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Sleeping Bags

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Sleeping Bags

Postby moclimber123 » Wed May 30, 2007 7:33 pm

This question has probably been answered before, but I couldn't find it. What temp rating of sleeping bag for Colorado during the summer would be best? I'm planning a trip out in August. 20 degree? 30? I'm going to RMNP and probably down to the Sawatch Range.

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Postby Chris P. » Wed May 30, 2007 7:42 pm

I use a 20 degree for general summer camping, but in August you could probably get by with a 30 degree.

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Postby Papillon » Wed May 30, 2007 8:19 pm

Depends entirely on your elevation and the accuracy of your bag's rating in my opinion.

If you're pitched at a car campground in RMNP - 8-9K feet - a 30 degree bag will be fine so long as it isn't a total POS. However if you are backpacking at 10-11K, I'd go with the 20 degree.

Bottom line is you can always vent the warmer bag if necessary.

I currently have one bag (Western Mountaineering Ultralite 20 degree) and this bag has been with me in CO and WY into late September as high as 11K.

I assume you are either contemplating a purchase or are a total gear junkie because I don't know anybody that has a 20 degree and a 30 degree. Maybe a 45 degree.

Hope this helps.
The look in his eyes when it hit - Kid, it was tasty... - William Seward Burroughs

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Postby Cruiser » Wed May 30, 2007 8:20 pm

I use a 20 degree for most of my summer camping as well. You might be able to get by with something less, but I'm a cold sleeper and I rather just carry the extra weight and unzip a bt if I get too warm. Be sure to look into greater detail about how the manufacturer of the bag you're considering rates each bag's comfort level. Some are a bit liberal with their ratings.
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Postby RobertPetrowsky » Wed May 30, 2007 8:36 pm

Ive got a nice down 0 degree for the winter and its a bit much on really calm nights but when there is a nice breeze to ventilate my tent I like to just unzip it and lay on top or pull it over enough to stay warm. It seems to work pretty good in the 30s and 40s. Any hotter than that and my tent stays warm enough not to need a bag. I'm pretty cheap however. I have been looking at a 20 degree for my birthday however....

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Postby Hawbs » Wed May 30, 2007 8:38 pm

Agreed, A 20 degree bag will keep you comfortable through most Colorado nights.

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Postby Spam » Wed May 30, 2007 10:07 pm

Everybody has said it...a 20 degree is fine! I actually also use a lightweight REI bag liner also that adds a couple more degrees to the bag!
"Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory." -- Ed Viesturs

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Postby Scott P » Thu May 31, 2007 6:36 am

I would also go with the 20 degree for July and August. Occasionally, I have recorded temps in the teens in all the summer months, but that's not the norm.

Late Summer, say mid-September, can be much colder than July and August and sometimes it can be quite cool after a cold front. Same with June.

Still, a 20 degree bag is almost always adequate for summer.

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Postby Papillon » Thu May 31, 2007 10:00 pm

robinmtns wrote:That is a sa-WEEEET bag dude. I just advised one of those for a friend, and she loves it.

I bought a MHW Phantom 32 the beginning of last year and besides that WM Ultralite 20, it's the best bag I know of in terms of warmth for the weight. I believe it's conservatively rated, because I used it for a couple dozen nights all the way through October and was toasty, even up high. Superlight and fluffy.

Watch out for REI ratings; I believe they are a bit optimistic. Western Mountaineering bags are conservatively rated, I believe. I personally believe 15-20 degree bags are overkill for Colorado summers, even very high.

I'm in the market for a zero to subzero bag and will take a good look at the MHW offerings. Regardless, I know it will set me back $500-600 but one can't squelch on the bag under any circumstances. I froze my tail off 6 years ago in the Black Hills in June when a cold front dropped the temps 30 degrees below average and I was sleeping in one of those $60 30 degree Kelty jobs straight outta Campmor. I swear to god, I woke up like Nicholson in the maze at the end of The Shining.


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Postby moclimber123 » Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:45 am

Thanks for all the replies, I'm looking at several 20 degree bags. How close to the actual rating does Marmot rate their bags?

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Postby whitelj24 » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:16 am

does anyone know if it's possible to figure out my bag's degrees if i tore the tag off years ago?! oops.

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