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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need to get a sleeping bag. 3 seasons and indoors, but I get cold VERY easily (I set the AC at 80 in the summer). Think this would be suitable? I've never bought one so I don't know what to look for. I've seen the same bag listed for twice as much elsewhere, and my options for short bags are limited (my father's regular sized 30+ year old mummy bag is too big).

http://store.yahoo.com/cspoutdoors/eucimustslba.html
 

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Bass Pro in Charlotte has a great selection!

My husband and I both have a Slumberjack Big Timber 10 degrees. I had another one and this one is MUCH warmer!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm in Chapel Hill, so Charlotte would be a little bit of a haul for me just to look at sleeping bags. I wasn't sure if a 15 would be too warm, but I guess not. The guy at Dick's sporting goods wasn't any help, haven't been to REI yet.
 

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How (where?) are you going to be using the bag? Backpacking? Mountaineering? Casual camping? Extreme Cold Weather? All these factors determine what you need in a bag.

Forget the idiots at the big box stores (e.g. Dick's), you're better off going to REI or EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) for a more informed opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It will probably be strapped to the back of my bike most of the time. Maybe the motorcycle, maybe the bicycle. Used indoors or outside when lows will probably be 40 or higher (I really don't handle cold well). My work schedule is crazy, so it would be used mostly for short weekend trips.

I read to add 20 or more degrees to the rating if you want to be comfortable, so that's why I ended up considering the 15. The same site also has a 30 version.
 

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if your near a military base you can find a 3 piece sleeping bag at some knock off surplus store. Military sleeping bags are probably the only piece of equiptment the military issues that isn't crap. Very comfy and can squish down to the size of a soccer ball
 

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Whatever bag you choose, you might want to get a bag liner to go with it. I have one made of fleece that works great with my mid-weight bag.

My old bag liner is all worn out from carbon dating and x-rays.

JC
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jet: I would really like to get a short bag, and I doubt surplus would have those. At 5'5" and 115lbs I am not big enough to fill a bag made for the military :). I think I'm going to get the bag I posted, only question is if I should get the 15 or 30 version.

know it all: You think I should get a 15 or a 30 and a liner? I could make a polar fleece or flannel liner easy enough. I'm confused and no one will give me a straight answer.
 

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cultureslayer said:
know it all: You think I should get a 15 or a 30 and a liner? I could make a polar fleece or flannel liner easy enough. I'm confused and no one will give me a straight answer.
I would go with the 15, I don't like being cold either. Easy enough to cool down, just unzip it a little ways. Hard to make a thinner bag warmer. On really warm nights, I use the liner by itself.

JC
 

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Get the 15 degree one, if not a 5 degree one, from a reputable maker. The suggestion of shopping at REI or EMS is good. Also, make sure you get a thermarest pad, nice and thick, if you are going to be sleeping on bare ground or something cold - that will save a lot of heat.
 

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+1 for talking to the folks at REI. When I worked there, we'd tell you that the degree ratings on most of those bags don't mean crap, outside of their own brand. They'll be able to give you the best idea of what you'll want. I also recommend the separate liner.
 

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Rollin' & Trippin'
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Jet said:
if your near a military base you can find a 3 piece sleeping bag at some knock off surplus store. Military sleeping bags are probably the only piece of equiptment the military issues that isn't crap. Very comfy and can squish down to the size of a soccer ball
+1 My BIL brought us back some sleeping bags. My FIL gave us some military issued blankets from when he was in the Marines. All of it is awesome! Even though those wool blankets are scratchy as hell, they're great as long as you don't get them directly on your skin. Anytime we go camping we take them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)

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When on the bike I use this or something similar and something like this. Both of these, together, will fit into a large tank bag. Makes packing a dream, but I'm pretty cold-blooded by nature, and wouldn't used that setup at elevation for more than the summer months.

When thinking about temperature, think about sleeping with a layer of clothing on too. Socks, a long sleve shirt, long johns, and a fleese cap can make a big diffrance.

It does, however, higlight the point that space is much more of a premium than weight on a moto, so try to find the smallest-packing bag that you can find in your teperature range. If you can swing it, down bags pack small, weight little, and modern waterproof fabrics make them more viable than they ever have been.


Edit: As soon as the sun comes up, that tent's going to be incredibly warm in the summer. It will also dew on the inside something fierce. If you're buying a real tent (and not a bivy or a tent/hammock), get something that has a speperate rain fly. The additional ventalation is _well_ worth the extra price. Remember, if you take care of your bag and tent, these are 20+ year investments. My cold weather bag was purcase at REI in about 1985. Still works great, and I use it all the time.

Kelty makes good stuff, and that looks like it has all the features I'd want in a sleeping bag. The Stuff size is a little larger than I like, but you cand probibly get it smaller with compression caps.
 

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cultureslayer said:
It will probably be strapped to the back of my bike most of the time. Maybe the motorcycle, maybe the bicycle. Used indoors or outside when lows will probably be 40 or higher (I really don't handle cold well). My work schedule is crazy, so it would be used mostly for short weekend trips.
In that case it sounds like you are going to need a more compact bag. Space is at a premium on a motorcycle/bicycle. As such, you should be looking into the sleeping bags that are designed for backpacking use, which take weight and size into consideration.

The deal is generally the more expensive the bag/higher quality fill material, the less weight/size it will take up. The Kelty bag you linked to isn't a bad bag ... Kelty makes decent stuff at a reasonable price. However, it uses Holofil 2, which is a relatively old fill material; there are many more fill materials that insulate better with less material and better compression characteristics.

Here's the general hierarchy, in ascending order:

Holofill
Qualofill
Polarguard
Polarguard 3D
Polarguard Delta

(I have excluded feather down as I don't particularly like down because it doesn't insulate when it's wet. All of the above [synthetics] will continue to insulate even if it gets wet.)

Does this mean you should run out and buy a Polarguard Delta bag? No. Polarguard Delta bags are very expensive and unless you really need the light weight of a Delta bag, you can live with the Holofill or Qualofill bag. The incremental increase (in weight savings and stuff size) goes down as you go further up the chain. It's all a question of what you need and how much you want to spend.

For a backpacker, where each ounce can be important, a Delta bag makes sense. For a motorcyclist, where weight is not that important (but size is), I'd say find a bag in your price range that has the optimal temp rating and stuff size.

Other things to look for:

1. Cold spots develop when the insulation shifts around such that it clumps up into one place. Imagine if your sleeping bag was one big pillow full of feathers ... if all the feathers fell to your foot area, the rest of you would be pretty cold! This is why you want a bag that has a lot of baffles sewn into the bag so the insulation doesn't shift as much.

The higher end bags will feature shingle-type construction ... this allows overlap between the "pockets" and helps prevent cold spots.

2. Insulated zipper flap. This is a long strip of insulation that runs along your zipper. If you don't have one of these, the insulation stops where the zipper begins, meaning you have a long area where heat is escaping and you are not insulated. The better bags will have a full zipper flap constructed of the same material/fill as the main part of the bag.

3. Foot box. Whether you sleep on your side or on your back, your feet have to go somewhere. The foot box provides you with a 3-dimensional space for your feet, which improves comfort. The cheaper bags will just taper down to a (essentially) 2-dimensional pocket, which is not very comfortable. The higher end bags have foot boxes -- some even have extra insulation down there so your dawgs don't get cold.

4. Hood. In colder environments, you will want insulation around your head as well. Imagine a cobra-type hood that goes around your head, that is integrated into the bag. This saves you from having to wear a hat while you sleep, to keep your ears and the rest of your head warm. BTW, the Kelty bag you linked to does not have this.

The higher end bags will have these, in addition to a comfort tube (basically a small tube of insulation) around the part of the hood that goes around your forehead. This is to prevent chafing from the drawstring. Same goes for the area that goes across your neck/chest.

5. Mateable zippers - if you and your SO want to link bags, you can buy one bag with a right hand zipper and another with a left-hand zipper and then combine the two.

You should also see if there are other little features that you would like in your bag. These are generally not "deal breakers" but more of the "nice to have" features:

- watch pocket: your watch goes into a little velcro/zipper pocket near your head so you can hear your alarm go off in the morning and not wonder where your watch is.

- velcro zipper lock: when your bag is zipped up to the top, you don't want your bag coming unzipped during the night. This can happen if you're one of those sleepers that tosses and turns all night. The higher end bags will come with a little velcro tab to fold over your zipper and prevent this from happening. Most often the zipper lock will double as the watch pocket.

- extended/glow zipper: well, it's nighttime and nature calls. Time to fumble around and get out of your bag ... but if you have one of these doo-hickeys, which include a glow-in-the-dark element that is attached to the end of your zipper, you can easily find your zipper. Again, another high-end bag feature.

- mesh storage sack: you should not store your bag (long-term) in the provided stuff sack. That's for traveling only; you should store all bags in an uncompressed state. The higher end bags will come with a large mesh sack for storage. You can always buy one but it's nice if it comes with one.

- pillow pocket: a velcro pocket for your pillow. Prevents the pillow from slipping out from under your head while you snooze.

My summer backpacking bag is a 35 degree North Face Flight. It is no longer made but you can see a lot of the features listed above. :shrug

Last, Campmor is an excellent place to buy. Great customer service and pricing. But check out your local REI or EMS and get some ideas and look at the bags. Then you can buy through mail order once you get more familiar with the features.
 
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