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Topic: Help me pick out Winter sleeping bag< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 6:31 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi everyone - I'm trying to wrap my head around which 4 season bag to pick up.  The catch is that the bag has to be from one of the manufactures listed (work discount).

I don't see the temperature ever going below 15F - but I can't be 100% that will be the lowest and I would like to get at least a 0 degree bag.

1.) Marmot Lithium 0

2.) The North Face Inferno (0, -20, -40)

3.) Mountain Hardware Wraith -20

4.) The North Face Dark Star (0, -20, -40)

I've searched the forums for these bags and I've found a lot of results on the Lithium and it seems to be very well received - but I didn't have much luck finding anything on the other bags.  

Those three manufacturers (Marmot, TNF, Mountain Hardware) are what my selection has to come from - but if there is any other bag I should consider please let me know.

Thanks for the help.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 6:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No experience with any of the specific bags. But from a brand perspective only, I'd eliminate The North Face products. I've had a few of their products and they did not live up to my expectations

Marmot would be my choice

BTW a 0F bag is not a 4 season bag it is a 1 season (winter) bag. It would be overkill for the other 3 seasons. Adding weight and bulk to your other season hikes.

I'm not sure if any of those manufacturers offer quilts but a quilt would be a better choice if you are just gearing up. You'd end up there anyway if you stick with this hobby long enough


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 7:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks Eggs - you're 100% right and a typo on my part.  This is for a winter only bag.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 7:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think Marmot makes a very nice bag and the 0 F rating of the Lithium would give you a good buffer zone.

But all of them would be OK with me if you threw out the Dark Star series.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 10:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

all of these companies generally do a good job with sleeping bag construction and design - i know that from personal experience.  i think it will boil down to whatever combination of preference and price suits you.  i would favor down bags - the synthetics are hard to stuff.  

i used the darkstar -40 (insulated with polarguard rather than the current synthetic fill, but it's all relatively similar) for a number of years.  it's not quite as warm as advertised, but close.  the 0 bag is probably better suited for the 15-20 degree range.  I can't speak to the bulk of the 0 bag, but the -40 was a huge space eater.  otherwise, the bag (foot box, hood, draft tubes/collars, stitching, overall sizing) was very good.  no experience with the inferno, but it's fair to say The North Face does a pretty good job with the sleeping bags.  

no experience with the Wraith, but the Mountain Hardwear Ghost is my current winter bag.  I am very happy with it, and I believe the temperature rating is accurate (I haven't seen -40 in it, but I slept well at -30f).
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 10:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So I just found out that the TNF Inferno bag does not unzip the whole way - just down to above the feet.

How important is the ability to use the bag as a quilt?  I'm pretty sure the Marmot Lithium bag unzips the whole way.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 11:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Many quilts have a foot box built in a similar way. It depends on how you sleep. It wouldn't phase me.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 11:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have two Mountain Hardwear bags and they're well-made and fairly close to the temperature rating.
I have not owned Marmot bags but hear good things about them.
I have owned TNF bags and they were horrible and their customer service was even worse.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 11:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Don't know if this helps, but I recently bought a Mtn Hardwear Lamina 35.  I know that's a lesser bag than the nicer ones you're looking at now.  This is a synthetic bag.  I just wanted to say that I used it this weekend in temps around 20 degrees and was toasty warm (though I did sleep in a fleece jacket.)  I think a -20 (or especially -40) bag might be overkill given the temps you mentioned.  It seems to me you might find a less expensive, lighter bag if you keep the rating closer to 0 and are willing to dress a bit warmer as you sleep.  No matter, good luck finding the right bag for you!

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 1:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here's my take on it.  The Marmot Lithium is rated by Marmot as a 0F bag but the EN rating says 18F and this is probably true as I used a Marmot Couloir 0F bag for years in the winter and consistently got cold at anything under 15F.

So I upgraded to a Western Mountaineering bag at -15F (the Puma).  My advice is to save your Marmot money and get a WM instead.  You'll be happier in the end, especially if you spend a lot of time out in the winter.

Real winter backpacking and camping requires a sub-zero rated bag and not just 0F.  I know, it sounds crazy but wait till you're on some mountain top and it never gets above 0F for a week.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 1:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tipi - I completely understand.  Unfortunately the discount I get keeps me with the three brands I mentioned.  I wish Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends were brands I could include - but I cannot.

Truth be told - I highly doubt I would ever be out in temperatures close to 0 - but I also understand that I don't control the weather and should be prepared in case I find myself in a situation colder then expected.  That is the main reason I pushed my criteria from a 20F bag to a 0F bag.

I will also getting a Mercurial liner which I was hoping to use for the summer - but imagine that could also be used with any of these bags in the winter.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 1:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Without knowing where you're intending to use the bag and with what shelter it's a bit difficult.  I've had a Couloir for a while now and it's worked fine for me into single digits (or less) in Sierra winters inside a Chouinard MegaMid fitted with a Thermarest Prolite and a flooring of closed cell foam. I utilize a fair number of the tricks, stay hydrated etc. It's an older model with a dry loft shell. I'm pleased with the build quality and while it's not the lightest of bags for that temperature I also don't get the "fragile" vibe some deliberately lightweight constructions give me. I'd expect the Lithium to deliver a similar experience.

Oh and "the EN rating says 18F" no, it actually doesn't. "0F / -18C" Which, of course, is correct as zero F IS -18 C.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 2:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Clothing supplement does work. I use a +40F bag in temps down to 0 and have for quite a few years now. Just sayin'...

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 2:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Nov. 29 2012, 11:10 am)
QUOTE
Clothing supplement does work. I use a +40F bag in temps down to 0 and have for quite a few years now. Just sayin'...

And it works the other way as well: I often will make my sleeping system very inefficient, unzipped, laid out as a quilt etc. when I'm lower while I'm carrying the "extra" insulation for the high exposed portion of my route. In August accommodating Yosemite Valley  at 4K and an exposed granite slab on the Lyell fork headwaters at 11K is a stretch, but it can be done.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 3:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 29 2012, 1:50 pm)
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Oh and "the EN rating says 18F" no, it actually doesn't. "0F / -18C" Which, of course, is correct as zero F IS -18 C.

Check out your link one more time.  The EN rating graph shows the comfort level of the Lithium in the Fahrenheit column to be 18.3 degrees. Yet Marmot says 0F.  Weird.  Maybe I'm not reading the EN graph right.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 3:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tipi Walter @ Nov. 29 2012, 12:03 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 29 2012, 1:50 pm)
QUOTE
Oh and "the EN rating says 18F" no, it actually doesn't. "0F / -18C" Which, of course, is correct as zero F IS -18 C.

Check out your link one more time.  The EN rating graph shows the comfort level of the Lithium in the Fahrenheit column to be 18.3 degrees. Yet Marmot says 0F.  Weird.  Maybe I'm not reading the EN graph right.

EN ratings cover a range both by gender and for various levels of comfort.  you chose to select the higher number, clearly that's not what Marmot has chosen and that's reasonable as the bag can be flexible up while most people are concerned about the lower limits, farther to the "right" on that particular graphic.

"How do I read the EN information?

Basically the EN graphic shows a temperature range:

http://marmot.com/products/lithium?p=117

Comfort Limit The first number is based on a standard woman having a comfortable nights sleep
Lower Limit The next number is based on a standard man at the lowest temp to have a comfortable nights sleep
Extreme Rating The last number"

Beyond that zero Fahrenheit IS minus eighteen Celsius (well, -17.7778 :D ), which is what they use in the label for the bag, that's just arithmetic. Hence the "0F/-18C"
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 3:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tipi Walter @ Nov. 29 2012, 3:03 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 29 2012, 1:50 pm)
QUOTE
Oh and "the EN rating says 18F" no, it actually doesn't. "0F / -18C" Which, of course, is correct as zero F IS -18 C.

Check out your link one more time.  The EN rating graph shows the comfort level of the Lithium in the Fahrenheit column to be 18.3 degrees. Yet Marmot says 0F.  Weird.  Maybe I'm not reading the EN graph right.

The EN Rating graph in the link shows the bag's "Comfort Rating" to be 18.3 degrees - this is estimated as the temperature limit comfortable for the average woman (who will tend to sleep colder)

The area marked 6.1 degrees is the "Lower Limit Rating" which is estimated to be the temperature limit comfortable for the average man (who will tend to sleep warmer).

The area marked -30.3 degrees is the "Extreme Rating" which is estimated to be a "Survival-only" rating for an average woman.  You won't be comfy, but SAR might find you alive the next morning.

I hope this helps clarify.  FWIW, manufacturers who choose to use the EN Rating System, usually only round to the nearest 5 degree increment.  For this particular Marmot bag, it appears Marmot was a little more flexible with their rounding  :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 3:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oops apologies to repeat what HSF says above.  I didn't see that before my post, and for some reason I can't edit...

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 3:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(EastieTrekker @ Nov. 29 2012, 12:17 pm)
QUOTE
....
I hope this helps clarify.  FWIW, manufacturers who choose to use the EN Rating System, usually only round to the nearest 5 degree increment.  For this particular Marmot bag, it appears Marmot was a little more flexible with their rounding  :D

Yeah, from the graphic I'd have thought 5F (-15C) would have been a reasonable "Lower Limit"... : "Lower Limit The next number is based on a standard man at the lowest temp to have a comfortable nights sleep"
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 3:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 29 2012, 1:50 pm)
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Without knowing where you're intending to use the bag and with what shelter it's a bit difficult.  

I'm in SW PA.  So the frequent areas would be Laurel Highlands, but am also looking forward to Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian trail.

For any overnight camping that I might be doing in cold weather I would be in TNF VE 25.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 4:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I own both a Western Mountaineering Ultralite rated at +20 as well as a Marmot Couloir rated at 0.

The Couloir has way more loft.....but I haven't used it anywhere near 0.

If weight didn't matter and the temps were near +20, I'd take the Couloir.

If the temps were near 0 then I'd agree with Tipi.....get a sub zero and never look back.

I've found that even with the EN rating, and certainly before it, I like a bag rated below the lowest temperature I'm going to be sleeping in.  A -15 bag or more is what I'd want for temps of zero.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 5:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

that is a beast of a tent.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 10:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(leadbelly2550 @ Nov. 29 2012, 3:32 pm)
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that is a beast of a tent.

Wrong thread, I assume?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 10:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Nov. 29 2012, 7:21 pm)
QUOTE

(leadbelly2550 @ Nov. 29 2012, 3:32 pm)
QUOTE
that is a beast of a tent.

Wrong thread, I assume?

Commenting on the " I would be in TNF VE 25".

FWIW I'd had a similar thought.: ten pounds thirteen ounces...

http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog...._2.html
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 11:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ah, nevermind.  I missed that, obviously. :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 10:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You stated that get discounts on certain brands...

Take a look at the Marmot Never Summer...solid bag but not really sexy

or the Mountain Hardware Phantom 0


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(High_Sierra_Fan @ Nov. 29 2012, 10:42 pm)
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Commenting on the " I would be in TNF VE 25".

FWIW I'd had a similar thought.: ten pounds thirteen ounces...

http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog...._2.html

High_Sierra - were you commenting on the high weight of the VE 25?  If so - my plan is to split the weight between two people.  Still 5 lbs - but better than 10.  For no-so-horrible weather I have a Marmot Limestone 2P which sits right around 4 lbs I believe.

Speaking of weight management - most of the 0 degree bags I'm looking at weigh in at around 2 lbs - but the MH Wraith -20 bag is 4lbs.  I'm thinking that if 99% of the time a 0 degree bag would be more than enough that I could just supplement the 0 degree bag with my liner.  So for the 99% of the time that I don't need the liner I would be saving close to 2 lbs.

Pertex nylon - is that a water resistant shell?  Anyone know how that compares to Marmot's Membrain line?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 10:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I do not think pertex is waterproof...maybe one of the variants are

membrane is waterproof


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 10:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.pertex.com/

Pertex makes a lot of fabrics, some are WPB, others just have a DWR applied to them. What bag were you looking at that uses Pertex?

If you look at the Phantom 0 know it is really made for a back sleeper as it has a variable fill ratio (more down on top), plus it is very tight.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 4:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

no, right thread.  as someone observed, i was commenting on the weight/fortitude of the VE 25.  glad to hear you are splitting the weight.  occupational hazard with winter tents; the Trango weighs a lot too.  

membrain is marmot's proprietary waterproof/breathable product.  probably along the same lines as Conduit for Mountain Hardwear.  a taped Membrain shell will be waterproof, not merely water resistant.  DWR is a water-resistant coating.  in a heavy or extended rain, it will let the water in.  (for a zero degree bag, rain isn't a big concern, usually).  

philosophies vary regarding the use of a waterproof/breathable outer shell in a sleeping bag.  some avoid them because they feel like the membrane will inhibit moisture from evaporating more than a shell that isn't waterproof and contribute to moisture freezing within the insulation and compromising loft.  others want the waterproof/breathable because they expect some kind of moisture - whether it's spilling a drink, rime/condensation inside a tent, drips and moisture in a snow cave.  

for most people, taking shorter trips, i don't think moisture buildup in insulation is much of an issue.  regardless, i don't think it much matters; if you are warm inside a winter bag, you will generate some moisture that evaporates.  as that moisture works its way through the insulation, away from the warm core where you are, it will cool off and very likely freeze before it fully escapes the insulation, no matter what the outer shell is made out of.  if you want to avoid compromising the insulation in a sleeping bag from the inside out in extreme cold, a vapor barrier is your best bet.  bags intended for 0-15 degrees, not really a concern.
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