Down Sleeping Bags

I'm looking to upgrade my sleeping bags to something more lightweight and packable. In my old life as a grunt I would have never considered a down bag, but with the new treated down on the market that's supposedly not as susceptible to moisture it seems like the way to go. Right now, I currently have my old MSS sleep system, and the Wiggy's equivalent. The black bag's are way to bulky and heavy for any kind of backpacking. The bag that has really caught my eye  right now is the Sea to Summit Trek II. It seems like a really good compromise between weight, temperature rating, and cost. The questions/concerns I would have would be moisture inside a shelter affecting the bag. I don't know if the new coated down bags would be affected by it. I recently bought a Seek Outside Cimmaron hybrid tipi, and haven't had a chance to use it yet, so I don't know if moisture is an issue. What about the long term durability of down? I know over time it would break down, but I would like to get a few years out of it. The weight and packability alone seem like a no brainer.  

"Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity" RIP SSG Brad King. KIA April 2, 2007.

Original Post

If you take care of it, down will last your lifetime.   The trek 2 seems a little pricey for 650 fill, but I only looked at REI's price.  With the newer treated down and a water resistant shell you should be fine for moisture inside the tent or tipi.  

With my budget I went with synthetic for my last bag purchase, but would go the same way you're looking if I buy again for backpacking.

------------------------------------
Assaulting enemy camps from 400 yards away since 1972.

"There is no nice way to arrest a potentially dangerous, combative suspect. The police are our bodyguards; our hired fists, batons and guns. We pay them to do the dirty work of protecting us. The work we're too afraid, too unskilled, or too civilized to do ourselves. We expect them to keep the bad guys out of our businesses, out of our cars, out of our houses, and out of our faces. We just don't want to see how its done."
-Charles H. Webb, Ph.D.

Joined Lightfighter 1.0: early 2001, Lightfighter 2.0 11/19/02

Location:  Fucking Connecticut.  Goddammit.

The Sea to Summit bags are independently tested for the fill and come with a certificate. I know the one I was looking at locally was listed over 700 on the fill. I also like they are a little more generous in room than some other bags. I'm a side sleeper, and it felt comfortable compared to some of the mummy style bags. The 18 degree lower limit would cover me in most situations I would be out. I am completely open to suggestions on other bags also.  

"Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity" RIP SSG Brad King. KIA April 2, 2007.

I'm a side sleeper and I've been looking at backpacking quilts.  I have my eye on the Enlightened Equipment Revelation which has really good reviews on some of the backpacking and hunting forum that I frequent.  Just something else for you to consider over the mummy style bags.

When it comes to down sleeping bags, buy quality and only cry once.

30 years ago I bit the bullet and bought a Marmot Mountain Works Pocket Gopher sleeping bag, which has 10” of loft, used it hard for about 15 years during my grunt and single climbing bum years, and it’s still got 10” of loft.

There’s a lot of quality down bag manufacturers out there who can build     you what you want-Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends, Integral Designs, RaB etc.

"Well, thank God we all made it out in time... 'course now we're equally screwed."

I own (and still employ) a 1980 Camp 7 premium down bag. -20F.  A very expensive bag for its day. That puppy saw me through the next 30 years of winter warfare training and cold weather deployments world wide. As well as a lot of back country recreational use (ski touring, snow machine treks, hikes, hunts, climbs). If you treat a down bag right, it'll last a lifetime. That means storing it uncompressed when not actually in the field.  And occasional laundering IAW with manufacturer instructions.  I used to keep it unfurled in a wall mounted hammock (attached to two eye bolts) in my BEQ. Today, it gets stored in one of those big clear plastic square zipper bags that  King size comforters & bed sets are sold in.

If you are looking for top of the line down performance (and spendy)... Western Mountaineering or Feathered Friends.

Integral Designs fills that niche of hard use/high quality (and expensive) made for .mil gear.

Next tier of down bags (still excellent quality) are brands like Marmot, Mountain Hardware, Brooks Range, Sierra Designs, RAB, Mont Bell, some of TNF's (The North Face) designs, Big Agnes... among others.

Admitting that I have zero personal experience with Sea to Summit sleeping bags, I am leery of companies that branch out into new equipment items later in the retail game.  I like to use firms whose sleeping bags have always been their bread and butter core product. Sleeping bag brands with long secure reputations.  Of course, as with any brands, sometimes former kings of the hill lose their place by outsourcing overseas production and dropping QC. TNF went down that road for a time. 

650 fill is middle of the road down performance for weight. If you're going to go for a quality down bag, go with the best fill you can afford >800 fill (and preferably some proprietary  hydrophobic treatment).

Here's another point. Unless you are getting into rabid ounce parsing for long distance ultralight hikes... down comes into its own with cold weather bags. Bags designed for use in below 20F. Preferably rated for a lot lower. My typical 3-season carry is a 0F rated down bag. I like overkill. At milder cool weather temps (30F-50F), there's not a lot of reason to carry a down bag. 

In other words, although a 30F down bag packs up nicely and is feather light... it's not really a huge drop in weight in comparison to any decent 30F synthetic bag.  It'll cost quite a bit more. And compress into a lot smaller volume than a synthetic version.  So it's a little bit of gain for a lot more money.

And 30F synthetic bags are all about equal in weight, bulk, and performance.  No matter manufacturer claims, there's not a hell of a lot of performance difference among the most common synthetic fills. At an average carried weight of ~2.5 lbs, one brand of synthetic 30F bag is about as good as another (assuming quality construction). Guess what inexpensive 30F synthetic bag weighs about 2.5 lbs? Yeah... the MSS Patrol Bag. To beat that bag's proven performance and $40 price with a down version, you're going to lay out around $200+ for something like a North Face Blue Kazoo, that weighs a little bit less, packs a whole lot smaller, costs a whole lot more, but at least carries you down to around 20F of comfort. 

Where down comes into a good return on investment is with cold weather bags designed to handle single digits or sub zero Fahrenheit temperatures.  For those temperature realms, down bags are vastly lighter and more compressible than their synthetic equivalents. A 5 lb premium goose down fill bag will see you into -40F and can actually be compressed enough to fit into a big pack. A 5 lb synthetic fill bag might not be comfortable at 0F... and is like trying to stuff a bean bag chair into your ruck. Huge volume, heavy weight, and way less performance than down. 

 

I'd advise lowering your planned comfort rating for a down bag. To something rated for 10F or 0F. You will never regret buying that extra margin of comfort rating. Because 3-season is such a nebulous description of weather that can range from blazing hot to staving off hypothermia in surprise freezing conditions.  Where I live, summer hail, sleet, & snow flurries happen. 90F today, 32F tonight. I don't like weather surpises or dancing around the margins with life support equipment (sleeping systems, shelter, or rain gear). I routinely carried that previously mentioned -20F bag all across European terrain during spring & fall FTXs. If it were too warm out, I'd unzip it or use it as a loose quilt. But all that added winter bag warmth was nice when the wind was steadily blowing sideways cold rain at 30 mph. Or a late April wet snow storm rolled in.

I carry a bag rated for at least 20 degrees F lower than the worst expected cold.  Because bag ratings are really only generic estimates, many manufacturers exaggerate with their middle-of-the-line offerings (even with EN Ratings), and every person sleeps differently (in terms of rated comfort). A lot of bags theoretically rated to "30F", "18F", or even "0 F"... aren't really comfortable when the temps get down to that advertised rating. And if it can potentially drop below freezing (during an early fall frost or late spring wet snowstorm), you want more bag than you need, not barely enough. By choosing a down bag, you can easily carry a lot more bag horsepower (warmth, light weight, compressed volume). 

One of the reasons for the high cost of $600-$1000 premium down bags is that they are damn well guaranteed to meet ratings. When Western Mountaineering tells you the bag is golden at -40F... they mean it.  When the mid-tier manufacturers claim a rating, their most expensive bags usually meet it, but their mid-price models are... a maybe. They'll be somewhere in the ballpark, but you might still sleep chilly. Metabolism, shelter, worn clothing, body type, weather, and other factors apply. Sea to Summit is a mid tier producer.

To your possible purchase...

Reading up on that Sea to Summit bag, IMHO it's slightly overpriced for an 18F down bag rating. $300, <2.5 lb, treated down, 3-season, semi-rectangular bag.  I also read some QC comments that indicated missing fill in some baffles and some kind of an odor problem when the fill gets wet.  That shows me some QC and sourced materials issues. The duck down fill tells me that the bag is probably made in China. For all that, most reviewers seemed to like 'em. And the bag has the shape/volume you want. So it might very well be the ticket. Definitely not a bad bag. As you noted, a good compromise of weight, cost, and performance. But...

Alternatively, consider these bags. They are mummies without the wide semi-rectangular form factor you're looking at, but they are a lot more bag for staying warm. Similar carry weights/volume, better quality fill, much better ratings:

https://www.backcountryedge.co...ul-800-0-degree.html

https://www.backcountryedge.co...m-0-degree-2016.html

An 18 F rated down bag only gives you about 12 actual degrees F more performance than a 2.5 lb USGI MSS patrol bag.  For little savings in weight. At five times the cost. Assuming that Sea to Summit 18F comfort rating is even accurate... which I doubt. In firearm caliber terms, it's like stepping up from .32 ACP to .380 ACP. If you're going to buy down, go big. Bump up your budget and buy more performance. Go to service caliber performance. Get a bag rated for around 0-10 degrees F. Even if you're a mostly warm weather hiker. One day you'll thank me.

Sorry. I get to rambling. Just my $.02

 

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

A few months ago I looked at upgrading my bag for fall hunting in the mountains. I previously carried a Wiggy's black bag from their MSS (similar but slightly warmer than the military winter bag). It was bulky and heavy and I really wanted to cut down on both. That was upgraded to a 0 degree Feathered Friends bag (Snowbunting?) awhile back. That, too, was a little bulky but definitely not as heavy. It was also huge overkill for fall temps in Colorado.

 

This year, after a lot of web research, I bought a Western Mountaineering Megalite bag. This is a 20 or 30 degree down bag with great reviews and about as good as you'll get in this range. Both the Feathered Friends and the WM Megalite were bought on Ebay (carefully selected) at large savings (close to 1/2 price for the like-new Feathered Friends bag).

 

The Megalite will be my new hunting bag. If not in your budget, a bag that was mentioned over and over again during my Googling for a much better price was the The North Face Cat's Meow bag. It isn't as fancy but has been around a long time and is well liked. (Edit to add: The North Face's Blue Kazoo mentioned above is another bag that gets a lot of praise).

 

That is my Clif notes version of a ton of reading and reviews. Something I didn't realize a few years ago when I bought the Feathered Friends bag is that you need to get more specific about the temps you'll face and how far you'll be carrying. There is no one-bag-fits-all and the nice 30* bag probably would have  met all my specific needs from the start.

Good luck.

 

 

 

Great post by Astronomy, can't add much much to the conversation except to say that you should take the fill ratings with a many grains of salt if not from a known manufacturer.   Even well known companies like Marmot have been accused in the past of faking their down fill #'s and volume ratings on sleeping bags... so that's something additional to consider when placing your trust in a bags listed temp. rating.

Also don’t overlook the sleeping pad construction and quality if temps are low enough to justify a good down bag.  The insulation you lay on compresses and provides less heat retention than the fluff on top.

I always found amusement in the way down gear fluffs as temps drop.

Astronomy, thanks for the informative post. I really know nothing about down bags. It does seem silly to spend $300 on a bag that only gets me 10-15 degrees more than the green patrol bag I already own. I live in central Indiana, so maybe a 0 degree bag would be more appropriate.

UVVIS, thanks for the tip on the sleeping pad. I am looking to upgrade that as well and open to suggestions. I am currently using my 15 year old Thermarest 3/4 ultralight pad that's about a half inch thick and that leaves a lot to be desired.

"Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity" RIP SSG Brad King. KIA April 2, 2007.

I probably have the same pad, or a couple of them.

Not trying to sound like I’m lecturing, but the whole purpose of sleep kit is to get some rest.  There is a reason a phrase like “good night’s sleep” exists.  Comfort does play a role.

The more heat you bounce back from your pad, the better.  Those cheap thermarest closed cell foam pads are great but compress over time and are only marginally comfy.  I like them for their multitude of uses.  Comfy seat, they float, wind block, waterproof, not expensive, not real heavy.  I’ve wrapped cold people in them to help warm them up, used them as water floatation devices.   As these get older, trash them out and replace them as the foam wears out and the closed cells break, insulation and comfort drop.

I like using a thermarest style foam mat as a first layer on the ground if it’s cold.  Then a self inflating type.  Followed by the bag.  The combo gives excellent thermal bounce back.

Take a look at the thermarest neoair xtherm unit (they have a big one too that is a little heavier).  About a pound, but very nice.  I think you can find them for maybe $120 ish if you are shopping sales.  I have the xlite version, it’s nice, but living in Florida I rarely cold anymore.

Personally, I’d rather spend more on a good mat than a good bag.  With a good mat and a few things like a neck gaiter, balaclava, hat, maybe a polypro base, you can get by with much less bag and get more sleep comfort.

 

Thanks for the info UVVIS. At 45, I appreciate comfort more than I did in my 20's. I'm a side sleeper, so I don't know if one pad is better than another in that regard. I have a few local stores and an REI close that carry a number of pads to try.

"Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity" RIP SSG Brad King. KIA April 2, 2007.

Side sleeper as well here...check out Klymit's Static V line. There are lightweight, regular and insulated ones, and they are pretty comfy for side sleeping in my experience.

Pretty decent packed size and weight as well.

As to sleeping bags...I'm still using my 10yr old Kifaru Regulator 20*F bag, synthetic Combatshield (IIRC) seems to be holding up well. The only time I got cold  was when I somehow opened up the bottom part of the 2-way zip during the night and lost heat that way.

In the market for a lighter/smaller 3-season bag, and the Therm-a-Rest Space Cowboy is high on the list...low price (it's not going to be a primary bag), relatively light and small packed size are my priorities. Couple that with a bivy bag or Tarptent I should be GTG for a wide range of temps for most of the year.


 

Joined: 03 OCT 2006        Meatspace Coordinates: The Smoke

Cheap bastard that I am, I've not climbed on board the really state-of-the-art (and more expensive) generation of winter pads. The ones with really high R-values and hi-tech form factor.  But they are definitely worth having. 

Like UVVIS, I've usually employed two less expensive pads for winter bivouacs. Like him, I put a closed cell foam pad on the ground, then a self-inflator on top of that. Some folks reverse that arrangement, but I discovered the woes of perforated and limply flat self-inflators way back in 1981.  Sometime there are sharp things buried in the snow. Vegetation prongs, litter, glass, exposed roots, ice, jagged rock, or other things that might inflict a puncture leak. That solid foam pad protects my more expensive self-inflating pad from the ground... and the two combined R-values handle insulating from the frozen ground. The closed cell pad can be anything. Even an inexpensive  USGI foam pad. But even solid pads have varying R-Value ratings:

https://www.gearx.com/blog/kno...oose-a-sleeping-pad/

https://sectionhiker.com/sleeping-pad-r-values/

I typically unroll a closed cell pad (ThermaRest RidgeRest Solar; R-Value 3.5) for the bottom layer and then a Thermarest self-inflator (Trail Scout; R-Value 3.4) on top of that. Either of them can be used alone for 3-season camping/hiking. Both used together handle deep winter 4th season. That combo has seen me through deep sub-zero nights (under starry skies) using just a snow trench and my sleeping system. No tent. Any pad or combination of pads that puts you over an R-Value of 5 will see you through most Lower 48 winter conditions. 

Your sleeping system's 3 parts are nearly of equal importance. Ground Pad. Bivy Sack. Sleeping Bag. Each accomplishes something the other two parts don't. The sleeping bag insulates you. The bivy protects your sleeping bag from the elements (wind, precipitation, spindrift, and ground moisture). The ground pad is your primary insulation against the heat sucking frozen ground surface. So give good thought to pad selection. A Wally-World $7 pad will work for many milder weather conditions, but a better pad will work... better. Especially during frozen conditions. 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Cold weather camping tip, bring a piss bottle that is bigger than you think you will need, and make sure it is NOTHING like your water bottles.

30-50 sit ups warms up your sleeping bag.

I had some very cozy sleeps in snow trenches.  Well, up till you have to keep from getting drifted in.  Plus building with wind pack blocks is fun (the first couple times).

Ice takes 143BTU to melt per pound and another 65 BTU to get to body temp, plus a BTU per degree below 32F.  A snickers bar has 1000 BTU.  Explaining this to people (in Florida) is difficult, but drink water over eating ice if your calories are low.  

That’s one and a half(ish) snickers per gallon of water from ice for the math impaired.  Also why my parkas always had snickers bars and peanut butter in the pockets.

 

 

My typical 3-season carry is a 0F rated down bag. I like overkill. 

Re-reading my earlier tome, this sentence comes across as fuzzily contradictory. What I meant was... that I carry a 0F rated down bag for shoulder seasons (fall & spring). Times where weather is very changeable. Warm days but chilly nights and occasional early/late winter cold rain or snow storms. Obviously, I'm not carrying a 0F bag in the middle of hot summer weather when a poncho liner will do. But even there, I have a caveat: If I'm up in the summertime mountains, I'm carrying a cold weather bag. Anytime of year. And also in deserts and desert mountains. 

Deserts can drop from well over 100F by day to frost temperatures by dawn. 70+ degree swings overnight. And mountain weather is always unpredictable. Don't ever venture into summertime desert or mountains with just hot weather gear. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

UVvis posted:

Cold weather camping tip, bring a piss bottle that is bigger than you think you will need, and make sure it is NOTHING like your water bottles.

30-50 sit ups warms up your sleeping bag.

I had some very cozy sleeps in snow trenches.  Well, up till you have to keep from getting drifted in.  Plus building with wind pack blocks is fun (the first couple times).

Ice takes 143BTU to melt per pound and another 65 BTU to get to body temp, plus a BTU per degree below 32F.  A snickers bar has 1000 BTU.  Explaining this to people (in Florida) is difficult, but drink water over eating ice if your calories are low.  

That’s one and a half(ish) snickers per gallon of water from ice for the math impaired.  Also why my parkas always had snickers bars and peanut butter in the pockets.

 

 

It's 35C outside, thunderstorm beginning & it will be like this for the rest of the week.

You guys scare me.  I think I will see the Carinthia distributor & beg/trade/buy a biv bag...maybe he has a demonstrator I can grab.

 

Use a bivvy bag. It’s as versatile as a poncho liner.

Even if you find yourself humping it, your choice of bivvy bag can’t be left to some random decision, taken in insolation from terrain, mission, and your choice of sleeping bag.

I was a retro knucklehead for a large part of my career, scoffing at Marines who had to inflate their prissy ground pads...until I spent a cold night  on one and saw the light.

But you need to sleep with the pad inside of your bivvy, and you on top of that.  The bivvy can give added protection from the protuberances which poke holes in inflatables, protection from the wet,  and can take you down into the lower temp range when paired with just a poncho liner or jungle bag.  Plus it prevents you from slipping off of the pad and losing heat through ground conduction.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

jcustisredux posted:

Use a bivvy bag. It’s as versatile as a poncho liner.

Even if you find yourself humping it, your choice of bivvy bag can’t be left to some random decision, taken in insolation from terrain, mission, and your choice of sleeping bag.

I was a retro knucklehead for a large part of my career, scoffing at Marines who had to inflate their prissy ground pads...until I spent a cold night  on one and saw the light.

But you need to sleep with the pad inside of your bivvy, and you on top of that.  The bivvy can give added protection from the protuberances which poke holes in inflatables, protection from the wet,  and can take you down into the lower temp range when paired with just a poncho liner or jungle bag.  Plus it prevents you from slipping off of the pad and losing heat through ground conduction.

I came in the Army in '93. That was before the MSS sleep system and gortex bivvy bag. During my time at Bragg, we all used body bags as a bivvy bag, and as an improvised litter. I think Astronomy has steered me in the right direction. I found a great Feathered Friends bag on Ebay I might snatch up. I think my plans now for backpacking are using a piece of Tyvek for a ground barrier since my shelter is a floorless tipi design (Seek Outside Cimarron) and a quality pad or two depending on conditions. I gave up sleeping on the ground in a bivvy bag after my last trip to the Red River Gorge when I woke up with a centipede crawling across my face.

"Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity" RIP SSG Brad King. KIA April 2, 2007.

I know people love groundsheets,  but I've probably spent more time under floorless shelter (i.e., tarp hootches & floorless mountain tents)  than inside of floored backpacking tents. I can't recall ever using a ground sheet beyond boy scout/basic training bivouacs of my youth.

Decades of military patrol movements and  recreational hikes... and all I ever relied upon was a sleeping pad. My pad was the physical separation between me and the dirt, wet grass, mud, cold ground, sand, jungle floor, or snow.  I simply don't use ground sheets. One less thing to carry.

It goes against the grain of conventional wisdom, but I just never encountered the need for one.

On slipping sleeping pads inside of bivy sacks... I don't. What I expect from my bivy is long term ability to both shed hard precipitation and not allow ground water to leak in. Job #1 is to keep me dry. So that bivy gets protected from ground abrasion/punctures just like my sleeping bag. It and the sleeping bag are placed  on top of my pad. Because I don't want pinholes, abrasion, or other wear & tear to compromise the waterproof fabric of the bivy sack bottom.

I have bivouacked on the side of a Utah rock face at 10,000 feet during an all-night frog strangling monster electrical thunderstorm. Snuggled up against a bare boulder outcropping with sheets of running water flowing over, around, and under me. Like sleeping under a running shower head for hours. No pad or sleeping bag deployed. Just the bivy and worn clothing. USGI MSS Goretex bivy sack. That previously babied waterproof lower held off the flood.  I greeted the dawn with still dry clothing.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Astronomy posted:

On slipping sleeping pads inside of bivy sacks... I don't. What I expect from my bivy is long term ability to both shed hard precipitation and not allow ground water to leak in. Job #1 is to keep me dry. So that bivy gets protected from ground abrasion/punctures just like my sleeping bag. It and the sleeping bag are placed  on top of my pad. Because I don't want pinholes, abrasion, or other wear & tear to compromise the waterproof fabric of the bivy sack bottom.

I used to do the same

I now run the closed cell foam mat under the bivvi bag to protect from abrasions and the inflatable mat inside the bivouac for comfort. Works an absolute treat

__________________________

Astronomy posted:

I know people love groundsheets,  but I've probably spent more time under floorless shelter (i.e., tarp hootches & floorless mountain tents)  than inside of floored backpacking tents. I can't recall ever using a ground sheet beyond boy scout/basic training bivouacs of my youth.

Decades of military patrol movements and  recreational hikes... and all I ever relied upon was a sleeping pad. My pad was the physical separation between me and the dirt, wet grass, mud, cold ground, sand, jungle floor, or snow.  I simply don't use ground sheets. One less thing to carry.

It goes against the grain of conventional wisdom, but I just never encountered the need for one.

On slipping sleeping pads inside of bivy sacks... I don't. What I expect from my bivy is long term ability to both shed hard precipitation and not allow ground water to leak in. Job #1 is to keep me dry. So that bivy gets protected from ground abrasion/punctures just like my sleeping bag. It and the sleeping bag are placed  on top of my pad. Because I don't want pinholes, abrasion, or other wear & tear to compromise the waterproof fabric of the bivy sack bottom.

I have bivouacked on the side of a Utah rock face at 10,000 feet during an all-night frog strangling monster electrical thunderstorm. Snuggled up against a bare boulder outcropping with sheets of running water flowing over, around, and under me. Like sleeping under a running shower head for hours. No pad or sleeping bag deployed. Just the bivy and worn clothing. USGI MSS Goretex bivy sack. That previously babied waterproof lower held off the flood.  I greeted the dawn with still dry clothing.

 

Astronomy, once again thanks for your wisdom and experience. I've never used a ground sheet either, just thought I would try something new. My main thought was to just get a scrap piece of Tyvek from a local construction site that was only slightly bigger than my sleep pad, more to protect the pad from the ground.

"Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity" RIP SSG Brad King. KIA April 2, 2007.

About a month ago I went backpacking in the San Juan mountains. We spent the night at about 12000 ft with temperatures reaching slightly below zero. I discovered that my inflatable sleeping mat had sprung a leak and so would provide no insulation between me and the ground. I had a 20 degree down bag from North Face, and a silk bag liner. I did not expect it to be a comfortable night. It was cold enough that the condensation on the tent walls instantly turned to snow, but I was warm enough that I ended up ditching the liner.

A quality down bag can save your butt on a cold night.

The goal of a groundcloth is to separate you from the ground, and any associated moisture. It's goal is not insulation, that job belongs to your sleeping mat. It can also be used as a somewhat disposable barrier to protect the floor of your tent from anything on the ground which could damage your tent. 

The more you use your tent the more the bottom of the tent will become worn. By using a ground cloth it becomes worn as opposed to your tent. When it becomes too worn it is much cheaper to replace than a tent.

andrewsi posted:

I'm a fan of silicone impregnated nylon. Lightweight and waterproof.

Thanks for the quick response.  I'm in the process of looking for a new ground sheet now, in fact.  Know any good products that are silicone impregnated nylon, or better?

I use different options for a ground cloth depending on the location and my method of transportation. My huge OZ Tent has a big ass durable mesh floor protector because it's in my car. For backpacking on rough/ rocky terrain or in areas with lots of thorns, I tend to bring tyvek and sometimes double it up for more protection. I also occasionally bring a closed cell foam pad in those conditions. If you are worried only about moisture, the SIL Nylon options are good but thorns will get through them pretty easily. This is a pretty big concern in the Southeast and West where I typically find myself sleeping on the ground. 

Variety is good and picking the right tool for the job can help you sleep with a fully inflated ground pad. 

I'm taking advice and looking at Western Mountaineering bags. I see they do offer a line that uses a Gore Windstopper shell, but it seems like it wouldn't breath as easily, and that condensation could be an issue, so maybe the microfiber shell might be a better choice. If I am pushing colder temps below 30 degrees, moisture wouldn't really be an issue. I did pick up a Thermarest NeoAir XTherm pad at REI this weekend at 25% off.

"Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity" RIP SSG Brad King. KIA April 2, 2007.

I bought one of the new Patagonia bags when they came out. I've slept in it all over the Rockies and love it. The center zipper is a nice feature and the solid (no zipper) bottom and shaped toe box are also nicely done. It's light, packs down fairly small and is more durable than it looks. 

Add Reply

Likes (3)
Longeye22Fyakc130
Copyright Lightfighter Tactical Forum 2002-2016
×
×
×
×
×