Sleeping Bag choices

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Sleeping Bag choices

Postby Shawnee » 3 Feb 2011, 7:29pm

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction regarding a sleeping bag for touring later this year?
I have always cycled and camped but never combined the two so I am struggling to choose a lightweight sleeping bag.

I will be touring Southern France at the end of May and Holland at the beginning of September and will be in the tent on my own sleeping on a womens specific Thermorest, I dont like the idea of a mummy bag so would prefer a rectangular bag or semi. As there will be more material I was thinking of going for a downs bag (as they are meant to pack smaller and are more lightweight) but there doesnt seem to be a great deal of choice. I have been advised to get a silk liner and to keep the sleeping bag dry at all costs. I find the information about the fill and temperature guide quite confusing and Im not sure how cold it will be in France / Holland in June/ September.

The two I have found so far are:- ... g-bag.html ... p-511.html

I would be grateful for any help with comments and tips but please dont get too technical.

Thank you.

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby nmnm » 3 Feb 2011, 8:50pm

I went to France a few summers with a non-down bag. Bulky. Just recently bought a light down one for summer use from Tiso. It was on sale. It's a Vango Venom 225, £60. It's pretty small but pretty thin too. They do one thinner, called the 150 maybe and then they have thicker ones too. They all have temperature ratings. There's some sort of standard system of rating them I think. The Alpkit website has a good wee explanation page.

You can get bags with a water resistant cover to decrease condensation dripping issues. One trick is to put your jacket over your legs - even zip the coat around your legs - you get warm feet and if your feet touch the tent in the night you'll not get the bag wet.

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby Nutsey » 3 Feb 2011, 8:55pm

I did loads of research on this and wanted an Alpkit Pipedream -

... but they had supply issues so couldn't get one.

Eventually settled for a Vango Nitestar. Much cheaper and synthetic so you can wash it, whereas feather ones have clumping/damp issues. I use it in the house to save heating bills :lol:
Last edited by Nutsey on 3 Feb 2011, 9:36pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby Edwards » 3 Feb 2011, 9:13pm

You could check out purchasing some fleece and making your own that could be used with a rectangular liner.
When warn you can use it as a blanket, when colder you use it inside the liner. You can squash them small and not worry about damaging the stitching or the the insulation.
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby KTM690 » 3 Feb 2011, 9:15pm

Get the best bag you can afford. Sleeping bag is the main bulk/weight in your camping kit.

Hikelite do a good selection and offer sound advice.

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby gbnz » 3 Feb 2011, 9:40pm

Shawnee wrote:I would be grateful for any help with comments and tips but please dont get too technical.

Thank you.

Both the bags look fairly decent, so it'd be a matter of personal choice! The only downside I've found with down bags (Aside from the loss of insulation if it gets damp), is the lack of durability. My Blacks synthetic bag was indestructable, the super lightweight down bags that I replaced it with (Vango, Blacks-technicals and some super expensive Brand name bag, that I can't remember the name of, have proved short lived).

A silk liner is worthwhile - lightweight, takes little space, adds warmth and hugely beneficial in helping to keep the sleeping bag clean

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby b1galus » 3 Feb 2011, 10:16pm

I have a RAB down bag which i pretty much use all year but in truth i rarely close it and just drape it round me , i have a silk liner which i take to save washing it i have never had my down bag get wet enough to have a problem . now saying all that i would expect to only need a very light bag for for may to september so just get a wee snugpack or similar they pack down pretty small and weigh less than a kilo and if you do feel cold you can always stick a jumper on

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby Barrenfluffit » 3 Feb 2011, 10:19pm

+1 for the silk liner. If its particularly warm you can use it on its own to protect the mat.

I've got two sleeping bags; a summer weight one (which is small and light) and a winter one. But I can't have down anyway so no recommendations I'm afraid.

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby jake » 4 Feb 2011, 8:45am

I've had mummy bags in the past that were very tight fitting and felt a bit like getting into a "strait-jacket" (also I'm fairly broad shouldered). I've had an Alpkit Pipedream 400 for 2 years now and find it to be a "looser". very comfortable fit. For the price/weight, they are superb bags. It's no wonder there is a waiting list (don't be put off by this).

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby andrewjoseph » 4 Feb 2011, 9:46am

we bought alpkit pipedream down sleeping bags, warm and pack smaller and lighter.

think about your sleeping temperature, i sleep warm and my wife sleeps cold. Her bag is rated to -10, mine to 0 (or something similar).

We used ours for a welsh coast tour last September and were comfortable everyday. A liner is great as it can be used on it's own on warmer nights.

if you get too warm, as i was on occasions, open the bag and just use it like a duvet.

The down bags stuff down much smaller than our old synthetic bags.
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby simonineaston » 4 Feb 2011, 1:29pm

Don't know how old you are (and not asking, either :wink: ) but there is in my case a definite link between age and my ability to cope with hard ground, thus I have migrated lately towards more comfortable mats, from hard ground (in the Cubs) through Karrimat, Thermarest and finally am now piling up the zeds on a Swiss Exped Synmat Why am I telling you this? 'Cos it's true wot they say in their blurb, which is that at night, most of the heat loss goes down into the cold, cold ground, thus my advice is splash the cash on a high quality insulated sleeping mat (Exped aren't the only ones around) and then buy a simple, lightweight, rectanglar-cut sleeping bag and use it like a duvet, or else zipped up inside when its colder.
Mind you I still take my horribly expensive, hugely comfy and utterly gorgeous down Mountain Equipment Lightline with me! :D
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby andrew_s » 4 Feb 2011, 3:57pm

Rectangular bags suitable for cycle touring are uncommon.
The Golite linked in the initial post seems to be the best readily available. There's no hood, so a decently warm hat may be a necessary addition at the low end of the temperature range. Freezing is unlikely, but could happen, especially if you camp high up (eg Val d'Isere in June).
The Vaude seems heavier & bulkier than necessary.

I use a zero-rated down bag, with full length zip and a silk liner. Most of the time I have the bag fully unzipped, and just use it as a quilt, so there's none of the constriction you normally get with a mummy bag, provided you get a suitable liner.
A suitable bag would have 300-500g of down, depending on quality, and it should be possible to get the bag weight down to 800g or a bit less (watch out for the absence of zips).
Mine's PHD Minim 300, long & full zip. 760g, £260 via the design-your-own section of the PHD site. It's normally available as a standard bag in the sale that PHD do a couple of times a year. This, other sales, and the intermittent availability of the Alpkit Pipedream 400 are an illustration of the advantages of planning well in advance :D .

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby willem jongman » 5 Feb 2011, 11:01am

Dutch outdoor shops are full of rectangular down bags, from cheap to very expensive. Use 'slaapzak' and 'dons' in google.
See here for a good shop: These have a zip all around so they can also be used as a blanket ('deken')

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby paul dormer » 9 Mar 2011, 12:06am

Have a look at Mountain Equipment Xero 350,4* luxury, super light, under 700 grams, down is the way to go, this bag is comfortable from zero to warm summer nights. Unfortunately you get what you pay for when it comes to sleeping bags, I've dumped several synthetic bags since having this one.

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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby pedalsheep » 9 Mar 2011, 9:42am

PHD currently have a sale on. They make superb, very light but expensive down gear.
'Why cycling for joy is not the most popular pastime on earth is still a mystery to me.'
Frank J Urry, Salute to Cycling, 1956.