summer touring sleeping bag/pad

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Frank Riley, Feb 15, 2003.

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  1. Frank Riley

    Frank Riley Guest

    So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for a
    sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?

    Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on
    one of these?
     
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  2. David Storm

    David Storm Guest

    I use a Thermorest 3/4 length Luxury series self-inflating pad. Its very comfortable and reasonably
    light...makes loaded touring bearable. I use a relatively cheap Sierra Designs synthetic bag. Its
    quite adequate for California Springs and summers. Never had a problem with wet, but I also use a
    small, single Eureka tent.

    "Frank Riley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    > a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    > leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    > synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    > won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    > degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    > Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    > of these?
     
  3. In article <[email protected]>, Frank Riley <[email protected]> wrote:
    >So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    >a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    >leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    >synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible.

    I have always used synthetic bags because of price more than anything else so I ended up with a
    North Face 35 degree polarguard bag I use for the summer which is ~2 pounds. If it were actually 35
    degrees I would be freezing my ass off in that bag, I think it is not "excessively insulated" for
    your purposes. I think I paid $80 for it from campmor.com or sierratradingpost.com

    GoLite has a 1lb 7oz (size L) 40-degree down bag which is $200 list. See golite.com

    --Paul
     
  4. Chas.

    Chas. Guest

    Frank,

    When I rode coast to coast, my accomodations were:
    - single person tent w/ fly
    - down sleeping bag rated to something like 30 degrees F
    - thin rubber mat to sleep on

    There were two (2) keys to staying dry:
    - a waterproof tent/fly arrangement
    - packing the tent + sleeping bag in a plastic garbage bag when riding

    I carried the tent + sleeping bag on top of a rear rack, and everything else went into
    front paniers.

    By the end of the trip I was convinced my system could not have been better...

    Have fun.

    REgards, Chas.

    Frank Riley <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    > a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    > leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    > synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    > won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    > degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    > Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    > of these?
     
  5. Scott

    Scott Guest

    Frank: Think again about down. With the proper care, the wet factor shouldn't be that bad. I've been
    using down for many years for mountaineering, backpacking, and, more recently, bike touring. The
    savings in weight and bulk are amazing, especially if you consider a 20 deg. F bag, which should be
    all you need for summer touring in the mountains. In terms of pads, my wife and I have had it with
    whimpy pads. Thermarest makes some fantastic 2" thick, self-inflating pads. You can get thinner
    ones, too. For situations where weight is a concern, go with the "light-foam" option. Any good,
    high-end backpacking store should have several models to check out. Lay down on them for a good long
    while; experiment with different pressures. Personally, the thinnest I would go would be 1.5 in. As
    with bents, try to do a little test riding!

    Regards, Scott

    Frank Riley <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    > a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    > leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    > synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    > won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    > degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    > Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    > of these?
     
  6. Bc Drums

    Bc Drums Guest

    Frank Riley wrote:

    >So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    >a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    >leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    >synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    >won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    >degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    >Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    >of these?
    >
    >
    Frank,

    I went coast to coast in 1981 with a North Face down bag and an actual inflatable air mattress- not
    a self-inflating foam pad. I had a small, very light tent from Stephens Warmlite. My trip went East
    to West, starting in June. The bag was too warm at first, so I bought a twin bed flat sheet at a
    department store along the way. I folded the sheet in half and sewed the bottom shut and halfway up
    one side, to create a sleep sack. It was great for the warm weather. Once I got to the Rockies, I
    needed the down bag.

    Get a good tent, and you can use a down bag.

    BCD
     
  7. Trailgalore

    Trailgalore Guest

    "Frank Riley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    > a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    > leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    > synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    > won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    > degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    > Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    > of these?

    I prefer a 30 degree bag for summer/winter as take off stuff if to warm/ add if to cold, its a mid
    temp bag. It rains quite often in the rockies, mainly starting in late afternoon, the temp drops
    fast. Just keep a down bag dry, but crawling in a wet synthetic is no joy.
     
  8. Trailgalore wrote:
    > "Frank Riley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get
    >> for a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)?
    >> I'm leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying
    >> find a synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the
    >> rockies, but won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for
    >> less than 50 degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >>
    >> Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on
    >> one of these?
    >
    > I prefer a 30 degree bag for summer/winter as take off stuff if to warm/ add if to cold, its a mid
    > temp bag. It rains quite often in the rockies, mainly starting in late afternoon, the temp drops
    > fast. Just keep a down bag dry, but crawling in a wet synthetic is no joy.

    It's the humidity that makes a down bag useless. I always use down bags in the snow and Mountains,
    but summertime I use synthetics. There is absolutely no reason to have down in a summerbag. Get a
    waterproof sack that goes around it and you won't need a tent either.

    --
    Replace the dots to reply

    Perre
     
  9. Robin Hubert

    Robin Hubert Guest

    "Per Elmsäter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:B%[email protected]...
    > Trailgalore wrote:
    > > "Frank Riley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]...
    > >> So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get
    > >> for a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)?
    > >> I'm leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying
    > >> find a synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the
    > >> rockies, but won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated
    > >> for less than 50 degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    > >>
    > >> Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on
    > >> one of these?
    > >
    > > I prefer a 30 degree bag for summer/winter as take off stuff if to warm/ add if to cold, its a
    > > mid temp bag. It rains quite often in the rockies, mainly starting in late afternoon, the temp
    > > drops fast. Just keep a down bag dry, but crawling in a wet synthetic is no joy.
    >
    > It's the humidity that makes a down bag useless. I always use down bags in the snow and Mountains,
    > but summertime I use synthetics. There is
    absolutely
    > no reason to have down in a summerbag. Get a waterproof sack that goes around it and you won't
    > need a tent
    either.

    Unless you like mosquitos gnawing on your face. The only time this wasn't a problem for me was
    along the Pacific coast from Seattle into British Columbia. Perhaps it's this way in the desert
    too, but ....

    I guess you can use a mosquito net. I'm sure they make them for bivvies. But why avoid a tent? At
    least you get the added benefit of a little privacy.

    Robin Hubert
     
  10. bobqzzi

    bobqzzi Guest

    On Sat, 15 Feb 2003 23:44:06 GMT, Frank Riley <[email protected]> wrote:

    >So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    >a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    >leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    >synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    >won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    >degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    >Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    >of these?

    You could almost get by with bivy sack. I'd definitly go sythetic- you know you'll get wet.

    As for a sleeping pad. I have found that, by far, the best sleeping pad is one of those inflatable
    rafts used in swimming pools. It offere enough insulation in warm weather, weighs very little, is
    extremely compact, adn is about 500 times more comfortable than those therma rest pads. The
    downside: you have to inflate and deflate it everyday. Deflation is a bit more of a PIA, but you can
    get some that have a larger valve.

    Good luck on your trip!

    Bob
     
  11. Jedharrison

    Jedharrison Guest

    I prefer a synthetic bag (REI 40degree) for spring/summer. Still provides warmth when wet (tho'
    muggy), and it WILL get wet. Even on rare trips when you don't get it rain wet, cahneces are you get
    it damp from perspiration/condensation in your tent (when it's warm or with the rainfly on).

    When I am touring, I'm anxious to get going, and rarely want to air out my bag (or tent) till it's
    dry. And if you get the chance, you can always stuff it in a dryer.

    Frank Riley wrote:

    >So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    >a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    >leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    >synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    >won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    >degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    >Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    >of these?
     
  12. Frank Riley

    Frank Riley Guest

    "Per Elmsäter" <[email protected]> wrote in news:B%[email protected]:

    > Trailgalore wrote:
    >> "Frank Riley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >> news:[email protected]...
    >>> So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get
    >>> for a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)?
    >>> I'm leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying
    >>> find a synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the
    >>> rockies, but won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated
    >>> for less than 50 degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >>>
    >>> Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on
    >>> one of these?
    >>
    >> I prefer a 30 degree bag for summer/winter as take off stuff if to warm/ add if to cold, its a
    >> mid temp bag. It rains quite often in the rockies, mainly starting in late afternoon, the temp
    >> drops fast. Just keep a down bag dry, but crawling in a wet synthetic is no joy.
    >
    > It's the humidity that makes a down bag useless. I always use down bags in the snow and Mountains,
    > but summertime I use synthetics. There is absolutely no reason to have down in a summerbag. Get a
    > waterproof sack that goes around it and you won't need a tent either.

    Does humidity really affect a down bag that much? I will be spending several days riding through
    Nebraska and Iowa humidity will definitely be a consideration for me.
     
  13. Karen M.

    Karen M. Guest

    Frank wrote:

    > So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    > a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    > leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    > synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    > won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    > degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    > Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    > of these?

    I use a lightweight (45 degree? 40 degree??) synthetic bag, and a four-chamber self-inflating
    mattress (from WallyWorld). In a July tour in Michigan's upper peninsula I about froze to death,
    so I added one of those space blankets to the ballast. Never a problem since. HTH --Karen M.
     
  14. Frank Riley <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    > a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    > leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    > synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    > won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    > degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    > Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    > of these?

    Kelty makes a nice light synthetic bag called the Light Year 3D, it's 30 deg. Very good value,
    good warranty, etc. For down, I have a Kelty Light Year 45deg., weighs next to nothing, good
    summer sac. ThermaRest Ultralight 3/4 pad. MountainSmith has some new fancy light bags worth
    looking at also. --Jim
     
  15. Smokey

    Smokey Guest

    Frank Riley <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    > a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    > leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    > synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    > won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    > degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    > Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    > of these?

    i don't have a lot of info on sleeping bags, except to say that i've always used synthetic, due to
    cost and tolerance to water. for a sleeping pad, i can highly recommend the thermorest sleeping pad.
    it actually uses a combination of foam and air to adjust to your weight. i've got the one i bought
    in 1980 and it still works perfectly after many trips on my motorcycle. if you can find space for
    it, you will love it! smokey
     
  16. Tbgibb

    Tbgibb Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Frank Riley <[email protected]> writes:

    >So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    >a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    >leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    >synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    >won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    >degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?

    50 F is too light for a sleeping bag for Colorado. A light weight down bag would be perfect for
    this, but rated down to freezing (yes, 32 F). The dampness thing is a potential issue, but my wife
    and I managed nicely with down bags in Iceland so you should be able to manage with them here in
    dry, sunny Colorado. I find that down has a wider comfort range than synthetic. Just be sure to
    drape the bag out in the sun often to allow it to loose the previous night's condensation.
    >
    >Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    >of these?

    Yes, a Thermarest ultralight gives me remarkable comfort.

    Tom Gibb <[email protected]
     
  17. Ant

    Ant Guest

    Frank Riley <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > So far, one of the hardest decisions I'm trying to make for my trip this summer is what to get for
    > a sleeping bag. Do you guys prefer down (to save weight/size) or synthetic (good when wet)? I'm
    > leaning towards synthetic because I'm sure I'll get hit by rain at some point. I'm trying find a
    > synthetic bag that is as light and compact as possible. I will be going through the rockies, but
    > won't be camping at the top of any passes. I'm thinking I won't need a bag rated for less than 50
    > degrees (I'm a hot sleeper). Any suggestions?
    >
    > Also, I've been looking at one of the 3/4 self-inflatable sleeping pads. Are you guys happy on one
    > of these?

    A few musings: my experience is in the mountains, but our needs are similar. If it is not going to
    be cold (for me, at least 40 degrees at night), my favorite system is a summer synthetic bag with a
    tarp for shelter. the polarguard type bags are heavier and harder to stuff than down, as has been
    mentioned here. however, in the light weight summer bags a different breed of insulation is often
    used, thin thinsulate or primaloft type insulators which better approximate down, IMO. my summer bag
    packs, with effort, into a roughly nalgene-sized package with the help of a compression sack. in
    full sun, my bag dries from soaked and rung-out to desert-dry in less than an hour. if its just damp
    its more like minutes, and just sleeping in it will dry it out in not too long at all.

    i am also a big fan of the 3/4 ultralight thermarest. i def think 3/4 is the way to go. your head
    usually needs no pad as i use a fleece or other clothing for a pillow, and your feet can rest on
    your pack, or if it is warm, need no padding at all. the ultralight weight is fine for me, but i am
    a lightweight. ive heard tht heavier folk need a little more cushion to stop the pressure points
    from essentially resting on the ground. i also like 3/4 length riderests. much cheaper than
    thermarest, but it doesnt pack down. my thermarest gets tiny. like packed it is 6 x 6 x 4" or so.

    tarps. for when wind is not a problem, and it is not bitter cold, i am the biggest tarp fan there
    is. a lightweight tarp made of coated ripstop nylon weighs nothing. seriously, it weighs as much as
    a bivy sack, but you dont sweat your bag out every night, you can cook under it, you can share with
    a nother person, and it is far more flexible. it can be a ground cloth for starry nights, has
    better ventilation than anything else, can be set up (w/ appropriate lightweight cord) in infintie
    ways, and so on and so forth. it takes a day or two, and the right knots, to make it a five minute
    set up, but when you have it, it beats a tent for just about all summer use. the downside is bugs.
    for this, i always have a bug net which covered me from my waist (for warm nights) to my head. this
    was a two dollar half ounce affair made out of no-see-um netting with an elastic drawstring.
    touring the midwest plains? if there are no trees around to tie your tarp to, a couple sticks,
    short tent poles, or trekking poles will suffice to hold it off the ground. you can get away wiht
    just one. tie lines to stick top, then tension to a stake or rock on teh ground. i could go on
    about this for hours, but ill quit.

    i have no regrets about any of these pieces of gear.

    cheers anthony
     
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