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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I think you need to bite the bullet and get a 0 bag. It's good to have serious overkill early on. When you've been hiking in 35 degree rain all day, you want a really warm bag.

    Save the Cosmic for when it warms up in Virginia. Depending on when you get to Maine, you might want the 0 bag back.
    True. Is there a reason why the majority of thru hikers (based on the thru hiker survey @thetrek.co) opt for the 20 degree? Or is it a better safe than sorry because I tend to sleep cold to get a 0 bag?

  2. #42
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattSin97 View Post
    Very interesting, I've never considered draping my puffy over the bag, but it makes sense. I will definitely be trying it out!
    I drape my down garments, vest or jacket, over my torso inside the bag. They stay in place better. If the vest or jacket falls off of me it’s easier to find in the dark inside the bag.
    At altitude, March can be Winter. April too on occasion.
    On economics: You bought a Kelty bag. You’re contemplating buying an REI bag. You’re probably going to spend half the price of quality bag and still won’t know if the bag will keep you warm. High quality down bags are a one and done purchase. The most economical solution to sleeping soundly over a wide range of conditions.
    Wayne

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattSin97 View Post
    True. Is there a reason why the majority of thru hikers (based on the thru hiker survey @thetrek.co) opt for the 20 degree? Or is it a better safe than sorry because I tend to sleep cold to get a 0 bag?
    Zero might be a bit too much overkill. A 10 degree bag would be a good compromise which saves a little money, weight and bulk. Or maybe you just need a silk liner and a better choice of sleeping clothes. Delaying the hike until April is a big help.

    It's all about trade offs. Most people only want to buy one bag. For a late March/early April start a 20 degree bag is a reasonable choice. Most of the time it will stay above freezing and for the few nights that it isn't, you just suffer through them.

    Adding the silk liner and sleeping in a tent helps add 10-15 degrees to your bag rating. Socks, a light base layer top and bottom and a hat are standard sleepwear. Another thing to consider is you do get acclimated to the cold. After living outdoors in the cold for a week or so, the body starts to adapt. Spending a lot of time outside in the cold before you start the hike helps too.

    Starting in early to mid March, the chances of your seeing temps in the 20's or lower are much greater so having a warmer bag then 20 is desirable. Unless you really like to suffer. Or spend the cold snaps in a motel in town.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #44
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Obviously. Not all sleeping bags are created equal.
    Your internal thermostat needs a few days to switch from central heating to Mother Nature’s air conditioning.
    Dumb luck got me a decent bag in the early 70’s. The REI Summerlite. Slim cut. Full hood. 1.5 ounce shell. 20 ounces of goose down. 3” top loft and 2” bottom loft. No temperature rating back then. Proven warm on several frigid nights in the Rockies. $68 as I recall. My oldest granddaughter has it now.
    I replaced that bag with a 20 degree WM Alpinlite. I tried to like the WM Ultralite, but I had gotten tired of snug sleeping bags. The coldest, verified morning low that I have seen in the Alpinlite is 15 F on an Xtherm Large and my standard late summer in Rockies base layer clothing from head to toe. The Alpinlite is sold in Europe with a Lower Limit rating of 16 F. I agree with that rating and I could probably be comfortable below 15 F in 250 weight Merino wool underwear.
    I would still be using the REI bag if I hadn’t felt like treating myself to a present.
    If you really are a cold sleeper, I strongly recommend either the 10 F WM Versalite or the 5 F WM Antelope MF.
    Buy quality once.
    Wayne

  5. #45
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    PS:
    On the other side of the temperature scale, I haven’t died in any of my sleeping bags in temperatures from 40 degrees to mid-50 degrees.
    Wayne

  6. #46

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    Nothing went wrong. If you're a cold sleeper then the Kelty Cosmic 20* Down is good to about 45*. I LOVE my Kelty, but it's only a late spring/early fall bag. The last time I used it in Connecticut in a chilly May (47*) I was uncomfortable all night. Yes, I had an appropriate pad, clothing, etc. What I did discover is that a cheap fleece throw, one of those 1 lb bags, thrown over the top does wonders. But hey, if you're going to carry that extra bulk and weight, you might as well get a heavier and warmer bag. The 0* will take you to 20-30 pretty well if you're attracted to the Kelty price.
    Last edited by Teacher & Snacktime; 01-05-2019 at 19:29.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    What I did discover is that a cheap fleece throw, one of those 1 lb bags, thrown over the top does wonders. But hey, if you're going to carry that extra bulk and weight, you might as well get a heavier and warmer bag.
    I have found that too - a 1 lb Costco Down throw thrown over, made a huge difference for me, warmth wise. It has about 7 oz of down; the rest is shell. But I think it's warmer than if you had those 7 ounces of down in your bag. I suspect the shell provides a bit of insulation too - like just a UL windshirt (two, really). You can double it over for even more warmth ... but it has a tendency to slide off, so you need quite a narrow tent to have a hope of keeping it on.

  8. #48
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    I see that REI sells the Kelty Cosmic 0 degree bag for $229.95 with free shipping. If you like everything about your Kelty Cosmic 20 except for the warmth factor maybe the 0 degree version would be okay. If you try it out one night and it doesn't do the job send it back. On my first AT hike in 2001 I used a 20 degree Campmor down bag. It had 650 down fill and cost about $115.00. I started on March 5th and the first night out of the NOC it got down to 8 degrees and I got cold. But so did everybody else in the shelter. The next night was just a few degrees warmer but I slept in my tent and stayed fairly warm.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Chief View Post
    I see that REI sells the Kelty Cosmic 0 degree bag for $229.95 with free shipping. If you like everything about your Kelty Cosmic 20 except for the warmth factor maybe the 0 degree version would be okay. If you try it out one night and it doesn't do the job send it back. On my first AT hike in 2001 I used a 20 degree Campmor down bag. It had 650 down fill and cost about $115.00. I started on March 5th and the first night out of the NOC it got down to 8 degrees and I got cold. But so did everybody else in the shelter. The next night was just a few degrees warmer but I slept in my tent and stayed fairly warm.
    I decided to try out the REI MAGMA 10. I'm going to try it out in some cold weather in the mountains by my house. If it doesn't do the job I may return it and continue my search. I just want to say a big thank you for everyone's and their input. I will be keeping all the information in mind while adjusting my sleep system. Has anyone had any success with bag liners in adding any warmth? Not sure if I'm going that route but I've been starting to read up about them and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    Nothing went wrong. If you're a cold sleeper then the Kelty Cosmic 20* Down is good to about 45*. I LOVE my Kelty, but it's only a late spring/early fall bag. The last time I used it in Connecticut in a chilly May (47*) I was uncomfortable all night. Yes, I had an appropriate pad, clothing, etc. What I did discover is that a cheap fleece throw, one of those 1 lb bags, thrown over the top does wonders. But hey, if you're going to carry that extra bulk and weight, you might as well get a heavier and warmer bag. The 0* will take you to 20-30 pretty well if you're attracted to the Kelty price.
    Happy to know I'm not alone! I'm really not used to cold weather right now, and I'm sure that is a factor as well. I haven't looked into a throw, but I will keep it in mind, thanks.

  11. #51
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    You live in California.
    You’re testing gear and getting ready in California.
    You want to go east to go hiking?
    You do know that there’s a relatively well known trail that runs the length of California?
    I just don’t get it.
    Good luck!
    Wayne

  12. #52
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    How about adding the trifecta bivy or the grabber blanket into your sleep system

    https://www.amazon.com/2GoSystems-Tr.../dp/B01971DQRQ

    https://www.amazon.com/Grabber-All-W...rabber+blanket

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    Nothing went wrong. If you're a cold sleeper then the Kelty Cosmic 20* Down is good to about 45*. I LOVE my Kelty, but it's only a late spring/early fall bag. The last time I used it in Connecticut in a chilly May (47*) I was uncomfortable all night. Yes, I had an appropriate pad, clothing, etc. What I did discover is that a cheap fleece throw, one of those 1 lb bags, thrown over the top does wonders. But hey, if you're going to carry that extra bulk and weight, you might as well get a heavier and warmer bag. The 0* will take you to 20-30 pretty well if you're attracted to the Kelty price.
    Maybe. Look, I've been cold in a zero bag before in the 20s, too. I just don't think what we're talking about here is ALL on the Kelty. Its simply not that bad. But, let's talk some numbers... WM uses 16oz of 850+ down in their 20 degree reg size bag. Safe to say they have less volume to fill as well given the nature of their bags. The Kelty uses 21oz of 600 fill down that is likely of low quality given the price. The fill potential per oz of down is 30% greater for WM. The Kelty has more down, but the Kelty likely has more volume to be filled - hard to say, but I'm going on what I know about WM bags vs commercial bags - the Kelty is described as "roomy" whereas WM are normally very fitted. So let's say that's a wash, and that if the WM is a true 20 degree bag (given its cost it better be), then discoun the Kelty by 30% which makes it more like a 29 degree bag. And given what I know to be a standard 10 degree cushion for comfort (my experience as a cold sleeper), you ought to be able to use the Kelty Cosmic 20 at 40 degrees without issue. Most certainly at 45.

    Now, maybe that's borderline for some depending on how you sleep, cold or real cold. I'm going to say that if you don't do something else to help your bags work like they're supposed to, you're always going to run into issues with being cold if you're not over-insulated. You're always going to have not only more bag than you need, but a whole lot more. Unlike Geico, that has an adverse affect down the line if you backpack, or just in terms of how much you end up spending overall. You can certainly get the Kelty zero bag, but where are you then in terms of weight and bulk and the extra amount paid? If you're strictly a camper, of course it doesn't matter much. Just saying that "more" isn't always better if you look at everything you're doing as a whole. It may work in terms of keeping you warm, but again, you're better off figuring out HOW to stay warm in a product that should be able to keep you warm at a certain temp, like the Kelty Cosmic 20 at 40+.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
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  14. #54
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    It's possible the Kelty bag would perform better with fleece PJs and a self-inflating pad (which is the kind used in setting EN ratings). Fleece PJs have 2.6x the insulating value (in terms of CLO) vs. thermal underwear, according to research by KSU's McCulloch, et al.

    IDK about the klymit insulated static V pad (light or regular) but I've always been suspicious of that R-value rating on a pad with that design. Seems easy for cold air to get under you and your bag, with those deep welds. FWIW McCullough's research seemed to show declining marginal value of pad thickness after the first inch. A 1" self inflator had about 85% of the insulating value, on average, of a 2.5" thick self-inflator. Nothing about pure air pads.

    Klymit makes a 0F bag that has a whopping 1200g of 650 fp down. That's over 42 oz, and it's not oversized in dimensions at all. That thing lofts like crazy. However, I found the down clumps, or clings, to itself, leaving uninsulated voids in the baffles. No-heat dryer with tennis balls didn't solve the problem.

    But in general, I think a low fill power bag can loft as much as a high end bag. You just gotta put in a lot more down to get there, and thus deal with higher weight (and maybe bulk too). Your reward is price.

  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by scope View Post
    I just don't think what we're talking about here is ALL on the Kelty. Its simply not that bad.
    Don't misunderstand, I LOVE my Kelty 20*. It's not bad at all, but for me it's inadequate for temps near 40, so I bring either a throw also or make sure I have enough fleece clothing to keep me warm.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  16. #56
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    Kelty calls it the Cosmic 20. But the 20° (actually 19°) "rating" is for a man, curled up, and pretty much doing everything possible just to stay warm enough not to wake up from being cold. That's not necessarily really comfortable. But the EN comfort rating (the so-called "women's rating") is 30°F. ALL EN ratings assume the use of not just an insulated pad, but also being inside a tent, and wearing a base layer and hat and socks. The test is done on a heated mannequin with temperatures sensors on it in a cold box (not in real world field conditions), so there is very little convective heat loss from any wind or breeze. Even a very slight breeze will affect how warm a sleeping bag will keep you. The test also assumes a kind of average nighttime base metabolic rate. Some people just don't produce as much body heat throughout the night. Then add that as a bag ages and is used, it loses loft and insulation value due to being damp (almost a given on the AT), dirty, clumping, etc. Then add in if you're hungry, dehydrated, tired, damp/wet, etc. , and that 20°F bag, which is really at best a 30°F bag, will have many people wishing for a warmer bag even at 40°F.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 01-08-2019 at 18:54.

  17. #57
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    ... and not giving your body sufficient nights to adjust to your surroundings.
    To the person who defined Western Mountaineering sleeping bags as tight fitting: Look carefully at the inner dimensions on their web site. I count 4 bags with a 59” shoulder girth. A fraction of the total offerings.
    Wayne

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    ... and not giving your body sufficient nights to adjust to your surroundings.
    To the person who defined Western Mountaineering sleeping bags as tight fitting: Look carefully at the inner dimensions on their web site. I count 4 bags with a 59” shoulder girth. A fraction of the total offerings.
    Wayne
    One of the reasons, beyond just overall quality and warmth, that I like them. Enough room so my arms don't get trapped trying to unzip them from the inside. Lots of bags with 62" and more of girth.

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    As far as girth goes, not all measurements are created equal. Not only does fill weight and baffling construction affect interior roominess, but different bags are cut differently from shoulder to waist. For example, WM bags flare wide at the shoulders in sort of a round bubble that narrows again immediately at the ribs, while FF bags go from shoulder to hip in a gradual taper. I always recommend lying down and rolling around in the bag before purchase. (If I manage to fall asleep in the store, I know it's a good fit!)

  20. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Decibel View Post
    Look into Western Mountaineering sleeping bags. Pricey but you will not regret it.
    Totally agree. Save money in the long run by buying quality right out of the gate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    At some point, even more down (like a 0F bag) gets too bulky unless you pony up for the high fill power stuff. I'd prefer not to have to get high fill power, since I live in the very humid southeast, but I don't know how I'd get a warm enough yet packable bag otherwise.
    I do all of my backpacking in the humid Southeast and have been using high quality down bags for the last 40 years. Some nights are cold in moist air and the bag loses a bit of loft---other nights are cold in dry air and the bag regains its usual high loft.

    Quote Originally Posted by soumodeler View Post
    I had the same issue with a Cosmic Down 20. It was simply not as warm as it should have been. I switched to a REI Igneo 19, which has the same comfort rating, and was way warmer. Same pad, same tent, etc.

    One thing I did not realize is the Kelty is not 100% down, it is 16% polyester fill according to REI. I had a lot of problems getting the fill on the Kelty to spread out evenly. That poly fill may have something to do with it and the temp issues I experienced.

    I now have several Western Mountaineering bags, and the difference is amazing. Quality gear really shows - my WM Alpinlite (20*) has 21 ounces of fill compared to the REI Igneo (19*) at 16.7 ounces. From everything I have heard, WM bags can last decades with proper care, so I consider these a long term investment.
    No serious winter or cold weather backpacker I know of would ever consider getting a Kelty sleeping bag---sorry if this sounds harsh but Kelty bags are not on the top of anyone's list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    If you really are a cold sleeper, I strongly recommend either the 10 F WM Versalite or the 5 F WM Antelope MF.
    Buy quality once.
    Wayne
    Couldn't agree more. Buy quality once. Esp for a sleeping bag---the single most important piece of gear for cold weather backpacking.

    And then there's the perennial 15 DEGREE RULE---No matter what bag you get---it'll work to 15 degrees above its rating. EX: My -15F WM Puma bag keeps me comfy down to 0F. So if you're camping at 20F get a 5F rated bag.

    The neat thing about an overkill down bag is it's both a Quilt and a Sleeping Bag. I use my Puma bag 90% as a throw over quilt---so I can toss and turn in comfort and still be warm at low temps. But here's the beauty of it---my "quilt" bag at 15F becomes a zippered mummy bag at 0F---something a true quilt cannot do. And you never know on a trip when your anticipated 20F trip gets polar and drops to -10F---then you'll need to go from a quilt to a zippered bag.

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