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sklag

sleeping bags

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hey I was wondering how versatile a 15 degree down western mountaineering bag would be in the NW? I know everybody says no to down but I've never run into an issue with getting it wet (knock on wood). anyways I can get a closeout deal with the apache for about 300 bones and I didn't know if this was an appropriate 3 season bag for this area.

 

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I suspect there are more "pro-down" people than "anti-down" people.

 

15 degree bag would be overkill for over here. unless you are trompin around in january. I have used a 40 degree bag with good results for many summers.

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I've been cold on summer mountaineering trips with a 10 degree bag (in poor weather, obviously). I think there is great variation in whether people sleep "hot" or "cold", so take the advice you get here with that in mind.

 

It sounds like you understand the risks and potential consequences of carrying down. I have seen many people use down successfully. On longer trips in extended wet weather, however, even the most careful will notice their bag loses a bit of loft each successive wet day.

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I have a 1lb 8oz Moonstone Polarguard 3D bag rated to +45 that I use as a 3 season bag. I also use a gortex bivy tent and sometimes wear my medium weight clothes to bed. I have always slept pretty warm anyway. So use this as a gauge. Same as bstach said.

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yes i'll agree. But I'm wondering about using a 15 degree bag specifically for mountaineering on mt. baker during late aug./early sept. I hear this is a sketchy time weather wise and it could be hot or cold. I've never slept on snow or ice for that matter since I live in ohio. Just wondering what exactly i'm up against temp wise. I believe in the safer than sorry philosophy at least until I get my feet wet. any advice is greatly appreciated.

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I have used -5*C down bag for many years on the wet coast for playing in the mountains and for paddling. If you are careful and learn from any events that let it get soggy then you will find that down will get you through. Taking the opportunities to dry you bag when they come will dry out a damp on.

 

Mount Baker at those times of year is wonderful, with much drier glaciers, so you know you're on a glaciated mountain. If you sleep in a tent or shelter that reduces air circulation and contributes to heating the air in your space your bag will be warm enough. You bag should be warm enough at that time of year regardless, unless something like a cold weather phenomemon hits that has weather guys saying"Holy Moly, look at this...". What you do want to make you sleep warm is adaquate ground insulation.

 

Have you read a title published by the Mountaineers, "Hypothermia, frostbite and other cold injuries"? It is a good read and will offer some more insights into heat exchange and well sleeping warm.

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I think most people I climb with consider something in the 10-20F range plenty for most of the time on most mountains around here. Adjust upward or downard depending on how "hot" or "cold" you sleep. Of course weather and elevation and how far you push 3 seasons can change things. I have 20F down bag but it's not comfortable at that temp unless I wear a lot of clothes, but WM has a better reputation than the brand I have and will probably be even conservative for its rating. Last year in May I froze all night at 4,000', later in July at 7,000'+ I was sweating, both times in the same bag and bivy sack. Baker can get nasty but odds are you won't climb if it gets real bad and the time frame you are talking about is part of the best weather window we have out here, about the middle of July through about the first or second week of September. If this is a one time trip and you won't need the bag after that you might consider borrowing or renting. I think REI and some other places out here rent bags although I'm not sure about quality and temp rating.

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Sometimes draping an unzipped parka overtop of your bag is an easy way to increase loft at strategic areas.

 

But get the ground insulation.

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YES GROUND INSULATION WILL SAVE YOUR BUTT.

I always have an insulite pad and a 3/4 thermarest on snow.

Definately take a warmer bag than my previous post if for no other reason than that is what you feel you need. The extra weight isn't that much and there is a lot to be said for peace of mind.

But the ground insulation is at least as important.

 

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It's better to have too warm a bag then too cold a bag. 15 degrees will be fine, you could probably do it with a 30 degree bag as well. 15 degree bags will be more useful in the long run in my experience.

 

Down is fine for most trips, but I've come close to passing on because my down bag was soaking wet on day 6 of a trip.

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You've probably received enough good info here already to decide what you need on Baker in August/early September: good pad insulation & bag size is whatever makes you comfortable allowing for adding clothes to make warmer and zipping open to exhaust excess heat... I'd probably err to the warm side with a 15-25df bag.

 

However, on an extended trip, where you don't stay in one camp, but keep moving (tours, traverses. etc.), your down bag will become damp and lose loft due to your own perspiration unless you use an inner VB liner. But, that, perhaps, is for another discussion.

 

Using down-filled articles and not being obsessed with weight to the point of cutting off toothbrush handles, I've come to enjoy using these bags for down articles to decrease pack size (which allow for a net weight reduction).

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Compression sacks are the way to go. After mass comes volume in the quest of things to reduce. I have been really fond of the OR sil-nylon compression sacks or the drybag compression sacks they produce as well.

 

Marrying up a thermarest and closed cell foam mattress is the best way to go. Having ensolite or evazote foam mattresses are great. I never think twice about slicing into a closed cell pad if I ever need to improvise blister padding, arch supports, blaces, splints or a rig for a camera.

Edited by blueserac

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I have the 15 degree Western Mountaineering Apache Super Dryloft. I have had it for 10 years and it is an excellent bag. I have used it for 4 seasons in the Cascades, in May in the Ruth Gorge and June on Mt Hunter. Very versatile.

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what i carry currently is a wiggy's 20 degree bag, I don't know if anyone is familiar with his stuff or not, but I find it particularly heavy for what it is 3-4lbs I think. It has kept me warm down into the mid twenties in a 3 season tent, that was without hot water bottles etc... I'm only going to upgrade my bag NOW if I really need to for my summer trip to baker- I'm still in school ya'll. Anyways, If this bag will make it then I'll take it along and not worry. I will have long john bottoms, soft shell top and bottoms, balaclava, and down vest with expedition weight top.

I think I should be warm enough.

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I think WM makes the best down bags, and a 15 deg. bag would be pretty versatile. I'm a big chicken, but I generally do not use a down bag in the Cascades. I've been in a 7 day storm where everything starts to get wet, and I never had to stress about my bag, whereas my partner did, as his down bag started to get lumpy and cold. Also, a synthetic bag may be a little more versatile than a down bag in a rescue situation (God forbid). In other places, like the Tetons or the Wind Rivers, I use down.

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A 20 degree bag is great of for all around use in the Cascades. At low temps you're going to have a puffy and extra clothes along, which will supplement the bag at night. A down jacket hood is a lite way to supplement a 20 degree bag in really cold temps.

 

Feathered Friends also makes a great down bag, BTW.

 

As for down verse synthetic; I wouldn't even consider the latter for weight/bulk reasons. I've never had a problem keeping my down bag dry. If you want a bag that'll stay dry for 'rescue' purposes, carry a 1 oz space blanket bivvy sack.

 

As for ground insulation on snow, you might be able to go light with a thermarest laid over your pack (if it has an integral backpad and isn't too lumpy. It's not for everyone, but it's warm enough for me.

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well, I decided to go with a bag made out of opossum fur like you all recommended, just kidding. No but I dropped some dolla bills ya'll on a western mountaineering apache. one quick one though, what are the majority of bivy/sleeping bag covers using for zippers, right or left. I'm picky and got a right zip even though I'm right handed- go figure. just wondering.

 

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Left or right, it's your choice. Just have them synched on the same side so when your eyes from a deep sleep after downing two litres of water you can make it out.

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Sometimes draping an unzipped parka overtop of your bag is an easy way to increase loft at strategic areas.

 

But get the ground insulation.

 

Ditto that. And, I've learned to live with a 32 degree MHW Phantom for just about everything; I just sleep in all my clothes.

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You didn't ask this question, but I'd skip the sleeping bag cover or bivvy bag. Take a tent for stormy weather or above-timberline camping with a marginal forecast, take a tarp for camping at timberline in marginal or even bad weather, and take neither one if the big High Pressure is on the weather map and you are only going for an overnight or even two. Your 15 degree sleeping bag will be plenty warm for a Labor Day trip to Mount Baker.

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Play the weather it can save either a lot of energy or heartache. If a low or frontal system is forecast then pack the extra kit and hedge your bets. If it is calling for a 1030mb high pressure system to remain stationary then go light. But remember of anomalies.

 

I have taken a 5x8 siltarp folded it along it's length and sewn the open edges so that it acts as: 1) a interior pack liner to keep my kit dry; 2) a bivi bag; 3) and a tarp, if the stitches are blown.

 

Put in two rows of stitches that are easy to pull apart if necessary. Stitch to just below the armpit to maximize coverage in bivi mode and still allow the top portion to be guyed out and keep the precipatation off your face.

 

Some folks I have come across have sewn in velcro or a lightweight zipper that allow a reuseable functionality. Reducing the overall weight, yet having something that will last much, much, much longer than a sheet of plastic or mylar fits my environmental needs too.

 

Draw backs are the longevity is yet to be desired, and bugs have free reign to your head, neck and hands. Howerever, thankfully they have developed the bugmesh hat and heavier full function bivi bags that weigh over 2 1/2 pounds. This one weighs 200 grams (less than half a pound) and whatever the extra thread weighs to stitch it.

Edited by blueserac

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thankfully they have developed the bugmesh hat and heavier full function bivi bags that weigh over 2 1/2 pounds...

 

That's kind of my point about bivvy bags. Assuming a party of two, you can bring two full function bivvy bags, at 5 pounds, or go light and maybe they'll total 2 1/2 pounds, but a tent for two weighs as little as 3 pounds and is generally preferable.

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