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Selecting a

Sleeping Bag



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Sierra Designs




Selecting a sleeping bag


There is no faster way under normal conditions to ruin a trip, than to loose sleep and be cold all night, during cold weather camping. Taking the time to fit your equipment with the proper sleeping bag, and sleeping pad is time and money well spent. To lay awake most of the night shivering, makes for a long night, and a tiresome following day, although you can take some pride in always being the first one up, out of the tent, and starting a fire, or igniting the stove to heat water for that favorite morning drink.


Early on, wool was a standard choice for sleeping warmth, due to it’s ability to hold heat, and still retain heat even when wet. But weight and bulk were the properties that had to be accepted. Goose down solved the weight and bulk problems, but if became wet, woe to the person who had to continue using it, due to its complete lack of retaining warmth. And trying to dry out a down sleeping bag while in the back country was a very difficult task to achieve. Due to its clumping together, and the time required in warm, full, sunlight made it all the worse to dry sufficiently to provide a warm and comfortable nights sleep. If your trip takes you into consistently cold weather where there is little to no chance of it getting wet, goose down tops all.


Then came Hollow-Fill, which worked fairly well, even when damp, but the bulk of this medium required to facilitate a warm night as the temperature dropped made it too cumbersome in cold climates. Fiberfill came on the scene shortly after, and seemed to be able to do it all without too much bulk. It compressed fairly well when packing, it fluffed up quickly, was warm even when wet, and if it did become wet it dried relatively fast due to its non-clumping ability. Although bulk could start to begin to be a problem as the climate being traveled through was cold.


Then came the answer to all our needs, no matter the environment, weight, or size restrictions, and that was Thinsulate. Now add to this the benefits of using Gore-tex as its outer-shell, and a fully functional, warm, moisture resistant, breathable system was now the new answer. Well, maybe...


There were and still are many types of fill used to insulate a sleeping bag, so take some time to investigate what's available that fits your needs. One major item you should always look for in a quality, warm sleeping bag, is no sewn-through seams. A box, slant, or triangular construction will assure you no cold spots, and will add many more degrees of comfort.

But all these fantastic advances in fabric and function could still fail you, and allow you to be cold again the night through, if a good barrier between your sleeping bag and the ground wasn’t used. Dense closed cell pads work very well, and there are varying sizes and styles. I like a thicker pad with no pattern molded into it, and long enough to protect my knees at least. Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads are the best, in my opinion, especially during cold weather, due to a closed cell pad inside a tough inflatable fabric. Just be sure to have a patch and repair kit in case it gets punctured. This is the single reason some friends of mine choose not to use them. But for me they’re warm and comfortable, and a patch kit is easily stowed in a pack. After several seasons of use, I have yet to need using my patch kit. Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads are tough, durable, and comfortable.


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Sleeping pads

Not only provide comfort when sleeping on the ground, but add a layer of insulation between your sleeping bag and the ground, adding to the tempratue range of your sleeping bag, and help protect it.


Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite Trek & Travel mattresses keep you comfortable while giving you the versatility to go anywhere and do anything. Light enough for the trail yet comfortable enough for base camp, the mattresses are perfect for everyone from backpackers and globetrotters to paddlers and car campers. Hailing from the Trek & Travel series, the Trail Lite is designed for campers who want a comfortable, lightweight mattress but don't want to spend too much. The Trail Lite's time-tested design includes all the hallmark qualities of a Therm-a-Rest, including a durable 150-denier polyester construction and a urethane foam fill, helping you get the rest you deserve. Plus, at just 1.5 inches thick, the Trail Lite rolls up small for easy carrying. The Trail Lite is an ideal choice for light backpackers, car campers, and travelers.


Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus Mattress allow you to experience unrivaled comfort without compromising your goals. Weighing less and packing smaller than other mattresses, they facilitate the kind of high-speed, low-weight camping experience sought by alpinists, adventure racers, and long-distance backpackers alike. Hailing from the Fast & Light series, the ProLite Plus is Therm-a-Rest's warmest, lightest, and most compact self-inflating mattress. Using patent-pending, foam-perforating technology, Therm-a-Rest engineered the ProLite Plus to provide exceptional warmth--up to 20 percent more than previous ProLite mattresses--without adding weight. As a result, it's substantial enough to keep you comfortable while mountaineering or on ski tours, yet rolls up small and light enough that you'll have no problem taking it as far as you want to go. Best of all, the ProLite Plus includes all the hallmark qualities of a Therm-a-Rest, including unique diagonal-cut foam that provides the most efficient insulation possible, bottom grips and a textured top surface to keep the mattress where you want it, and a durable polyester construction.


For those who need special support and weight is not an issue; Thermarest DreamTime Contour-hugging memory foam, the DreamTime mattress provides unmatched support and pillow top comfort. A machine-washable cover encases this foam and a luxurious, self-inflating mattress with protection for use anywhere. A microfiber top adds next-to-skin comfort for a truely decadent rest. Dimensions: 63x196cm(25x77in) Weight: 3600 grams (7lbs 15oz) Thickness: 9cm (3.5 inches) R-Value: 9.0 - This is NOT a light-weight sleeping pad.


Therm-a-Rest Fast & Light Repair Kit Field ready repair complete with Seamgrip adhesive patches. Includes 3x Alcohol Prep Pads 6 x Glue Dots 6 x Cover Patches


For Those wishing to go lighter and spend less money, these next pads work well,

but are not as insulating or comfortable as the Therm-a-Rest


Wenzel Camp Pad (Blue) Lightweight, durable and comfortable, it not only adds insulation keeping cold and damp away from you, it protects your sleeping bag as well. This pad has an extra soft surface, will not absorb water, and cleans easily. It is ideal for camping, hiking, mountaineering, exercising and picnics. Two elastic tie bands make bundling and storage convenient. Specifications:  Material: Cross link foam  Size: 71 in x 24 in. x 0.5 in.


The Wenzel Convoluted Camp Pad (Green) not only adds cushion but extra comfort. Lightweight, durable and comfortable, it not only adds insulation keeping cold and damp away from you, it protects your sleeping bag as well. This pad will not absorb water, and cleans easily with a damp cloth. It is ideal for camping, hiking, mountaineering, exercising and picnics. Two elastic tie bands make bundling and storage convenient. Specifications: Material: Convoluted polyethylene Size: 71 in. x 24 in. x 0.5 in.


Sleeping Bags


Coleman has long been in the business of outfitting out-of-doors persons for many years, and much of thier equipment is priced right for the beginning camper, or when simple equipment in mild conditions are all that it needed.


Coleman Fairmont Sleeping Bag (Purple) is a comfortable three-season rectangular sleeping bag. At 33-inches by 75-inches, the full-size Fairmont fits most body types up to five-feet 11-inches long. With three pounds of ThermoTech insulation, this mild-temperature sleeping bag keeps you warm in temperatures down to 50-degrees Fahrenheit.


Typically, the first few seconds spent inside a sleeping bag indicate the overall restfulness of the night ahead.Coleman Autumn Trails Sleeping Bag--warm, roomy, and responsive to your every movement--adopt to the bedtime needs of the moment better than most others. Built for recreational activity, ambient temperature, and a large body size, this super- king-size Autumn Trails bag is a perfect embodiment of the Coleman ethos. The Autumn Trails bag fits most people up to 6' 4" tall, with overall dimensions of 39 by 81 inches and box corners at the bottom that give your feet plenty of wiggle room. Campers will also love the rolled-top hem and Fiberlock stitching, which combine to cleverly anchor the Hollofil 808 insulation comfortable down to 20 degrees F, so it won't shift, bunch up, and get lumpy during the night. As a result, sleepers can avoid cold spots and enjoy a far more durable performance over time. For even more warmth, the bag offers Coleman's Comfort Cuff system, which surrounds your face with softness. Finally, the bag is fully machine washable, with a cotton cover and cotton flannel lining that stand up to tough conditions.


Coleman Dunnock Large Cold-Weather Sleeping Bag is great for cold-weather camping. It-Inchs made for big & tall sizes, measuring 39-Inch wide by 81-Inch long and fitting most people up to 6-Inch4-Inch. The Dunnock is durably constructed of a cotton cover over a cozy cotton-flannel liner, with 5 pounds of ColeTherm insulation to keep you comfortable down to 40-20 Degree Fahrenheit. The Dunnock features the Coleman Wrap -InchN-Inch Roll storage system: simply roll up the sleeping bag into the attached carrier, and you-Inchre good to go. Coleman-Inchs ComfortSmart technology means your sleeping bag is packed with features to keep you warm and comfortable: ZipPlow plows fabric away from the zipper to prevent snags; Comfort Cuff surrounds your face with softness; FiberLock prevents insulation from shifting keeping you warm and increasing durability; ThermoLock reduces heat loss through the zipper, keeping you warmer; Zipper Glide tailoring allows smooth zipper operation around corners; and Roll Control locks the bag in place for easier rolling.


Coleman North Rim 0-Degree Mummy Bag is a comfortable four-season, mummy-style sleeping bag. At 32-inches by 82-inches, the tall-size North Rim fits most body types up to six-feet-two-inches long. With 54 ounces of Coletherm-4 insulation, this extreme-temperature sleeping bag keeps you warm in temperatures down to 0-degrees Fahrenheit. Features include a nylon cover with a nylon liner and a stuff sack.


Eureka equipment has long been a favorite of mine, and has yet to disspoint. All three of these bags offer the roomy comfort of a rectangular bag, but are warmer than most other rectangular bags on the market.


Eureka Sandstone 45 Rectangular Recreation Sleeping Bag is a great on-the-go choice for car and cabin camping and outdoor excursions in temperate conditions. They are warm, comfortable,and tough a great all around bag at a great price. Eureka!'s recreation sleeping bags feature ThermaShield premium polyester fill, a less expensive alternative to down for its warmth and softness. ThermaShield's 7 hold construction expertly traps warmth inside for excellent performance in 45 degree temperatures.


The 15 degree version of the Eureka Sandstone 15-Degree Rectangular Sleeping Bag has all the same above features, yet is much warmer, keeping you comfortable down to 15 degree temperatures.


Big, burly and built for years of heavy use, the Eureka! Centerfire +0 Degree Deep Woods Sleeping Bag features a 10-ounce cotton duck shell and 8-pointer riveted construction for maximum durability. Rated for use down to 0 degrees, the Centerfire also includes a removable, integrated carry duffle bag that can be stuffed and used as a pillow. Then, when ready to take down camp, just roll the bag into the duffle, secure with the internal compression straps, and zip closed.


How low do you want to go? Marmot sleeping bags take you there. Concidered by many outdoor enthusiasts to be the top dog to have in your tent on those coldest of nights.


Marmot Trestles 30 Sleeping Bag: 30 Degree Synthetic Spirafil Sleeping Bag is a staple for summer surf trips, backpacking, and humid climates. The Trestles' Spirafil insulation and wave construction provide excellent protection from moisture while keeping you roasty-toasty down to 30 degree temperatures. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better bag at this price.


Rated to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Marmot 5F Snowy Range Sleeping Bag - Down, Mummy Weighs only 3lbs 5oz. Stuffs down to 18x8.5". 28oz of insulation fill. Left hand zipper has reinforced, insulated stormflap that resists abrasion. Top-quality cruelty-free 600 fill power down. Drawcord collar and hood. Hanging loops for drying.


Built to stand-up to cold weather demands while still being usable in warmer seasons and climates, Marmot Never Summer 0 Degree Sleeping Bag - In Your Choice of Styles is a versatile all-season option for backpacking and camping. Rated at 0 degrees fahrenheit, it combines an array of features with the compressibility and thermal-efficiency of down insulation. Renowned for their efficiency in retaining heat and compressible properties, the feathers and fibers of down have an incredibly soft, comfortable feel and, despite advances in synthetic materials, continue to provide the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any insulation available. Eliminating cold spots and providing comfort, non-sewn through baffles ensure that the insulation is distributed evenly throughout the bag.


CWM EQ -40 Down Sleeping Bag by Marmot Surround yourself with the best natural insulator - 800-fill goose down keeps warmth close while the 9-baffle chest section and 11-baffle reinforced foot box ensures your insulation stays where needed for the ultimate warmth with a  Temperature rating: minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep your face and noggin comfy with the Velcro-free face muff that won't abrade your skin and the nautilus 6-baffle hood with feely drawcords that ease nighttime cord fumbling. Protect yourself from rain and snow while allowing interior moisture to evaporate with fully breathable and waterproof MemBrain laminate technology. Retain body heat by insulating the zipper with the down-filled draft tube, and heat won't be lost thanks to the ground-level side seams. You don't have to grope around for your gear in the morning, keep small essentials close at hand in the hidden draft tube pocket. Pack, stuff and pull the bag out without worry, the baffles are made from stretch tricot so they give instead of tearing Comes with both storage and stuff sacks for home and travel care.



Kelty is a world class equipment outfitter who have been through the wilderness a few times, and my first backpacking buddy swore by Kelty as his #1 equipment provider. I can't recall any equipment, other than his Svea stove, that wasn't Kelty.


Kelty Light Year 40-Degree Sleeping Bag is a lightweight summer bag with a hip-length zipper and zippered foot vent designed for minimalists who prefer to go light, with a temperature rating of 40 degrees F.


Kelty Cosmic Down 20-Degree Sleeping Bag is a three-season goose down sleeping bag at an amazing value. Budget-minded adventures will appreciate how comfortable and stylish this down bag is, rated down to 20 degree temperatures.


Kelty Cosmic 20-Degree Sleeping Bag is a three-season synthetic bag that weights less than four pounds and is an amazing value. Budget-minded adventures in both wet and dry climates will appreciate how comfortable and stylish this synthetic bag is, rated to 20 degree F.


Named a "2008 best buy" by Backpacker Magazine, Kelty Light Year Down 0-Degree Sleeping Bag is ideal for minimalists who don't want to carry any more weight than necessary, yet stay warm down to zero degrees F. The Light Year is sturdy and long lasting, with a shell made of polyester diamond cross-dye ripstop and a liner made of polyester microfiber pongee. The fill, meanwhile, is 650-fill power down, a soft, comfortable material that has the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any insulation available. Down is known for its unmatched thermal efficiency, its high compressibility, and its durability. And thanks to the ground-level side seams--which are designed to prevent heat from escaping--you'll stay warm through the seasons, even when camping on a snowy mountainside. 


Tested and approved by Alaska Mountain Guides, the expedition-worthy Kelty Foraker Down Down -15-Degree Sleeping Bag offers an optimal blend of weather protection and breathability down to -15 degrees F. The Foraker is sturdy and long lasting, with a shell made of polyester microfiber ripstop (top) and polyester microfiber taffeta (bottom), and a Deluge Water-Resistant (DWR) finish on the exterior to keep you dry. The fill, meanwhile, is 750-power goose down, a soft, comfortable material that has the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any insulation available. Down is known for its unmatched thermal efficiency, its high compressibility, and its durability. And thanks to the bag's welded, waterproof construction in the hood and foot areas and the taped interior seams, the bag doesn't let any moisture or condensation inside, so the down stays safe even during the rainy season.


Sierra Designs Has been the overall choice of two different adventurist friends of mine, Tom a backpacker, and Randall an avid climber. Strangely, they both had the same sleeping bag and the same tent, although not knowing one another.


Sierra Designs Lazer 30-Degree Regular Men's Down Ultralight Sleeping Bag Goosebumps - be - gone! Stay warm when the temperature creeps below freezing! This cold-weather Sleeping Bag is full of PrimaLoft Eco fill for absolute comfort in harsh weather. Built tough too... the liner and shell material are both made of super-strong polyester for years of reliable, in-the-field use. Details: Flex technology eliminates constriction... moves with you and helps keep you warm; Ultralight jacket hood with drawcord at collar for warmth; Snag-free zipper tracks won't get stuck, and is weatherproof against drafts and condensation; Dual draft tubes next to the zipper keep cold out; Continuous baffle construction with welded seams to for long-lasting durability; Ultralight footbox vent is ergonomic and keeps your temperature regulated; Regular size fits up to 6' tall. 34 ozs.; Sierra Designs Lazer Sleeping Bag is rated at 30 degree F.


Sierra Designs Lazer 30 Sleeping Bag: 30 Degree Synthetic with PrimaLoft Eco recycled insulation and added Flex sidewalls for more comfort. Not every person sleeps on their back with hands at their sides, so Sierra Designs' Flex system expands and contracts to let you move around freely without creating cold-air pockets. Overlapped baffled construction eliminates cold-spots on the seams, and the footbox vent lets you cool off during warmer tent-bound nights. The Lazer Sleeping Bag makes its low two-pound weight thanks to ultralight materials and a half-length zipper, rated down to 30 degrees F.

Sierra Designs Arrow Rock 15 Degree Men's Three-Season Flex Down Sleeping Bag For those looking to get out a little longer at the end of the season, the rated at 15-degree F Arrow Rock is it. Flex Technology and a Draft Tube ensure maximum thermal efficiency, while the Ergonomic Foot Box and Hood provide a comfortable sleep..


Sierra Designs Utopia 15-Degree Sleeping Bag A solid year-round bag or a three-season choice for cold sleepers, the Utopia sleeping bag offers tough-to-beat quality in a light, durable design. The Utopia is filled with HeatSync polyester insulation, a heat-efficient synthetic fill that performs well even in moist conditions. The bag also offers Sierra's Flex technology, which allows the bag to move with your body while you sleep. This improves the bag's thermal efficiency while letting you spoon, sprawl, or starfish until the sun comes up. Other features include offset layer construction, an ergonomic hood and foot box (the latter with microfleece lining), a draft collar, and tuck stitching. Warm to 15 degrees F, the Utopia comes in regular and long sizes.


Sierra Designs BTU-5-Degree 800 Fill Down Sleeping Bag With its 800-fill goose down insulation and waterproof shell, the Sierra BTU is rated at minus 5 degrees F, a four-season sleeping bag is perfect for your next frigid expedition. Goose down is a natural renewable insulation that provides a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than other materials. As a result, goose down bags are not only warm, but also extremely compressible and lightweight. To prevent the fill from getting wet, Sierra added a Drizone waterproof/breathable shell, which allows moisture to escape from the bag while keeping water and dew out. This is a crucial feature for goose down bags, which perform poorly when damp. And hikers will love the BTU's Funk!Off antibacterial liner. Just turn the bag inside out, leave it to sit in the sun, and walk away. The liner will break down dirt and oils to produce a cleaner, fresher bag--a must for multi-day treks.