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Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 24 Jan 2019, 9:03pm
by Mr Tom
Hi, I'm looking to get a sleeping bag, actually not for cycle touring to begin with, it's for a bushcraft course. May get used for touring eventually.

The prices seem to go from £30 to £400+. I just wondered what you need to pay to get something which is reasonable quality. I feel like with bikes there's a point where things will work pretty well and last, but you could obviously keep on paying more for improvements in looks, weight and quality of machining. Likewise there's a point below which things just aren't worth the trouble unless you're only going to use them for the occasional twenty minute ride in the park.

Does anyone have any tips of where the different price points are?

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 24 Jan 2019, 9:35pm
by 1982john
Probably obvious but it really depends on the use. If weight doesn't matter because you're not moving you could just get a £50 synthetic bag that will keep you warm. If you want down then it will double the price. If you want the best down for weight to warmth ration (something with 800+ fill power) then double the price again.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 24 Jan 2019, 9:38pm
by bohrsatom
Start by deciding whether you want a synthetic or down sleeping bag. That'll set your price range: synthetics will be in the £30 to £200 range; a (good) down bag £150+. Then decide when you're going to be using it, and that will determine the temperate range you need. Pretty much everything else (weight, packed size, etc etc) is a function of those two parameters.

Generally speaking the more expensive bags are better quality and are suitable for lower temperatures. However at the top end I found synthetic bags stopped being good value for money. More than anything else you were paying for a big brand (North Face etc) rather than any difference in the actual bag.

If it helps, I only use my bag in late spring, summer and early autumn. Weight and packed size were important so I went for a down bag. It's good to around 0C and I bought it in an end-of-season sale for £150. if you have the same sort of requirements, check out Alpkit or even Rock and Run who currently have a sale on (https://rockrun.com/collections/mountai ... g-bag-down) with a good looking 800 fill power Mountain Hardware bag for just £150.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 24 Jan 2019, 9:53pm
by PH
First - like bikes the right one isn't always obvious at any price point, the chances of you picking the one that best suits you first off are slim, though you might get lucky. £50 at Go Outdoors or the like will get you something that's fine for summer use, you might need to add a liner to get a bit more out of it and if not used in a tent the cover is probably as important as the bag. It'll be a bit heavier and bulkier than the next price up at around £100, but the function won't necessarily be much better, double that again to £200 and you start getting into specialist expedition kit that you could take anywhere, but once you get that specialist there's a chance you'll need different bags for different trips (Just like bikes :lol: ) There are circumstances where someone's life depends of having the right bag, but for most of us the worst case scenario is waking up a bit cold in the middle of the night and having to put a jumper on.
My sleeping bag buying went something like £20>£50>£120>£250 the last one is actually a quilt, but I wouldn't have chosen it without the experience of the other three, I've had it 12 years and if it ever needs replacing it'll be with the same.
EDIT - Don't forget the mat, I know it's obvious, but I was surprised how much difference a good mat made to warmth. My mat weighs the same as my quilt and probably contributes as much to warmth.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 24 Jan 2019, 10:57pm
by Mr Tom
Thanks! I'm sure a synthetic bag will be more than enough for the time being. I'll probably get one of those and a liner. I'll pop into some camping shops over the next few days and see what I can spot.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 24 Jan 2019, 11:19pm
by Sweep
Just noticed where you are tom.

I'd check out these folk.

https://www.funkyleisure.co.uk


Not just festival kit as might at first appear.

They don't have a high street shop but a sort of shop/showroom on a trading estate niot too far from you. Nice for quiet browsing so better than a normal shop ) prices can be good, I bought a trangia from them.

Haven't checked my own link but they used to do snugpak stuff, which is quite good.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 24 Jan 2019, 11:27pm
by Richard Fairhurst
And as with bikes: if you’re on a budget, start with Decathlon.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 24 Jan 2019, 11:30pm
by Sweep
Richard Fairhurst wrote:And as with bikes: if you’re on a budget, start with Decathlon.

+1

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 25 Jan 2019, 7:56am
by boblo
Key point is don't overbuy. When buying a one bag does all, its tempting to go to extremes as you might end up camping out one night in winter - maybe. For the rest of the time, you're dragging round 2 or 3 seasons worth of excess weight and bulk.

I mostly use a 2 season (to zero C) down bag as its light and packs very small. But, it must be kept dry or it won't keep you warm - at all. I also have other bags I've collected over the years to cover right down to high altitude exped conditions but I'll not be using these whilst out on the bike.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 25 Jan 2019, 8:53am
by Oldjohnw
It's all about when and where you need the bag.

A caravan holiday in the West Midlands in July has a different requirement to a wild camp in the Cairngorms in January.

I mainly use a fairly modest (Blavks) 2/3 season bag which packs small with either a silk or fleece liner. Never been cold March to October, even when sub zero outside.

I assume that bushcraft requires being under the stars with anmakeshift canopy. This would mean your bag needed protection from moisture.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 25 Jan 2019, 8:59am
by pwa
It is wise to look for good value with any purchase, but I would not let price dictate my choice with a sleeping bag. A good one will last many years. And your sleep and comfort depend on having a good bag for the conditions. Saving fifty quid by getting a poorer bag will not seem like such a good idea as you shiver at three in the morning. Find some bags that tick the performance boxes, and only at that point look at the price tags.

Just as an example, not a recommendation, Cotswold Outdooor tell you quite a lot about the bags they sell. This bag is pricey but has a good low "comfort temperature" and is light for that rating. If you want a warm bag but weight and bulk don't matter because it is just going in a car boot, cheap is possible. But if you are carrying the bag on a bike or rucksack, weight matters, warmth matters, you have to pay more to get both at the same time.

https://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/p/mount ... colour=133

I would try to get a good bag for not too much over £200, but I would pay more if that were not possible. And pay attention to bag length if you are tall. I'm a bit over 6ft and some bags are too short for me.

This one promises "comfort" down to a bit below zero (not one to use in winter) and is still a reasonable weight to carry.
https://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/p/rab-a ... colour=107

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 14 Apr 2019, 5:57pm
by RobinS
For cycle touring we use Vango Venom 200 down bags. I originally bought mine about 15 years ago for mountaineering bivvies, and it is still going strong, including having been used on several 3 month tours in recent years. It is just warm enough for April and October weather (we have survived some very hard frosts), and obviously fine for the warmer bit in between. It packs down really small and only weighs 700g. Retail price now is £140, but you can find them online for £80 - £100. At that price it's a real bargain (mine was £79 fifteen years ago).

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 16 Apr 2019, 6:11pm
by Navrig
All good advice above.

My experience years ago was to get a mummy shaped bag with no zip. Dreadful mistake as I hated being constrained. It was warm though.

I'd always go for at least a half zip and rectangular shape.

I'm a trendy consumer. Just look at my SM-G930F using hovercraft full of eels.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 16 Apr 2019, 6:37pm
by Oldjohnw
I use a 2-3 season bag but I also have both a cotton and a fleece liner. These keep the bag clean and in the case if the fleece, extend the season.

Re: Price points for sleeping bags, any ideas

Posted: 19 Apr 2019, 9:22am
by Gattonero
Mr Tom wrote:Hi, I'm looking to get a sleeping bag, actually not for cycle touring to begin with, it's for a bushcraft course. May get used for touring eventually.

The prices seem to go from £30 to £400+. I just wondered what you need to pay to get something which is reasonable quality. I feel like with bikes there's a point where things will work pretty well and last, but you could obviously keep on paying more for improvements in looks, weight and quality of machining. Likewise there's a point below which things just aren't worth the trouble unless you're only going to use them for the occasional twenty minute ride in the park.

Does anyone have any tips of where the different price points are?


My 2c:
A sleeping bag is not "warm" per se, you make it warm :wink:
The bag only retains your body heat, so you only know if you sleep "cold" or "warm" and if you have cold spots (i.e. I sleep very warm, but my feet are always cold).

My suggestion would be to get a bag that's not too insulated, and top it up with other insulation as needed: a very small insulated jacket, and insulation for other parts (i.e. I've made a small "pouch" for my cold feet!), or a sleeping liner as suggested above, which adds convenience of better hygiene.
Do not underestimate the sleeping mat, it's very important in shielding you form the cold ground and reflecting the body heat. In fact, I've spent more in the sleeping mat than the sleeping quilt.