Sleeping bag recommendations

benson

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My wife needs a warmer sleeping bag for kayak camping...something warm and compact. Probably a 3-season bag (May thru Sept). We tent camp and have managed to avoid an extended deluge trip. She's in that 5"3" 120lb size and often uses a liner. Any thoughts on a good down mummy bag or otherwise?
 

Astoriadave

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Couple choices to consider at REI. Big sale on now.

http://www.rei.com/product/847651/kelty ... eeping-bag

http://www.rei.com/product/880131/mount ... bag-womens

The ignite is duck down, so it should pack down better.

The laminina is synthetic fill, so would take wetting netter. It is a womens bag, with more fill where women want it.

At her size, both of these will be long, but I think you might have to look pretty hard for something tailored for her height.

Bring these up from the source page and do the Compare choices which will give all the specs.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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If you are looking for something like the Kelty Ignite, you could consider the MEC Aquilina.
Though it's not filled with DriDown, it's similar and a lot cheaper, with the low value of the Cdn dollar these days (about $185 USD ? for the Aquilina).
http://www.mec.ca/product/5025-627/mec- ... 7c-womens/
The 'Small' size in that women's bag fits to 5'4"

I have the MEC 'Raven' - which is the predecessor to the Aquilina bag- and it is warm enough for 'winter' Gulf Islands camping, and I'm a 'cold sleeper', so I like a warm sleeping system. (I've been toasty in conditions where I woke up with (melting) snow on the tent.) It packs into an Outdoor Research 10L compression bag.

A good sleeping pad makes a big difference in comfort and warmth, so that's an expensive part of the equation as well.

BTW, I notice that MEC does still publish loft data on the bags they sell, unlike REI. IMO, loft is the main good measure of a bag's warmth.

Finally- a personal bias without any evidence: I think that the 'heavier' lower fill number down bags probably perform better in damp conditions.....something I've never seen any test data for. The expensive 'cloud of air' bags (I own a GoLite lightweight bag as well as the Raven, also an older 600 fill winter bag) are just the thing for high and dry mountaineering or lightweight hiking, but I have my doubts about how they perform in a rainy coastal situation (or a snow cave).
 

M2G

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I like supporting those few companies left today who are committed to excellence in every facet of what they do, as well as how they work with their customers.

Western Mountaineering is one such entity and I've been using their Ultralite and Alpinlite for nearly 20 years, wet Alaska to dry high desert. Search and Rescue ops, to car camping.

http://www.westernmountaineering.com/index.cfm?section=about&page=Our-Company

Feathered Friends has been offering great sleeping bags for a very long time as well, have several sized to 5'3" and designed specifically for women. I think they are based in Seattle:
http://featheredfriends.com/down-sleepi ... -bags.html

There are a lot of great bags out there today though.
 

Astoriadave

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JohnAbercrombie wrote: If you are looking for something like the Kelty Ignite, you could consider the MEC Aquilina. Though it's not filled with DriDown, it's similar and a lot cheaper, with the low value of the Cdn dollar these days (about $185 USD ? for the Aquilina). The 'Small' size in that women's bag fits to 5'4"

I could not find any bags tailored for women in the 5 foot 3 inch range in the REI selection. That makes the Aquilina an attractive choice, I suspect. I wonder if loft figures need to be supplemented with information on construction and design information, per what Ron's Western Moutaineering site details. You surely do not get much on those latter two in an REI catalog.

benson, if you have not ordered from MEC before, I can vouch for them as a good mail order vendor. Not sure what cross the border shipping runs these days, but with the Canadian dollar low, as John says, that Aquilina CDN dollar price comes down quite a bit. Certainly better than ordering something from the US into Canada, with the punitive GST tacked on.
 

pikabike

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Jim, I bought an REI women's down bag, spec'ed as good for people up to 5'6" tall. I used it for a hot summer trip in the interior west and found it too warm for most nights there, but it was great for other times. The bag is allegedly rated down to 15 degrees, but I would say it is more like 25 or 30. I used it on a backpack in Yellowstone in August, where it was comfortably warm. So the temp comfort will depend on altitude, among other things.

That bag is almost 10 yrs old. I got it because my other (synthetic fill) bag would not compress enough to fit in my kayak hatch, even with a compression bag smushing it.

The women-specific fit is nice. She is welcome to do a test fit in mine if she wants. Although the bag is an old model, the 5'6" sleeper height was not unique, and I think REI still sells a similar one. Very reasonably priced.
 

pikabike

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Re: Sleeping bag recommendations...analogous current bag

REI Serrana women's regular bag appears to be the current version of my old Mojave bag. Same length, same fill power, and the new standardized temp rating matches my personal rating of the Mojave. It WILL fit a 5'3" woman well, because that is my height also. I have always preferred the shorter bags because there is no need to fold the excess length under the feet to keep them warm! As for liners, I have used a thin liner without problems, but a bulky one, such as 200 or 300 weight fleece, might be pushing it. Then again, I didn't need one with this bag. If necessary, she could use a bulky fleece OUTSIDE the sleeping bag instead of inside it.
 

The GCW

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Along with high loft premium 850-fill goose down (Like the Western Mountaineering Antelope)

get an Exped 9 down mat to extend warmth. Those things are great to sleep on for comfort too.

If the bag being used now could benefit by being just a little warmer, the Exped 9 downmat will do that and they have an Exped 7 also.
 

The GCW

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Worth mentioning for compactness, I don't think an 850-fill goose down filler can be beat for size, weight and warmth.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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The first question we should have asked Benson was:"What's your budget?"

Exped Downmat 9 and a nice Western Mountaineering bag.....

Could be :yikes: or :big_thumb depending on the cash flow and recreation budget.
 

M2G

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The GCW said:
Along with high loft premium 850-fill goose down (Like the Western Mountaineering Antelope)

get an Exped 9 down mat to extend warmth. Those things are great to sleep on for comfort too.

If the bag being used now could benefit by being just a little warmer, the Exped 9 downmat will do that and they have an Exped 7 also.

Another vote for the Exped down sleeping pads. Great support from that company too. Some things are worth the $$. These pads are light and compact for what they offer in comfort, function and longevity. Smart way to fill them and I think they were the first, though it may have been BA, can't recall for sure.
 

Mac50L

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M2G said:
Another vote for the Exped down sleeping pads.
Totally agree but how do you find a slow leak, slow enough that it is just flat an hour before one should wake up? Yes, tried it in the bath but unless there's another method, looks like back to the bath (or borrow my partner's one when she isn't looking).

Unless you are over weight, the 7 appears to be enough, unless of course it leaks..... :cry:
 

M2G

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Mac50L said:
M2G said:
Another vote for the Exped down sleeping pads.
Totally agree but how do you find a slow leak, slow enough that it is just flat an hour before one should wake up? Yes, tried it in the bath but unless there's another method, looks like back to the bath (or borrow my partner's one when she isn't looking).

Unless you are over weight, the 7 appears to be enough, unless of course it leaks..... :cry:

Well, I've never had any one of my three pads from them (car camping, summer and winter) leak but I suspect the answer may be to wad it up and jump on it to make the leak big enough to hear, then patch it with the included kit. : ) But seriously, they have a great return policy, the last time I looked.
 

Mac50L

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M2G said:
But seriously, they have a great return policy, the last time I looked.
Might try it but I bought it second hand. It had only been round Spitzbergen and to Greenland so not used much. She wanted a new model and the old model used the bag as a pump, a much better arrangement I thought. Only had for 5+ years and been round the world a couple of times since and I haven't used it north of the Arctic Circle, not eaten by wolves, only used in the desert for a week so don't know why it should give trouble.
 

M2G

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Mac50L said:
Might try it but I bought it second hand. It had only been round Spitzbergen and to Greenland so not used much. She wanted a new model and the old model used the bag as a pump, a much better arrangement I thought. Only had for 5+ years and been round the world a couple of times since and I haven't used it north of the Arctic Circle, not eaten by wolves, only used in the desert for a week so don't know why it should give trouble.
OK. : ) One of the best ways I've been able to find very small leaks (in bicycle trekking tire tubes) is to find a quiet place, fill to the *max* and rotate it around with it to my ear, listening. You can't always find a tub of fresh water out in the wilds. That said, I've never failed to not find a leak with a sink/tub full of water. I'd still give Exped a call and see what they say. I've always heard great things about their product support…and I hear quite a lot given my website. Big Agnes and NeoAir are other favorites.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Mac50L said:
Totally agree but how do you find a slow leak, slow enough that it is just flat an hour before one should wake up? Yes, tried it in the bath but unless there's another method, looks like back to the bath
I bought a used Exped pad (seller was deceptive) that had a slow leak and found the leak using the bathtub. I patched it with the included Exped patch kit and the pad works fine now.
 

Dan_Millsip

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M2G said:
One of the best ways I've been able to find very small leaks (in bicycle trekking tire tubes) is to find a quiet place, fill to the *max* and rotate it around with it to my ear, listening.
I do the same but if i still can't find the leak, I'll hold the tube close to my eye as I rotate -- the eye is pretty effective in sensing very small flows of air -- and this works if it's not super quiet. Don't know how well this would work on a mattress but if I were out in the middle of nowhere with not much else to do I'd probably give it a shot with the hopes of a better nights sleep.

And if I still couldn't find the leak, I'd contact the manufacturer when I got home and ask them for suggestions.
 

Mac50L

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JohnAbercrombie said:
Mac50L said:
the old model used the bag as a pump, a much better arrangement I thought.
I agree; the 'schnozzel' bag is a lot better than that built-in 'pump' which takes a lot longer to do the job.
My partner's one has that inbuilt pump and I usually use my bag to pump her mattress with. About 14 bag pumps to 40+ inbuilt presses.

And just when you think that's it, they change the game again. The new ones use a totally different bag and nozzle, not compatible with the older models, but much greater pump capacity - from what I've seen at a distance...

As for tyres and leaks, after decades of bicycle touring and I can't think of a hole I've not found, but this is such a slow leak it is going to be really hard.
 

benson

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Thanks for all the input. Looks like we'll be toasting our REI dividend on a good bag...a women's specific design in the 25F to 30F rated range down bag most likely. We've been using Sea to Summit event compression dry sacks and the Thermarest Neoair pads for a good while. A good combo for NDK hatches. I've got 3 patches on my Neoair, but it held up just fine last weekend.
 
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