Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I heart sleeping bags

Errata: My husband would like everyone to know that on the hikes he picks, we are *NOT* lost. (The one hike where we were unsure of our location was "my hike," he tells me.) He also thinks it sounded like he takes me into dangerous situations. So here is a clarification. He feels much more comfortable than I do in many places, but he is also quick to beat a retreat if I want to. (Is that better, sweetie? Love you.)

But now the real reason for the post: I am in love! It loves to cuddle, and it's soft and fluffy and warm, also a pleasing shade of orange. It has a water resistant shell. It's my new -20 sleeping bag! It's a Mountain Hardwear Wraith SL. It is usually very, very expensive but I found a screaming deal at Oregon Mountain Community. Yeah! Now I have no excuses. Winter camping I will go! I am really looking forward to being toasty since I sleep so cold. I have a minor case of Reynauds, and if my feet and hands get cold enough they turn white and take forever to warm up.

The only problem is the lack of snow. The trails are a sheet of ice; even with grippers on you fall in an angry heap. This in-between time makes us all miserable. Too icy to bike ride, too icy to run, too icy to hike. The awfulness of the gym it is, and many of us are in the same boat. I went there today at 3, a time when I am typically the only one there, and can tune the TV to HGTV with impunity. Today the gym was packed with treadmill walkers and puffing weight-lifters. Ugh! I can think of few things worse athletically than running on a treadmill.

But back to sleeping bags. I think you can tell a lot about the type of person you are dealing with by the amount and types of bags they have. I have these:

1. Ancient REI bag I remember from my childhood, that rides in my truck as an emergency bag;
2. Go-Lite +20 that I use for summer camping, very light;
3. Marmot +20 that I use for work and is in fact a"work bag". Synthetic cause I used it in the rainforest.
4  LL Bean 0 bag that is plenty warm but does not stuff. Used for car camping.
5. Marmot +15 (I think) that I bought with husband #1 because it zipped together with his bag. Nice synthetic bag but I always feel kind of sad when I look at it. I know, get over it.
6. North Face Blue Kazoo, once the wilderness ranger standard, but in its old age has lost some insulating properties. Had since the nineties.

Holy carp, I have seven sleeping bags. I am the Imelda Marcos of sleeping bags. I belong in a support group!

Now it's your turn. How many bags do you have and what type? Don't make me the only sleeping bag hoarder out there.


  1. Glad to hear you guys are NOT lost on your hikes. :)
    Love that orange color!
    I have a different problem with my feet. They overheat very easily and while the rest of my body loves being nice and toasty, I have to stick my feet out of the bag so I like to have the zipper go very low so I can unzip only the very bottom of the bag. Go figure.
    So which bag will you be taking on JMT? I had REI subkilo +20.

  2. You are so not the only hoarder out there!! :)

    I've got four.
    Coleman flannel one from home. This goes on the floor of the tent when car camping.

    Marmot +15F down bag whom I call Down Cave. Cozy and amazing and squishes up real small. Perfect for winter backpacking around here.

    Coleman +25F synthetic. Bought this in my early backpacking days since it was only $30. Got me through all those summer AK backpack trips.

    and some funky offbrand : synthetic 0F bag. Totally not backpacking size. Did some winter (car) camping in Denali Park with this baby. The comfort of this bag in the cold could only be matched by what I imagine sleeping in a womb would feel like. Too bad it's so huge.

    Glad you're giving winter camping a shot. :) I'm sure you'll love it once you get the hang of the differences from summertime.

  3. Oh my gosh you make me feel horrible. I have the 30 degree White Stag sleeping bag I received as an eleven year old and it is not a mummy bag but something like a triangle ish shape. Then i have a rectangle no name 40 degree bag i put over my white stag in the winter. I am just scared of getting. A new bag. My wife bought a sierra design 20 degree mummy bag and she hates it. My son has a big Agnes's 0 degree mummy down bag and he uses it as a blanket nine months out of the year because it is too warm.

  4. Are you sure that is ALL of your bags? I thought you had a Western Mountaineering bag...

    I laughed out loud at your Errata - ah the consequences of having a blog... too funny.

    I love my Marmot Plasma 15, but I sleep cold too, so this is definitely a 3-season bag for me. I'd need something more to tackle winter camping. Love the color of your new bag, looking forward to hearing how it works for you. Sure wish it would snow.

  5. My all-time favorite bag is an old DownHome Dipper, made in Arcata, CA for a short time. I bought it in the '80s and still use it today. Double-zip down with Goretex shell and a down hood. I was never cold in that bag, but it's lost some oomph. Have a newer Marmot, but I looooove my DownHome.

  6. Love the color too!

    We are on the search right now for a warm bag for my dear son. His Boy Scout troop camps all year long, so guess we'll be buying a couple good ones for him. If only there weren't so many choices.

    The sleeping bags our family uses are old. I have a set from my parents (they split and didn't want the sleeping bags anymore), My husband also has a set from his parents (his mom trailer camps now).

    I bought my son a Coleman last year for his birthday but it only goes down to +30. Definately not warm enough for even October camps up here.

    I like Marre have Reynaud's as well. Mine a lil more sever than hers. Would like a bag where I don't have to sleep in my SmartWools too.

    Any suggestions from all of you wonderful outdoor lovers woul dbe appreciated.

  7. Oh crap! Dragon is right! I have a most excellent Western Mountaineering bag. That means I have nine bags. Nine, people. I need an intervention.

  8. That color ought to brighten up a tent, tarp or bivy! I'm a sleeping bag-hoarder-wanna-be. Only have two!

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