Sleeping Bag choices

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

Postby willem jongman » 9 Mar 2011, 9:51am

I love their stuff, but their bags are narrow.
Willem

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pedalsheep
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby pedalsheep » 9 Mar 2011, 6:56pm

Willem wrote
I love their stuff, but their bags are narrow.

True, but so am I !
'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.

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Godlykepower
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby Godlykepower » 10 Mar 2011, 11:24pm

Shawnee, a couple of things...

Firstly, your statement regarding keeping a down bag dry at all costs is not quite valid. You can get a down bag wet, its just that they take forever to dry. Down bags can be washed quite safely, but need to be spread out in warm weather and allowed to dry naturally. I understand that this is obviously an issue when you are travelling. The need to carry a bag liner is primarily to do with bag cleanliness & nothing to do with dryness. With cycling, weight & space is obviously an issue, so silk liners are the way forward here; they weigh next to nothing & pack away the same. If space/weight wasnt an issue, you could make your own out of a couple of bedsheets.

Secondly, the majority of bags nowadays are mummy-shaped for a reason! That excess material is just weight that you are lugging around for no good reason. Rectangular bags are not as efficient as Mummy's when it comes to keeping you warm. If the issue lies with you feeling constricted whilst you sleep, then there are Mummy bags that go some way to dealing with this. As I think has been mentioned before, Mountain Equipment do some awesome gear. They have a model called a Dreamcatcher which is elasticated in the lower half allowing you to move around from the waist down.

All bags are rated with regard to the temperature range they operate best in. A summer or one season bag is about as thick as tissue paper but will be no use when it gets a little cooler. Bearing in mind that you will be sleeping on the ground, so 8 degrees in a tent is not like 8 degrees in your bed at home!
Obviously, the warmer you need a bag to be, the bigger & heavier it becomes due to all the extra "stuffing" but I would only really consider a 3 season bag if I were you. A bag that can cope with a sudden cold snap (which you will certainly feel on the ground) is worth its weight in gold. If its too warm on odd nights, use it like a duvet.

Like tent shopping, you should not really cut any corners, and get the best you can afford. Personally, (and I admit to being a bit of a sleeping bag & tent snob here) I would only really consider gear from one of the big names - The North Face, Mountain Hardwear et al. Zip quality can almost literally be a matter of life and death, as can all aspects of bag design. If I were you, go and see the bag in person & don't be afraid of getting inside it at the shop. A good sleeping bag can last a life time if you buy right.

Just my 2p of course.
I don't have a gambling problem. I'm winning, and winning is not a problem for me. That's like saying AC/DC have an awesomeness problem.

jmrees
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby jmrees » 11 Mar 2011, 5:40am

Thanks Godlykepower. I also am looking for a sleeping bag and have been reading these posts with interest. You mention only going for the big nanes and I can see that that is good advice, but I'm not sure I know the big names. You list a couple but I wonder if you could say what else you have in mind for the "big names"? And any particular retail chains you recommend for them, I'm not really prepared to buy such an important item on the web. Thanks for your help.

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Godlykepower
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby Godlykepower » 11 Mar 2011, 9:09am

If I were in the market again, I would only buy a product from either Mountain Equipment, North Face or Mountain Hardwear. Which is not to say that products from Vango, Ajungilak, Marmot etc. are inferior; it just so happens that I have had call for a lot of use of sleeping bags in my time - mountaineering & overlanding in my Land Rover mainly, but backpacking round the world & simple camping trips too - and having used top-shelf equipment exclusively during those pursuits, I can vouch for their quality, and the peace of mind they offer when you are in the middle of nowhere.

With regards to retailers, I mainly get my kit from Ellis Brigham or Cotswold Outdoors. Depending on where you are in the country, you might have a local independent retailer that can supply you with the gear? Where I live, there does not seem to be any equipment suppliers of note, that can supply very good gear.
There is a massive Blacks in Milton Keynes that always seems to have a sale on, which is a great place to go for t-shirts & shorts. Probably my favourite outdoor store in the UK is Nevisport in Fort William though.

My rule of thumb is that, if you can use it up a mountain, anything else is a doddle! Might be overkill in some people eyes, but I am standing by it.
I don't have a gambling problem. I'm winning, and winning is not a problem for me. That's like saying AC/DC have an awesomeness problem.

willem jongman
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby willem jongman » 11 Mar 2011, 1:32pm

I think there are other good makes, like Western Mountaineering or PHD Design in the UK, Yeti, or Cumulus
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nmnm
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby nmnm » 11 Mar 2011, 8:26pm

Godlykepower wrote:My rule of thumb is that, if you can use it up a mountain, anything else is a doddle! Might be overkill in some people eyes, but I am standing by it.
My Terra Nova explorer tent is the 3 season tent for climbers, or was when I got it. It was dreadful in the Loire in summer. Too hot, too cramped, too heavy. Strong enough to withstand a foot of snow on the roof, certainly, but the snow never came during that July in France and I'd have preferred more headroom instead, or less weight or less cost. You wouldn't pedal in cramp-ons. :D

jmrees
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby jmrees » 12 Mar 2011, 1:16pm

To Paul Dormer, I have been looking at the Mtn Equipment Zero 350 you mention. A really nice bag but although it looks good for summer I wonder if I took it on a trip in October whether it would do the Job, are you sure this works as a three season bag? I wonder if the zero rating makes it really a two season. What's your experience of using it in colder conditions? Thanks for your help on this.

Lio
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby Lio » 13 Mar 2011, 10:45am

I've used mine in pretty cold early spring conditions just below the summit of some Scottish hills and it has been fine . I sleep warm though. You could also add a silk liner for some additional warmth and very little weight.

velo-city
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Re: Sleeping Bag choices

Postby velo-city » 4 Apr 2011, 6:07pm

I took this stuff on my tour through France last year - all quite lightweight. Was very happy with it all, and on the nights where it got near zero, it was warm enough. The bag packs down quite small (with a bit of a fight)

The air mattress is a pain to inflate/deflate and adds some extra time when you're tired (and there is a chance it can puncture I guess), but it's well worth the effort in my opinion.

Mountain Equipment Xero 350 down bag
silk liner
thermarest neo air