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.