Denali Double Sleeping Bags


Original Post
Nate K · · Richmond, VT · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 170

So im headed back to alaska this year hoping to do the cassin and I dont have money for a nice bag. I was planning on using a Brooks range alpini 15* while on route anyways and was going to pair it with a 0* degree synthetic bag to sleep comfortably on the west butt while acclimatizing. It was plenty warm last april in the ruth gorge. any thoughts on how it might perform on Denali? should i scrounge the money and get a warmer bag?

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,115
Nate K wrote:So im headed back to alaska this year hoping to do the cassin and I dont have money for a nice bag. I was planning on using a Brooks range alpini 15* while on route anyways and was going to pair it with a 0* degree synthetic bag to sleep comfortably on the west butt while acclimatizing. It was plenty warm last april in the ruth gorge. any thoughts on how it might perform on Denali? should i scrounge the money and get a warmer bag?
The Ruth is nothing like being on Denali. Doubling the bags while on the West Butt is fine. But if I read correctly you plan to take just the 15F bag on the Cassin. A 15F bag on the Cassin is a desire be cold, damn cold, real cold. That said, we actually saw our coldest temps on the West Butt -40F. On the Cassin it was warmer, more like -10F But I still had a -25 bag and typically slept with my pile jacket. On Foraker I took a 0F bag.

What are taking for a down parka?
EWilliams · · Truckee, CA · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

What's up Nate! We were neighbors in the Ruth this past April.

Allen is right, the temps in the Ruth are nothing like Denali. If you could find a -20 or colder bag it would be money well spent. But with a nice insulated jacket, puff pants, booties, and hot water bottles you might be fine with the sleeping bag combo you suggested.

In 2012 on Denali I had a -20 bag on the west buttress and shared a feathered friends spoonbill on the cassin. Your plan of a 15 degree bag on the cassin will be chilly, but doable. I would recommend bringing puff pants on route.

Good luck!

DanSwift · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0

If I read correctly you are planning on putting the 15 degree inside the 0 degree for a double bag like the military uses. If that is the case then you should be fine that is pretty much the combo that the military modular sleep system uses and they rate that at -40

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 5

Not really any input for the sleeping bag, but good luck! be sure to post a TR about your time there!!

Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5
DanSwift wrote:If I read correctly you are planning on putting the 15 degree inside the 0 degree for a double bag like the military uses...
This is how I read it too.

OP, I think you will be fine with that combo. I layer bags in cold weather because I'm too cheap to buy a really warm bag.
Nate K · · Richmond, VT · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 170

Sup EWilliams! Thanks again for the bullseye pancakes last year and for letting us use your cook tent while you guys were on route.

You guys are correct i was planning on using the 15 and the 0 together at one time

As for a puffy i found an old feathered friends parka for dirt cheap. Im pretty sure its the volant but it seems like an older and bigger version. and the outer material is different from other volants ive seen. It also doesnt have a feathered friends logo anywhere except on the collar. its pretty beefy though. and ill definitely be bringing compressor pants and expedition mitts along too.

I was really hoping the 15 coupled with a thermarest neo air, and my puffy and puffy pants would be enough for the cassin in late may early june. consensus here seems to be that ill be miserably cold.

wisam · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

If u do the neo air pad make sure to use the x therm model. The yellow
One probably won't cut it.

tagshell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Any personal experience of using a 2-bag system on denali? I am also planning on getting up there this year and it seems silly to buy (even used) a -20 or -40 bag that I'll never use again. I live in CA, so even winter camping in the Sierra, I would be fine with a 0 bag.

I am thinking about getting a 0F bag (looking at Nemo Sonic since I have a deal on those) and either putting my 15F down bag inside, or using my 20F quilt over top, and then supplementing with down pants and parka if needed. Total bag weight would be a bit (.5lb) more than a WM -25F bag but I'd have more flexibility for the lower mountain and will actually have gear I'll use again.

Planning on using a rab positron parka and MH compressor pants for supplemental insulation that could be worn sleeping.

Dylan Cousins · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 145

I used the two bag system with a 10F and 0F bag on Denali. I think it worked really well and I would do the same thing again. I also had a pair of puffy pants and a down jacket. There was only one night that I wanted to add the pants (at 14k, never slept at 17k).

This system has the added advantage that if it is warm (i.e. at the end of the trip when you're waiting for a flight out at basecamp) you can use only one bag and not have to sweat it out in a -30F rated bag.

Have fun! Just do the Cassin 14k to 14k so you don't have to carry a tent and bag.

Brian Hansen · · West of Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 40

Cash strapped, I used a two-bag system many moons ago on the East Buttress. Inner bag was a Camp 7 summer down bag and the outer bag was first generation Holubar synthetic. Perhaps a little heavy, but worked just fine.

wisam · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

What about pairing a 15 degree down quilt with the 0 degree bag you already have? If you don't have one already a quilt in that temp range is super Versitle and you will use it outside of Denali too. Although double bags are warm enough, it sucks getting in and out of two bags. A quilt strapped over a mummy bag is much more comfortable than 2 mummy bags Just make sure thet whatever you have is big enough to go all the way over you're 0 degree.

clint helander · · anchorage, alaska · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 438

Don't bring a quilt on Denali. Just sleep in your zero and put your feet in the bottom of the 15 and lay it over you. I have a -30 bag, but this is how I've done Denali the last few times.

I would suggest testing out your 15F sleeping bag while on the WB. Sleep in your single walled tent with just the gear you would take on the Cassin. Do it at 14K camp, then do it at 16K if you aren't going to sleep at 17k camp. You'll have a good idea on how realistic that 15F temp bag idea may be.

I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but if it's your first time on Denali. I'm just suggesting you be practical and conservative. I went to climb the Cassin this year and had to radically shift my plans for how fast and light I was going to do it because of conditions.

You could (and should) pare everything down in weight that you can, if you want to climb the Cassin fast. Get down pants instead of the MHW Compressor (I saved about 6-7oz just by doing that)

And for god sakes, bring at least a 70L pack for the WB. The amount of euros I saw skiing with a 30L pack and literally a 100+lb sled was appalling. And...just because all the cool kids take the Wickwire/1972 ramp to the base of the Cassin doesn't mean it's necessarily the best option all the time. It's exposed, avalanche prone and committing.

Good luck, stay warm, bring plenty of whiskey. Bring chewing tobacco, you can trade it for food and it has the greatest weight/value of any currency at 14K!

Nate K · · Richmond, VT · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 170

Thanks Clint. Thats very helpful! I think im gonna go with the zero and 15 bags after-all.

Ice4life · · US · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 5
DanSwift wrote:If I read correctly you are planning on putting the 15 degree inside the 0 degree for a double bag like the military uses. If that is the case then you should be fine that is pretty much the combo that the military modular sleep system uses and they rate that at -40
That also includes soldier being in heavy weight polypro and using the bivy, and it's still cold.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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