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  1. #1

    Default Elusive Sleeping Bag Temp Question

    Looking to hike the HMW in early September. Want to buy a bag that will cover a large range of temps for this trip and others. Seems like 20 degree is a popular rating. I'm very ignorant of the temp ratings in spite of the all my research. I'm looking to get the Nemo Riff I like a lot of the features, weight, etc. It comes in 15 and 30 degree versions. So my question is which rating would you all advise? Is a 15 degree to warm for a mid 40 night?

    I am a warmer sleeper and like to wear a t-shirt, socks, and shorts. I have a complete layer of LW underwear if I need to warm it up.

    Thanks in advance for the replies...

  2. #2
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    I generally think of sleeping bags being sleepable, albeit cold for most people at their EN temperature rating. Your Nemo bag should be comfortable to most men down to freezing or so.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  3. #3

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    FWIW, I have a NeoAir XLite, R-value 3.2......

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    Fairly recently, I was doing some reading on quilts, and thining about these ratings form a few different angles. Someone here linked me to this
    https://support.enlightenedequipment...-Sleep-Systems
    I'm sorry I can't give proper credit off the top of my head....

    anyway, looking at these numbers I came to a conclusion that the ratings seem to hinge off of a 70 degree baseline.
    meaning that if you are the type of person that would be comfortable sleeping at 70 degrees with no covers at all, then the ratings might be close to spot on for you.

    This proves out in my limited experience....
    It's more like 75 degrees to more like 80 degrees before I'll kick off the covers..... 5 to 10 degrees above the baseline.....and with the various sleep systems I've had over the years I would say that without exception they are all under rated for me by 5 to 10 degrees.....and none were from enlightened equipment, for what's that is worth..... Of course variables such as humidity would come into play, but the numbers are fairly solid for me. For example, meaning that I'm fairly comfortable down to around the low to mid 50's in a 45 degree rated quilt..... and about 30 degrees in a 20 degree bag

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meenkya View Post
    Looking to hike the HMW in early September. Want to buy a bag that will cover a large range of temps for this trip and others. Seems like 20 degree is a popular rating. I'm very ignorant of the temp ratings in spite of the all my research. I'm looking to get the Nemo Riff I like a lot of the features, weight, etc. It comes in 15 and 30 degree versions. So my question is which rating would you all advise? Is a 15 degree to warm for a mid 40 night?

    I am a warmer sleeper and like to wear a t-shirt, socks, and shorts. I have a complete layer of LW underwear if I need to warm it up.

    Thanks in advance for the replies...
    Put quality above "features".
    Stay away from gimmicks if you want any kind of resale whatsoever.

    Ventilation gills, really?

    That said I'm sure it'll work for you if it's what you actually want. It's got enough down most likely.

    There's a lot of features a bag needs regarding Construction.
    From a high-quality manufacturer you don't have to worry about they are automatic.

    One of the most...... Zipper that doesn't snag. Especially with you in it where you can't get out. I've been in a Mountain Hardwear bag where I got trapped because it was such a ****y design. If you've ever used a lesser bag and then use a western Mountaineering with the stiffener laminated to the fabric next to the zipper so it won't snag, you come to appreciate how important this is.

    You get what you pay for. And don't ever purchase a cheap bag without trying it out in person. Flaws like a zipper that snags makes it pretty much useless.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 04-26-2018 at 21:57.

  6. #6
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I can’t find any EN ratings. EN ratings are based on healthy 25-something folks sleeping in long underwear on an R-5 pad.
    Do you need the girth of the Nemo bag? There are several decent 20 degree bags at 2 pounds and $400. There are a few at $300. Most are smaller inside than the Nemo. I appreciate the room afforded by the 64” girth. If you prefer the extra space go for it.
    Wayne

  7. #7

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    When in doubt, go warmer.

    Back in 'ye olde dayes' 2lb3oz for a 30 deg bag would've been quite respectable but not nowadays. Lotta foofiness on that Nemo.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

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    some people sleep warmer than others. If the weather is too warm for your bag, unzip it and use it as a quilt. Only you can tell whether you're a warm sleeper.

    I sleep warm and bring a' second sleeping mat when it's cold. I'm good in my REI Radiant down to the high teens and my Marmot Never Summer a few degrees below zero, but I know hikers who'd be freezing with the same gear.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    I can’t find any EN ratings. EN ratings are based on healthy 25-something folks sleeping in long underwear on an R-5 pad.
    That's part of it. If you look it up, it's kind of a complicated metric, and a bit odd too. For instance, I think the low rating is based on a man (curled up), but the comfort rating is based on a woman (relaxed). As well, there are, as you note, assumptions of height, weight, age, etc.

    In any case, with experience you'll figure out an adjustment factor for temp ratings. If the bag states EN comfort, you'll likely have to add a certain amt to get the rating below which you wouldn't do so well. If the temp rating says nothing about EN 13537, there's another, larger adjustment amount that will probably consistently apply. For me that latter figure is about 25 degrees F! I'm a very cold sleeper. That really works against me in the "shedding pack weight/bulk" department.

  10. #10
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    That's part of it. If you look it up, it's kind of a complicated metric, and a bit odd too. For instance, I think the low rating is based on a man (curled up), but the comfort rating is based on a woman (relaxed). As well, there are, as you note, assumptions of height, weight, age, etc.

    In any case, with experience you'll figure out an adjustment factor for temp ratings. If the bag states EN comfort, you'll likely have to add a certain amt to get the rating below which you wouldn't do so well. If the temp rating says nothing about EN 13537, there's another, larger adjustment amount that will probably consistently apply. For me that latter figure is about 25 degrees F! I'm a very cold sleeper. That really works against me in the "shedding pack weight/bulk" department.
    What I should have said is that I couldn’t find any mention of the EN ratings by NEMO. Meaning that their bags aren’t EN rated.
    Wayne

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meenkya View Post
    Looking to hike the HMW in early September. Want to buy a bag that will cover a large range of temps for this trip and others. Seems like 20 degree is a popular rating. I'm very ignorant of the temp ratings in spite of the all my research. I'm looking to get the Nemo Riff I like a lot of the features, weight, etc. It comes in 15 and 30 degree versions. So my question is which rating would you all advise? Is a 15 degree to warm for a mid 40 night?

    I am a warmer sleeper and like to wear a t-shirt, socks, and shorts. I have a complete layer of LW underwear if I need to warm it up.

    Thanks in advance for the replies..

    Regarding being ignorant on temp ratings despite research, don't feel alone. It's a confusing and very subjective subject. And as others have noted, EN ratings which were meant to scientifically standardize ratings can't account for all the variables found in the real world - humidity, fit vs out of shape, body type, age, tired, individual metabolism, etc. That, and people misinterpret the ratings. Take the "lower limit" for example. It assumes a 5'8", 160 lb, 25 year old man, in good health, wearing base layer, socks and hat, AND curled up in a fetal position. If you have to sleep in a fetal position while wearing that to stay warm, you are probably cold to begin with. Then throw in any factor (some that I listed) that might worsen the situation, and you are going to be miserably cold. I'd suggest that people never base a decision on expected temps below the "comfort rating" - the "lower limit" is asking to be cold. If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that being cold absolutely sucks.

    Some manufacturers simply don't rate their bags via EN nor publish them. It doesn't necessarily mean that their own ratings are unreliable. WM is a prime example - perhaps because their reputation is so established that they don't need to. I can't find any EN ratings for NEMO either. But I do note that their 30° Riff has 15 oz of 800 fill down, which in a 64" girth bag with a very wide 64" toe box area as well would tend to make me believe it is probably true to that 30° rating. I base this on being comfortable in my WM Caribou 35° bag that is a bit narrower at 62" girth, but with a much narrower toe box and has 10 oz of 850 fill down. The Caribou is my go-to bag from late spring through early fall everywhere including the Whites in NH which is about as cold as it gets on the east coast.

    Big question: What is the intended use AFTER the HMW trip? A quality bag is a big expenditure - usually the single most expensive piece of gear a hiker buys.

    If most of your trips are going to be during summer, late spring, and early fall in the eastern US mountains, I think a 30° is a good choice. A 15 or 20° is probably going to be too warm most times and you are just carrying and paying for extra weight. You note that you sleep warm and know you can always add insulative clothing to the sleep system in a pinch.

    WM, while expensive, makes quality stuff. Feathered friends is another good choice. Many folks really like Mont Bell as well. Enlightened Equipment (EE) quilts also gets high marks. I don't own any NEMO gear, so I can't comment on the quality. You might also consider layered quilts as an option - check out this link
    https://support.enlightenedequipment.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002770588-Layering-Sleep-Systems

    If there is a good chance you will resell the bag, go with Western Mountaineering - they hold their value extremely well in the used market compared to others. Other things to consider that others here have noted are the zipper - ease of operation (NEMO seems to address this common problem in their advertising), which side works best for you?, etc. Definitely go for full length zipper as it adds to versatility.

  12. #12

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    Thanks for the replies. I like the girth as I'm 6'6" and 230lbs. Leaning toward the 30 degree option and bringing a LW "poncho-liner" style blanket or liner if needed. I'll continue to confuse myself a bit more till I make a decision....

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