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Thread: Sleeping bag

  1. #1

    Default Sleeping bag

    I will be camping near anchorage this summer, what is the best sleeping bag. I was looking at mountain harware but i dont know which is the right one.

  2. #2
    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    That's simply not enough information for anyone here to help you. Go to REI or a similar type store that has knowledgeable sales people. Tell them what season and where you plan to camp, discuss whether you are a warm or cold sleeper, and let them help you find a properly sized bag rated for the temps and conditions you plan to sleep in. Some options you'll have to consider will be full zip or half zip, which side or do you want a half center zip, down or synthetic, etc.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    Erik, what is the best sleeping bag is pretty subjective. There is no ultimate "one" everyone is going to agree on.

    Personally I like Western Mountaineering down bags, although there are many quality nice bags out there on the market that will get the job done. My suggestion is don't get a bag rated for too much cold if your plan is to use it in the summer. The WM ultralite model which I use sometimes is too warm for me during the summer though its ok spring and fall. I ended up sleeping on the pad and using it unzipped like a quilt. It is an awesome 2 pound sleeping bag though and a complaint about it being too warm says a lot about WM temperature ratings.

    Next summer I'm using the WM Summerlite model and I think it will be just about right for three season use for me. My down bags are carried in Sea to Summit event waterproof stuff sacks.

    Another consideration will be compressibility, or how much precious space it robs from your pack. Take your backpack with you when you go to buy your sleeping bag and make sure it takes up room that you can live with. Some popular bags that you will see recommended are actually quite large not a good choice for backpacks.

    The weight of the sleeping bag is something to think about if you'll be carrying it on your back...if you watch your ounces the pounds take care of themselves. The weight of each piece of gear doesn't have to be the highest priority every time, but it should be a major consideration along with fit for purpose as you decide what to purchase.

    If possible get in the sleeping bag before you buy it to make sure you fit properly, or else know the size you need for sure. I'm 6 foot tall but feel constricted in 6 foot bags so I always opt for the 6'6" models. The girth of sleeping bags is not the same, make sure the bag will be big enough for you in the chest area.

  4. #4

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    Those first two responses just about covered it all, until you ask a more specific question. There are also many other threads here that you can search out on the same topic. Only thing I'll add for now is that if you're just planning easy summer weekend camping near town, you really don't need the "best" sleeping bag, anything comfortable should be good enough until you get into longer trips or colder weather. Try a surplus or a thrift store for now, or even pin some wool blankets into a nice bedroll, while you research and decide what you really want to spend your money on!

    A ground pad is a different matter -- choose a good one from the start, for both comfort and insulation.
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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    A ground pad is a different matter -- choose a good one from the start, for both comfort and insulation.
    That is excellent advice.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    I have a down one (don't know what the brand is, sorry, It was around 100 bucks and its rated to 0) and its a mummy type, its nice cause you can stick it in a compression sack and really make it a small bundle. nice for back packing.
    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

  7. #7

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    For Alaska I would recommend a Sleeping System, as opposed to a single bag. One that can be adjusted, expanded or modified to meet the need.
    Suggest you contact forum member Marc Taylor and go with a Wiggy's Sleep System.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Around Anchorage, summer -
    1. I bet you could get a lot of use out of a 30 degree bag. All our bags are zero degree rated, but we usually do an early spring or late fall trip too. Summers a zero bag is too warm. Bag ratings are more precise (in new bags anyway). Be sure you try a bag out for size first.
    2. There are ways you can "layer up" a bag... up or down. I prob get 10 degrees with a bivy sack. I've used a liner, but don't like them. They are warmer though.
    3. Layers on you: long johns, sox... stocking cap etc. All the pointers about base layers... especially the ones spelled, "merino" apply if you get cold easy.

    If you're from elsewhere, now's a good time to plan your trial runs. Figure out what typical Anchorage night temps are - and schedule your sleepout trials for the same temps, or 10 deg less.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
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    Anchorage summers are pretty warm. All those long daylight hours in June & July keep things from cooling off much in the short night time. For most South-Central AK camping in June & July I find a 40 degree bag to be enough. I often only use that as a blanket and kick it off when too warm. Mid August cools down more though, and if you are going to be up much over 2000' it will be cooler too. Still a 20-30 degree bag while possibly wearing a layer will usually do until mid September.

  10. #10
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    As others have said, best is very subjective. Are you backpacking, car camping, sleeping outside, sleeping in a tent, sleeping in a public cabin? Down is the best insulator per pound, but looses it's insulating ability when wet, and summer in AK is most often going to through some percipitation your way.

    I recently got a North Face Cat's Meow, it's a 20F rated synthetic insulation bag, and at 3#'s, not to heavy for backpacking. Not sure if it's the best, but so far so good.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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