oz, montbell, blow up pillow.

Nice job Daisy
The reason your bag looks brand new is that 1. you bought your second one just a few years ago (not 15) and 2. You haven't used it as much backpacking over the last 3 years. Allowances for your senility and recent illness!
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by Iriscaddis » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:10 pm

Greetings, just posting an update, we got some Nemo disco 30 bags and Neo Xlite pads. Using my REI half down 2. A little extra weight but I can handle that. Looking forward to McGee and Little Lakes at the end of July. Hopefully Newsom won’t shut the state down again. Thanks.
Iriscaddis wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 10:34 pm
Great topic with great responses. Here’s my dilemmma and looking for a recommendation. My wife and I want to get back into overnighters in the Sierra. Saddlebag area, mosquito flats, McGee canyon, etc. BUT, we need sleeping bags and pads (R3 probably) and we might go a few times in summer and fall. Spending $1500+ seems foolish because I’m a practical man but also there’s the romantic side of me which is to say, I’m not getting any younger and there’s a lot to see out there.
What are some options for me in getting sleep gear? Thanks.

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