I'm looking to upgrade my sleeping bag to warmer, but still light. My 23-degree Sierra Designs is 2 lbs., but isn't cutting it for temps under, say, 45 degrees. (It's "rated" at 23) And that's with me wearing socks, my puffy, a hat, gloves, etc. I'm looking at Feathered Friends, but I'm a little concerned about the dimensions. So my question is:
Do you use a women's-specific bag? And, if so, are the shoulder dimensions roomy enough? I'm not a big fan of confining sleeping bags, and I'm a side sleeper. I've considered a quilt, but am leery about how warm I'll be in temps near or slightly below freezing. My first sleeping bag ever was a Cat's Meow women's bag, but at 5'6" it was not quite long enough. I'm 5'4", but I like a little more length. FF's women's bags go to 5'9". (I also like to put clothes and electronics in my bag with me for sleeping.) Also - I'm not built like a rock climber or long-distance runner -- I'm fairly average weight-wise, but (generously) curvy.
Any thoughts/suggestions? Obviously, I'm looking to spend serious money here, and I want to make the best choice I can.
mk, I haven’t really texted the quilt to cold temps (I should have more info on that in a couple of months, as this year we will be camping well into the fall), but I love it, and have never been cold. Cutting out the zippers allows it to be wider and still as light as my 32-deg mummy was—and the quilt is rated to 20. I’ve had it down only to the low 40s, or maybe one frosty morning, but so far I haven’t even used the straps that help to keep it more tightly sealed around the body (I assume that’s what worries you about the warmth—cold drafts).
I am another side sleeper, and would have tried a woman’s bag if Zeke hadn’t convinced me about the quilts. No regrets. To be honest, I had been using my mummy as a quilt for several years, ever since the hot flashes started :D, so it wasn’t a hard transition; the quilt works better. I did buy a down hood to use with it, but so far hadn’t needed it—just a fleece hat. I sleep in long underwear tops and bottoms, unless temps drop well below freezing, in which case I may put on my fleece pants. The quilt is well-suited to side-sleepers and those who thrash about, as well as those who have to take covers on and off a dozen times a night.
For the record, my quilt is an Enlightened Equipment Revolution, 20 degrees as mentioned, with I think about an ounce of accidental overstuff (they sent a note with it saying it had been overstuffed, and offered to re-do if desired, or to let me have it at no extra charge. I took it).
Thanks, rebeccad . I'd been going back and forth between sleeping bag and quilt -- and I've decided on an EE Revelation 10 degree quilt. I've tried to order it a couple of times today, but the website is not letting me so I have an email in to the company to see what's what. I don't know why I've been so hesitant to give up the sleeping bag. I guess it's the mental part of going outside my comfort zone, which only is experienced in bags. But the quilt makes so much sense, and I'm very hopeful that I'll love it. After all, the sleeping bag zipper makes me crazy, as does the confining feeling. It won't be hard to give those things up.
We are headed back to the Grand Canyon for a rim-to-rim in early November, and the only regret I have is that it isn't even close to cold enough here to try out a newer, warmer sleep system! (I upgraded the R-value on my pad, as well.) I may have to set the air conditioning to 60 to give it a little test ...
mk, I took forever to bite on the quilt, too—even though I was using my bag as a quilt! I was worried about giving up that hood, which I almost never used, or something. I don’t think you’ll have any regrets.
I was worried about giving up that hood, which I almost never used, or something.
Me, too! I usually put my pillow in the hood so that it doesn't slide around. But that just creates a whole new set of issues, including getting the bag snugged enough to not let in drafts. I figure that by the time I get this all figured out, I will be too old to crawl in and out of a tent. But at least the quilt will be handy for the hammock! (haha)
That is awesome! My mom hiked the loop (1.7 mi) at Copper Falls State Park with us when she was around 82. She said that she probably would never have a chance to do it again and she wanted one last walk through the woods. It was a gorgeous day and she had several of her grandchildren with her, and we just had the best time. It was slow going, but I am glad we got her through.
My mom hiked the loop (1.7 mi) at Copper Falls State Park with us when she was around 82. She said that she probably would never have a chance to do it again and she wanted one last walk through the woods. It was a gorgeous day and she had several of her grandchildren with her, and we just had the best time. It was slow going, but I am glad we got her through.
That sounds a bit like my grandmother's last hike at Rainier. I think she was 78, and we did the Burroughs Mtn. Loop, which I think is 2 or 3 miles. Soon after that she developed Parkinson's and it got to be just too much. Only thing that spoiled that day was that 2 of us were coming down with chicken pox (the 3rd was just getting over it).
I have an EE Enigma quilt and love it. I have the 20 degree version and will sometimes be a bit chilly when it gets down to freezing, or a bit below. I think below freezing a typical fleece beanie doesn't cut it with a hoodless quilt, and something like the hoodlum or another warm baklava is needed to keep warm. Also, the "20 degree" quilt is a "mens" 20 degree. Quilts aren't EN rated, but with sleeping bags the women's rating is 10 or 12 degrees warmer, and I think my comfort limit for a 20 degree mens/unisex bag or quilt is around freezing. I don't backpack or camp when the forecast is below the high 20's, so I can't speak to how a quilt does in really cold temps.
Women's sleeping bags tend to be wider in the hips and narrower in the shoulders than men's, to better conform to a typical women's shape, and shorter too. I think my women's sleeping bags fit me better than men's bags. I don't know of any women-specific quilts, but since they aren't really shaped, it's easy to compensate by choosing the appropriate length, width and temp rating.
It would be great to still be camping and hiking at 80, but I'm worried my knees will give up on me before then. Whenever I suggest vacations that don't involve backpacking or visiting family my husband always says, "we can do that when we're old", so we've been doing a lot of backpacking the last few years.
I've received my EE Revelation and am anxious to try it out, but I have my daughter's two cats with me this weekend and I don't dare bring it out until they take their claws and go home! I also have a new, higher R-value sleeping pad, in an attempt to keep warmer. I really don't expect to be out below freezing -- winter camping will never be my thing -- but I do sleep cold.
We sort of have the same idea -- although we don't seem to be out backpacking as much as I'd like. We hiked in Mt. Rainier NP a few weeks ago, but my husband didn't like the idea of camping so we stayed in Ashford. I couldn't believe he wouldn't camp with me! Unfortunately, old is definitely creeping up on me. I recently started noticing a wonky hip, and the knee on the same side (probably from compensating for the hip). Trying to work on more hip-opening exercises, which do seem to help.
I have a FF Grouse (women's 30deg) that I got about 10 years ago which was my go-to 3-season bag. A few years ago, I started sleeping colder and decided to move to a 20deg bag. One thing I noticed about the Grouse was, while I loved the roomy comfort, I thought the extra volume might be contributing to being cold. I moved to a Western Mountaineering 20deg bag (Ultralite), much narrower than the Grouse, and really like it. (The brand switch was really only because I have a local source to try WM bags and they offer sale opportunities.)
For me, I "roll" in my sleep and I just take my sleeping bag with me. I have a summer-weight quilt that I made and it's great for summer, but as soon as it gets a cooler, I want the cocoon effect of a mummy bag. I bought a second WM bag, the Summerlite, mostly for Southwest shoulder seasons, including the GC. In the Canyon, I might see a 15deg difference from one night to the next depending on the elevation at camp. I like the option of being able to zip it up when I want to.
mk and cahiker, we are currently kind of on the quest to do as much of the physically demanding stuff as we can, on the grounds that our days for that are numbered. I do take comfort from the fact that our parents backpacked as well as camped until pretty well along. I think my husband’s father did his last pack trip somewhere well up in his 80s, though he came home from that one and declared it to be his last. My mom didn’t backpack after about 68, because of knees. I’m paying attention to my knees and hips, and trying everything I can to strengthen them. When all else fails, I just do it anyway and take ibuprofen to sleep. I know, not the healthiest approach, but...