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Sleeping Bag/Pad Suggestions


JHaveman
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I am looking for suggestions for a sleeping bag and pad. Really, I guess I am looking for suggestions for a type of sleeping bag (down vs synthetic), good brands to look at, what type of pad (air?), thickness, insulated, etc.? My backpacking will be mostly 3-season (and never anything too cold). I am really looking to keep it around $200-$250 for bag and pad since I will be investing in a set-up for me, my wife, and my 15yo daughter. Thoughts?

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"never anything too cold" might mean different things to different people but I'm guessing you might be looking at bags in the 30-40 degree range. Its well worth the extra expense in my opinion to get some type of air pad or mattress. One of the best purchases I ever made was a Thermarest NeoAir all season. Expensive but very well worth it for the comfort. For overnight temps below 40 degrees F, you'll probably want some type of insulated air mattress or one of the warmer self-inflating type, or you could use both a foam pad and air pad- foam for insulation and air for comfort. The main advantage of down over synthetic is that down bags pack down smaller, tend to be a bit lighter and last longer if properly cared for. There are some good synthetic bags out there, though.

I've bought several sleeping bags from SierraTradingPost.com. If I was looking for a 30 degree bag and pad in your price range, I'd pick up either the Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina (synthetic) or Hibachi (600 fill down) for around $140-150 with the current 30% off coupon from STP and then get a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core mattress for around $100 most places, or maybe extend my budget a little bit and get a Thermarest Neoair on sale currently at Backcountry.com, or maybe the Thermarest Prolite 4 which is on sale there for $85. Quality-wise you can't go wrong with either Mountain Hardwear sleeping bags or Thermarest mattresses.

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I have actually grown to really like the Thermarest Ridgerest or the other Z rest pad that folds. I have been taking these with my dog into the wilderness and high country in WY the last several years. I have a Mountain Hardwear Merced 32 that is not bad down to 25 degrees or so and with a hand warmer or two inside I have done down to 20 in a tent with that bag. If you want to go all out on a bag I can tell you that my go to bag when nothing can fail me is a Western Mountaineering. The price will make you cringe but one of those bags will last you until your knees and or heart gives out , even if you are 20 years old now. As far as I'm concerned the king of all pads are the Outdoor Research Downmats. That combo will blow your entire budget but I swear to you that bag and pad combo will see you through around 20 degrees below the stated temp for the bag.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I definitely agree with Ogg about the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core. This is a great pad and a great value. I bought mine a few years ago and absolutely love it.

Regarding sleeping bags, Kelty's line of bags is probably the best cost to quality that I have seen. I would stick with down instead of synthetic. To stay in your price range the handwarmers are a great idea if you are worrie about pushing the temp ratings on your bag. A few things to keep in mind when sleeping bag hunting:

-Do you sleep on your side or back?

-Are you a hot or cold sleeper?

-Unless you will only be using the bag only in the summer you will want a draft collar and a draft tube

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