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  1. #1
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    Default Sleeping bag for February Start

    Because of an early July deadline, we are going to be starting out sometime in February (maybe second to last week) and I am looking at sleeping bags. One bag that caught my eye was the Marmot Never Summer bag. It fits my price range (Ideally $300 or less) and seems ok as far as weight is concerned.

    Before actually making the purchase, I thought I would ask for opinions/recommendations here.

    Is it a good bag for an early season start (I will be shipping it home in favor of a lighter summer bag that I already own, once the time is right)

    Are there any other options in the $300 price range worth considering? (I don't mind going over a bit, if the bag would be significantly lighter. I do not however, want to spend an extra $200 to save 4 ounces)

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    It's a good bag with 650 fill. It's rated to 0F which just might keep you warm zipped up at 10F.

  3. #3
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    So many variables go into a sleep system that without knowing other components an endorsement is pretty worthless. In cold weather, your sleeping pad has a great deal of influence on heat loss. The ground is a huge cold sink. Head coverings, secondary insulation layers, shelter type, pack volume etc, etc have an impact on what I would pack for a range of temperatures. Perhaps most important is your own internal thermostat. My wife sleeps on a 15* pad, in a double wall low volume tent, with mid layers, in a 15* bag and becomes uncomfortable near or below 40*. The same system would take me below 20*.

    The EN rating on the Never Summer looks pretty close to the advertised temp rating.

    As an aside, Steep and Cheap, steepandcheap.com currently has both MH and Marmot bags at a minimum discount of 20%. Although above your budget, they have a Marmot Plasma 15* at 30% off

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    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    The Never Summer is a perfectly nice mid-level winter bag for the Southeastern mountains. It's not as light as the high end ($$$$) bags, and it won't compress as small, but it should easily be warm enough for a late February start if the other components of your sleep system are chosen well -- especially the sleeping pad.
    Ken B
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    If you've got a nice summer bag that you like, how about getting quilt to lay over your summer bag. I typically use a 20* bag with quilt for winter, a 20* bag alone for cool nights of spring and fall, and then use the quilt alone as my summer insulation. Works great. Lots of flexibility.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    If you've got a nice summer bag that you like, how about getting quilt to lay over your summer bag. I typically use a 20* bag with quilt for winter, a 20* bag alone for cool nights of spring and fall, and then use the quilt alone as my summer insulation. Works great. Lots of flexibility.
    I was going to suggest something similar. I have a EE 30F and 50F quilts that strapped together give me a rating of 10F. That's what I will start with and send the 30F out when it warms up. I thought of getting another quilt but couldn't see the sense when I don't need that warm a quilt in Australia, unless I do the alps in winter. Total weight for both with straps is only 32ozs which is lighter than some sleeping bags I've owned. Most of there quilts would come in under $300us. http://www.enlightenedequipment.com/revelation/
    "He was a wise man who invented beer." Plato

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the replies!

    As far as insulation goes, I am going to be sleeping above ground in a hammock, so shopping for an under quilt is definitely going to be in my future as well.

    I looked at the quilts and while you guys are probably right, I just can't pull the trigger on one. I have had more experience with a bag and am a little wary of stepping outside of my comfort zone on this one. I'm sure down the road I will revisit the option though.

    Looking at a couple links you guys sent (thanks again!), I saw the Marmot Plasma bag on sale but it looks like it doesn't range as cold as the Never Summer bag. The never summer has 650 duck fill and the plasma has 850 goose fill. I guess ducks stay warmer than geese?

    I think I am going to go with the Never Summer bag, after a couple good reviews here and a special I just found for $231, I think its a good bet.

    Can't thank everyone enough for all the help I have found on this website. I have posted numerous threads and have always gotten quick helpful answers. I look forward to the day that I have some knowledge I can share in the same manner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drapac View Post
    I think I am going to go with the Never Summer bag, after a couple good reviews here and a special I just found for $231, I think its a good bet.
    Decent, but kinda heavy bag, it is also a bit bulky, but decent price, should be plenty warm. I owned a never-summer bag for a long time, maybe 10 years, but then it got stolen out of the back of my truck, my-bad, left it unlocked. I bought another relatively cheap 0 degree made at the time by mountainsmith, lighter (2lb, 10oz vs. 3lb, 1oz) and warmer, 750 down, but I cannot find it online anymore, I cannot even remember the model.

    Anyway, good choice! Make sure you have the pack volume, also needing an underquilt.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drapac View Post
    Thanks for all the replies!

    As far as insulation goes, I am going to be sleeping above ground in a hammock, so shopping for an under quilt is definitely going to be in my future as well.

    I looked at the quilts and while you guys are probably right, I just can't pull the trigger on one. I have had more experience with a bag and am a little wary of stepping outside of my comfort zone on this one. I'm sure down the road I will revisit the option though.

    Looking at a couple links you guys sent (thanks again!), I saw the Marmot Plasma bag on sale but it looks like it doesn't range as cold as the Never Summer bag. The never summer has 650 duck fill and the plasma has 850 goose fill. I guess ducks stay warmer than geese?

    I think I am going to go with the Never Summer bag, after a couple good reviews here and a special I just found for $231, I think its a good bet.

    Can't thank everyone enough for all the help I have found on this website. I have posted numerous threads and have always gotten quick helpful answers. I look forward to the day that I have some knowledge I can share in the same manner.
    If you are sleeping in a hammock I think you really need to reconsider quilts...sleeping bags don't cut it quite as well, especially since you are in the market for a new one. You'll be opening up the sleeping bag to use as a quilt anyway in a hammock...it's not a fun experience to be getting in and out of a sleeping bag in a hammock when it's zipped up.

  11. #11
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    A sleeping bag is much less useful in a hammock, and you're carrying a lot of extra weight having a full bag plus an underquilt. Half of the bag will be crushed under your weight providing zero insulation value.

    A good quilt over you and a specialty underquilt under the hammock will provide plenty of warmth even in winter conditions -- and you have all winter to practice outside and get it right before you head to the trail.

    Good luck.
    Ken B
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    I'd carry a 15 degree down bag and use layers effectively.
    "Though I have lost the intimacy with the seasons since my hike, I retain the sense of perfect order, of graceful succession and surrender, and of the bold brilliance of fall leaves as they yield to death." - David Brill

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by -Rush- View Post
    I'd carry a 15 degree down bag and use layers effectively.
    When push comes to shove I consider a 0F rated bag to BE a 15F bag. Why? Because bags are generally over-rated and down bags are never as bone dry and lofted as they are at home before the trip. One week in cold winter high humidity temps and that wonderful high-lofted down bag is now flatter . . . and less warm.

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    http://www.treklightgear.com/treklif...-cold-weather/

    Hammock hanging for a Feb start can require different ways of thinking about things. Go to those that live it in the hammock forums.

  15. #15
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    A hammock in February is absolutely outside your comfort zone.
    To be exact, you won't be comfortable at all.
    You need to rethink this whole boondoggle. Either find a bigger budget for proper gear or hike half of the trail in May and June.
    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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  16. #16
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    Dogwood,

    You are absolutely right, and thanks for the link. I have been researching cold weather hanging for a while now and will add that page to my list

  17. #17
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    Venchka,

    You can take your "story", compress it and jam it to the bottom of your pack....

  18. #18
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drapac View Post
    Venchka,

    You can take your "story", compress it and jam it to the bottom of your pack....
    Have a beautiful day and a wonderful hike.
    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    A sleeping bag is much less useful in a hammock, and you're carrying a lot of extra weight having a full bag plus an underquilt. Half of the bag will be crushed under your weight providing zero insulation value.

    A good quilt over you and a specialty underquilt under the hammock will provide plenty of warmth even in winter conditions -- and you have all winter to practice outside and get it right before you head to the trail.

    Good luck.
    Thanks for the reply Big cranky . It brings up a question that I have had for a while now with down bags. You mentioned the insulation being crushed and not helping (solid point). I would have to assume that the same thing would happen laying on the ground. That being the case, why don't they make any bags with less insulation on the bottom and more on the top where it would be more useful?

    Essentially the warmth/weight benefit of a quilt with the pros of a bag (one piece, less drafty etc)

    I do not have any quilt experience so I could be completely off the mark here, just something that come to mind recently.

  20. #20
    Registered User Martzy's Avatar
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    Default Sleeping bag for February Start

    I really need to second the quilt idea. I know you're excited about that sleeping bag, but I just started hammock camping about a year ago. I skipped buying a decent bag and bought an Enlightened Equipment quilt instead. In a hammock, the draftyness (sure, it's a word now) of the top quilt will not be a factor, it's just like sleeping with any other blanket + a zip up footbox. The underquilt can get drafty, but practice will help with that.
    What I'm trying to say is, if you're set on the hammock, carrying the weight of the "crushed" insulation of a full sleeping bag is unnecessary.

    And to answer that last question: when sleeping on the ground with a full bag, the sleeping pad is what does all your insulating from below, not the bag.

    Hope this was somewhat helpful. PM me if you feel so inclined.
    ~March 5th, 2017~

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