View Full Version : What Temp Rated Bag?

06-03-2007, 04:09 PM
Was hoping for some direction on bag temp ratings. If I am supposed to sleep in some of my hunting cloths to save weight (in my sleeping bag), what temp bag rating would be recommended if the outside temp gets down to 20 degrees at night?

06-03-2007, 04:49 PM
Pawnee, there are a few things to take into consideration besides the temp. rating. First, your sleeping pad. If it's a quality one and warm, you can get by with less bag. Some of the air matress type pads have less insulating value than others, so choose your pad just as carefully if not moreso than your bag if you don't already have one. Second is how warm you sleep, and that's highly individual; some sleep warm with a bag/pad combination that others are cold in. If you're a warm sleeper, you can get by with less bag. Third, temp. ratings are all over the board, some bags/companies are conservative with their ratings, others a very liberal, meaning: beware and don't cut it too close with the rating.

IMO, it's always best to go with a little more bag than you think you may need; to me the small extra amount of weight is well worth it. If you get a good bag and the temps. are not as cold as you thought they'd be, you can just open up the zipper as much or as little as you need to and shed body heat. But if you're cold you can't add insulation, other than more clothes and sometimes that's not going to work, especially if your clothes get wet.

Also, the shape you're in on any given night has a lot to do with how warm you sleep. If you're well-rested, warmed by a fire, and well-fed, it's a different ballgame than if you're tired, hungry, and chilled so take that into account. You never know when you're going to come traipsing into camp after dark, cold, tired and hungry, and just want to sack out.

And, depending on where you are, there's always a chance during hunting season that you'll get colder temps. than what you planned on.

If it were me, I'd make sure I had a good pad, and choose a bag rated for temps. 10 degrees colder (or more) than I anticipated.

My $.02.

06-03-2007, 05:11 PM
Smokepole gives good advice. I'd add that it also depends on how long you're out in the field. A single over nighter is easy enough to shiver through. Stack a week or more of days back to back and you'll start to see the cumulative aspects of sleeping cold.

06-03-2007, 05:15 PM

If you plan to use some of your clothes, make sure you buy a bag with enough girth to not be constrictive. I'm 6' 210 and I prefer a bag with a minimum of 66" girth...

06-03-2007, 06:09 PM
Ken, Smokepole and Songdog,

Very good thoughts. With the understanding of all the variable you mentioned, what specific bags would you three take if low would be 20 degrees?

06-03-2007, 06:16 PM
Western Mountaineering Megalite w/ 2oz overfill (+20F) and an Exped Downmat 9DLX if I could afford the weight. If not a Western Mountaineering Versalite Super (+10F) and a BA IAC if going lighter.

I will be on a hunt this Nov in Idaho where I will have both bags above at the ready the trailhead. Depending on the weather I'll choose at the last minute. I will be taking the Downmat either way as it is a 9 day trip and that's a lot of nights on an uncomfortable pad.

idaho lad
06-03-2007, 06:22 PM
What is this Downmat? Sounds like a nice comfort item.

06-03-2007, 06:33 PM
Idaho- http://www.outdoorresearch.com/home/style/exped_or/exped_mats/DNM

Pawnee- I'm currently using a Wiggy's. If I were to be buying a bag I'd be sending Kifau my money for a new 0 deg MOB.

06-03-2007, 06:55 PM
I like my Marmot Helium EQ down bag for it's lightness and compactness. It's rated at 15 degrees. Water-resistant shell works pretty well too. Last archery season, I was camping in a BD Mega-lite, which I'd pitched with a little space between the ground and bottom of the walls for ventilation (it's floorless).

It rained and I slid down the hill so that about a foot of the bag was sticking out of the tent, but it shed the rain pretty well, no ill effects.

Idaho, do a search and you'll find some discussions of the downmats by Bushcraft and Woodswalker, I think they both are paid sponsors of Exped. Just kidding, but good info.

06-04-2007, 02:43 PM
I like to have a bag rated 10-15 degrees cooler than is normal.....if I think that it will be 20 degrees, I might even go to a 0 bag if I don't have a source of heat. If you get wet, are hungry and exhausted and it is 20 degrees out I like to have a bag that I can climb into and warm up fast....A twenty degree bag in that situation will keep you alive but not very comfortable.

I also think that wet vs dry climate can make a big difference.....35 degrees and rainy is not the time to have a 35 degree bag, IMHO.