May 2, 2005 at 2:47 am #1216118
The sleeping bag is for most lightweight hikers the item in the pack that is heaviest and has the largest volume. It is also the warmest item by far.
It’s a shame that it should be in the bottom of the pack all day and only used when sleeping. If I have to bring a down jacket only to put on when taking a short brake, it not an optimal setup.
Feathered Friends makes the Chickadee/Rock & Winter Wren series, which looks like an interesting option. I think I’ve seen sleeping bags that also include arms on the down bag. And there are the down jacket+elephant foot bag combos too. I have a down top bag, it would be cool if it also could be used as a warm poncho (Hole in the middle, buttons on the sides). Maybe I’ll collect enough courage some day to attack it with the sewing machine.. I guess there are more variations imaginable, for example skipping a sleeping bag altogether and go for a down pants+down jacket combo instead.
On the positive side of these sollutions is of course the weight and volume that can be saved. You also can dry out the sleeping bag with your body heat during day in the right conditions, if it has become wet or moist during the night. A downside, the risk of wetting your final protection against hypothermia, and that a sleeping bag that can be used as a warm piece of clothing will be clumsy in comparison with a warm jacket.
-So, why are the multible use sleeping bags so rare, few manufactors make them? Why are not more people buing those that are available?
-What features and designs would you like to see in a multiple use sleeping bag to make it a consideration for your next purchase?
/MoeMay 2, 2005 at 2:56 am #1337021
Why stop there?
Why not add Epic or eVENT as an outer layer and make a detachable (velcro??) “head-end” (waist-to-head length) bugnet/rain-roof combo “mini-tarp” and use the whole thing as a bivy as well?
How’s that for multi-use?
…or, is this another ill conceived product brought to you by “Bad Ideas R Us?May 3, 2005 at 9:25 am #1337053
Here’s some people serious about multiple useMay 3, 2005 at 10:39 am #1337054
Looks like the ultimate “Mr. Gadget” invented this one. All in one pack, tent, pad, bag and carrying device. A lot of thought went into it for sure.May 3, 2005 at 11:16 am #1337056
Not bad.. But weight-wise, I think that the poncho-tarp combo is very hard to beat. I have been thinking about sewing backpack straps directly onto a regulat foam mat though, and then packing inside the roll in a waterproof stowing bag.. Should work ok for loads below 15 pounds.
/MoeMay 3, 2005 at 11:57 am #1337059
@skaarupLocale: Cold, wet and windy Scandinavia
The ultimate powerpac would be a system which include you. :-)
A prototype number is 007.Jun 4, 2005 at 2:19 pm #1337862
There is a 360 gram bag here in UK that limits insulation to the lower area of the bag and uses a down vest or jacket for the upper body. It is the Kimmlite PA1 and you can see it on the hike-lite.co.uk website. I have no connection with Hike-Lite except as a very happy customer.Jun 5, 2005 at 7:36 am #1337881
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Curious about this, and would appreciate feedback from actual users. How do you pack the thing when it’s wet from rain and/or heavy condensation?Jun 5, 2005 at 7:44 pm #1337898
That’s a good question, and in eastern or central timezones I expect to pack up a wet shelter every morning.
From what I’ve gathered when asking the same question is that folks place their sleeping bag, clothing and maybe food in largish sil nylon or spinn cloth sacks (not stuffed tightly).Jun 5, 2005 at 10:46 pm #1337902
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Thanks, Jim.Jun 7, 2005 at 11:10 am #1337932
@cmcrookerLocale: Desert Southwest, USA
JacksRBetter.com has a good idea along those lines: the No Sniveler quilt. It has a simple slit in the middle so you can wear it over your head like a poncho. They use a no scratch Velcro to close the slit when you are using it as a quilt. Might not be that hard a sewing project.Jun 8, 2005 at 5:34 am #1337951
Coming from a slightly different point of view … if you have to bring a down jacket to wear at reststops, then this same down jacket can be used to supplement your sleeping system, thereby saving weight on your sleeping bag. If you have to bring a down jacket for rest stops instead of using say a wind jacket or your rain jacket along with a hat and neck muff then you likely would likely need flexibility for the cold weather you encounter that the down jacket would give anyway. My Patagonia down sweater (XL) weighs 11.5 oz and might be the primary insulation of a summer sleeping system I am putting together for the SE. So my down jacket becomes my sleeping bag !Jun 8, 2005 at 8:08 am #1337960
I tend to use a lighter bag and then make it warmer with my warm clothing. I don’t want to skimp on warm clothing in case I have to wear it to hike out in inclement weather – some people will carry a really warm bag and skimp on warm clothing, figuring they won’t need the warm clothing once they are in their bag, but you can’t hike out in a bag!
Also, taking a lighter bag, but warmer clothing, means when you get out of the bag in the morning, you still have insulation.
The combination of bag + clothing needs to meet the coldest emergency temperature you are likely to encounter – it doesn’t mean you have to me comfortable in this “worst case scenario” but you have to be able to survive.
I really like the new Micro-Puff pants from Patagonia. There are a lot of upper body options these days, but not too many lower body options. Micro Puff pants are a lot more efficient than using polartec longjohns.
Keep in mind that “clothing + bag” is never as lightweight as a bag alone; because no clothing is as efficient as a 900 fill down bag – there are more seams, more material, the material is heavier etc. with clothing. But I don’t think it pays to hike in to the wilderness in shorts and then count on weathering out an early or late snow storm by hiding out in the sleeping bag….Jun 15, 2005 at 2:15 pm #1338162
For potentially wet but not cold weather.(Cascades in summer?) I like the Exped Wallcreeper. Hood, armholes, drawstring foot closure, handwarmer pockets. 1 lb, 10 oz. but you don’t carry as much top/bottom insulation clothing. Available in PL (primaloft) or down.Jul 6, 2005 at 6:18 am #1338716
I’ve been experimenting with multiple use sleeping systems that include an ultralight synthetic bag (50F) and lightweight insulative clothing. Last weekend I went with some friends on a two night, three day hike on the A.T. in Vermont. I carried no bag at all, just a lightweight fleece jacket and pants. Though a little warm around camp in the twilight hours, they were perfect in my Hennessy Hammock with a 3/8″ foam pad (with wings of padding duct taped on for torso) through the night. I used a Golite Wisp pullover to keep my torso warm enough the first night, when temps dropped into the low 50’s. It can be done, just don’t push it. I figured I’d be safe, since the weather forecast was clear and warm weather through the trip, and I had friends to borrow a jacket or other warm items from, if needed. If going solo, I probably would have brought my Golite Coal jacket, which is a bit warmer than the fleece.
The beauty of this system, especially for hammock users, is that you can get up, do chores, tighten lines, visit the woods (ahem), etc, without having to wriggle out of, then back into, a sleeping bag. I also have a Feathered Friends Rock Wren, which I’m fond of for cooler weather, as the drawstring bottom allows you to pull the bag up to your thighs and walk around, and the front opening zipper allows you to zip down past your waist for nighttime trips to the woods to intentionally dehydrate.Jul 6, 2005 at 10:27 am #1338724
If you are hiking out in bad weather, it seems like the most important thing is to keep your head and body warm. It is my understanding (please correct me if I’m wrong) that you can get frostbite and be mighty uncomfortable with cold hands, arms, feet or legs, but you are unlikely to die from it. Plus, if you are hiking out, your legs and feet are likely to be warm. So, it seems like the obvious route is to get a good half bag (for your legs) and carry a good jacket for sleeping and hiking. Plus, I would think it would be more comfortable (you stick your arms out). Now my question: Who has done this? Any recommendations on a half bag?Jul 6, 2005 at 11:17 am #1338726
The Nunatak Akula ( http://www.nunatakusa.com/sleeping_bag_akula.html) is a true half or elephant foot sleeping bag. I have no experience with this bag.
However, I do have some experience with the Feathered Friends (FF) Vireo (http://www.featheredfriends.com/ProductDetails.aspx?productId=78&CatId=1&ProductName=Vireo) which is an extended length version of the half bag. This bag is part of the FF layering system and is available in 3 lengths to cover your shoulders; it is designed to either take a light weight vest or jacket inside the sleeping bag and a heavy weight jacket outside the sleeping bag. If you purchase a Vireo at the same time as a FF down jacket there is a 15% discount on both pieces. FF also offers the Volant Hood which with snaps can be attached to both the Vireo sleeping bag and the FF Hyperion, Helios or Volant jackets. If you order the Volant Hood have the snaps added to the the Vireo sleeping bag and the hood flange and snaps added to the jacket.Jul 6, 2005 at 4:59 pm #1338739
I like feathered friends, as their staff has always been really helpful (I’m a Seattle guy). However, I think the nunatak is more like what I would want (besides, you have to support those Twisp folks too).
One thing I’ve noticed is that the nunatak site suggests putting your hands inside the half bag. To me, that takes some of the value out of having this two part system (I can’t wave my arms around). Which begs the question: Does anyone know any really light weight mitts? Functionality wouldn’t matter (they wouldn’t even need the thumb hole if that saved weight).Jul 6, 2005 at 5:14 pm #1338740
One thing to consider about the Nunatak Akula, you will need a heavier Down or synthetic High Loft jacket to equal the loft and the warmth of the sleeping bag used for insulation of the lower half of your body. That is, you are not relying on the sleeping bag itself (with the Vireo some of the down insulation supplements the insulation of the jacket) for any warmth much above the waist.
Look at the total weight of the sleeping bag and fill weight of both the Nunatak Akula and the FF Vireo (and the loft distribution of the Vireo from the top to the bottom of the bag; you can use a lighter jacket with the Vireo than the Akula sleeping bag which should make for a more flexible system) as well as the price of both complete systems (the Vireo and the Volant Hood cost about the same as the Akula alone, and a heavier Nunatak jacket will cost substantially more than one of the 3 mentioned FF jackets). Addionally with the Vireo, you can use lighter gloves or mitts if you put the much of the jacket, jacket arms, and your hands inside the sleeping bag.
In most instances, unless it is extremely cold, particularly for 3 season hiking, any of the high loft jackets will be too warm when actively moving. It will normally only be used at rest stops, in camp, or for sleeping.Jul 6, 2005 at 5:58 pm #1338742
I was thinking the same thing. It comes down to how much overlap you want and how much you want to spend. Both bags have about the same fill weight. Since the FF bag has a lot more surface area (because it goes up higher and is cut to accomodate a jacket underneath the mid section) I would expect it to be much cooler (thus the lower temp rating). In other words, if your mid section (above the waist but a couple inches below the arm pits) gets especially cold, the FF makes a lot of sense. If your shoulders and legs get cold, maybe not.
Like you said, Nunatak gear is steep (must be the high cost of living in Twisp).Jul 6, 2005 at 6:13 pm #1338744
That is the point of the Vireo sleeping bag system. And you can vary the insulation properties of the system by using different weight vests and jackets as the temperatures change.
Additionally if you have any question about insufficient loft in the Vireo, you can increase the loft from the standard 750+ to 800+ loft down and increase the amount of down with overfill.
My 62″ Vireo was upgraded to 800+ down and 2 oz of overfill (should have about 10.1 oz of 800+ down total in this size). The loft of my bag is somewhere around 4″ of loft to as much as perhaps 7″ at the foot box. Additionally, the baffles are continuous and you can move the down to adjust for the temperature.
We went through this discussion on BPL not long ago (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/576/index.html?mv_session_id=WtTbaCqS&mv_pc=123&skip_to_post=4204#4204) . Brian Griffith should be receiving his Vireo, Hyperion Jacket, and Volant Hood shortly. His set-up was being prepared in 800+ down (no overfill for the Vireo) and all in Pertex Quantum outer fabric. Brian indicated that he would report in when it arrived. Last report from Brian was on June 15.Jul 6, 2005 at 7:51 pm #1338747
I did indeed receive my Feathered Friends shipment last week: Vireo Bag, Hyperion Jacket and Volant Hood all in Quantum and 800+ fill. And I got to take it out this past weekend on a family camping trip up to Long Draw Reservoir at the northwest corner of Rocky Mountain National Park at about 10100 feet.
First of all, everything looked great. I ordered the bag in blue and the jacket/hood in red. I ordered the size long bag (I’m 6’2″) and the extra large jacket (thanks, Richard) and those were the correct sizes for me. They stuff incredibly small into the included stuff sacks.
I slept in the bag without the jacket the first night to see how accurate the 45deg rating was for me. I was in a fam camp style tent (REI camp dome) and was sleeping on my BMW torsolite pad. I used a silk mummy liner and slept in my shorts and Ibex silkweight longsleeve wooly top and light wool cap.
When I went to sleep I was warm enough with the top cord left open. As the night went on I pulled the cord a little tighter until close to dawn when I had gotten cold enough to pull the cord around the top of the bag sealed. Each time after making the adjustments I was warm again.
When I woke up and checked the thermometer about 0600 it read 30deg. I was warm enough all night.
One issue I have with the bag is the very slim fit around my hips. The foot box is plenty roomy, as is the top of the bag, but I definitely feel the bag around my hips and am a little afraid I am compressing some of the down in that area. But, I didn’t feel any cold spots and it may just be me adjusting to the slimmer fit from my ’92 EMS or mil-issue bags. BTW, I’m not a small person at 6’2 200# w/ large legs/quads.
I used the jacket in the morning over just my long sleeve sw top and was plenty warm making coffee, etc. at 30deg.
I really like the system and since the bag took me to 30deg by itself, I anticipate an easy 15-20deg for me with the use of the jacket and hood. Plus, by pulling my shoulders/arms out of the bag, I can really ventilate such that I don’t see a need for any lighterweight bag.
BJul 6, 2005 at 8:08 pm #1338748
Glad to hear that the system arrived and it meets your approval.
One thing that you can do if it possibly gets too warm (and if there is enough room in your tent or bivy) is to pull your body a bit further out of the bottom of the Vireo sleeping bag (more down loft at the bottom of the bag) and have the jacket removed much more from the confines of the sleeping bag. Then if need be, you can vent the jacket open by unzipping according to your temperature needs. If it is still too warm remove the jacket entirely and use lighter insulation when needed.Jul 14, 2005 at 4:38 pm #1339033
Wild Things Gear makes a good half bag with an Epic shell (water resistant) and Primaloft fill. Apparently they sell quite a few to the military for use on missions in Afghanistan, where it gets quite cold. I haven’t had a chance to try the one I bought, but was disspointed it is a little shorter than I hoped and a little wider. It has excellent construction, however, and Primaloft bags are hard to find.
In lieu of the Vireo mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I have a Golite Fly-Lite which is a zipperless, hoodless bag similar in configuration to the Vireo but a lot cheaper, since it uses Polarguard Delta and is mass produced. I deliberatelly bought mine a size smaller than called for so I could use it as a “long” half bag, under a jacket, and beef up the jacket warmth. I too like to sleep “arms” out although this isn’t very efficient in conserving warmth. It works well with a Golite Coal parka.Sep 30, 2005 at 5:55 pm #1342259
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
While making a new down quilt/comforter I went nuts and decided to modify it to turn into a practical camp vest for lounging around on crisp evenings.
I will confess right here to contributing more than my share to the Bad-Ideas-Are-Us lore — not to prejudice anyone against the following.
Having done the same thing with a synthetic quilt and having used it for a few hundred miles on the AT, I knew it might work to eliminate having to carry extra clothing for warmth around camp. So I wasn’t shooting blind.
So imagine a 25 F down quilt with a zippered foot (30″ #3 zipper) and zipped arm slits (18″ #3) and a separating zipper from waist to collar (28″). The tops of the shoulders are closed and baffled and it has a down-filled collar that works front and back (since the back of the vest is the front or top of the quilt), and the arm and foot zips are backed by draft tubes. Weight came to 26 oz. – maybe 6-8 ounces more than I’m used to for a quilt this thick. (I’m having to guess here because no two of my projects are identical.) So it probably isn’t much lighter than the combined weight of a thinner quilt rated for higher temperatures and a separate vest. However, it makes a very very warm vest, so that compensates somewhat. Of course, the bottom dragged behind, so I put a loop of waistband elastic on the foot to loop over a shoulder when wandering around camp. Sitting around, I use the bottom as a leg cover. I can unzip an arm to reach stuff when snugged down on the sleeping pad. So far, so good.
Construction was a little trickier than making a simple quilt, and the arm zip slits meant a more tedious down stuffing job since they interrupted the down chambers, but anyone who has made a quilt before ought to be able to figure out how to do this with either a down or synthetic filled quilt.
Things I’ve learned to avoid after making and using two of these chimera: #3 zippers are adequate for the foot when & only when backed up with snaps at the top and about 1/2 way to the foot. Otherwise, the non-locking zipper pulls wouldn’t stay put. Locking pulls would fix that, but no one had them. Heavier zippers add up fast. Velcro works for the foot and arm holes if you don’t mind the fiddle factor – and we all know about the farces that ensue when using Velcro. The non-sticking velcro I’ve been able to get so far doesn’t work very well.
I still suspect that a separate vest that could be worn in bed to supplement a lighter quilt might, might, be lighter and would certainly be more versatile. In other words, I’m not sold, but I don’t yet have enough data to give anyone definitive advice.
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