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Your sleeping bag choices


Original Post
Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

So I just got back from a 5 day camping trip around Utah.  We hit up all 5 National parks in 5 days.  The trip went fantastic.  But I am at a loss for our sleeping arrangements.  

I can generally point to anything in my gear pack and tell you exactly why I chose it and why it is the best for my situation.  But I can’t ever do that with sleeping bags.  Festival camping is easy because I don’t need to squeeze all of my gear into a suitcase.  So I can bring my super soft bags that are rated down to 0F.  But when we fly somewhere, I don’t really want to be paying for an extra checked bag, nor want to try and rent a bigger car just for that 1 extra sleeping bag.  (We normally get the smallest car since we road trip long distances and need to save money on gas).  

This past trip we bought what looked like decent bags, that could be compressed down to 1/2 their sizes after rolling up.  But the compression straps broke the first morning we broke down.  I was just able to keep them small enough for the flight home.  But they won’t work again the same way.  

What have you guys used that you could cram 2 of into a large suitcase with all of your other camping gear (including tent) 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,785

Your first mistake was thinking the bags should be rolled up.

stolo · · Shelby, NC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 120

Check out the Hyke and Byke Eolus 800 fill 0° down sleeping bag. I have used mine for several cold nights in the 20s and have been happy. For the price the bag seems like a steal. Quality seems great, zipper is nice, warm, compresses nicely.

I am 5'11" and got the regular. Happy with the length. Looks like they have some cool new colors now too. 

Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0
Gunkiemike wrote:

Your first mistake was thinking the bags should be rolled up.

The ones I bought always come rolled up.  I just repack them the same way they originally came.  How else do you recommend fitting them back in the cylindrical bag they come with?


Stolo, I should also have mentioned that we like the rectangular ones that can be zipped together.  Probably not the best idea for conserving heat, but our body heat does a decent job.  If we go somewhere that we really need to stay warm, that style of bag will probably make the equipment list.  But so far we haven’t needed to stay warm down to 0. The only time of year we can go camping is early spring and summer (my wife is a teacher)

Beean · · Canmore, AB · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0
Baba Fats wrote:

The ones I bought always come rolled up.  I just repack them the same way they originally came.  How else do you recommend fitting them back in the cylindrical bag they come with?


Stolo, I should also have mentioned that we like the rectangular ones that can be zipped together.  Probably not the best idea for conserving heat, but our body heat does a decent job.  If we go somewhere that we really need to stay warm, that style of bag will probably make the equipment list.  But so far we haven’t needed to stay warm down to 0. The only time of year we can go camping is early spring and summer (my wife is a teacher)

Stuff it into the stuff sack. 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,785

If volume is a concern at all - as you describe it here - I'd say buying rectangular bags was your second mistake. You should look into high fill power down (min. 800 cu. in./ounce) bags in the 2 lb total weight range. They'll stuff down to something the size of a small loaf of bread. They're costly, but with care can easily last 20 years.

Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X6B6YP4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apip_lddBanBAIX7m5

These are the ones we got.  They are rectangular, and compress down to that loaf of bread size.  Only major problem is that the compression straps are garbage.  They were warm enough for 30degree nights wearing a base layer.  Would be better with a pad, but space was an issue.  The straps ripped on the first repack.  So I’m skeptical of other similar designs, but willing to accept that these were just cheap.  

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 574

Buy new straps?

Tapawingo Markey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75

You bought a $40 sleeping bag and you expect warmth and compressibility? Nothing wrong with cheap bags for car camping but you definitely get what you pay for. Get an 800 loft bag, sea2summit compression sack, and you’ll have exactly what you’re looking for but it’ll be much more than what you spent. $150-350 per bag/sack and that’s being conservative. 

Edit: As the above post mentions, if the straps are the sole problem then buy two new straps for $5.

Jake Risch · · Steamboat Springs, CO · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Enlightened Equipment Quilts, check em out!


Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

It wasn’t the straps that broke.  Sorry I wasn’t as clear.  It was the sewing where the buckle is attached to the compression bag.  The straps themselves are in good shape.  It’s the carrying bag that is trashed.  I didn’t look too deeply, but I didn’t see if you could fit just any sleeping bag into the stuff sacks I found.  They didn’t have a size listed.  

They weren’t ideally warm, but not bad for these past conditions.  It was the compression sack that pissed me off.  But as I’m typing this, I found a compression sack that specifically states that there is extra sewing along the seams to prevent tearing in high-tension areas

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0
Jake Risch wrote:

Enlightened Equipment Quilts, check em out!

Indeed!

Haven't used a sleeping bag for a while. 1 down quilt and xtherm for normal conditions, + apex quilt + closedcell mat for colder.

Eric Fjellanger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2008 · Points: 840

Compression bags are dumb, but definitely won't work very well on a cheap polyester bag. I'm imagining you were pulling really really hard on it to try and compress it, when it ripped?

You want a down bag. They pack much smaller and are warmer for the weight and bulk. If you really want a rectangular one, there are some out there, but you can also zip two mummy bags together.

Your comment above implies that you didn't have sleeping pads? Pads are extremely important, even a very warm bag won't insulate you well if you don't have a pad.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483

Feathered friends flicker

simplyput . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 60

Love my Zpack.


Peter Stangl · · Minnesota · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 255

Pick up a sea2summit compression sack, this will help at least with the straps problem. Make sure you are tightening it correctly too. Don't just sinch down on one side, then the others. Do opposing sides evenly, will help with straps lasting long in my opinion. 

Also, that must have been a fun trip hitting up all 5 of those! 

Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0
Peter Stangl wrote:

Pick up a sea2summit compression sack, this will help at least with the straps problem. Make sure you are tightening it correctly too. Don't just sinch down on one side, then the others. Do opposing sides evenly, will help with straps lasting long in my opinion. 

Also, that must have been a fun trip hitting up all 5 of those! 

I was doing both sides at the same time. That is obvious to me. I’m pretty good with “common sense” physics.  My guess is the cheap stitching is what made it break.  I’ll look into those compression bags. But the idea of zipping 2 mummy bags is nice.  I was trying to look into that concept, and I didn’t know you could buy left and right handed sleeping bags.  So that’s my next purchase.  Along with a better day pack.  

The trip was fantastic.  We would get to camp around midnight, set up, and breakdown around 6am to go hiking, get to the next site late at night and do the same thing over again.  5 days full of adventures.  Canyoneering in capital reef was probably my favorite part.  Next time we’re out there, I want to get deeper into Canyonlands.  Maybe do the needle or maze districts.  


We did through a fleece blanket under us for a small extra layer between us and the ground.  Not a pad, but a little bit of something


Jordan W · · NC · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 30
Nick Drake wrote:

Feathered friends flicker


This x1000..... Just bought the Flicker 30 last year and it's by far my favorite bag I've ever owned. Insanely versatile, packs down tiny, and is super warm for the size... Can't recommend it enough.

Peter Stangl · · Minnesota · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 255
Baba Fats wrote:

I was doing both sides at the same time. That is obvious to me. I’m pretty good with “common sense” physics.  My guess is the cheap stitching is what made it break.  I’ll look into those compression bags. But the idea of zipping 2 mummy bags is nice.  I was trying to look into that concept, and I didn’t know you could buy left and right handed sleeping bags.  So that’s my next purchase.  Along with a better day pack.  

The trip was fantastic.  We would get to camp around midnight, set up, and breakdown around 6am to go hiking, get to the next site late at night and do the same thing over again.  5 days full of adventures.  Canyoneering in capital reef was probably my favorite part.  Next time we’re out there, I want to get deeper into Canyonlands.  Maybe do the needle or maze districts.  


We did through a fleece blanket under us for a small extra layer between us and the ground.  Not a pad, but a little bit of something


Sorry, i didn't mean to come off as saying you were doing it wrong. My first compression sack I had in the army I broke because I did that. Did a lot if push ups cause of it haha

But that sounds like an awesome trip! Might have to put it on the list of to dos. Did you feel rushed with 5 days or did that seem like enough time for the most part? 

Bobby H · · Michigan · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Do you always zip the two bags together? 


They make two person bags that are specifically made for this that will pack down smaller than two single person bags. They accomplish this by adding little to no insulation on the bottom and are made with pad sleeves (the insulation on the bottom does hardly anything once you are laying on it and compressing it). Check out REI or any of the other major outdoor retailers. 

If you want two separate bags than i second a down mummy style bag to maximize packability. 

Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

We do always put 2 together.  But I’d like the extra insulation over a one piece 2 person bag.  

5 days was pretty good if your willing to not sleep much.  We got about 5 hours of sleep a night.  And I can set up and break down in about 15 minutes.  Canyonlands was probably the park we didn’t see as much of because you really need to backpack deep into it to see it.  We didn’t have time for that, and my wife isn’t into carrying days worth of gear.  So we did the day hikes through what we could.  I’d recommend canyoneering in capital reef since that’s the only real way to see it at all.  But the good Canyon trails are only 6-8 hours if you soak in the scenery. 

Zion can be driven through, and has fantastic day hikes.  Angles landing is crowded, but worth the 4 hour round trip

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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