Contributors to this thread:
I’m looking at the following: 1) Kuiu 15 degree 2) Western Mountaineering 15-20 degree bags 3) Feathered Friends Swallow 20 degree
I’d expect the coldest temps to be a chance of hitting mid 20’s if cold front sat in. Sept.-Oct. kind of hunting. Ultralight bag wanted.
Anybody got experience with any of these makers/types?
Any specific advice you can give is appreciated (real world temp tests, etc.).
I’ll be using the bag in different scenarios too:
On pad with just tarp shelter (mostly like this)
I dont touch KUIU anything at this point and have no plans too. So I cant comment on it. I did have two recent WM bags before switching over to quilts. The Antolpe Gws and alder MF. The Lope I used down into the 20s and it's still almost needed venting. It's a kick ass true 0 bag, light weight for what it was. My complaint on it was it was a little narrow and confining. The Alder I used in the high 30s and 40s an i would say it's a 30 degree bag all day. Both did what they were advertised and are top quality.
FF I had the Penguin 10, I only used it in the 30s and it was comfortable, I think the rating was really close. It was also top quailty however I think it was spendy for what I could buy for similar quilts. I only moved it to get a wider size.
You cant go wrong with either brands. They are top shelf. I would put them both in the top five bag makers that come to mind.
If you store your bag correctly, a 15 deg will likely work although last time I slept in a hammock it was darn cold. I am bad about leaving my bags stuffed too long so I always go with zero degrees knowing they will lose a bit from being stored compressed.
Pound for pound, one of the best bags available with regards to warmth is the Western Mountaineering Versalite. 2lbs, True 10 degree. Excellent bag too.
The KUIU bags are intriguing and I may give one a shot this fall but the one I want is not in stock until June it says.
I stayed warm in my 15* Marmot Helium down bag under a tarp in 17* temps and light breeze. I have the long model that weights 34oz. Picked it up at REI clearance for under $100. Lucky day.
I slowly started freezing out the last ten years . Bought a new zero bag and didn't help . Spent $80. On a lightweight bag liner and now keep bag s unzipped when water bottle freezes .
I and my pals have discussed this for over 20 years. I’ve been sleeping in a sleeping bag for 20-60 nights/year fir that long in AK. Temp ranges lows from teens to 50’s...Almost always high twenty’s to 50’s. We sleep mostly on a cot w pads. This is what we agree on (today): 1. After 20 nights in the bag, the temp rating starts going up...a lot because it is wearing out and insulation is compacting. 2. If it’s gonna get in the 20’s and you have a 15 degree bag you’re gonna be miserable. 3. Wearing clothes doesn’t help 4. Using a poly/silk liner helps the temp rating by at least 10-15 degrees. A great addition compared to the weight. 5. There is NO universal equation that companies use to come up w their temp rating so they are going to exaggerate varying amounts. 6. There is a big difference in how much cold different people can take. 7. There is a big difference in the difference A person can take depending on what you’ve been eating or drinking. Summary. What WE decided works for us in 20-50 degree nights is a -5 to +5 rating and we have a liner in our gear in case it is in the 20’s. I think this will help you. There is not much worse than getting cold and not being able to warm up...although the last time I posted that “there is nothing worse” I got pounded by snipers who can think of a jillion things that are worse...hahaha. Feel free to PM me if you want the name brand(s) we prefer.
I use a liner as well. It helps keep my quilt clean. It adds, maybe, 5* of warmth.
I will say this on bag longevity. I take care of mine. When at home, it hangs full length on a nail on a closet. When I travel in a vehicle, it goes in the loose "travel bag" that came with it. The only time I compress it is during transit to camp, then when I get to camp, one of the first things I do is take it out and let it fluff up.
Doing that, I have some bags over 15 years old that have lost very little in loft. BUT I don't sleep on them 20 night in a row. As stated, that would tend to compress them with time.
You will loo a long time trying to find a better beg than a Western Mountaineering. The antelope is a great bag as has been stated. I have a Marmot Helium and it is a good bag for a bit less money than the Western Mountaineering. If you spend the money on one take care of it as txhunter58 describes.
You'll hardly find a bad review on WM. I'm cold blooded and use a 0 degree bag even in August through Winter. If it's warm I'll leave the zipper open....if cold I wear extra layers to bed or put my coat on top of the bag with me. You will likely be cold if you have a 20 degree bag and it's 20 degrees out! I store my bag inside a waterproof dry bag while hunting and suggest a bag with a water=proof outer. Down is generally lighter and compact than other fills.
I sleep cold as well so I ponied up for a Kifaru 0 degree Slick bag. Sure made a difference on my last October hunt. It never got above freezing! I like it even though it’s heavier than my Marmot 20 deg helium. I would’ve froze in that.
I know guys with WM and FF bags- top quality and they live up to their ratings.
I use the Montbell Stretch bags and they are good but probably second tier.
Another vote for the Marmot Helium. Regular size, compresses to the size of a loaf of bread, and under 2 pounds. Mine is 900 count goose down, so not sure if the 850 count down used today, has the same stats.
Adak Caribou's Link
Drying a bag every day possible will keep the bag closer to its temp rating and extend shelf life. Flannel liner is not light but a great addition. I still use some polar guard fill mummy bags from the 70's. Have a 0 and a minus 15.
I guess I'll be the evil guy that likes Kuiu gear. I have the 32 degree bag and also have my down jacket and pants. When the temperature lowers, I put on my down gear and am able to sleep comfortably in much colder. This allows me to have a light bag with the flexibility of adjusting to temperature. I think there are lots of ideas out there and you'll find what works for you. This works for me but for someone else it may not. Happy hunting.
I’ve got my eye on the Feathered Friends Lark (10*) and the WM Antelope (15*).
The thing that worries me is sleeping under a tarp, on a pad and footprint, with these down bags.
If you are worried about damp weather suck it up and carry the extra pound a synthetic bag weighs, in the backcountry that pound will be the best weight you ever carried.
Like Adak caribou, I use a down jacket and pants to bring my bags rating to several degrees colder. And I have them with me anyway. Double purpose gear saves money and weight. I have a Marmot Helium EQ 15F. It's slightly heavier than the regular Helium because of the water resistance in the material, but good insurance against exterior condensation.
And wear a toque. (if you're Canadian or hunting in Canada)
I've had my WM Versalite for 10 plus years, can't go wrong. Used on all of my western hunts and my rip to AK as well.
So what is a good weight of a backpack style bag? I have a 10 day backpack sheep hunt coming up(first one) and have a BA 10 degree bag that weighs in at 4 lbs....is that too heavy to be packing around that long? Don't mean to crash this thread but it is good additional info to have.... Thx Kip
You have to carry it, not us. The bags mentioned above are about 2lbs, so is losing 2lbs worth the cost? Some will say yes, while some have stronger backs.. which are you?
Kip, call me lazy but no way would I pack a 4 pound bag around in sheep country.
Not to go off topic but what liners are you guys using?
On wkochevar's question "So what is a good weight of a backpack style bag?" For me, weight is one part of the factor, size is the other. The warmer heavier bags take up a lot of valuable space. For mountain hunting I am always carrying my down gear anyways, for when I stop and glass or if I were to get stuck out over night. This allows the down gear to double duty since these are in my pack anyway. I can put them on and be in my lighter bag and be very comfortable in colder temps. The system I use now is lighter and less bulky then how I had done it in the past. Just another thought. :)
I have a WM Badger, my only complaint is the material used inside the bag. It feels like your sleeping inside a trash bag.
Down bag be sure you fluff it up daily especially after getting up, down compresses on the under side and sides if you roll around a lot, plus it helps to redistribute it. Doing it daily does make a difference. Also have the tent in the sun so as the tent heats up any moisture (water vapor from sleeping) in the down dries out. If there is a chance of having fog regularly where you will be, go with synthetic filler. I found this out the hard way. Feet started getting cold one night then legs to my knees. The down was collapsing (and the bag was wet) do to the moisture in the air and my feet and lower legs weren't producing enough heat to keep the down dry, the upper part of the bag was fine, that was not a fun night sleep. My Brother-in Law had just bought a synthetic bag and he was fine. He actually woke up to a layer of frost on top of his bag but on the inside it was dry and toasty for him. We had a freezing fog come through that night and there was thick frost over all the trees. Yeah high moisture and Down don't mix. DANNY
I decided to try an REI Magma 15 degree down bag. A friend had one he wasn't using and it was in excellent shape, so I got a steal on it. I slept on it and my Neo Therm Insulated pad last night. It hit 28 degrees and I had no insulating layers on and no tarp overhead. It was comfy. I think I've found my three season bag.
I did buy an 8 ounce emergency bivy to carry with me in case I needed a fully waterproof layer over the bag in a heavy rain, for added security under the tarp. Anybody used one of these before?
I'm going to try the bag in my hammock this weekend, in the mountains, fly fishing. It's supposed to get in the mid-20's. I'm anxious to see how warm it is without an underquilt on the hammock. I will report back.
If you don't use an UnderQuilt be sure to use a under pad in the hammock.
Any feedback on NEMO bags??
I have both a kifaru zero for backpacking and a kifaru - 20 for fly in type hunts. Also recently went with a feathered friends -20 down bag and used it on a fly in caribou hunt last year. I do not like being cold when sleeping. I’d use either brand without hesitation again. Although after about 5-6 yrs with the zero degree kifaru it has lost some loft and is beginning to sleep a little colder now. It has had CONSIDERABLE more use than the other two.
Tim bow I have the sea to summit reactor extreme bag liner . Got at cabelas. Will fit in a one pound coffee can for comparison .
Sounds like you got a great deal, the bivy sounds like a good Idea. Using that bag in a hammock without an underquilt at 20* probably wont kill you , but you'll think it's going to.....LOL
Kip, LOVE my Nemo Disco 15. Awesome bag for a guy that likes to sleep on his side. The spoon shape of the bag is legit, especially if you don't like the cramped feel of a true mummy bag. I used it in Idaho last year and temps dropped into the teens a few nights and I was warm with just a base layer set on in the bag each night. Compresses down small and is reasonably light. You can get a great deal on them on e-bay, watch for a customer return through Backcountry Edge or someone like that and you can save some $$.
I agree with Brotsky on the Nemo. I have the Nemo Riff 15 and it is spoon shaped for side sleepers and is fantastic compared to a mummy bag. I have slept in it several nights with the coldest temps in the 20's and was completely fine, was actually hoping for colder to test the bag more. 110% happy with it.
Brotsky and Offhntn, thanks for the input on the NEMOs. I too am a side sleeper and struggle with true mummies to be even remotely comfortable... I have to have some room to roll around ??. I will need a new bag for this NWT backpack hunt and will give up a few oz’s to get good zzzz’s... going to take a closer look. thanks again
FYI, Backcountry Edge is offering 20% off and free shipping.... new bag on the way!
wkochevar - What did you go with?
If your considering both in hammock and on ground look at hyke and bike and enlightened equipment bags both have purpose built bags to go from ground to hammock and back
Just picked up a Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer. It is on sale on their Web site. Nice bag.
Tested my bag in the mountains last night. It got around freezing. I was in fine shape.
Set up was, bottom up, as follow: doublenest hammock, 8oz. emergency bivy, neo xtherm pad, REI Magma 15* sleeping bag.
I woke up feeling clammy and it was sweat. I stripped my grid fleece, pants and windshirt off. Slept rest of night in my lightweight merino wool. There were some very mildly cool spots lingering off the pad, but I was impressed without an underquilt how warm I was.
I didn’t have a tarp overhead to radiate any heat back either.