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Zero degree bag reccomendations
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By fivefun
Jul 29, 2011
A fun hand crack
Anticipating the colder months of fall I'm going to buy me a new sleeping bag. Anyone have a bag they are particularly fond of? Deals etc?

Occasional backpacking and ski touring so preferably light and packable.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jul 29, 2011
El Chorro
All I can tell you is that I have a North Face 0* bag, don't remember what it's called but it's synthetic. It's SUPER warm but since it's synthetic it doesn't pack down as well.

Since you didn't specify, I'll assume that you might not know the following basics:

Down:
-Is lighter (better warmth to weight ratio)
-Packs down better
-Can last a lifetime
BUT
-Doesn't work when wet
-Takes forever to dry
- Needs special cleaning
-Expensive

Synthetic:
-Works when wet
-Dries fast
-Easy to clean
-Costs less
BUT
-Is heavier
-Can't pack as well
-Breaks down faster than down

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By Tim Zander
Jul 29, 2011
Has anyone had experience with Rab down bags? I keep seeing them show up on SAC and almost just now pulled the trigger on a 850 fill 0 degree bag.

I trust Marmot more though, so am holding out for a deal on a Lithium Membrain

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By RyanO
From sunshine
Jul 29, 2011
golite all the way! if you're in co, and you want to camp out before one of the sales you can get one for about 150..

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By fivefun
Jul 29, 2011
A fun hand crack
Hey Ryan, thanks for taking the time to type that out.

I'm pretty well versed in the pros and cons of types of sleeping bags, I am simply looking for a consensus among those who might have fallen in love with a particular model. Very subjective measures, I know.

@RyanO, yeah I am thinking GoLite too. Alas, I live in CA.

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By Dave R.
Jul 30, 2011
Recently I purchased Mont Bell's Super Spiral #0 bag and really like it.

Its pretty much on par weight/size-wise for other 0 degree down bags. What really set it apart for me is the super stretch aspect. They cut the fabric and stitched it so that it stretches really well. If you can find one to try I would be really surprised if you don't end up loving the bag for that reason alone.

By far and away the most comfortable sleeping bag I have ever been in.

I move a lot in my sleep, and this bag effortlessly accommodates that movement and ensures that their are no dead spots. I liked this so much that I actually sold a 20 degree Mountain Hardware synthetic bag so that I could buy a synthetic Mont Bell bag with the same feature.

montbell.us/products/disp.php?...

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By Adam Paashaus
From Greensboro, North Carolina
Jul 30, 2011
After you get done climbing be sure to head up to the summit for sunset. Its only a 10 minute walk from the main wall. Don't forget your headlamp.
WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING
made in USA
BEST quality down
lightest weight
incredibly comfortable

pricey... but you get what you pay for.

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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Jul 30, 2011
Like biscuits said, Western Mountaineering bags are excellent, well worth the price. I've owned a few Marmot bags over the years, and they're a close second to Western Mountaineering.

If you're willing to spend the money and put some effort into taking care of your bag, good down bags are the way to go. consider a silk liner to add a little warmth and keep the bag clean.

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By Andrew Martin
From North Jersey
Jul 30, 2011
me
Western Mountaineering is amazing, I have two of their bags (a HighLite that I have had for more then 10 years and easily 200 nights, and a Puma MF) and I love them. I will continue to buy their bags. Feathered Friends is right up there as well, and if you want a water resistant bag their eVent bags are amazing. All other bags are a step down (in my book) from these two in terms of quality, but you maybe able to get a bag that fits your needs perfectly for 1/3 of the price. Look at everything and think about what you are going to use it for. Best of luck!

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By Scott Bower
From Fort Collins, CO
Jul 30, 2011
Western mountaineering antelope is a great bag. Rated at 5 degrees, I think it sleeps warm. Top of the line for sure.

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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jul 31, 2011
Bucky
Ryan Williams wrote:
All I can tell you is that I have a North Face 0* bag, don't remember what it's called but it's synthetic. It's SUPER warm but since it's synthetic it doesn't pack down as well.



Seriously?

I'll tell you what, I will sell you my (almost) brand new NF 0 degree synthetic bag for a six pack of beer. That is, by far, the worst bag I have ever owned. I get cold in that thing when it drops below 20 degrees....and I was born and raised in Wisconsin so I ain't no cold weather wimp. Its not just me either. I lent it to a friend to make sure it wasn't just me. Conclusion? That bag is a POS. My 12 year old synthetic Moonstone 15 degree bag is warmer. Get anything but a NF bag.

Like other folks on here have said, if you can afford the change, get a Western Mountaineering bag. When WM says 0 degree, they mean it will keep you comfy to minus 10. Worth every cent.

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By Brototype
From Albuquerque, NM
Jul 31, 2011
I have the Marmot Couloir and I absolutely love it. It packs down pretty well and is amazingly warm. Someone who swears by Marmot says that their bag ratings are actually about +5 from what they can handle.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jul 31, 2011
El Chorro
J. Albers wrote:
Seriously? I'll tell you what, I will sell you my (almost) brand new NF 0 degree synthetic bag for a six pack of beer. That is, by far, the worst bag I have ever owned. I get cold in that thing when it drops below 20 degrees....and I was born and raised in Wisconsin so I ain't no cold weather wimp. Its not just me either. I lent it to a friend to make sure it wasn't just me. Conclusion? That bag is a POS. My 12 year old synthetic Moonstone 15 degree bag is warmer. Get anything but a NF bag. Like other folks on here have said, if you can afford the change, get a Western Mountaineering bag. When WM says 0 degree, they mean it will keep you comfy to minus 10. Worth every cent.


That's weird. I slept in mine in a 3 season tent for about 5 weeks during November and December out at Indian Creek and was the warmest of all my friends. It got down below 20 every night for like a 10 day stretch (and down around 10 a few nights) and I'd sleep in the thing naked and sleep through the night comfy as hell. Then I'd wake up in the morning and all of Creek Pasture would be complaining that they didn't get enough sleep because of the cold.

I don't remember the name and don't see in on REI's site, which is where I bought it. I think it is a "Polar Shield" or something like that. Def. rated to 0, and I'm happy with it so far. I wonder if you got a lemon?!

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By Timmamok
From Durango, CO
Jul 31, 2011
crack at undisclosed location - my little proj
Western Mountaineering is the way to go

and why does everyone like Creek Pasture so much?

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By Steve Williams
From Denver, CO
Jul 31, 2011
My .02 is for Western Mountaineering bags too. Don't have one myself,
one's on my list of to get, but a number of my friends have them
and they can't say enough good things about them.
I've got a Marmot CWM bag, (-40 rated), and I was barely warm
enough on Denali in -10 below there. My buds with their Western
Mountaineering bags were toasty all the way.

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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jul 31, 2011
Bucky
Ryan Williams wrote:
That's weird....I don't remember the name and don't see in on REI's site, which is where I bought it. I think it is a "Polar Shield" or something like that. Def. rated to 0, and I'm happy with it so far. I wonder if you got a lemon?!


Hey Ryan,

Yeah, I probably have the same bag as you because I bought it at REI (its a lime green bag). I'm glad that your bag has worked out for you, but to be honest, I know several people (men and women) that have had problems with other NF bags as well. In the future, I will probably just stick to either a Marmot or a WM bag.

That said, if anyone wants to buy my 0 degree bag, its practically brand new and I would be willing to sell it for a reasonable price.

Cheers.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jul 31, 2011
El Chorro
J. Albers wrote:
Hey Ryan, Yeah, I probably have the same bag as you because I bought it at REI (its a lime green bag). I'm glad that your bag has worked out for you, but to be honest, I know several people (men and women) that have had problems with other NF bags as well. In the future, I will probably just stick to either a Marmot or a WM bag. That said, if anyone wants to buy my 0 degree bag, its practically brand new and I would be willing to sell it for a reasonable price. Cheers.


Yea I think mine is lime green and black. I got it on sale.

I'm just curious (and a bit worried) if mine will keep me warm when the temp gets down below 15. I know we got below 15 a few nights but probably not for more than an hour or two at a time. It did well around and below 20 though. Hmmm...

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By mountainmaiden
From durango
Aug 1, 2011
me
Marmot Never Summer zero bag

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By giegs
Aug 1, 2011
If you've got a need for lightweight then then MH Phantom 0 kicks ass. I've got a 32 and a 0, have spent more than 150 nights in the 32 and probably 80 or so in the 0. Both are still warm and holding up well.

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By Brice Harris
Aug 12, 2011
Ryan Williams wrote:
-Doesn't work when wet


This is not wholly true. I have over 400 nights in my marmot helium 850 fill 15F bag. The few of those that ended with a damp bag, in cold conditions (in the 20's), I stayed plenty warm in the bag. Not as warm as I would have been otherwise, but it was by no means a total loss of thermal insulation.

I've been told by others that there is a test somewhere out there about the specifics of this and that they found the down bags lost 15% of their thermal capabilities when wet. Which is significant, but not as bad as the average hyperbole.

How your bag actually gets soaked is a mind boggle to me. You'd have to leave it out in the rain, drop the unpacked back in a water source, or something else totally ridiculous and mostly avoidable to get enough water to actually make a difference. Rain soaking your pack through to your bag is the only way I've managed to get it wet (uncommon, and avoidable by a pack rain cover).

Down is far superior to synthetic and I will never, even remotely, consider the idea of a synthetic bag again.

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By Robert Buswold
From Longmont, CO
Aug 12, 2011
Clear Creek Canyon, Capitalist Crag
I can't speak for a 0 degree bag, since I don't own one - but I do have a -40 Marmot bag that I absolutely love. Well made and obviously very warm. If I buy any more sleeping bags, Marmot will be at the top of the list.

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By Cory
From Boise, ID
Aug 12, 2011
Relaxing in the Tuttle Creek Campground after a fun day in the Hills
Sergio Colombo wrote:
Brice, our body loses 1 qt. of water every night due to perspiration. Down bags made of nylon (non breathable), can get wet, not soaked, just from your body perspiration. Down bags with DryLoft Gore/Conduit/Pertex/Event fabric help eliminate the problem by allowing what we lose through perspiration to leave the bag and keeping it drier. They do cost a lot more but I think in the long run they are worth the money. Another thing that gets down bags wet is the condensation inside the tent. In humid winter climates, it can be considerable and could spell trouble if you're far away on an expedition. A wet down bag will freeze and there is no way to thaw it if you're up on the mountains. I still prefer down bags to synthetic, but there are pros and cons to go either way.


I'm constantly changing my mind about which I like better. In a bivy sack, if I have to close the top, I always end up soaked and freezing in a down bag (once in a 10F bag when the temps were only in the high 30s) just from persperation. Even in a tent, if it's winter, I've usually got wet stuff (gloves, socks, boot liners, etc.) that I like to keep in the bag with me overnight to dry out. Once again, I end up soaked and freezing in a down bag. In both of the above circumstances with a synthetic bag I end up wet but NOT freezing.

However, on the other side of the coin, why try to save weight with a bivy sack if you are forced to carry around a massive synthetic bag? If I'm really worried about weight (which I usually am on a one-night trip) then I just bring the down bag and a tent, and accept the fact that my socks, boot liners, and gloves will be frozen in the morning. For longer trips where the pack is heavy anyway, and where a wet down bag that doesn't dry out over the course of the day would royally suck, I consider the synthetic.

Keep in mind that you can wear your jackets to bed to make your sleeping bag warmer. I don't think you need more than a 10F or 15F bag almost anywhere in California.

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By Brice Harris
Aug 12, 2011
Sergio Colombo wrote:
Brice, our body loses 1 qt. of water every night due to perspiration. Down bags made of nylon (non breathable), can get wet, not soaked, just from your body perspiration. Down bags with DryLoft Gore/Conduit/Pertex/Event fabric help eliminate the problem by allowing what we lose through perspiration to leave the bag and keeping it drier. They do cost a lot more but I think in the long run they are worth the money. Another thing that gets down bags wet is the condensation inside the tent. In humid winter climates, it can be considerable and could spell trouble if you're far away on an expedition. A wet down bag will freeze and there is no way to thaw it if you're up on the mountains. I still prefer down bags to synthetic, but there are pros and cons to go either way.



To me theres a lot of other things you can do to manage moisture, a silk liner, or for frozen bivy's where your bag will freeze due to just the differential temps between your bag and the surrounding air, there are vapor barriers for bag that you can cover the bag with. No solution is perfect, and you're right a bag with Event et al will go a long way to preventing moisture problems, but a down bag is still, in my opinion, the far superior due to weight/warmth ratios and packability.

I've woken up from exposed bivy's with a bag covered in dew, I've gone to sleep still sweating from night approaches in 25 degree temps, and I've been snowed on in the middle of the night with open bivy's. All of which I've been able to reasonably comfortably sleep through.

I'm not saying that this strategy works for K2, but it does for 90% of all other situations in the mountains. To me a good pad and a good down bag are rarely beat.

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By Brice Harris
Aug 13, 2011
In the long run, a 600$ sleeping bag is cheap if you spend hundreds of nights in it instead of hotels. That's pretty damn cheap rent.

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By Weston L
From Summerlin, NV
Sep 9, 2011
Me at the good rest on Doggie Do
I second the earlier mention of the MH Phantom 0 degree. I have had mine for some time now and it is holding up well, I have yet to have a cold night in it. Super lightweight, compressible, and warm...not much more I could think of to want really.

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By Auto-X Fil
From NEPA and Upper Jay, NY
Sep 9, 2011
I've used bags from Rab, North Face, Western Mountaineering, Marmot, LaFuma, and others.

Western Mountaineering is a step above. Feathered Friends seems to be just as good. They are lifetime investments in good sleep and warm digits you will never regret.

Rab, Valandre, Mont-Bell, high-end Marmot, and others are close behind. Never quite as good, but very nice bags. Retail prices are right in line with WM and FF, but unlike the former, you might actually find these on sale. I use a Rab Quantum 400 Endurance right now, and it's OK... but just OK. The loft pales in comparison to the WM bags I've had, it's just as heavy, and the craftsmanship doesn't compare. I really wish I had a ~20 degree WM or FF bag, but can't justify buying one now that I own the Rab, which honestly is adequate for my needs.

North Face, cheaper Marmot bags, LaFuma, and similar brands are all a very big step back. I use some today for casual camping, but never on alpine climbing trips where weight, compressibility, and warmth are highly valuable.

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