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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Default Sleeping bag for an Oregon mountain

    I'm having some analysis paralysis here and need advice from experienced campers. Should I get a 20 or 35 degree sleeping bag for this situation?

    Immediate use: DD1, age 17, is doing a weeklong Girl Scout camping and astronomy program in August. It will be on Pine Mountain in Oregon, which is at 6300 feet elevation. Summertime night temperatures are supposed to be 30's and 40's. DD1 tends to be cold, so I bought a 20 degree bag at REI. But I am suddenly balking at the higher weight of this bag (3 pounds, 13 ounces for the women's long size that she needs. Becuase they are women's bags, they are a little warmer than a men's bag, so a 20 degree women's is like a 30 degree men's). This all means it's also a little more expensive, a little bulkier.... maybe just a little more than we need.

    This morning I saw that there is an identical sleeping bag, same company rated at 35 degrees, and wondered if that would be better. (Nemo Viola 20 degrees vs Nemo Vioal 35 degrees).OUr family each has a basic, bulky, heavy Coleman sleeping bag rated at 40 or 50 degrees. That's worked until this fall, when our needs started changing.

    That's because DD1, DD2 and I are all active Girl Scouts. Any of us would like to use this new bag on occasion for early spring or fall camping when our COleman bags don't cut it. One of us may do a backpacking overnight once or twice a year in the future, which is why weight is on my mind. DD1 and I did a primitive camping weekend in November and our current Coleman bags were very cold, just not adequate.

    DD1 has other sleeping bag needs, but her COleman bag is probably ok. We camp as a family, but usually just in the summer when our existing bags are ok. She goes to a weeklong residential camp in Virginia in July and stays in cabin - existing bag is fine. One new thing this summer is DD1 will do a weeklong canoe trip in Virginia, but I don't think she needs a warm sleeping bag for that given the time of year.

    So.... the warmer, heavier, slightly bigger 20 degree bag or the lighter 35 degree bag?
    Advice and commentary on living overseas

    DD1 15, DD2 12, and DS 9

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default

    I have had snow in the Oregon mountains during summer. I had a 15 degree north face bag. I would do the 20 degree bag.


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  3. #3
    ahisma is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default

    I'm a backpacker. The temp ratings on sleeping bags are "don't die" temp ratings, not comfort ratings. She will feel very cold in a 30 degree bag if it is 30 degrees. I'd stick with the 20. If you want to cut down on bulk, there are a few things you can do: go with a different bag - Nemos are great, but the spoon shape creates more bulk / weight, or look at a quilt (goes over you but not under you, since the mattress or mattress pad provides the insulation there, not the bag. You may be able to find a bag with a very thin bottom portion (so the layer under you). I've seen them, but can't recall the brand offhand.

    ETA: I just looked at the bag. Synthetic is always going to be heavier and bulkier. At those temps I would strongly consider down. Here's an option (zippers are best on the opposite side from your dominant hand): https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/produ...ag-womens-long

    Another: https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/produ...eping-bag-long

    Another: https://www.rei.com/rei-garage/produ...eping-bag-long
    Last edited by ahisma; 3 Days Ago at 10:56 PM.

  4. #4
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    20 degree definitely. No fun to be cold and can solve being warm easier than the other way around.


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  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Definitely 20. I have a 0 degree bag and have been cold when it gets below freezing. As pp said, the rating is just to keep you alive at certain temps, not warm.
    ds 2004
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  6. #6
    squimp is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I would not break out my low temp bag in summer here, even at that elevation. But since she's not backpacking, and weight doesn't matter, I would take the warmer bag just to be safe. I agree with the poster who suggested down instead of synthetic - it will be more breathable too.

    Looks like an awesome camp!

  7. #7
    Mikey0709 is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Another one here who has a zero degree bag and is usually cold even that one! Go for the warmer bag, ESPECIALLY if weight/bulk doesn't matter.

    I too was always taught that the rating was the "stay alive" rating, not the comfort rating..... and to pad it minimum 20-25 degrees for comfort. My next bag will definately be "down" and even warmer.

  8. #8
    marinkitty is online now Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    DH and I have zero degree bags and I've been cold at night in 30 degree temps, and so I'd definitely go with the 20. And even though down packs lighter, if there is any possibility of getting wet, you want synthetic. Most camps require synthetic bags for that reason. Down loses all insulation power when wet. My DD did an expedition in Iceland two summers ago with a 10 or 20 degree synthetic bag (can't recall for sure now but I know it's rated for less than our down bags) and a bag liner (supposed to add another 10 degrees of warmth). She used the liner every night and they were in similar temps.

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