- Jan 11, 2019 at 6:18 pm #3572707
I’ve used this forum as a resource for many years as a lurker, but I got a rather specific question I can’t find an answer to anywhere and figured this was the best place to ask.
Bit of background: I live in DC but head up to the Adirondacks every year for a winter backpacking trip. The last two winters I’ve gotten by with my MH Flame 15 – the weather was mild for the season for both trips (lows around 10) and I added some warmth by sleeping with clothes on (Merino 250 base layer / Patagonia R3 Fleece / MH Ghost Whisper Puffy). The Flame is a tight bag though, and my layers were getting to the point that the decrease in loft was canceling out the increased insulation.
This year’s trip looks likely to be colder, and I’m thinking I should get a proper winter bag. The problem is they are incredibly expensive, and it’s hard to justify that sort of cost considering I only see temps below 10 about once a year.
I saw that the NEMO Sonic 0 got good reviews and seems pretty reasonably priced at $350. From what I’ve read the bag is rather roomy but also isn’t a true zero degree bag, and might be more reasonably be considered a 5 or a 10.
So on the one hand, I’m thinking the roominess might mean I can layer to my heart’s content (maybe even add on my Atom AR) without fear of decreasing loft, and push this bag into below zero territory. On the other hand, I’m worried that I’ll spend $350 to get a bag that’s just barely warmer than my Flame 15. The place I’d buy from doesn’t have a great return policy, so this purchase would be a commitment.
FWIW, the Flame has 20 oz of 800 fill. The Sonic has 23.6 oz of 850 fill.Jan 11, 2019 at 9:05 pm #3572730
Edward John MBPL Member
I can’t answer the specific question but have you considered an overquilt or overbag?
Also is you mattress system warm enough?Jan 11, 2019 at 9:50 pm #3572738
I thought about bringing my 28 degree bag and using it as a blanket over the 15. I’ve done that in the past (with different bags) and it definitely helps, but it seems to fall off a lot over the course of the night and isn’t really a proper fix. That could suffice for this trip in a pinch.
I could justify the NEMO if it is substantially warmer than the Flame – I do some of winter bivy camping in WV and VA, where a 15 is borderline.
Mattress isn’t a problem. I’ll have a Xtherm and a Zlite under that.Jan 11, 2019 at 11:22 pm #3572764
Edward John MBPL Member
You may have an outer bag that is too small when using what you already have, I have found that an overbag or over quilt is huge [ when compared to a normal bag] when made properly, not necessarily heavy tho Mine is an UL synthetic custom from Nunatak using 100GSM APEX and weighs a tad less than a pound but adds 10 degrees easily, partly because of my own design tweaksJan 14, 2019 at 6:19 pm #3573112
Good to know – I didn’t realize that an overbag was an actual thing. Unless anyone is raving about the NEMO, I think I’m gonna hold off for now. Maybe in the future I’ll invest in a proper zero bag like a WM or something similar.
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