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Sleeping bag and tent question


coconutjennyb
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coconutjennyb

So ok, my husband and I have been car campers for many years.  Last year we went on the Pukaskwa White River Suspension Bridge Hike and loved it.  We just did a day hike.   We would like to do it again but stay over night.  I don't imagine we would become 6 day hikers or anything in the future.  Just may 1-3 day hikes.  We also bought Kayaks and are looking to do some Kayak camping, so looking for some smaller, lighter gear.

So, that being said, we live in Northern Ontario, this summer while bush camping it got down to 4 degrees C(38 degree F) and we were cold with 4lb. Synthetic rectangle bags rated for -18*C (0* F). In a tent trailer.

Question 1:   Would a mummy bag of the same rating -18*be just as cold, or are the rectangle bags just colder in general?

Question 2:  I'm 5'4" and my hubby is 6'1", we were looking at the Marmot limelight 3, but it weights 6lbs 10oz.  How heavy is too heavy?  Remembering too that we could use it for car camping, kayak camping and 2,3 day pack packing.

Question 3:  How durable are down bags, I have read that synthetic looses it's loft and insulative properties as years go by, what about down?  How long to they keep theirs for?

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1. Mummy bags are much warmer than rectangular bags because they limit the amount of air & material your body has to warm and they keep out drafts. Zero degree F bags are really warm bags. 20 degree F bags are more versatile and probably all you'll ever need unless specifically winter camping.

2. I've discovered recently that people develop irrational emotional attachments to their tents and don't really want to know what I think. Get a tent that makes you feel good. As little as you plan to backpack, that Marmot tent is probably fine. It would be dumb to carry it on the AT.

3. I have a down bag I bought in 1996. I use a good down wash every couple of years and it performs about as well as it did new. I don't see me ever backpacking with a synthetic bag again.

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Welcome to TrailGroove coconutjenny! :)

My thoughts on your questions:

#1: A synthetic bag that keeps one warm to -18C would more likely weigh between 6 to 7 lbs so I think the rating on your bag is *optimistic* <_<. That said, mummy bags tend to be warmer for individuals because they have less cold spaces.

#2: Hard core backpackers would say that the Limelight is too heavy but for all the various uses you want to use it for, it is probably fine, especially since the backpacking trips you are planning aren't too long.

#3: Down bags are quite durable, pack smaller and are lighter for the same temperature rating as an equivalent synthetic bag. I haven't heard of synthetic bags losing their insulative properties but it's possible. Unless the down is dry treated though, it may lose some of its insulate properties in humid environments so that may be an issue in Northern Ontario.

You have several Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) stores in Ontario and they are very good for advice and selection. You might want to check them out and they have a great return warranty too if you aren't satisfied with any of their products.

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One more thought.  If you are only backpacking overnight, instead of buying new sleeping bags, buy some fleece.  Sleep in fleece tops and bottoms (and socks!) and that might be warm enough for you.

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