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kmehrtens

Sleeping Bag for West Buttresss

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I am looking to buy a down bag for an upcoming trip to Alaska to attempt the West Buttress next June/July. What is the current thought for temperature range of a sleeping bag. I typically sleep warm, but don't want to take a chance once we are up higher.

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I've known folks hwo have used everything from +10 to -40. For late May-June in a cold year I used a -15 Feathered Friends and was warm enough with a single foam pad.

 

Be aware, however, that not all bag's temperature ratings are equivalent. A -10 degree boutique bag (i.e. Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering) may be as warm as a -25 bag from the North Face, Marmot, Mountain Hardware or other big box company.

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I am currently comparing the Mountain Hardwear -20 Wraith and the -40 Ghost.

 

Wraith; 4lb-6oz, loft 9in. and pack size 10x15 $900

Ghost; 4lb-12oz, loft 10in. and pack size 10x15 $1000

 

 

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Wow, heavy, bulky, and super expensive. My -15 FF weighs 3lb 4 oz and cost $550 custom made with overfill and Epic fabric. And I bet it is as warm as the Wraith.

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I have almost always found FF down garments and bags to be lighter, with more fill weight of a higher quality, and cheaper, than any big brand. Look at the numbers and you will probably find little reason, if any, to go with something else.

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DPS- That's a bit harsh. Each company you point out as not being well rated is EN tested for accuracy whereas neither Feathered Friends nor Western do this test.

 

The EN test is basically the European Union's standardized test to determine a "rough" rating for a bags temp. While it's not perfect it is much more accurate than what the industry used to do which is rate a bag based on how many inches of loft it had or just estimate based on feedback which isn't super reliable. Too many variables with feedback.

 

The test isn't cheap and for a small brand like FF or Western to pay the expense would be painful considering they don't sell bags in Europe and thus don't need to do the test. I don't mention it to say either brand makes a poorly rated bag. Everybody seems to love their stuff. I only mention it because calling those other brands out is misleading and inaccurate.

 

 

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DPS- That's a bit harsh. Each company you point out as not being well rated is EN tested for accuracy whereas neither Feathered Friends nor Western do this test.

 

I did not write nor imply that that other company's bags are not well rated or not accurate. The point I was trying to make is that in my experience FF and WM are more conservative in their ratings or are not necessarily equivalent to the big brand name bag's ratings. It could very well be that the big brand name bags are MORE accurately rated and WM and FF are not accurately rated.

Edited by DPS

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I made two Denali trips with a bag rated to -20, and it was more than enough. consider: will you camp in tents, or depend on igloos and snow-caves. The major challenge with an igloo or snow cave is not warming it up, but keeping it cool enough so it doesn't drip. If you're sheltering in snow, you can get by with less bag. Eventually, I saw the light and realized that the -20 bag was too warm to use anywhere else, so I ditched it in favor of an FF "widebody" 15' bag, and an ultralight "pounder" summer weight bag that fits inside it - so I have the summer ultralight, the three-season "everyman", and the two in combination for an expedition rated rig. and the combination weighs under four lbs - less than my old -20 monster.

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-20F FF wide bag. tight bags are irritating especially if you are a stomach sleeper.

 

MH tends to overbuild their tents. looks like they put extra crap into their sleeping bags too?

 

 

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FF Peregrine is THE bag for Denali. If you don't want to shell out for one FF has a fleet of rentals. It makes sense to buy if you plan to use the bag on multiple climbs, but if you're never going to do a high altitude or extreme cold trip after Denali then whatever you buy will just sit in your closet.

 

That being said, you don't want to skimp on a bag. Denali is not a cheap trip, but your sleeping bag is not the place to economize. Your sleeping bag is arguably the second most important piece of gear you will take on the mountain after your boots. You can get by with a mediocre tent and pack, but if you aren't warm in your bag you won't sleep well, you won't climb well, and you'll be miserable. Don't overthink it. Just get the FF Peregrine whether you rent it or buy it.

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I took a -25 up in May and was pretty happy. You might be able to get away with a -10 in June.

 

Man...are FF bags the less expensive choice nowadays? Crazy.

Edited by EddieE

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Used a MH King Tut -20 with single-wall tent in May/June, with never a cold night. If I had to make the choice again I would opt for something like the WM Lynx. But it sounds like similar options exist for less $ from FF.

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