Best Budget Sleeping Bag

Discussion in 'Winter Camping' started by Jason Gettle, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Jason Gettle

    Jason Gettle Tracker

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    Hey guys hope this is the right place for this. Im on a budget around 100 dollars and was wondering what you guys think the best budget bag for around 0 degrees is ive highly considered the mss sleep system. Thoughts? all help is very much appreciated
     
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  2. petey091

    petey091 Scout

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    Cabelas has several 0 degree bags in the $100-150 price range. At that price they tend to be heavy bags.
     
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  3. Jason Gettle

    Jason Gettle Tracker

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    im not too concerned on weight. im used to running a heavy pack
     
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  4. Cheapeats

    Cheapeats Guide

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    If you have the time several suppliers like Campmor and Seirra trading have emails for deep cuts, My boys kelty -15 bags were like $70 each. You will need to check the deals weekly I think we ordered them in the middle of summer a few years back.
     
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  5. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    My advice from my seat at the 51 year old line remains "buy once, cry once". A sleeping bag, pack, and tarp/tent are probably the biggest dollar items a non-hunting outdoorsman gets, aside from clothing. There is a circle of "good, fast, and cheap", and you only get to pick two. Each of those items is well worth the money you spend on getting a good one.

    Down will be your lightest option, if you do a lot of walking. It will also be your most expensive option.

    At the other end of the spectrum is the military stuff... heavy, durable, pretty cost effective. But I'm not sure the MSS is rated to 0*F. I'm thinking more like 10*F is its lower limit. You're in GA, and last time I checked (which was just now, incidentally), the climate history for Blue Ridge, GA (up in the mountains, pretty cold) only shows an average low of 26*F for January. Planning lower is probably a good idea, or maybe you've got a trip planned elsewhere.

    The North Face Cat's Meow is a good, solid, reputable synthetic 20* rated bag, and runs just over $125 or so... sometimes you can catch one on sale for way less at the end of a "season", when the popular colors change. The colder the rating, the more you're going to pay, other things being equal.

    Wiggy's bags also have a great rep, but are likely more expensive than your $100.

    Unless you need it now, I'd save my pennies for something down from Marmot, Western Mountaineering, or Feathered Friends.

    Another option might be eBay, but it's kinda like buying a used shirt.

    Still another option is a Costco down comforter... apparently, they have a great deal on them (the hammock hangers forum is awash with ideas for their use as a cheap underquilt), and if you could pick up a couple, you'd be in business. Don't know how long that 'deal' will last... kinda like those nice down sleeping bags walmart used to sell, until someone figured out they were WAY underpriced.

    Good luck.
     
  6. Jason Gettle

    Jason Gettle Tracker

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    I planned to camp in north ga around the dahlonega area in a few weeks. i may have read that wrong on the mss system, but i would like to stay away from down as much as possible because i heard if it gets wet it wont keep you warm. If its only gonna be 26 in january and i live in south ga do u think a 20* bag would suffice?
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  7. riverrunner

    riverrunner Scout

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    If you can, save more money and get a quality bag than will function well and last. I have done the cheap route on a bag and it sucked! But if a 100 is it, the MSS bag is good choice with the abil ity to configure for different temps. Good luck!
     
  8. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have no way of predicting your weather... the average January high/lo here in LA is 59/38. It was 27 on Sunday morning, hit 60 later that day, and it's going to be 75 this coming Sunday. I'm just saying that you ought to look harder at what your real "low" might be, most of the time, and work with that. My average low is 38 in January... I have a 35* bag that I use year round, and doubled it up with another bag to get through that trip last weekend.

    I think you'd be fine most of the time with a 20-30 degree bag, which would require some help to get you through the colder spells in Jan/Feb. I lived in Knoxville for a number of years, and the mountains can get cold any time of year. The MSS seems like it would work well, due to its different configurations/temp ratings. Or something like it. It's just kinda heavy, but if you're young, you maybe won't mind so much.

    I also know (that "good, fast, cheap" thing again) that not all manufacturers are similarly conservative in their bag ratings... the three companies I mentioned (Marmot, WM, and FF) are all conservative and give accurate ratings. My 35* bag kept me warm one time when it was well below that... it was a cool-ish night, but I survived and slept just fine. Coleman, e.g., isn't so particular.

    Down gets wet? I didn't know that. Seriously, yeah, it can be a problem. In 40+ years of camping, though, I've never soaked a bag... you HAVE to keep it dry. So do it. I don't care that it's "harder to do". It just means a good waterproof stuff sack, inside a drybag if canoeing or a trash bag pack-liner if backpacking... air it out daily, or as often as you can, and you'll have no problems. A week of rain, yeah, maybe then you'll have an issue. I've had mine get moist (wouldn't even call it damp) once in a 5-day downpour in the Adirondacks. But a synthetic bag can/will get wet too... they're just easier to dry out and fluff into SOME semblance of warmth. I thought about it and went with down.
     
  9. Jason Gettle

    Jason Gettle Tracker

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    I think 27 is the lowest its gotten in a very long time here. but thanks guys for the advice. i think ill get the mss for now and see how it does and go from there
     
  10. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    I would look hard at Wiggy's stuff. Only slightly more, and you get a made in the USA product that is a great bang for the buck. I used the 20* one to around 22* and I slept fine other than my feet getting a little cold.
     
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  11. Pat1973

    Pat1973 Scout

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  12. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

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    I've a 0° Kelty,,, I think it was under $100. It's been good down to around freezing in a hammock,,, and down a bit lower on the ground.
     
  13. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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  14. grendal

    grendal Scout

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    I think the MSS is a great way to go, if you can fit in one. Only reason I dont own 5 is because I am too tall to fit. If you want to go new, Snugpak makes excellent bags in your price range.
     
  15. Paveglass

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  16. grendal

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    http://www.cabelas.com/product/CAMP...=GoogleProductAds&WT.z_mc_id1=03800636&rid=20
    I hve One of these bags from Cabelas. It is SO warm aamd super big! I am 6'8" and if i go to the bottom of the bag, only my eyes and forehead stick out. I got mine $60 on sale, and got the 30 defree bag with it (grand total of $100) Makes a nice double sleeping bag when camping with the wife!
     
  17. Code Red

    Code Red Supporter Supporter

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  18. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    Yessir, PM incoming
     
  19. Captainkf

    Captainkf Tinder Gatherer

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    I have the us military surplus mss system and have used it mid winter up here in Nunavut (along with milder weather). This was cold tenting in a mountaineering tent with a blue closed cell foam sleeping mat and a basic thermarest. The air temp was -43c for two nights (the coldest I have used one yet). We were stuck in a blizzard at 1500' in the mountains in 90 km winds. It was a bit cold, but I have since changed my sleeping mattress (thick 4" foam and muskox hides) which has made a huge difference. I now have two mss systems, one for me and one for my little girl (7 years old). I think they are great value and work well. I also picked up a large heavy duty canvas tarp to create a tent with (retain more heat) which I have yet to use, but I like that it can serve numerous purposes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  20. lobo9er

    lobo9er Scout

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    Its 18 out right now I am about to head out to the back yard and jump in MSS. Price right they are durable. I wouldn't want to be in negative 40 in mine but unless I move to Alaska I don't have to worry about that. down the road I will try something different but I have 3 years with mine and happy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  21. Andy in NH

    Andy in NH Scout

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    Another vote for the MSS.

    Heavy - yes (9lbs)

    Bulky - yes

    Versatile - yes (bivy, lightweight bag, heavy bag used individually or all together).

    Inexpensive - yes. (several places have them for less than $100)

    The coldest night I've spent in an MSS (two USGI ISO mats under me) was at ~8600 ft. when the temp reached -25*F.
     
  22. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Just thought I would throw this out here since I haven't seen it mentioned yet.

    Winter (and Fall) is the worst time to buy a winter sleeping bag. Especially mid winter as a lot of stores will have sold out of many options and aren't planning to get more, demand drives prices up or at least prevents sales, and your going to end up testing it in a trial by fire or in this case snow and ice rather than getting to test in less extreme weather first.

    If at all possible the better time to buy a winter bag is in spring and summer when stores are running sales on them and trying to get them out of their inventory. They end up being the same bags that were costing more during winter though you do run into some out of stock issues some during that time.

    That said if your without a winter bag and need one for an upcoming trip, you have to deal with what is available now not next season.

    For recommendations others have covered the topic pretty well. Good luck in your search.
     
  23. lobo9er

    lobo9er Scout

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    **Update ** :).... I just came in its 2 degrees out, according to WeatherBug feels like -13. I went out no tarp, out in the open, just the MSS and pulled the bivy closed. Very warm all night.... But I cheated a little and put a grey urban cold weather bag inside the black cold weather bag, and left the patrol bag inside. Resulting in unbelievable warmth. Forgot a hat so I slept shirtless and wrapped my shirt around my head. I breathed in my bag all night knowing what would happen. But I wanted to try it with no tarp and wind gust 30mph I really had no choice. Frosty. Nice thick frost in the bivy and a little on top of the outter black bag. I usually get a little in freezing temps but I usually use a tarp and try my best not to breathe in the bag or bivy. All in all a good time had by all. Good luck with your purchase!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  24. lobo9er

    lobo9er Scout

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    Also the MSS is only 9 pounds if you use whole thing. For summer the patrol bag is awesome and packs pretty small. The Black bag or gray is great for fall and by it self is not huge. You Will enjoy it.
     
  25. lobo9er

    lobo9er Scout

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    You should also be aware the Black bag is designed to protect you down to -10 the Gray Urban Cold Weather bag is designed to protect you down to 0 degrees. I have both and have used both independently. The Gray bag can pack down a little smaller but the Black bag is a little warmer especially in the "foot box". Protect means - protect you for 4 hours of rest. The comfort rating is for you to find out. Remember hot hands, warm bottle of water etc there are many ways to help stay comfortable in any sleeping bag. When at home some times I wrap up a soap stone square in a towel that heats up on my wood stove. That thing stay hot awhile.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  26. Draketake

    Draketake Guide

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    Morning,

    Check out Teton Sports Sleeping Bags. Specifically look at their Celsius models. I bought their rectangular bag, with the 0 degree rating. Its under 100 bucks and is the best bag by far, Ive ever had. I used it for for backpacking/car camping/RV camping.

    I got the rectangular shaped bag due to the increase in room. I am older now and the extra room allows me to roll over easier. It is also much, much less of a pain, to get into and out of.

    Prior to the Teton bag, Ive used mummy bags ( US Army WW II Down fill bag and Sierra Designs 25 degree rating, thermofill type) among others. The Teton is not only less expensive, but is also built as good or better, than any other bag Ive had.

    Teton Sports has some great videos on their website, highlighting this bag as well as other products. I think they have a lifetime guarantee also.

    Be safe.
     
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  27. Gruntinhusaybah

    Gruntinhusaybah Fallbrook Forge Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    I'm late to this party, I just went through the process of getting myself a new bag, I however wanted as light as i could afford. I've carried HEAVY for far too long and it takes a toll on the body. I would recommend that you save a bit and get a bag that is LIGHT.

    However, if budget is more of a concern than going light, which I totally understand, I would go with the Wiggy Superlight. It's made in America, rated to 0, weighs 4lbs and costs $140. Or the Ultralight at $10 cheaper, 3/4lb lighter and rated to 20.

    If you can afford about $180 the Enlightened Equipment Prodigy in 20* is under 2lbs and made in America as well.
     
  28. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    The weight issue of any cold weather bag you choose is dependent on the type of overnighting you do. An MSS weight/bulk is seldom a problem if your only hiking 1 or 2 miles to a campsite from a parking area and your not planning on hiking longer distances to alternate areas every day in which case the lighter bags are the way to go , or a sled with heavy bag. In cold weather I carry my old USGI bivy, M1949 down mountain mummy bag (pre black bag) and the newer green patrol bag, it's heavy and bulky but I'm never packing in more than a mile or two from vehicle and stay in same spot for a night or two. If on snow shoes I may have to take one or two 10 minute rest breaks , when your over 65 you tend to slow down a bit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
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  29. lobo9er

    lobo9er Scout

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    I have to agree weight is not an issue for most camping except long hikes in. And if its cold and snowy a sled helps out if the terrain allows for it. Also the cold weather black bag new on eBay can be had alone for under $60. There's lots of choices. I am interested in a bag called defence 4 , German military used I am seeing them 130-150 but I' m not to excited about used sleeping bags either. Wiggys is another company I am very interested in. Users of wiggys seem to love them. And get great reviews. Let's us know when you decide and take it out.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-US-Army-Modular-Sleeping-Bag-Intermediate-Cold-/182021836305?hash=item2a6158ce11:g:Eq8AAOSwa-dWsQgt

    Looks like the gray bag 55 with shipping can't beat that even for an emergency car blanket for the trunk. Someone else has the black bags a buck more with best offer option.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  30. Andy in NH

    Andy in NH Scout

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    That's one reason why I've kept my MSS (and other "heavy/bulky" gear).

    Dragging fifty pounds in a pulk is much easier than carrying fifty pounds in a rucksack.
     
  31. Piazinell

    Piazinell Tinder Gatherer

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    Hi, sorry for bumping the old thread. Just my experience, I hope it'll be helpful.

    We used an Aegismax sleeping bag on our recent trip, and it performed fine. Quite a debate could be had about ethical down, sources of same, etc, but despite my initial hesitation of buying directly from China for a few reasons–sadly, so much is produced in China and there is not always a guarantee that you’re getting what the Western-based companies say you’re getting unless they hold to some pretty strict requirements.

    I went with them because it didn’t seem to be an obvious rip off of another company’s product–that and the price and seeming higher quality of the materials (which so far, have borne out except the sewn through the design of baffles). Some people here have said that they have copied other products though – I wasn’t and am not directly aware of those.

    But another potential issue is quality control. Just because the bag we bought and have used works well, doesn’t necessarily mean that all those models will.

    Probably a moot issue, since that particular bag is rated to around 46 degrees. There are other brands and models on Aliexpress that sell warmer bags. Many of these are also on Amazon, so i would read the reviews there if considering.

    Another option is paying a little bit more for an EE short and slim quilt (assuming your sister is not much larger than the average) and sewing a sleeve of wind-resistant fabric onto the bottom. I did that with one of my winter quilts (M50 material, very wind resistant), and to me, it’s the best of both worlds of quilts and bags–almost the lightness and packability of a quilt, but cuts drafts, wind, etc better than a traditional quilt (I can also increase the warmth with inserting Apex in the sleeve if I want). These cost more, but only weigh about 16 and a half ounces (but with some UL fabric sewn on the bottom, will gain about a half ounce or so more).
     
  32. Outdoor Dauber

    Outdoor Dauber Roughian #3 Supporter

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    I realize this is an old thread, but the MSS is rated at 30* for the patrol bag and -10* for the intermediate bag. Both together (with the bivy) is supposed to be -30*, but I've read reports stating that number is a bit optimistic. At any rate, I'm not sure I want to be sleeping outside in -30 temps! lol
    Yes, the MSS is a bit heavy at 10 lbs, but it's bombproof too.
     
  33. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    have had good experience with slumberjack brand, great quality for the price
     
  34. fuzz stick

    fuzz stick Tracker

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  35. fuzz stick

    fuzz stick Tracker

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    I have the MSS system. In single digit temps I was cold unless layering up good inside. Minus 30 F is very optimistic.
     
  36. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter

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    Anyone still needing a winter weight bag should check out the Wiggy's sale.
     
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  37. Dscythe

    Dscythe Tracker

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    A bit off topic, but does Wiggy's usually do a 4th of July kind of sale or is the current one about as good as it gets?
     
  38. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter

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    Seems like they do a 4th of July special sometimes, I don't remember. But I wouldn't expect to see a lower price on those camo bags, they're already insanely cheap vs normal price.
     
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  39. chansta

    chansta keeper of the flame Supporter

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    cat's meow 20 degree down bag. Can be had x<$100. Alternatively, get a quilt if you have a good pad. They can be had at a good price from facebook vendors and they pack way smaller.
     
  40. John Armwood

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    Are you still searching for it, why don't you check on the e-commerce platform from where you can compare different kinds of bag at different price and by which you save money too.
     
  41. Jeremy Hess

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    Snugpak zero degree mummy bag
     
  42. blind & lost

    blind & lost LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Another vote for Wiggy's.
     
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  43. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Bushmaster

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  44. GillyGilligan

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    My .02 below
    Hyke and Byke is a brand that is up and coming and they are made with care and quality - the rub is they use lower fill power which translates into more weight and bulk but after reading the post you have stated that weight isn't much of an issue. I quoted the gentleman above for his wisdom - down IS THE BEST CHOICE period. Buy once cry once is the statement so don't go into this willy nilly. Although they aren't the top of the line I own one and can attest to the quality and performance. I set my record for Winter Hammock Camping at -3* farenheit using this bag.

    https://www.hykeandbyke.com/products/snowmass-0-ultralight-down-sleeping-bag
     
  45. Damian1690

    Damian1690 Scout

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    If I recall correctly, any down nowadays is hydrophobic which is great against water. But to be honest, anything that’s wet against your body when you’re cold is bad, whether it’s down, synthetic or wool.

    I’ve been out in 20* in my down bag with clothes on and was slightly chilly. Part of that chilliness was likely caused by my sleeping mat, poor shelter, and that I am a “cold sleeper”. I think mine is rated at 5* on the extreme side. Down sleeping bags tend to be warmer.

    Here’s an example of hydrophobic down:
     
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  46. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe . Supporter

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    Um, I think he means 'real dang heavy' -- the 8-10 pound range.

    Generally it's a triangle: weight, warmth, price. Decreasing the weight without decreasing the warmth increases the cost.
     
  47. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe . Supporter

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    I hate to ask, but were the clothes the same ones you'd been wearing all day?
     
  48. Damian1690

    Damian1690 Scout

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    For the most part it was just what I had been wearing when I went out that late afternoon.
     
  49. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe . Supporter

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    Thought so. A good part of the reason for your chilliness was the body moisture that had accumulated in your clothing. Even if you don't sweat, your body still gives off moisture. Try sleeping in dry clothing. You'll be amazed at the difference.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
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  50. Raymond Eisele

    Raymond Eisele Scout

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    We camped alot, usually during the winter months, in penn. and new york state. Always dealt with campmor in bergen county. Huge selection of quality materials at reasonable prices sold by staff who used the items in the field. Back in the late 70's, bought a down bag. Very light weight, which was nice since we did alot of climbng. Compact, packed into a very small waterproof package, and very warm. I really don't know what is available now or prices, since my down bag is still like new. Really don't see how you would get a down bag wet. The bag stuff sack is waterproof, covering on bag itself is water proof, not fabric. Any way, I recently gave my bag to a friend's son. Great kid. Loves to hunt and camp. Last year what he wanted for christmas was a chest freezer, so he could hunt more.
     

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