Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

Discussion in 'Sleep Systems' started by Matt Clarke, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. Matt Clarke

    Matt Clarke Tinder Gatherer

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    Been over night camping plenty of times during summer, usually go with a tarp shelter. This will be my first time going in cold weather and I'm wondering what the best option for sleeping bag/liner/pad options are. Looking for best options for temperatures around freezing while still relying on tarp for shelter and fire.

    Store options:
    Green Top
    Bass Pro
    Cabelas
    Field and Stream
    Gander Mt

    Links to options would be very helpful thanks
     
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  2. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter

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    Snugpak Softie Elite 3 Sleeping Bag, Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003SYX1UG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_ENUdyb5T5K1P2

    Had this bag down to low 20's with a Klymit insulated pad and slept nice and warm. The expansion panel is genius and allows for some freedom of movement and if the temps drop the bag can be reconfigured to a tighter warmer fit. The bag is a quality bag that is well built, fairly compact and reasonably priced.


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  3. Haggis

    Haggis Supporter Supporter

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    I've a Wiggy's -60 "Hunter Antarctic" bag, and a Wiggy's "Luxurious Ground Pad",,, The coldest I've used it was -10°F,,,; I didn't even zip it all the way up,,,

    I wouldn't be intimidated to use this bag and pad under a tarp in cold weather.
     
  4. Kinggoat

    Kinggoat Scout

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    -60, wow. Sure would hate to have to test that out. Even if it's above zero.
     
  5. bobs1415

    bobs1415 Supporter Supporter

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    Another vote for Wiggy's.
     
  6. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    Consider using your current bag with a wool blanket liner and adjust further warmth adjustment if needed with thermal underwear, wool socks, watch cap ect. all inside a USGI bivy bag with a CCF pad inside, no need for a ground cloth and you will have extra wind, wet weather and snow protection while under the tarp.
     
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  7. CharClothed

    CharClothed Scout

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    How much money do you want to spend?
     
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  8. Fiddlehead

    Fiddlehead Scout

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    The system I use is cheap and works in a wide range of temps. I take two sleeping bags with me. One is a Army patrol bag (good to about 50 F), and second full cut 30 degree cheep bag I bought at Sports Authority for $30 bucks. If its warm I use the patrol bag, a little cooler I use the full cut 30 degree. If its really cold I put the patrol bag inside the 30 degree bag. I've used it in the low 20's and was warm. Both bags pack up very small.
     
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  9. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    I'll give the same advice I give everybody who asks this question.
    Buy the very best down sleeping bag you can afford, one with a good margin of safety for the temperatures you expect to use it in, 10 degrees is a reasonable safety margin
     
  10. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Depends a lot on where you are, how much you're willing to carry and how far you'll carry it. Do you want the best option overall? Do you care about traditional kit vs modern or tactical/milsurp? How much are you willing to spend? How important is the fire to you?

    For camping, I use either wool blankets or traditional cotton flannel sleeping bags. Either is fine near a fire. For hiking I used to always carry a synthetic 20 degree bag and a Ridge Rest or Therm-a-rest. Below 20 degrees I would use both pads and wear long johns... same idea as Seacapt. suggested. You don't want a modern sleeping bag too near a fire. Then again a 20 degree bag is warm enough you don't need a fire. Use the fire for cooking and warmth while you're up, then let it die down when you turn in.

    If I had to gear up for hiking today I would probably end up with a Kelty Cosmic Down or Dri-Down 20 degree bag. Then something like a Klymit insulated pad. If you can find a good deal on a surplus MSS that would be a good option. And if your home is furnished only with the finest leather and richest mahogany: Western Mountaineering bag and Exped DownMat.

    The last few years I've used wool blankets, but then again I'm not walking as far as I used to. I'm making a canvas bedroll and hope to have it done prior to the PNW Gathering this November. That should be an upgrade over my earlier "heap of blankets with legs sticking out" sleeping method. It'll probably get down to ~35 degrees. :)

    Cheers,

    Aaron
     
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  11. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Scout

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    Insulation = still ("dead") air. The air is unbranded.

    According to the U.S. military, the following total garment thicknesses ("loft") are the minimum needed to keep the average, healthy sleeper reasonably warm inside a tent or other shelter that blocks wind and creates a bubble of warmth. You will need more for tarping if your fire goes out.

    A sleeping bag is simply a special garment designed for sleeping. Clothing or sleeping bag, a layer is a layer is a layer. It is assumed that 1/2 of the loft is above the sleeper and 1/2 below. It is also assumed that the sleeper has a suitable insulating sleeping pad or mattress below him or her that will retain some loft despite body weight. Closed-cell foam is the standard. Layers of dry cardboard can serve as a sleeping pad, as can suitable thicknesses of wool or polyester blankets. Thermarest-type foam-filled self-inflating mattresses are the gold standard.


    Low Temp Tot. Loft of bag
    Shake out your bag to fluff it up, and lay it on the floor. Wait ten minutes and measure total loft.

    40f 3.0"


    30f 3.5"


    20f 4.0"

    10f 4.5"


    0f 5.0"


    -10f 5.5"


    -20f 6.0"

    I suggest practice in the "back yard" where retreat to a better place is possible.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
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  12. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    With those figures they must assume that every individual's body mass index and metabolism rate is also the same.
     
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  13. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Scout

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    I assume they are trying to give an idea, like bag brand temp ratings, hence "average" -- which exists only in theory. Some sleep hotter, some colder, or you could be sick or hungry.
     
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  14. Red Wing

    Red Wing Supporter Supporter

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    I have a big agnes Fish Hawk 30* down bag for 100.00. pics in my for sale thread. Would trade for sharp/s

    #shamelessplug
     
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  15. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    Well Red Wing if that BA bag is big enough for the OP to wear a decent set of cloths inside it and it is genuinely warm and comfortable at freezing then I'd say he should buy it; assuming it is going to fit.
    Here's a question.
    Would the FishCreek fit inside a US MSS bivvy with the Patrol bag?
     
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  16. justin_baker

    justin_baker Supporter Supporter

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    You haven't given us enough information. What are the lowest temps you want to be able to use this bag? What is your price range? How concerned are you about weight and size? Are you backpacking, car camping, or just hiking a short distance to an area to camp?
     
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  17. justin_baker

    justin_baker Supporter Supporter

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    I disagree with these ratings. 4 inches of loft is pretty far from 20f even for a warm sleeper. That's more like 30-40 degrees. Unless that info is referring to synthetic puff, does synth puff have a different loft to warmth ratio?
     
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  18. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Guide

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    I would have said that while optimistic the US Armys insulation rating is a fair guide to the minimum needed. Western Mountaineering add another half inch to an inch to the Armys; but if you assume that a soldier is fitter than the average bloke the ratings seem to be more than reasonable
    I need more than that but I am much older than the average soldier and much less fit.
    Most people think the 40F rating of the MSS patrol bag is about right and it is only a third of an inch thick, but the Army expect you to be wearing cloths inside it to sleep warm at that temperature and most sleeping bag ratings assume you will be wearing winter thermals at a minimum in a winter bag
     
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  19. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter

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    If you are thinking synthetic...
    Wiggys makes a very good product.
    I would also consider the MSS Sleep System.
    You can pick up a surplus un-issued bag for about $35 shipped.
    (Don't be alarmed it's still made in the USA and I have not been displeased yet.)

    I chose synthetic when I did disaster stuff, just because it would keep you alive when wet.
    (Never needed that feature though through all of my deployments.)
    Keep in mind I was not walking long miles. A mile or so on paved or gravel roads was about the longest stretch.

    Now for pleasure I would go down.
    I will call it quits if I have to and bag technology has gotten much better at water resistance.
    The weight and space savings is amazing!

    I have no desire to camp in the snow. Personally I would look for a bag that's 10-20 degrees less than the average you intend to camp. For me its the fall time so I would say temps are in the low 40s.
    I went with a bag that's rated to 30 or 20 I can not remember.
    If need be I wear thermals, a hat, and a vest. Some say I should just stick with the 40 degree bag, I like being a little conservative and hate being cold.


    If you can lighten up your load, the trip becomes that much more enjoyable.
    Plus you are not straining your body and you are much more mobile (less thrown off balance).
    This will reduce your chance of injury.
     
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  20. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Scout

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    Didn't say "comfortable."

    And for you, they could be way off.

    Are you in a tent?

    Are you "average"? :p
     
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  21. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    Awww.. this made me sad.. This past weekend was SUPPOSED to be an overnight that didn't work out (I chickened out the first-cold, windy, wet- night, and NO one made it to a 2nd the weather was so bad). I was actually looking forward to proudly claiming the title "Lump O' Blankets" for the weekend LOL!! :D
     
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  22. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Nothing to be sad about. Some of us are highly skilled in bushcraft. Others (ahem) try to compensate with humor and "feel the love" posts. :)

    Although there is some truth to the "lump of blankets" comment. Using a wool blanket requires a bit more thought in use than a giant, zippered pouch. I've been OK into the 30's with just wool blankets under a tarp. But I've learned that sometimes it's best to have some sort of wind cover above and ground barrier below to get the full benefit from wool. Hence the bedroll cover. For the places I roam or would like to roam it doesn't get that cold. I'm hoping to get my bedroll setup dialed in for four seasons.

    Gotta say, though, if I could have only one option it would be a 15 or 20 degree bag or quilt and a decent pad. In my view that is what works in the widest range of circumstances while remaining sufficiently portable.
     
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  23. Matt Clarke

    Matt Clarke Tinder Gatherer

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    Location Mountains VA
    Temps Freezing or Lower
    Back Packing to camp site
    I'm 6'1 200lbs
    Don't mind cold weather, will have fire
    Would prefer lighter and smaller. Only over night and weekend trips now so pack is 50L
     
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  24. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter

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    @Matt Clarke
    You posted temps "freezing and lower".
    Is this when you plan to go out, only winter camping?
    Will you camp when the forecast calls for rain?
    (Yes I plan to get wet NOT just the possibility of getting caught in the rain.)
     
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  25. Matt Clarke

    Matt Clarke Tinder Gatherer

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    No I plan for atleast 3 season camping, first time will be in freezing or lower Temps

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
     
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  26. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter

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    I googled average low for VA.
    30 Degree down bag.

    Bring a hat and a set of thermals and you should be all set if it drops into the 20's.
    Providing you have a good ground pad and weather protection.
    SOL Escape Bivvy for backup layering if needed.
     
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  27. Flint_2016

    Flint_2016 Guide

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    I looked up wiggys.com and came upon a fishnet long underwear.It runs for $88 actually a small price to pay for warmth.I'll leave the link and a little bit of info on the technology behind this type of material.
    "The most important layer of clothing you wear in a cold climate is your first layer, your underwear. Fishnet long underwear made from nylon is the absolute best first layer. Wiggy fishnets are made from nylon yarn, knitted in a pattern that is a 3/8" mesh hole, 1/16" thick.The human body emits moisture through its pores continuously. If this moisture is stifled from getting away from the skin surface, the body loses heat to the moisture very quickly. When covering the body with fishnets, the moist vapor leaving the body is not inhibited in its movement from the body by the fabric. Cotton, wool, and silk underwear absorb the moisture, which in turn doubles the number of elements that will absorb your heat. If your wear a synthetic underwear that is traditionally knitted, regardless of the yarn, polyester or polypropylene, it stifles movement of the moisture. Hence, the moisture stays on the skin surface, which absorbs your heat."
    Read more on the link to this ideal type of undergarment Fishnet Long Underwear
     
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  28. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

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    I read this, and all Wiggy's stuff, and the first question is, how is it he is able to find and do stuff no one else does/can? it makes me think he's doing stuff different just to be different.

    note that I didn't say his stuff doesn't work but there's nothing new or earth-shattering or "secret" about his products. fishnet underwear has been around long before the miracle synthetics fibers. he's not wrong about the concept of moisture transport but IMO, modern fabrics have addressed the issue better/lighter/cheaper.

    again, not saying his stuff doesn't work. if he says his bag will keep you warm, it will, but at a price, usually of weight. for the non-lightweight camper, this results in value...
     
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  29. Flint_2016

    Flint_2016 Guide

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    I'm passing on the fishnets and high heels LOL Going with a one piece suit moisture wicking base layer with brushed fleece lining off ebay for $45.I posted a thread on it not long ago.Base Layer Suit
     
  30. RJM52

    RJM52 Scout

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    Been wearing the Wiggy's fishnet underwear for almost 20 years. When it is cold out it makes a big difference in the bag.

    I also like them under pants and jeans. I was in and out of an office a lot. Having the fishnets on was much cooler in the office than having standard long underwear on. And outside it was like having on fleece lined jeans.

    Bob
     
  31. Red Ochre

    Red Ochre Supporter Supporter

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    My winter sleep system is a 4 point blanket, kifaru doobie, and a thermarest toughskin pad.
    Total weight is just under 11 lbs about the same as the MSS but infinitely more versatile.

    Keeps me warm to -10*f and beyond if wearing wool base layers etc.
     
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  32. Terasec

    Terasec Scout

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    I have been using a slumberjack brand mummy bag for +15 yrs
    Use it year round in northern ny
    Its a 20 degree bag but use it down to negative temps
    In negative temps yea i get cold but i survive
     
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  33. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Late to this thread, but ^this is sound, sage advice. Bag companies have different rating systems, make sure you do some homework first. Big Agnes bags I wouldn't trust outside of summer, but that's just me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
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  34. aktatts

    aktatts Scout

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    Ive been nothing but happy with my feathered friends bags. Ive been pretty far below their rating too.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
     
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  35. Nightflyer

    Nightflyer Scout

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    Except for my Thermarest, my sleep system cost me a grand total of thirty dollars. I bought a Czech surplus bedroll and an extra button in blanket for it. With a wool base layer to sleep in Ive been plenty warm, sometimes almost too warm down to about 20F. I'm not lugging it very far, especial while cold weather camping, so the weight and bulk aren't an issue. I really like the thing and can adjust easily to temperature by merely adding or removing one of the button in blankets.
     
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