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Sleeping bag opinions for Boy Scout please


ajreynolds
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ajreynolds

My son is new in Boy Scouts and we're starting to look for camping gear. My boy has allergies and isn't the most careful with gear (yet), so we are thinking of going synthetic for the sleeping bag. We're located in southern California, so camping will usually be in warmer weather, but we will be hitting the mountains as well. I would like to find one that's fairly lightweight and compact, 20 degree rating, and around $150 or less. These are the ones I'm considering and would appreciate any insights on these or other suggestions. Thanks.

The North Face Cat's Meow

Marmot 20F Sorcerer

Kelty Tuck 22

Mountain Hardwear Pinole

Eastern Mountain Sports Boreal 20

Alps Mountaineering Blue Springs 20

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Those bags are all pretty similar so there is little that distinguishes one from another just looking at specs. I happen to own a Marmot Sorcerer 20 and for the weight it is not very lofty. I tried it once during a winter-time Mojave Desert car camping trip with overnight temps dipping down to low 30's (eventually high 20's) and switched out to my trusty 20 degree down bag. The Sorcerer was not sufficiently warm in those conditions (with the caveat that I'd had a few drinks and was sleeping on my backpacking mattress on top of a cot.) On the other hand, the bag worked fine for my wife in slightly warmer conditions once.

You mention your son is just starting scouts; this could mean he might yet have a lot growing to do and an adult sized men's sleeping bag could be too large for him, which will be less warm because of all the air around him that his body has to heat up. There may be some larger youth size bags that your son could fit into. North Face makes the Cats Meow in a short length. North Face has been making iterations of the Cats Meow for years and always seems to get good reviews.

My 13 year old daughter is already an inch taller than her momma and she's outgrown a nice down youth sized bag I bought her a few years ago. For Christmas I bought her Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina (women's version of the Ultralamina), which I figure she can use into adulthood if she takes care of it. I'm pretty impressed with this bag. The synthetic fill feels almost like down. One aspect of the down vs synthetic debate that doesn't always come up is that one of the reasons down is warmer for its weight over synthetic is because down drapes more readily over the body, leaving less volume of air around the body for the body to work harder at warming up. The bag also compresses well and while not quite as light as a comparable down bag, is lighter than many other synthetic bags. They are a little bit out of your budget range but if you can find one on sale somewhere at a good discount (I got my daughter's bag for something like $130 with a coupon at Sierra Trading Post), I'd highly recommend investing in an Ultralamina.

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  • 3 weeks later...
seattlecissp

I'm a scout leader and run our backpacking program. I highly recommend the North Face Cat's Meow. Many of our scouts have purchased this bag due to the light weight (~2.5 lbs for the regular size), synthetic fill (climashield prism) and 30 degree temp rating. I'd avoid down for the boys because they'll abuse their gear and synthetic will be warm when wet. This is a compromise bag, but we've had good success with it. I own this bag myself (in addition to a Marmot Atom for summer ultralight trips and an REI arctic pod 0 degree bag for wet winter trips which are typical for the PNW.

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