Tag Archives: sleeping bags

Gear Review: REI Igneo Sleeping Bag

March 13, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
REI Igneo

REI Igneo

Three-Season Sleeping Bag
REI Igneo (19° F)
$329, $339 long, 1 lbs. 15 oz. (reg)
Sizes: regular and long

Sleeping bags have seen a lot of impressive advances recently, including water-resistant down feathers. But many of those advances jack up the price of high-end bags, while inexpensive models tend too often to be heavy, bulky, and not as well constructed. The Igneo and women’s Joule ($360 regular, $380 long, 22° F) stake out the middle ground with a good price for this quality and low weight, and offer protection from moisture with a waterproof-breathable coating on the ripstop nylon shell fabric. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Big Agnes McAlpin SL Winter Bag

February 8, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Big Agnes McAlpin SL winter sleeping bag

Big Agnes McAlpin SL winter bag

Sleeping Bag
Big Agnes McAlpin SL (5° F)
$360, $380 long, 2 lbs. 14 oz. (reg)
Sizes: regular and long

What should you look for in a winter sleeping bag? I want it to be warm enough, sure, but I also look for several other attributes, like a little extra space, resilience to moisture, and that it’s not too heavy or bulky and doesn’t cost more than my winter tent. Big Agnes has answered my demands with the McAlpin. Continue reading →

February 7, 2013 In the tent, Grand Canyon

Pro Tips: How to Choose a Sleeping Bag

In Backpacking, Climbing, Paddling, Skills   |   Tagged , , ,   |   2 Comments

What should you look for in a sleeping bag? For me, it varies depending on the expected range of temperatures—and I’m not just talking about the bag’s temperature rating, as I detail in the tips below. But I’ll also offer my general tips for selecting a bag no matter the temperature rating. (All temperature ratings refer to the Fahrenheit scale.)

Continue reading →

February 7, 2013 Spring Canyon campsite, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Pro Tips: Staying Warm in a Sleeping Bag

In Backpacking, Climbing, Paddling, Skills   |   Tagged , ,   |   3 Comments

1.    At the end of each hiking day, wash the dried sweat from your body; it can act like a heat conductor, chilling you.
2.    Wear a hat, socks, and extra layers on your body, but avoid putting on so many layers that you isolate your core, which is your body’s furnace, from your extremities, which get cold more easily. It’s often more effective to wear just one or two layers on your body and line your bag with other extra clothing as added insulation for your entire body.
3.    Change into dry clothing to sleep, as opposed to the clothes you sweated in while hiking; damp clothes promote conductive heat loss from the body.
4.    Stick a water bottle filled with hot water in the foot of your bag. In really cold conditions, put a second bottle filled with hot water in the middle of your bag.
5.    Use a pad or air mattress insulated for the lowest temperatures you expect to encounter, and a second pad if you’re sleeping atop frozen ground or snow.
6.    If you’re using a short pad (to save weight in milder temperatures), lay your empty pack beneath your feet to insulate them from the ground, which can drain heat from your body even in summer.
7.    Pile extra clothing under the foot end of your bag to give your feet more insulation against the cold ground.
8.    Use a sleeping bag liner, which can add the equivalent of several degrees of rating to a bag.
9.    Eat a snack high in fat right before bed, like a candy bar, to fuel your body through the night.

See also my Pro Tips article “How to Choose a Sleeping Bag.” For reviews of my favorite sleeping bags, type the words “sleeping bags” into the Search box at left.

—Michael Lanza


Gear Review: Sierra Designs Zissou 15 Sleeping Bag

November 9, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment


Sierra Designs Zissou 15Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag
Sierra Designs Zissou 15
$260 regular, $280 long, 2 lb, 9 oz. (reg)
Sizes: regular and long

For years, I’ve rarely used a synthetic sleeping bag because they’re so much heavier and bulkier than down bags, and I’m not often out on the sort of extended, really wet trips where a down bag can get damp enough to lose its loft and warmth. But the advent of hydrophobic down could be a game changer nonetheless, and the Zissou 15 is among the first sleeping bags on the market to use down feathers that resist saturation. Continue reading →

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