Dec 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm #1283120
So my wife and I are hiking the CT this august and I am debating between a WM summerlite or ultralite.
there is a ten once weight difference between the two and I'd really like to get the summerlite, but not at the expense of freezing. I would prob wear a down jacket, thin long underwear, wool socks and a hat to layer. Would that be enough layering to get the summerlite? Would I miss the draft collar of the Ultralite? AHHH
Also, what are the low temps on the trail in August? 20's?
BrandonDec 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm #1813137
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I went through the same process 6 months ago. I got a Summerlite, and while other people will probably tell you different, I found that it just wasn't a very warm bag, even with extra layers. I shivered my way through two 38F nights and sold it. I got an Ultralite and had the exact opposite experience – way roomier and way too warm/heavy almost all of the time. I ended up with a Katabatic Alsek 22F quilt which has 12 oz of fill (halfway between the Summerlite and Ultralite) at 22oz. I've had it for 6 months now and it is the right compromise of warmth and weight for me. Same weight as the Summerlite, but almost as warm as the Ultralite. I've had it down to 21F with layers and was warm. If you can wrap your head around a quilt, it's an option you should think about. With the pad attachment system it feels close to a well-fitting mummy bag anyway.
AndrewDec 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm #1813150
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Thank you Andrew. One of the older guys I bp with has a quilt and swears by them. I need to pick one up as my WM Caribou can be a little cool when temps get down to the upper 20's, it is a 35F degree bag after all, not that conservative of a rating, unlike my Antelope. It would be nice to have something warmer and lighter too boot. Win win.
DuaneDec 17, 2011 at 12:22 am #1813170
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
I section hiked most of the CT last july with a 40 degree quilt the katabatic chisos. For one trip I skipped torso insulation and was a bit chilly early in the morn. When I wore a light hooded down the nextdirt weekend I stayed warm. I'd compare this quilt to the summerlight in warmth. I think it'd be enough for me but we ll tend to sleep a bit different. I would recommend you a katabaric palisade. My frien yo-yo'd the CT, pulling about 30to miles a day eith only the palisade and hood for insulation, and he said he didnt have a cold night on trail.
Or sticking to the topic, a summerlight. Have an extra peice of insulation like a jacket or vest in a bounce box in case you find its not enough. Have fun!Dec 17, 2011 at 5:22 am #1813196
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
I had a Summerlite for a few months and got rid if it and bought a Ultralite.Dec 17, 2011 at 5:58 am #1813205
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Sleeping bags are sleeping bags. Quilts are quilts. I used a quilt but after several nights, I could not get used to the middle of the night draught from rolling, soo, went back to a bag.
The Summerlite is a nice bag and the temp rating is fairly accurate. The Ultralight is a good bag and is accurate to. But they are much different and designed for different conditions. My choice would be the 1#13 Ultralight for general good looks and function. Probably too much for mid summer. Probably not enough for late fall/early spring (OK with additional down and good padding in a tent or enclosed tarp, though.) Note that most good bags are rated for wearing a base layer of some sort in them, often a functioning set of long johns and socks. The down jacket will add maybe 10F, depending on your pad. Often a good pad selection will warm a bag by as much as 10F. Or cool you off in summer by about the same by simply removing it and using a 1/8-1/4" piece of foam. So, there are other factors to consider. Shelter will have some effect on temp, also. Fully enclosed tent? Open Tarp? I usually figure about a 5* difference. Winds…how much? In the woods? On grass or other high humidity ground cover making your bag damp? Anyway, I figure about 15-20F total. Then you really need another bag.
Not quite straight forward, get one over the other. But, it should give you a bit more to work with. The Summerlite may work well and save you some weight depending on where and how you intend to sleep.Dec 17, 2011 at 6:03 am #1813208
It seems I am in the minority but I carried a summerlite along in 20F weather and loved it.Dec 17, 2011 at 6:04 am #1813209
@tunaboy999Locale: Mid Atlantic
Consider the marmot Hydrogen. At 25 oz not the lightest but it's wider and warmer than the summerlite (EN rated at 30 degrees compared to 36 for the summerlite). You'll save a little weight over a 20 degree bag.Dec 17, 2011 at 6:34 am #1813215
@mikefLocale: SE USA
Agree on the Marmot bag! I have the older model w/half zip, in long, 13 ounces of 850 wht. down. I have been comfortable at 27 degrees in a Shires Rainbow Tarptent w/socks, Patagonia Cap 2 johns.Dec 17, 2011 at 7:55 am #1813227
So I cant find alot of info on Katabatic quilts. how do they stack up compared to other quilts. I have heard alot of good things about Nunatak arc alpinist.Dec 17, 2011 at 8:00 am #1813229
"Sleeping bags are sleeping bags. Quilts are quilts. I used a quilt but after several nights, I could not get used to the middle of the night draught from rolling, soo, went back to a bag. "
Another hiker that used a quilt too narrow for them.
My Katabatic Sawatch Wide is perfect. I can toss 'n turn underneath it without getting any drafts.
If i was hiking as a couple, i would get a quilt wide enough to cover both of you. Share that body heat. :)Dec 17, 2011 at 8:13 am #1813230
The best aspect of continuos baffle bags like the summerlite is how flexible they can be. I dont have experience with the summerlite, I have a megalite.
You can shift the down and increase the top loft a fair amount. When sleeping on a warm pad when its cold, shift as much down as possible to the top. You will have more loft of up to 3-4" on top of you, and likely find its much warmer that way. Dont need any under you, just like a quilt. Just dont roll to the side exposing your uninsulated backside to cold. This works great with my megalite into the high 20s,without additional clothing, and I sleep cold with a low bodyfat percentage.
I too am interested in the alpinist bag for colder conditions at a lighter weight. Some reviews had bad things to say without having some customization done, dont recall what those were offhand.Dec 17, 2011 at 8:36 am #1813239
@annapurnaDec 17, 2011 at 9:02 am #1813243
"The best aspect of continuos baffle bags like the summerlite is how flexible they can be. I dont have experience with the summerlite, I have a megalite.
You can shift the down and increase the top loft a fair amount. When sleeping on a warm pad when its cold, shift as much down as possible to the top"
If the down can move, the baffles are underfilled.Dec 17, 2011 at 9:25 am #1813250
Yes, but its by design. That is why these WM bags have the continuous baffle design and dont appear very lofty compared with colder weather bags. They have just enough down for their intended use. WM will add 2oz more to a megalite for $36 if you want.
My point is that many who are dissatisfied, probably havent tried to get the most possible out of the bag this way. The summerlite is also notoriously snug, which might prevent some people from using extra layers effectively.Dec 17, 2011 at 9:30 am #1813251
"If the down can move, the baffles are underfilled."
The baffles on my WM bags don't seem too underfilled but they are continually baffled to move the down from the bottom underside to the top of the bag. Being a rolling side sleeper, I keep about a 60/40 ratio top to bottom and find it works ok.
Regarding the OP, I would suggest you consider the 22F Katabatic Alsek too. For me the Summerlite is what it says it is: a summer bag for temps down to 40F. If my metabolism is running warm (not usually the case) it can work to freezing. Below that and I pull out my 15F Apache. If I had to get another high end bag right now, it would be the Alsek and lightweight hood.Dec 17, 2011 at 10:30 am #1813270
"Yes, but its by design. That is why these WM bags have the continuous baffle design and dont appear very lofty compared with colder weather bags. They have just enough down for their intended use."
If the down can shift during the night, leaving your hip cold, then it's a bad design. They don't have enough down. I'll say it again, if the down can shift leaving empty spaces, then the baffles are underfilled.Dec 17, 2011 at 11:26 am #1813283
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
To answer your question in comparing Nunatak to Katabatic. I can tell you having owned two different Nunatak quilts, including the Alpinist, and now a new owner of a Katabatic Sawatch WIDE, that both of these companies are making the highest quality quilts you can purchase, without a doubt. If you don't require the tailoring or specific shell needs offerend by Nunatak, then Katabatic Gear is probably your most affordable option right out of the box.Dec 17, 2011 at 11:58 am #1813289
Have not had any problems with down shifting by itself during night. It takes holding the bag up on edge and shaking, and squeezing it down with a hand to force it to move from the bottom into the top of the bag. It cannot just migrate back to bottom by itself.
If someone was to put most of down on the bottom, leaving top seriously underfilled, then some settling to sides might be possible, however that would be done because the bag was too warm for the conditions in the first place, and it likely would be their desired result.
There is no reason to fill the bottom of a bag to capacity normally, there is no reason to have much insulation there anyway, as it does little good. Hence the popularity of quilts to save weight. So the bottom of the bag can become a reservoir for excess down to customize the loft of the bag for temperature conditions. It results in a bag that can be used in a wide range of temperatures comfortably, if used smartly.Dec 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm #1813290
@brooklynkayakLocale: South West US
I used to be a cold sleeper. I eventually became a warm sleeper after many nights in an old inexpensive budget sleeping bag. My body just acclimated.
I have taken my Summerlite down to about 20 deg F. Although I also wore a hooded fleece and a light vest. I did actually leave the vest unzipped to avoid sweating.
The weird thing is that I sometimes wake up in the early warmer part of a cold evening with a chill, but go back to sleep, only to wake up in the much colder early morning to pee and realized that I am not cold at all.
I think if you condition yourself, your body will kick in and provide extra heat as needed, or maybe become less sensitive, I don't know.
We all know that the more time you spend outdoors in the cold, the less it bothers you. I find the same is true for sleeping in the cold.
Be aware that the hood on the Summerlite is not designed for cold. A warm hat/hood makes a lot of difference, but you carry one of those anyway in cold weather.Dec 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm #1813304
@rp3957Locale: The Sierras
My Summerlight has been my go-to bag for several years. I love it! If I know it is going to be a cold night, which it usually is in the high Sierras, I can layer up. I might have to try a quilt one of these days, but don't get what the 'hype' is all about on them. My bag is 19 0zs., works well for me, and I haven't seen that many comparable weight and rated quilts out there that look like they will do what the Summerlight has done for me. My 2 cents only, I know quilt owners swear by them, so maybe I am missing out?Dec 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm #1813367
So I think I'm sold on the alsec quilt. Do they ship them out pretty quick?Dec 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm #1813371
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Aaron shipped my quilt the day after I placed the order, shipping was free, USPS first class, so it arrived in about 4 days. Give him a call, he's a cool dude.Dec 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm #1813382
Wow thanks everyone, this has really helped. Anyone had any experience hiking the CT in August?Dec 17, 2011 at 7:39 pm #1813384
I was on the Colorado Trail portion of the Continental Divide trail during June(2010).
I used a Western Mountaineering Ultralight throughout the Mexico to Canada trek including the stretch where the two trails begin to coincide northbound; Elk Creek Drainage.
I mostly used the WM ultra bag as a quilt all through Colorado and that is what prompted me to switch to a quilt (MLD Spirit quilt 30) for the Appalachian Trail this year.
The conditions i found along the Colorado Trail in early june were sunny cool mornings from freezing to temps in the 40's to thunderstormy afternoons which were in the 50's to low 60's.
I used a Gossamer gear One tent during that time and keeping my down bag dry was no problem as i always had sunshine to air out and dry my bag everyday at some point.
From just North of hunchback peak and the southern confluence of the CT and CDT, all the way to Twin Lakes and Mount Elbert, where the trails diverge, I used my WM bag as a quilt without problems.
Here is a picture from Hunchback peak at the southern end of the CT where it meets with the CDT in early June.
After reading Eric's post below i wanted to add.. I used the WM bag as a quilt and sometimes wore clothes underneath to bolster the warmth.
A sleeping bag, used as a quilt, works, but has dis-advantages.
There is too much girth, so that a lot of extra material is just laying to the sides and not contributing to insulation, or worse: it opens up to drafts when you move.
The quilt, by design, "cups" your body even when you roll over so that warmth is retained.
However, i would never have figured out how to use the quilt properly if i had not used my bag as a quilt first.
The other advantage of a propely sized quilt is that you can add layers of clothing without compressing the fill of the quilt.
A bag has a definite inside circumference that can be exceeded.
A quilt lays on top of you, and your clothes, in an arc.
With my WM bag if i added layers of clothes it worked to a point until the clothes began to compress the fill of the bag from within and actually decreased insulation, and restricted blood flow to extremeties.
Personally, i would recommend making slow steps.
If your present sleeping bag is adequate to freezing, or a bit below with some clothing, go with that.
Use it as a quilt and see if you like it.
Then if you find it favorable, buy or make a quilt, if thats what you want.
My 2 cents
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