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Best all around Sleeping Bag?


Plasterman

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Plasterman

What temp range bag do most people use on their bikes. Been thinking about a down bag that is rated @ 15 degrees but worry it will be to hot for this summer. We camp in all areas, mountians, desert, etc.. Planning on going to the rally in Wisconsin this year so it could be really hot. Are these bag ratings really accurate? Suggestions please

 

Thanks

 

Tom

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I've been using the military all seasons system bag (there is the green patrol bag (for warmer temps) that snaps into the black bag (for winter temps) and either piece or put together will snap into the gortex ground cover. Then the whole system fits in to a nice black weatherproof equipment bag that can be strapped on the bike. It works really well for me.

cool.gif

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I have a Big Agnes (Encampment)It has a opening on the back to install your sleeping pad,That way your not sliding off it all night,(I hate that)I use a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core,20+78+2.5",It packs small,About 6"+10",They also make bag liners,(cotton)Well add warmth when cold,,Or when its hot I sleep in it on top of my bag,I got mine from REI.COM,,Bag packs small to,,Best set up ive had,,Tim

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I camp quite a bit and most of it in MN with the rest mostly from Idaho to Michigan. I use a bag rated down to 15 degrees as some of the nights do get quite cold depending on the time of year. I find it easier to open the bag to stay cool and close it when it gets cold rather than not having a bag warm enough.

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SAAB93driver

Most of my camping is in late spring or summer. I have a Big Agnes Yampa bag good for 40F, it weighs under 2 pounds and I use it with their insulated air core pad. I have used it down to the 50's (F) and it was almost too warm - had to put a leg outside the bag to stay comfortable.

 

If you are traveling with an SO get bags that zip together.

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g_frank_nin
I camp quite a bit and most of it in MN with the rest mostly from Idaho to Michigan. I use a bag rated down to 15 degrees as some of the nights do get quite cold depending on the time of year. I find it easier to open the bag to stay cool and close it when it gets cold rather than not having a bag warm enough.

 

I agree with “Happy Man” it is a lot easier to unzip the bag when you are too hot than it is to put on extra clothing when you are too cold. I have a 15 year old Sierra Designs with a Polarguard 3D fill that is rated to 5 deg and I’ve never regretted it. When it comes to a sleeping bag, make sure the bag fits you and that you have enough room to sleep the way you like to sleep… with that said, do yourself a favor and buy the best bag you can afford. It is not uncommon that a bag will last you 30 years or longer. Buy a cheap bag that won’t do the job will cost you more in the long run because in a few years you will replace it for a better one or worst yet you will suffer for many years to come. Then one day, the dog will eat it and you will feel yourself delighted… I personally prefer a bag with a synthetic fill over down since I’m not carrying it in my back. Bags with down insulation weigh less than bags using synthetic fill but synthetic-fill bags insulate even when wet and dry fairly quickly. The Polarguard Delta seems to be the latest and greatest fill for low temperature bags. One final thought… More money does not necessarily equal better bag… just do your homework. North Face, Mountain Hardware, Kelty, Sierra Designs… all good bags but there are others. A good warm bag, a full length pad and a small dry tent is all you need for motorcycle camping. Good Luck!

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I guess I'll be the voice of dissension. While I've hiked and camped in the snow and have been known to ride when it's in the single digits, my motorcycle camping is always done when the temps are above freezing. A good 35 or 40 deg bag is warm enough for the times I'm camping on a motorcycle and if caught by surprise on a night it actually gets below freezing you can add some clothes or a bag liner. On the nights that it's in the 50's (which is more typical of moto camping) you don't have to climb 1/2 way out of the bag to keep from sweating like you do with a cold weather bag. A 35 deg bag weighs nearly half what a 5 deg bag will and packs about 40% smaller. I just don't see the point of hauling any more than I need.

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maxfrankel

I was advised yesterday at Cabela's that the temperature rating of a sleeping bag is the SURVIVAL temperature. The COMFORT temperature will be 15-20 degrees higher. So a 40F bag will be quite uncomfortably cold in 40 degree weather.

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I guess it depends on the quality of the bag, my Mountain Hardware 35deg bag is comfy in my skivies down to the low 40's (lowest I've been out with it).

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g_frank_nin

Yep, everybody is different, it all pivots on your comfort level, your tolerance level, your metabolism (hi-low? how much heat do you generate), and even your beliefs (are you a minimalist?) If you compare two bags using the same fill the one that goes to a lower temp will be bigger of course but if you compare a wall-mart Ozark Trail 40 deg bag with polyester fill (4 lbs) (sorry I could not find a 35 deg bag at Walmart) and a Sierra Designs +15 bag with PrimaLoft fill… (2 lb 8 oz) you will find out that it not only weights less but it packs smaller The Sierrra designs will pack to 9” by 19” and the Ozark Trail 40 will pack to about 17” by 20”. For me when on a bike a few oz don’t matter but since space is at a premium size does matter…

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What temp range bag do most people use on their bikes. Been thinking about a down bag that is rated @ 15 degrees but worry it will be to hot for this summer. We camp in all areas, mountians, desert, etc.. Planning on going to the rally in Wisconsin this year so it could be really hot. Are these bag ratings really accurate? Suggestions please

 

Thanks

 

Tom

 

I've got a 40 degree down bag that I supplement with different liners for additional warmth. A mummy bag is smallest and down smushes the tightest. I do most of my camping in warm months, so this has worked well for me. I just add the 'extra' liner(s) for spring/fall camping.

 

The trade-off with down is that if wet it will not insulate at all.

 

Pam

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I have backpacked for 15 yrs and have several bags rated from 50 deg down to - 30 deg. 1.5 lbs to 6 lbs. The most comfortable bags for summer sleeping on the sailboat or moto camping are those cheep rectangular bags by Coleman. I like the fleece lining also get a compression sack for the bag. More important is the pad you use between you and the ground.

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Whatever you get, before your trip spend a night camping in the backyard with only the equipment you'll take -- and pack it on the bike before and after so it's a fair comparison. Might change your mind on a few things.

 

I've got two bags, one a down-filled good to 5 F and second cheap-o rated for 45 F. Down one used only if guaranteed to be less than 40 F at night, and then is worth weight in gold. Any warmer than 45 F and will spend the night sweating. I'm a big guy to start with so sleep-deprived and sweaty is not a good combination! Better greet me with a GOOD cup of coffee! grin.gif

 

Cheap bag is fleece lined (love that feeling) and I carry a twin bed sheet as a top cover for warmer nights, or as a layer for cooler nights.

 

Gear that fits you, is robust and easily packed will far outweigh the acquisition costs. Don't focus on the dollar, but instead on the value per dollar spent. thumbsup.gif

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After 40 years of Boy Scouts, Army life and recreational camping I find myself grabbing the Dick's Sporting Goods Quest Helix most every trip. Add a silk liner, fleece liner, and/or bivy sack outerbag for temperature adjustment.

 

$40 retail; most often on sale between $20-30. Rated 40 deg.F but that really doesn't mean anything. Light, packs small, synthetic fill. Good for my hot sleeping bod down to 20 deg.F.

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Good perspectives in this thread. I usually think it is ridiculous to spend big $'s on gear that some of us use only a half dozen times or so a year (just a generalization). BUT, if a guy/gal buys something that does not meet the need and then buys something else later, what has been gained $ wise. So, if possible it is wise to talk to others at rally's, talk to outdoor experts, etc. Look at some bikes loaded for long trips. Some look grossly overloaded/over bulky at least. Others look compact. Figure out what works best for the individual and how they travel. My $.02.

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Tom--

 

As you're seeing, there's absolutely no unanimity on the subject. So, just to add to the confusion, I'll toss in a couple of thoughts:

 

First, there is not a consistent standard among sleeping bag manufacturers for setting temperature ratings. A 30-degree bag from Kelty may, for instance, not insulate as well as a 30-degree bag from Sierra Designs. Additionally, some people "sleep hot," while others "sleep cold." I tend to sleep a bit cold, so a bag that's sufficient for me to stay warm on a 40-degree night may leave you sweltering.

 

Down is the nicest sleeping bag material, but I don't think it's a great choice for motorcycle camping because it loses its insulating capabilities once it becomes damp or wet. If you should ride through a rainstorm en route to your destination and get your down sleeping bag wet, crawling into it on cool night will be worse than nothing at all.

 

As far as temperature ratings go, you're from the Midwest and you know that temperatures can vary pretty drastically. Sometimes the summer nighttime temperatures stay in the 70s, but they can also drop down to the 40s. I would think that a bag with a 25 - 30 degree rating would be about right for most of the conditions you could expect to encounter. Another very reasonable option would be to buy a warm weather bag and a microfleece liner, which adds another ten degrees or so of warmth, yet can be removed if the weather heats up. Liners are also nice because they can be easily laundered, sparing you from having to frequently wash your bag.

 

If, as mentioned above, you find that it's too warm for your bag, you can always unzip it and/or sleep partially or completely outside the bag.

 

As far as the bag's design, you'll also hear a lot of differing opinions. I don't like mummy-style bags, finding them too confining. They are, however, more efficient, packing smaller and allowing less interior volume that you have to heat on cool nights. On the other hand, rectangular bags leave you with a lot of unfilled volume, especially near your feet, and will not generally keep you as warm as an equally insulated mummy. For me, a tapered bag is a good compromise.

 

Finally, it's vitally important that you use a decent mattress. This is where I splurge a bit, with a fairly plush Therm-a-Rest self-inflating mattress. I'd say that an inch-thick mattress is about the minimum you should consider. If you have the $$$ and the packing space, a thicker mattress will be more comfortable. I'd avoid inflatable air mattresses, as they provide little thermal insulation, and I find the folding/roll-up closed cell pads fairly uncomfortable (I've got a Z-Rest, but rarely use it, except for backpacking).

 

Your best bet would be to get to a decent outdoor equipment store if you find yourself in the vicinity of one. I think REI is hard to beat, and their store brand products are a good value. Barring that, Cabela's is a good option.

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Another suggestion is to head out to the trail and talk to backpackers or look at backpacking reviews. While the weight issue isn't a significant factor on a motorcycle, the size/performance evaluation is similar. Serious backpackers use their bags much more frequently and wider range of conditions than most any moto-camper.

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First I would shop for size -- after a day of riding it is nice to stretch out when sleeping. Many of the mummy styles are not particularly good for that. And second I would choose synthetic fill over down, just in case you get inadvertant H2O. I like my Kelty 45, but there are plenty of alternatives. And don't skimp on the thermarest. I would put any extra jingle into the pad rather than the bag.

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Plasterman

Thanks everyone

 

Bought the Big Agnes Buffalo Park 40 degree bag with a 4 season thermarest 1.5 inch thick pad. Will let you know how it works out.

 

Tom

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