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Newbie... needing 2 sleeping bags without breaking the bank


mom3lovebugs
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mom3lovebugs

Hi everyone!  

My son and I are venturing into multi-day backpacking with my sister and her family.  We are hiking the Chilkoot Trail in Late July!  (And planning for the WCT summer 2017)

I've already purchased our back packs... Osprey Aura AG 65 for me and North Face Terra 35 for my 10 year old son.

Next thing on the list is sleeping bags.  Looking for relatively light weight but also not all that expensive.  The choices are overwhelming which is why I'm hoping for some direction from some of you kind folks. :)  Temp rating around 15 - 30 degrees as I am a cold sleeper.  My son is a hot sleeper so his could be 30 +

Any help appreciated, thank you!

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First, a quick tip.  Don't underestimate the importance of a good sleep pad, beanie, and gloves for sleeping warm.  Even in mid-50's all 3 can be very important for staying warm and sleeping sound.

So, picking out a bag can be crazy confusing.  I will say this, I own several different bags and I have never had a bag that didn't do the job.  The more expensive bags certainly have extra features and comforts. It's usually little features such as easy of using the zipper, fabric feel against the skin, and obviously carry weight.  I took a minute to scan the outlet section of REI.com, and found a few bags with good overall reputations among the hiking community.  

Mountain Hardwear Lamina 35 is a popular synthetic for under 3 lbs and has great reputation.  REI outlet has the "long" version available for $150, but I am only 5'10 and I like a "long" bag for the comfort.  

Mountain Hardwear Lamina 20 is a similar bag known for sleeping warm, probably great for you being a cold sleeper.  It is a synthetic, comes in right at 3lbs, and has a great reputation.  Honestly, had I knot bought a new bag last year I'd probably buy this bag right now for the $165 price. 

If you prefer a Big Agnes, they have the Bald Mountain available, which is an 18 degree synthetic.  I'm not familiar with this one, but Big Agnes makes great products and looking at the design of the bag and specs (under 3 lbs) I would be comfortable buying it personally.

If I were you, i'd buy one of each of the Lamina bags.  A synthetic is best in my opinion for a newbie, but that's another topic altogether.

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JoefromKansas

I'm going through the same thing you are. We have our packs, but have been looking at sleeping bags. A very inexpensive one that I'm looking at is from Tetonsports.com.  They have bags that are within my budget...their claim is they make good products inexpensive. I did buy their Outfitter 4600 pack and I thought it was well made and it did feel comfortable with 30lbs on, but I needed more back support so I gave that pack to my son and bought a Baltoro. But, it was inexpensive ($100, I think),  and my son loves it.

There are a lot of reviews about their product, but like with everything else, your mileage may vary. 

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Your sleep system includes your bag or quilt, pad(s), sleep suit, socks, gloves, puffy jacket and headgear. If you get a bag that is warm enough for the coldest nights, it will be too warm for warmer nights. My current sleep system includes a Climashield 5.0 top quilt, a light down throw blanket for a liner, a reflective Low-e foam insulation pad for warmth, an REI Lite Core 1.5 short pad for comfort, a Therm-A-Rest Z-Seat for my feet,  a surplus LWCWUS polyester long bottom and long sleeve 1/4 zip top, a Sierra Designs Stratus down jacket, lightweight surplus wool liner gloves and a merino wool balaclava BUFF. This will easily take me down to freezing without needing the jacket. It may seem like a lot of stuff, but pieces can be left behind if the anticipated weather allows or other pieces can be substituted if the weather seems colder. A fleece top and/or bottom might extend the low temperature rating. Other than the quilt and self inflating pad, all of these items have other uses. You get to choose what to take.

Don't wait until you get out on the trail before you try your system out. You need confidence in it. I look for a primary bag/quilt that is under two pounds and add layers to that. My greatest discomfort is when my quilt is too warm, but it's too cold to throw it off. I don't want to sweat in my sleep system.

LWCWUS - Light Weight Cold Weather Underwear Set. My daily base layer for cold weather, waffle fleece when it gets colder.

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The Chilkoot Trail goes through some really wet country.  Bring synthetic fill sleeping bags for this trip. Line your pack with a trash compactor bag.  Use a pack cover.

I took a down bag and it got wet, really wet. I could not sleep at the top of the pass in a sleet storm for fear of not waking up. I watched a guy get med evaced out the day before.  That was in late August.  Heed these words and you will be fine.

Edited by ppine
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JoefromKansas
2 hours ago, PaulMags said:

What is your budget if you don't mind me asking?

I don't know what the OP's budget is but mine is around $120-140. 

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mom3lovebugs
3 hours ago, PaulMags said:

What is your budget if you don't mind me asking?

$150 - $200 per bag.  I still have to purchase sleeping pads as well. 

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If you want a good budget down bag, the Kelty Cosmic 21F bags can be found for less than $150 online.  At 2# 9 oz, pretty light and compact. Some places have them as low as $130 currently and show up with a quick Google search.

Prefer synthetic? The REI Lumen is 2# 8pz and $160. It has a more relaxed fit  (still a mummy bag) that some people starting out may prefer to a lighter, if tighter fitting, mummy bag. 

Both bags are EN rated so the temp rating will hold true.

Edited by PaulMags
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You guys have missed the point.  Bringing a down bag to the Chilkoot is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. Don't do it. There is wet and then there is Alaska wet.  Bring a synthetic bag because your life may depend on it.

Edited by ppine
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