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Ideal JMT Sleeping Bag (July 12 - Aug 4)

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  • skdupre
    Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a variety of weather. I ve heard of 90 s in the valley and freezing temps above 10k ft. I
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 2, 2010
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      Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a variety of weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing temps above 10k ft. I have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree bag. I'm considering forking down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20 degree bag at 30 oz.

      It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a 2010 thru hike.
    • John
      I use a 800 fill 24oz bag for all my summer Sierra trips. The bag has no side baffle so all the down may be shifted to top when needed. I am a warm sleeper. If
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 2, 2010
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        I use a 800 fill 24oz bag for all my summer Sierra trips. The bag has no side baffle so all the down may be shifted to top when needed. I am a warm sleeper. If the nights get cold I wear more cloths inside, camp low if need be. Remember that a tent adds significant "warmth" to the ambient air temperature.
        Last August I was a little chilly camped below Forester Pass when the temps fell to the teens. This is rare and usually won't last more than a day or two.

        I usually take a tarp and a bivi sack, the latter also adds warmth. On my '08 JMT hike I literally sat out a 3 hour deluge at Guitar Lake that turned to an all night drizzle, I was wishing I had a tent! (the same cell that flooded Independence)

        John Dittli
        Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
        www.johndittli.com

        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "skdupre" <duprelufkin@...> wrote:
        >
        > Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a variety of weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing temps above 10k ft. I have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree bag. I'm considering forking down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20 degree bag at 30 oz.
        >
        > It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a 2010 thru hike.
        >
      • robert shattuck
        My new year, pre-shower, pre-coffee ramble . . . Since I was a crazy teen in 1973, I ve used the same bag, summer and winter, until this summer. it was made by
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 2, 2010
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          My new year, pre-shower, pre-coffee ramble . . . 

          Since I was a crazy teen in 1973, I've used the same bag, summer and winter, until this summer. it was made by TRAIL WISE, out of Berkeley, California. I think they got bought and folded into North Face.
           
          The Bag weighs in at 5.5 pounds and I don't remember the rating but it was one of their top-of-the-line expedition bags. Let's just say I've never been cold in this bag––not even today, some thirty-six years later. I use it now for winter trips. I keep it laid out under my bed. 

          I usually got around to getting into it and zipping up, when I slept on whitney, but mostly I just slept under it. This was a drag of sorts before I had a tent. Sleeping under it meant that body parts would eventually find their way out from under it and the mosquitos would feast on "arm of bob" and so on. Not fun to wake up to. 

          Once I got a tent, the bag was pure warmth, luxury and weight on the JMT. 

          This past May of '08, I was in Nepal, and able to purchase a super-light, wisp of a bag––made by Millet:

          http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=3280

          it has a rating of 8 degree centigrade--about 45 degree F. 

          I slept in it a lot, but mostly I was able to just (it's a very slim fit) get in up to my waist and for my top half I wore a patagonia R1 hoody and a montbell U.L down jacket. This combo proved to be a bit warm, if I got in the bag, but otherwise, the freedom I had to flail around was great. 

          All this to say, that a forty-degree bag, with the insurance of a layer or two (almost forgot, I used a liner also) will be fine for the JMT  . . . but go ahead and buy another bag, just for fun. 



          sparklefart.blogspot.com
          http://www.summitpost.org/plans/view_activity.php?post_id=6480






          To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
          From: duprelufkin@...
          Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2010 17:29:46 +0000
          Subject: [John Muir Trail] Ideal JMT Sleeping Bag (July 12 - Aug 4)

           
          Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a variety of weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing temps above 10k ft. I have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree bag. I'm considering forking down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20 degree bag at 30 oz.

          It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a 2010 thru hike.




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        • Barbara Karagosian
          I have a 15 degree Mountain Hardware Phantom 15 (duh) bag, down, that has been great up to sleeping at 11,000 feet with me just wearing long silk undies and
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 2, 2010
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            I have a 15 degree Mountain Hardware Phantom 15 (duh) bag, down, that has been great up to sleeping at 11,000 feet with me just wearing long silk undies and top, plus beanie if needed. The bag is a long female version, at 31 ozs. Your choice also depends on what pad u have.  I sleep cold and need cushioning so used to use a Thermarest Prolite 4  (24 ozs :-( ) and now use a Neoair. I've used the latter at 10,000 feet in Sept and was fine.  I use a doublewall tent tho often sleep with just the mesh.   

            Barbara

            On Jan 2, 2010, at 9:29 AM, "skdupre" <duprelufkin@...> wrote:

             

            Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a variety of weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing temps above 10k ft. I have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree bag. I'm considering forking down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20 degree bag at 30 oz.

            It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a 2010 thru hike.

          • Barbara Karagosian
            Hi John, I m interested why you take a bivy sack and a tent? Is it to protect the down bag in deluges or for star sleeping?! Thanks, B PS. Still loving the
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 2, 2010
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              Hi John,
              I'm interested why you take a bivy sack and a tent?  Is it to protect the down bag in deluges or for star sleeping?!  Thanks, B
              PS. Still loving the book!

              Barbara

              On Jan 2, 2010, at 9:52 AM, "John" <shop@...> wrote:

               

              I use a 800 fill 24oz bag for all my summer Sierra trips. The bag has no side baffle so all the down may be shifted to top when needed. I am a warm sleeper. If the nights get cold I wear more cloths inside, camp low if need be. Remember that a tent adds significant "warmth" to the ambient air temperature.
              Last August I was a little chilly camped below Forester Pass when the temps fell to the teens. This is rare and usually won't last more than a day or two.

              I usually take a tarp and a bivi sack, the latter also adds warmth. On my '08 JMT hike I literally sat out a 3 hour deluge at Guitar Lake that turned to an all night drizzle, I was wishing I had a tent! (the same cell that flooded Independence)

              John Dittli
              Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
              www.johndittli. com

              --- In johnmuirtrail@ yahoogroups. com, "skdupre" <duprelufkin@ ...> wrote:
              >
              > Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a variety of weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing temps above 10k ft. I have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree bag. I'm considering forking down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20 degree bag at 30 oz.
              >
              > It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a 2010 thru hike.
              >

            • John
              Sorry for the confusion, but I don t take a bivy and a tent. On shorter trips (up to a week) I just take the bivy. On longer trips I like having something
              Message 6 of 13 , Jan 2, 2010
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                Sorry for the confusion, but I don't take a bivy and a tent. On shorter trips (up to a week) I just take the bivy. On longer trips I like having something incase it decides to rain for a couple of days straight, so I have a light weight tarp. I like sleeping "out" so I use the bivy 99% of the time; helps keep thermarest from puncture, takes care of dew, light rain and bugs as well as adds warmth. But it gets old (and damp) waiting out Pacific storms in a bivy.

                On solo trips I like to curl up in nooks and crannies, bivisacks are nice for that as well.

                A light weight 1 person tent would probably be comparable in weight, but I don't own one (and I have 3 bivisacks!)

                I should also note I only do this in the Sierra and other "desert" ranges.

                One last note. When I go with Leslie we use a similar bag that I opened into a comforter and sewed on a light bottom to hold our pads. She likes a tent, so our two person sleeping system; tent, 3/4 thermarests, bag, weighs ~7lb total. This could be lighter using a non freestanding tent and the new "foamless" pads.

                Glad your still enjoying the book

                Hope that clarifies

                John Dittli
                Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
                www.johndittli.com

                John
                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Barbara Karagosian <barbara@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi John,
                > I'm interested why you take a bivy sack and a tent? Is it to protect
                > the down bag in deluges or for star sleeping?! Thanks, B
                > PS. Still loving the book!
                >
                > Barbara
                >
                > On Jan 2, 2010, at 9:52 AM, "John" <shop@...> wrote:
                >
                > > I use a 800 fill 24oz bag for all my summer Sierra trips. The bag
                > > has no side baffle so all the down may be shifted to top when
                > > needed. I am a warm sleeper. If the nights get cold I wear more
                > > cloths inside, camp low if need be. Remember that a tent adds
                > > significant "warmth" to the ambient air temperature.
                > > Last August I was a little chilly camped below Forester Pass when
                > > the temps fell to the teens. This is rare and usually won't last
                > > more than a day or two.
                > >
                > > I usually take a tarp and a bivi sack, the latter also adds warmth.
                > > On my '08 JMT hike I literally sat out a 3 hour deluge at Guitar
                > > Lake that turned to an all night drizzle, I was wishing I had a
                > > tent! (the same cell that flooded Independence)
                > >
                > > John Dittli
                > > Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
                > > www.johndittli.com
                > >
                > > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "skdupre" <duprelufkin@>
                > > wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a
                > > variety of weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing
                > > temps above 10k ft. I have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree
                > > bag. I'm considering forking down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20
                > > degree bag at 30 oz.
                > > >
                > > > It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a
                > > 2010 thru hike.
                > > >
                > >
                > >
                >
              • Jean Dickinson
                I appreciate this group and have been reading posts for a few weeks now. I m curious about whether anyone has used a Nunatak bag, specifically the Arc Alpinist
                Message 7 of 13 , Jan 2, 2010
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                  I appreciate this group and have been reading posts for a few weeks now.
                   
                  I'm curious about whether anyone has used a Nunatak bag, specifically the Arc Alpinist (+20 degrees) at 20 oz.  and $387 or the Arc Specialist (+32 degrees) at 16 oz. and $362. I've had a Marmot bag for years, but it is 3.4 pounds and I must trim my packload considerably to stay out anywhere near the two or three weeks I used to be on the trail. I'm curious about these particular bags, because they are built around a whole different concept -- more like a quilt, but not exactly. Also, I'm not sure if either would be warm enough for the JMT in early September. Thanks in advance for any comments.
                   
                  Jean
                   

                  To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                  From: barbara@...
                  Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2010 12:17:12 -0800
                  Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Ideal JMT Sleeping Bag (July 12 - Aug 4)

                   
                  Hi John,
                  I'm interested why you take a bivy sack and a tent?  Is it to protect the down bag in deluges or for star sleeping?!  Thanks, B
                  PS. Still loving the book!

                  Barbara

                  On Jan 2, 2010, at 9:52 AM, "John" <shop@johndittli. com> wrote:

                   

                  I use a 800 fill 24oz bag for all my summer Sierra trips. The bag has no side baffle so all the down may be shifted to top when needed. I am a warm sleeper. If the nights get cold I wear more cloths inside, camp low if need be. Remember that a tent adds significant "warmth" to the ambient air temperature.
                  Last August I was a little chilly camped below Forester Pass when the temps fell to the teens. This is rare and usually won't last more than a day or two.

                  I usually take a tarp and a bivi sack, the latter also adds warmth. On my '08 JMT hike I literally sat out a 3 hour deluge at Guitar Lake that turned to an all night drizzle, I was wishing I had a tent! (the same cell that flooded Independence)

                  John Dittli
                  Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
                  www.johndittli. com

                  --- In johnmuirtrail@ yahoogroups. com, "skdupre" <duprelufkin@ ...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a variety of weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing temps above 10k ft. I have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree bag. I'm considering forking down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20 degree bag at 30 oz.
                  >
                  > It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a 2010 thru hike.
                  >



                • Barbara Karagosian
                  Thanks for the clarification John - Barbara _____ From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John Sent: Saturday,
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jan 2, 2010
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                    Thanks for the clarification John - Barbara

                     


                    From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John
                    Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 12:48 PM
                    To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Ideal JMT Sleeping Bag (July 12 - Aug 4)

                     

                     


                    Sorry for the confusion, but I don't take a bivy and a tent. On shorter trips (up to a week) I just take the bivy. On longer trips I like having something incase it decides to rain for a couple of days straight, so I have a light weight tarp. I like sleeping "out" so I use the bivy 99% of the time; helps keep thermarest from puncture, takes care of dew, light rain and bugs as well as adds warmth. But it gets old (and damp) waiting out Pacific storms in a bivy.

                    On solo trips I like to curl up in nooks and crannies, bivisacks are nice for that as well.

                    A light weight 1 person tent would probably be comparable in weight, but I don't own one (and I have 3 bivisacks!)

                    I should also note I only do this in the Sierra and other "desert" ranges.

                    One last note. When I go with Leslie we use a similar bag that I opened into a comforter and sewed on a light bottom to hold our pads. She likes a tent, so our two person sleeping system; tent, 3/4 thermarests, bag, weighs ~7lb total. This could be lighter using a non freestanding tent and the new "foamless" pads.

                    Glad your still enjoying the book

                    Hope that clarifies

                    John Dittli
                    Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
                    www.johndittli. com

                    John
                    --- In johnmuirtrail@ yahoogroups. com, Barbara Karagosian <barbara@... > wrote:

                    >
                    > Hi John,
                    > I'm interested why you take a bivy sack and a tent? Is it to protect
                    > the down bag in deluges or for star sleeping?! Thanks, B
                    > PS. Still loving the book!
                    >
                    > Barbara
                    >
                    > On Jan 2, 2010, at 9:52 AM, "John" <shop@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > > I use a 800 fill 24oz bag for all my summer Sierra trips. The bag
                    > > has no side baffle so all the down may be shifted to top when
                    > > needed. I am a warm sleeper. If the nights get cold I wear more
                    > > cloths inside, camp low if need be. Remember that a tent adds
                    > > significant "warmth" to the ambient air temperature.
                    > > Last August I was a little chilly camped below Forester Pass when
                    > > the temps fell to the teens. This is rare and usually won't last
                    > > more than a day or two.
                    > >
                    > > I usually take a tarp and a bivi sack, the latter also adds warmth.
                    > > On my '08 JMT hike I literally sat out a 3 hour deluge at Guitar
                    > > Lake that turned to an all night
                    drizzle, I was wishing I had a
                    > > tent! (the same cell that flooded
                    w:st="on">Independence )
                    > >
                    > > John Dittli
                    > > Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
                    > > www.johndittli. com
                    > >
                    > > --- In johnmuirtrail@ yahoogroups. com,
                    "skdupre" <duprelufkin@ >
                    > > wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a
                    > > variety of weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing
                    > > temps above 10k ft. I have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree
                    > > bag. I'm considering forking down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20
                    > > degree bag at 30 oz.
                    > > >
                    > > > It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a
                    > > 2010 thru hike.
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >

                  • Jack Young
                    We used the ray jardine home sleeping quilt as we have for years. Ours is a mid weight and we decided that the next time we do the JMT we will use the alpine
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jan 3, 2010
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                      We used the ray jardine home sleeping quilt as we have for years. Ours is a mid weight and we decided that the next time we do the JMT we will use the alpine upgrade....which we now have and just need to assemble. We hit the trail at an unseasonably cold time of the year...22 degrees just below Mather Pass. A friend that did the trail the week after us reported a very warm hike.

                      http://www.ray-way.com/Quilt-Kit/index.htm

                      Be well,
                      Jack Young
                    • Peter Burke
                      Last year I almost bought a Western Mountaineering Versalite, which I conside the perfect bag for 3 season use in the Sierras, but the vendor could not deliver
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jan 3, 2010
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                        Last year I almost bought a Western Mountaineering Versalite, which I
                        conside the perfect bag for 3 season use in the Sierras, but the vendor
                        could not deliver so I had to grab something at the local REI just
                        before the trip.

                        I bought the REI Halo (for much less $ than the Versalite) and have been
                        quite happy with it. Rated 25 degrees, it was ok even in the coldest
                        nights later in September up at Trail Camp below Whitney, when my tent
                        was covered with ice inside and out, plus the moisture had settled on
                        the top of the sleeping bag and was starting to get the down moist by
                        early morning.

                        In July, I think I only zipped it once on Muir Pass above 12,000 feet,
                        and used it as a blanket for the rest of the hike. It sheds a tiny
                        amount of down through its seems, but nothing to be worried about. My
                        kids have the older REI Kilo bags and those have worked fine for them
                        over two JMT summer trips and will go back next year for another one.
                        All these bags pack extremely small and the loft comes back pretty
                        quickly after you pull it out of the compression bag. The zipper doesn't
                        snag and the hood really works well in cold nights. The cut isn't too
                        confining which allows me to turn in the bag without the bag's lesser
                        insulated bottom coming off my sleeping pad, but it isn't as comfortable
                        as my old North Face Superlight (which weighs 1.5 pounds more....)

                        I owned a Marmot Helium for a while but sold it because I didn't realize
                        it had only a half length zipper (didn't pay attention when bidding on
                        ebay). I'd say, the Halo is just as well made, weighs the same and costs
                        a lot less.
                      • Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd
                        I ve used a MontBell UL SS Down Hugger #1 for 3 seasons now in the Sierra (1 JMT trip, 2 HST trips plus many other miscellaneous 2 day to 2 week sierra
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jan 3, 2010
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                          I've used a MontBell UL SS Down Hugger #1 for 3 seasons now in the Sierra (1 JMT trip, 2 HST trips plus many other miscellaneous 2 day to 2 week sierra outings) and have found it to be absolutely perfect for Sierra summer conditions. It is rated to 15 degrees and weighs 2 lbs. Probably overkill for temp rating for most people, but I am a very cold sleeper and stay quite cozy in it. The nice thing is that those bags come in 9 different weights so you can pick one that best fits your needs. Super high quality - I haven't seen a feather leak yet, and it still lofts like the day I got it. It's going on probably 75+ bag nights.

                          I tried the quilt style bags, but I usually sleep in tarptents, under tarps, or cowboy style and found the breeze that got in around the sides would chill me to the bone regardless of the quilt's temperature rating. They would be far more useful in a bivy or fully enclosed tent, but that kind of negates any weight savings, no? The MontBell keeps me warm regardless of if I'm sleeping in a tent or under the stars with a breeze. It vents quite well for the warmer nights too.

                          - Rebecca



                          On Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 9:29 AM, skdupre <duprelufkin@...> wrote:
                           

                          Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a variety of weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing temps above 10k ft. I have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree bag. I'm considering forking down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20 degree bag at 30 oz.

                          It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a 2010 thru hike.


                        • skdupre
                          Thanks for all the advice and comments. I decided to purchase the Big Agnes Zirkel rated at 20 degree, 30 oz.. I ve always like the idea of BA s design w/
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jan 4, 2010
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                            Thanks for all the advice and comments. I decided to purchase the Big Agnes Zirkel rated at 20 degree, 30 oz.. I've always like the idea of BA's design w/ the pad sleeve built in to the bag. I'll report back in August on how it held up.

                            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd <rebecca@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > I've used a MontBell UL SS Down Hugger #1 for 3 seasons now in the Sierra (1
                            > JMT trip, 2 HST trips plus many other miscellaneous 2 day to 2 week sierra
                            > outings) and have found it to be absolutely perfect for Sierra summer
                            > conditions. It is rated to 15 degrees and weighs 2 lbs. Probably overkill
                            > for temp rating for most people, but I am a very cold sleeper and stay quite
                            > cozy in it. The nice thing is that those bags come in 9 different weights so
                            > you can pick one that best fits your needs. Super high quality - I haven't
                            > seen a feather leak yet, and it still lofts like the day I got it. It's
                            > going on probably 75+ bag nights.
                            >
                            > I tried the quilt style bags, but I usually sleep in tarptents, under tarps,
                            > or cowboy style and found the breeze that got in around the sides would
                            > chill me to the bone regardless of the quilt's temperature rating. They
                            > would be far more useful in a bivy or fully enclosed tent, but that kind of
                            > negates any weight savings, no? The MontBell keeps me warm regardless of if
                            > I'm sleeping in a tent or under the stars with a breeze. It vents quite well
                            > for the warmer nights too.
                            >
                            > - Rebecca
                            >
                            > http://www.calipidder.com
                            >
                            >
                            > On Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 9:29 AM, skdupre <duprelufkin@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Obviously over the course of 3 weeks the JMT is going to have a variety of
                            > > weather. I've heard of 90's in the valley and freezing temps above 10k ft. I
                            > > have a 2 lb 45 degree bag and a 4 lb 0 degree bag. I'm considering forking
                            > > down the bucks for a Big Agnes 20 degree bag at 30 oz.
                            > >
                            > > It would be nice to hear from JMT veterans and those planning a 2010 thru
                            > > hike.
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                          • John Ladd
                            I gather skdupre already made his bag decision, but I ll add my 2 cents worth. (I ve been catching up afte Christmas, so have been uncharacteristicly quiet of
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jan 5, 2010
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                              I gather skdupre already made his bag decision, but I'll add my 2 cents worth.  (I've been catching up afte Christmas, so have been uncharacteristicly quiet of late).

                              I've decided that I'm happy with a satisfactory, rather than a perfect, bag.  For me, the REI Subkilo has worked well. 

                              Weighs 32 oz. 750-fill down.  Fairly tight mummy design.

                              REI has it on overstock sale right now - price reduced from $250 to $170.

                              http://www.rei.com/product/780902

                              It's rated for 20 degrees, though I think the ratings are rather fictional and in any case, people are very different in how much warmth they need. 

                              I've used it in seriously sub-freezing temperatures, though this may be because I use a hooped bivy, which is even warmer than a tent.  And with a silk liner and clothes inside the bag and occasionally (snow camping) with a double sleeping pad for extra protection from the cold ground. 

                              My theory: A lot of your warmth depends on decisions made other than the bag itself.  I think you can make almost any halfway-decent down bag work if you have the right other clothing/equipment and if you are religious about keeping the bag protected from all the forms of moisture (condensation as well as rain and falls into streams).

                              I suspect I could get away with a lighter-weight bag for the Sierra in summer, but I like the comfort of a warm bag and the safety of knowing that I can deal with unexpected bad conditions.

                              Like Barbara, I've had a good experience with the new (first available in 2009) Therm-A-Rest NeoAir pads.  Very comfortable, compact and lightweight (14 oz.). But pricey (about $150). And I continue to worry about durability (I've used mine only about 20 nights so far) and doubt that it gives particularly good insulation from the ground. 

                              John Curran Ladd
                              1616 Castro Street
                              San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                              415-648-9279

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