Sleeping bags

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J.W.

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We finally have some longer trips planned for this summer and it’s time to buy a couple of new sleeping bags. I would like to hear some recommendations of what people like and don’t like currently. The bags we’ve been using for years are Kelty and my first instinct is to go with another couple of those because we have liked them a lot. But I figured it would be worth asking in case I’ve missed something new.
 

WrightRunner

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We finally have some longer trips planned for this summer and it’s time to buy a couple of new sleeping bags. I would like to hear some recommendations of what people like and don’t like currently. The bags we’ve been using for years are Kelty and my first instinct is to go with another couple of those because we have liked them a lot. But I figured it would be worth asking in case I’ve missed something new.
It all depends on what you are sleeping in! We sleep in a ground tent and love the Big Agnes sleep system! Very comfy.
 

J.W.

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It all depends on what you are sleeping in! We sleep in a ground tent and love the Big Agnes sleep system! Very comfy.
Good point! We use a ground tent. I've read about the Big Agnes but never seen them in person. Will see if I can find some to look at locally. Thanks
 

solidus365

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Circa 2008ish I bought a North Face synthetic 0 degree mummy bag and it's still working beautifully for me through all seasons. For the real warm nights I also have a Snugpack 45 degree ultra compact "jungle bag" that I like a lot too.
 
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Mojavewanderer

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I’ve had a couple of Big Agnes bags since about 2002, and they are still great. The original sleeping pad I had developed a leak in 2019, and when I sent it back to Big Agnes to be repaired, they sent a new one at no charge to me. I didn’t expect that! Their customer service is top notch, as are their products! I very highly recommend Big Agnes!
 

Billiebob

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Sleeping bag choice is all about application, weather, season, on the ground, in a trailer, RTT, no one choice will fit all.

I now travel in a Square Drop, the bed is always made, I use 3 bags, 2 heavy winter cotten and flannel expedition bags and a topper 3 season nylon thing.
Winter I'll sleep under 2 and cook. Today, mid may, just the topper.

If damp, wet is a thing go synthetic. If you are dry, unlimited budget, go goose down in extreme cold, if you only go out in the summer... price is all that counts.

DSC_0057.jpeg
 
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El-Dracho

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Choosing the right sleeping bag is a complex issue and requires advice. I would proceed as follows:

The first thing I would think about is how warm the sleeping bag needs to be for what I plan to do, i.e. what temperatures do I expect while on the road.
So I can make a first decision whether I need a summer or winter sleeping bag, or maybe one for 3 seasons or even an extreme expedition sleeping bag.
Many manufacturers specify several temperature values (determined in the laboratory) for this purpose. For example, we often see there a comfort value, a kind of limit value and an extreme value. I would take a very close look at which values are specified under which conditions.

Then I would think about the material. Down or synthetic fiber has already been mentioned here. Down can keep very warm and has a comparatively small pack size. It also absorbs moisture and releases it again (good sleeping climate) , but if it gets wet, it may fail its good characteristics and the filling may clump. Then synthetic fiber is in demand, combined with a comparatively large pack size. By the way, there is also water-repellent coated down. With down I would look exactly where they come from and how they are obtained, keyword: animal welfare. Synthetic fiber sleeping bags are easy to care for and durable. They have advantages in moisture and the filling is sometimes even silicone coated, making it even more resistant to moisture absorption. They are often also cheaper than sleeping bags with down feather filling.

Next thing I would look at is the shape of a sleeping bag. We see blanket sleeping bags, mummy sleeping bags and a combination of both (look like an egg shape). Mummy sleeping bags have less empty space than the blanket sleeping bags, so they keep you warm better. But there is a little less freedom of movement. However, the head, arms, feet, ... should not be too close to the sleeping bag, as this can create cold bridges. The egg-shape combines both somehow. I would try what suits you better. Exactly the same applies to the right length: try it out, every body is different.

Yes and then there are many details: how are the cords to pull the hood, are there inside pockets, is there an insulating collar on the hood, is the zipper on the right or left and and and. In my opinion, the only thing that really helps is to look at it and try it out, because this is really very individual. And of course many special forms, like sleeping bags that can be linked together, that can be used as a blanket, pure bivy bags etc.

This is a short summary from my experience and how I would do it. Especially if you are really dependent on a good sleeping bag, I would always get good advice before buying.

Ah, and if you were satisfied with your previous sleeping bag, why not take the same model again? I did the same, I had 10 years a winter sleeping bag from Ajungilak (the classic "Tyin Winter") and have been very happy with it. A synthetic sleeping bag. At some point the thermal performance was then no longer as good as in the beginning. From my point of view, 10 years and really many uses is also a long time. I just bought the same model again.

By the way, there is also an Overland Bound Boot Camp article that deals with this topic, check it out here:


Well, a good sleeping bag is important, because there is nothing like a good sleep on the road to enjoy the next day so right! In this sense enjoy overlanding!
 
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J.W.

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By the way, there is also an Overland Bound Boot Camp article that deals with this topic, check it out here:
I know the specs I need. I’m more interested in hearing people’s personal experience with specific brands. But thanks for taking the time to write all that up!
 
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El-Dracho

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I know the specs I need. I’m more interested in hearing people’s personal experience with specific brands. But thanks for taking the time to write all that up!
Thanks. Understand. So just to add: I go with Ajungilak Sleeping bags since about 20 years now. Always very happy wit them. The brand has a long history and vast experience with sleeping bags. Ajungilak as founded 1855 in Norway and I have read that famous explorers such as Amundsen relied on their sleeping bags.
 

OverLamb24

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Not to throw a wrench in your plans and research, but have you looked into sleeping quilts? These are very popular within the lightweight backpackers world. They are often made to very high standards with the best materials available in order maximize warmth,comfort, space savings. They are not for everyone but if it is for you it can provide an amazing upgrade over the traditional sleeping bag especially outside of deep cold weather camping. They also are flexible in use so they can fix many situations and used allowing one to vent if too warm or button up for extra warmth. They can have potential lead time for construction but it can be well worth it. I have experience with these brands and find them to be good value and quality with options at different price points. Hammock Camping Outfitters | Hammock Gear



If you want to get into even more premium brands check out these three brands which also offer some bag options.



 

OverLamb24

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have you looked into sleeping quilts?
I had not even heard of them. Looks interesting, thanks!
You are very welcome. I love them since im a very active sleeper and use hammocks often. Another plus is you can drape them over another bag to increase the insulate value of both for deep winter use.
 

Kerner

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We got one of the Nemo spoon shaped bags for our oldest and it's quickly become the "if I'm going solo" bag I grab. That shape is great for sleeping on my side.
 

J.W.

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We got one of the Nemo spoon shaped bags for our oldest and it's quickly become the "if I'm going solo" bag I grab. That shape is great for sleeping on my side.
I'm not familiar with those. Will add it to the list of things to check out. Thanks
 

oldmopars

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We got one of the Nemo spoon shaped bags for our oldest and it's quickly become the "if I'm going solo" bag I grab. That shape is great for sleeping on my side.
I'm not familiar with those. Will add it to the list of things to check out. Thanks
I also have a Nemo and love it. My is a Down rectangular bag. It has a pocket for my insulated Thermo-rest pad. Between the two I have slept great even in cold temps.
I used both while doing Moto-camping adventures and off road travel.
You can’t go wrong with a Nemo, great quality bags.
 
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J.W.

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My Kelty had the pocket for the sleeping pad too. Works pretty well but I don't always use it because every once in a while you wake up all discombobulated and half way off the pad from rolling over. That might just be me though ;)
 

Truckee

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The Teton Bags are very comfortable, inexpensive but also very bulky.

For most camping (above 20 degrees), we've been using down quilts as well. Versatile, comfortable and compact.
Already linked above but we are using and recommend. Would probably recommend getting the heavier shell material (20D?) since weight is not a big concern for the non-backpacking use.