Mar 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm #1286966
Please help me to decide which new sleeping bag to buy. I'm female, 5'8", 145lbs ish. I want a 20 degree down bag. I have a Rainbow tarptent and have a Prolite pad (R 2.8, although I'm considering a Neoair Allseason (R 4.9). (Xlite looks interesting but I want to see more reviews on it). I sleep cold. Main use would be the Sierras in July/August/Sept.
I'm looking at a WM Ultralight 6' bag, which has 16oz fill, wt 1 lb 14oz. The FF bag is women specific (Egret), 5'9", 17.1oz fill, wt 1 lb 15oz. I'm sure I could ask for fill to be added to either. Any opinions on these 2 bags?
I currently have an old Phantom 15 women's long, rated to 15 degrees, 2 lbs, and was chilly in that recently (35 degree night). Overall setup was different tho – I had a Fly Creek tent, and Exped Syn7 mat. Mat was leaky – but the chill was coming onto my back (side sleeper) not up from the ground, alleviated by using my down jacket over my back in the bag.
Thanks all.Mar 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm #1852152
I think you may need more than that to get you down to 20*. The Marmot Womens Helium is EN Rated for women at 19*F and it has 25.76oz of 850+ Fill Power Down. It weighs 2lbs 9oz. Women just tend to sleep colder than men and very few manufactures market according to the Women’s rate.
For comparison the mens version of the Helium is 10 ounces lighter despite being 6 inches longer and only has 19.5oz of 850+ fill. It is rated to 16.3*F for men (and 27.7*F for women.).Mar 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm #1852153
Oh, and I don't think either of the bags you mentioned would be warmer than the Phantom 15 you had. They all have similar amounts of down fill.Mar 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm #1852168
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
I have a FF Grouse, which is their 30* women's bag. I've found their temperature rating to be spot on. I'm comfortable sleeping in light baselayers, no socks until about 37 degrees. Below that, I put on socks, midweight baselayers. Around 30*, I think about supplementing with a fleece. I also use the Prolite.
I considered WM and FF bags when I bought my Grouse and, for me, I found that the women's cut of the Grouse fit me significantly better. I personally think that the better fit contributes to better warmth, not to mention comfort. FWIW, I'm 5'2", 140lb and have the 5'3" Grouse and it's a perfect fit.
The Egret dimensions are 54/56/38. The Ultralite is 59/51/38.Mar 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm #1852171
the problem is that MH and many other manufactures rate the womens bags according to the mens lower limit ratings ….
women by default need another 10F+ over the mens temp ratings for a similar comfort level … the women comfort rating on a phantom 15 womens is ~25F … that is for a "standard" woman as well, individuals may well be colder depending on age, fit of the bag, metabolism, etc …
the WM ultralite is en-rated for women to ~28F … which means it may not be much better than what you already have …
go look for a bag with an en-rating womens comfort rating of 15F or so as mentioned above …
go here for more reading …Mar 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm #1852238
Yes to all the women need extra insulation posts.
In that same approach, and R-value of 2.8 will give you problems. You might not feel cold, but your body will be making up for it. "The average male" would want an R-value in the 3-4 range at 20º with "the average female" obviously needing more. Being a side sleeper helps, but doesn't alleviate the problem.Mar 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm #1852296
Stephen's right. I used to think I was cold sleeper until I upgraded to a warmer pad. I had a "10F" bag that I froze in at 40F (it's probably a realistic 20F bag). I had an old prolite 4 with a slow leak and when it flattened out I was cold. I've later switched to just a ridgerest and have slept in freezing temps at elevation with just a bivy, lt fleece pants, hvy fleece jacket and softshell and light baselayers. Yes I completely left behind a sleeping bag and was warm throughout the night simply because I swapped to a better/warmer sleeping bag.
In short, a warm (not necessarily comfy) sleeping pad can make a HUGE difference in your temperature comfort.Mar 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm #1852301
Change pads first. I have the All Season. Warm.Mar 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm #1852317
Thanks everybody for your comments . I agree I need a warmer pad and nice to g=hear a + for the allseason – as soon as my REI dividend comes in (Mar 14?), Ill be getting one of those. Sounds like a women specific bag is the way to go, so I'll look into these more. Pity WM doesnt do women specific. Any women out there want to comment on what they're using (or men wanting to comment on what their female partners/friends/colleagues are using?). BMar 12, 2012 at 10:05 am #1852472
@towalyLocale: Smoky Mtns.
You could just use a WM bag rated for 10 degrees. Typically a woman's rating is about 10 degrees different with good quality down bags.
The WM Versalite is right about 2 pounds, and is rated to 10. Great bag. You could even get a 2 ounce overstuff if you were concerned.
Definitely get a good warm pad.
The Neo-Air X-Therm(rated R 5.9) might be a good one for the lightest weight, and they make a 66" size.
I have the WM Alpinlight(20*F) and the quality is really nice. These WM bags are expensive, but I think they are worth the money. If you take care of it, it can last you a lifetime.Mar 12, 2012 at 10:39 am #1852488
Having had a UL and an Apache, I'd say that I was underwhelmed with the fabric on the WM Ultralight (in terms of durability, comfort and water resistance), but REALLY liked my WM Apache.
I haven't used FF's Nano, but given the choice between the WM Ultralight & FF bag – I'd say FF.
That said – I REALLY like the Apache, and given the same choice but including the Apache – I'd recommend the Apache and to take a look at FF.Mar 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm #1852573
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
Barbara, I can't imagine you having any regrets going with a Neoair all-season and the 20* FF Egret, worthy of most 3-season use. FF makes great bags.Mar 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm #1852593
Barbara, it seems like the two bags are a direct apples to apples comparison in terms of down fill and weight. The one ounce net gain of the FF over the WM bag is attributable to the extra 1 oz of down fill, based on the specs you've published. With all that in mind, I think you should go for the FF bag because of woman-specific construction, and also durability. I believe FF uses a tucked seam construction, meaning the baffle-seams are hidden from the exterior shell. This means that the seams won't snag on anything since they are hidden. In particular, (from FF's website): "All baffle seams are tuck-stitched to protect the thread from abrasion and wicking moisture."Mar 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm #1852598
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
Try them on, go with what fits best – maybe even ask if they would do a custom 5' 9" length bag, which will take up some extra dead air space where sneaky convective currents roam, robbing side-sleepers of precious BTU's. FF makes great bags and they have recently (all the more) surpassed WM in variety, with 900 fill and lighter fabric options added to their mix. Sierra Designs also has some nice Women's bags, such as the Spark series, which have stretch baffles in the torso, like Montbell, to help conform the down to you and increase efficiency.Mar 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm #1852602
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Rog, I hate to disagree in public but EITHER the WM or FF bags would be warmer than a d@mn "Phantom" bag. The Phantoms are notoriously underfilled and have that stupid half-zipper. Had a Phantom, ret'd. it to REI and got a WM Megalite and loved it.
I recently got my WM Megalite bag "overfilled" with one oz. of 850 fill down. Now it's good for at least 25 F. if not lower. I've experienced night time temps of 24 F. at 8,000 ft. on the way to Olancha Peak on the PCT in AUGUST! I'd ask either WM of FF to overfill the bag at the time of purchase. Either one is a good choice. Both world class quality and American made.Mar 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm #1852644
The problem I see with the Versalite is that is a pretty wide cut at 62" and may not work well for a woman.Mar 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm #1852647
I have owned three WM bags, a Highlite, a Ultralite (pre-Super), and a Summerlite and all were terrific bags. I didn't keep the Highlite long due to the half zipper, but had a lot of nights in both the Ultralight (a 2002) and Summerlite (a 2005) and only sold them because I changed to quilts for 20* and above. I also have a Mountain Hardwear Phanotm 0 that I have used to 4* with no additional clothing and it has nearly 8" of loft. I will admit, I would trade it for an Antelope with overfill, but it is still a nice bag, and has plenty of fill. The Phantom 15 is supposed to have 16 ounces of fill, which should put it in line with the other two. I do agree that overall WM (and presumably FF) is a step above though, but might not have the best choices for Women in that temp range. I think I would go with the Marmot Helium.Mar 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm #1852653
Hmm…my wife's Phantom 15 has 22 oz fill and a full zip. Guess they changed stuff in the later models. She's about your size Barbara and was fine to around 12 F without extra layers. I'm curious what year yours is now.Mar 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm #1852671
The 16oz spec might just be for the Men's version. If the Women's version has 22oz of down, you would expect it to be warmer than either the FF or WM.
I think there were some changes in the MH bags when they went from a black bottom to the gray bottom. My Phantom is one of the older black bottomed bags and it has a 3/4 zip.Mar 12, 2012 at 5:38 pm #1852675
The current Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 is EN Rated for women at 25*
EN Rating: T-Comfort 25 F / -4C (Men's rating is 14*)Mar 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm #1852688
@snusmumrikenLocale: SF Bay Area
Reading up on the latest MH Women's Phantom 15 bag the specs state that:
it weighs in at 2.1 pounds
has 800 rated down
is EN rated down to 14 degrees for men and 25 for women
That is about as warm a bag you can get for 2 pounds of nylon and feathers.
Can they have changed it that significantly in recent years?
Don't replace it right away with one of those other bags, because according to the specs they are both going to be very comparable to your Phantom.
Instead examine the bag that you have. Does it have areas where it seems to be under-filled? Has it been used for several years without a wash? A small additional fill or a freshly laundered bag is a lot cheaper then purchasing a new bag.
Think of other causes for being cold.
The pad seems like the obvious one. Get that leak fixed. Again no need to go out and buy a new one, the one you've got is good. Instead for a $10 upgrade buy a Gossamer Gear 2.5 ounce thinlight 1/8 inch foam pad that you put on top of your inflatable mattress for some nice additional warmth.
In addition there is all the regular good advice such as:
Wear a warm hat, plus snug up the hood on cold nights.
Sleep in dry clothing such as loose fitting warm socks, the aformentioned hat and long underwear.
Eat a good dinner. Drink some hot chocolate and maybe eat a cookie as well before bed. Burning calories is your bodies way of generating heat.
Use your platy as a hot water bottle.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.Mar 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm #1852692
Her's might be a 3/4 zip. I know it's from 2007 (maybe 2006). Blueish top and looks like a black bottom from my photo.
It's 35 oz (on my scale) and the tag states 22 oz fill.
Yeah, 2007 bag. Specs for her long (fits to 5'10) were 22 oz 800 fill, 58/58/38 circumference, 3/4 zip, 15D shell and 20D taffeta liner. The reg which fit to 5'5 had 20 oz fill and 56/56/36 circumference.Mar 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm #1852747
Mine is a women's long, 76×29 overall specs, black bottom, kingfisher blue top, 3/4 zipper which is very very pesky, always catches on the draft tube (apparently well known for this issue), not sure of year, but 2006 or earlier.
It for sure has areas of very depleted fill. It needs a wash. Its been used on many many trips, both backpacking and car camping. Never got wet but has been compressed and uncompressed a lot. Stored hanging in a closet. But I want something different. Its amazing how frustrating that zipper can be…
Re what to do at night – The Syn7 has already been returned – bad valve. The night I was cold, I was wearing hat, fleece sleep sox, cap 3 long undies and top, R1 top, and put my MB down inner jacket around my back where it was cold feeling. Did the hot chocolate. Didnt do jumping jacks pre-bedtime. Didnt tend to the 2am call of nature, which was probably a mistake. It was a cold night but not windy (drafty) and anyway I was in a Fly Creek with high bathtub wall. Ive been at a colder temp, at 10,000 ft, where we had frost on our packs in the morning and ice in our water bottles, and i was fine, but there were three of us in a BD Skylight, so it was pretty warm in there.
Sorry, rambling. I think a women's speciifc bag is interesting.
Thanks everyone for a great discussion – please continue!Mar 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm #1852851
the old phantoms may not have been en-rated … you can quickly tell if its comparable to the new ones by comparing the weight against a new one … if its lighter then MH may have pulled an REI (REI increased the insulation in their bags when the went to en-ratings, same with the NF) … which is one of the benefits of en-rating, you know how much insulation yr getting …Mar 13, 2012 at 12:02 am #1852872
@skeetsLocale: Melbourne, Australia
unless you are young, superfit with high metabolism and don't feel the cold, I'd be rather surprised if you were comfortable in a WM ultralite at those temps in a tarptent. I find my limit in the same bag in a tarptent is a much warmer temp. much.
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