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Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Ideal JMT Sleeping Bag (July 12 - Aug 4)

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  • 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 1 of 13 , Jan 3, 2010
      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 2 of 13 , Jan 3, 2010
        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 3 of 13 , Jan 4, 2010
          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 4 of 13 , Jan 5, 2010
            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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