Tag Archives: sleeping bags

August 17, 2016 Spring Canyon campsite, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

10 Pro Tips: Staying Warm in a Sleeping Bag

In Backpacking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   7 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Head into the mountains in summer, or almost anywhere in fall or spring, and you can encounter nighttime and morning temperatures anywhere from the 40s Fahrenheit to below freezing. I’ve spent enough frosty nights outside over the past few decades to learn a few things about how to stay warm. (My coldest night was -30° F, in winter in New Hampshire’s White Mountains; I don’t recommend it.) Here are my 10 tips for making your camping experience more comfortable. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Exped DreamWalker 450 Sleeping Bag

June 29, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Exped DreamWalker 450

Exped DreamWalker 450

Sleeping Bag
Exped DreamWalker 450
$349, 2 lbs. 1 oz. (medium)
Sizes: medium (fits up to 5 feet, 11 ins.), large (fits up to 6 feet, 5 ins.)
backcountry.com

On a cool, early morning at Numa Creek camp on the Rockwall Trail in Canada’s Kootenay National Park, I told my wife I was heading for the camp’s cooking area to fire up our stove for breakfast. She responded in her way of letting me know she wasn’t getting up yet: “It’s cold out there.” I said, “That’s why I’m staying in my bag.” And I was: Within seconds, I converted my DreamWalker 450 bag into a long down parka and proceeded to wear it walking and sitting around in camp. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Western Mountaineering Summerlite Sleeping Bag

May 19, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Western Mountaineering Summerlite sleeping bag.

Western Mountaineering Summerlite sleeping bag

Ultralight Sleeping Bag
Western Mountaineering Summerlite
$390, 1 lb. 3 oz. (regular)
Sizes: short, regular, and long ($420)

The lightest sleeping bags for summer camping—meaning for temperatures from the 50s Fahrenheit to around freezing—rarely include features like a hood, a draft tube, and a two-way, full-length zipper. The Summerlite has all of those while weighing in at barely north of a pound and remaining true to its 32-degree rating. On a weeklong, late-March trip in southern Utah, I slept in it for nights of car camping and backpacking in the Dirty Devil River canyon, when the low dipped into the high 20s, and found it warm, spacious enough, and supremely packable. Continue reading →

April 24, 2016 In the tent, Grand Canyon

Pro Tips: How to Choose a Sleeping Bag

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Paddling, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Finding a sleeping bag that’s right for you may be the most confusing gear-buying task. Getting the right one is critical to sleeping comfortably in the backcountry, and your bag could save your life in an emergency. But with the myriad choices out there, how do you tell them apart, beyond temperature rating and price? I’ve slept in many, many bags as a gear tester for two decades (and counting) for Backpacker and this blog, in all seasons, in temperatures from very mild to -30° F. (Mild is more pleasant.) In this article, I’ll share what I’ve learned about picking out a sleeping bag that will be ideal for your body and your adventures. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Marmot Scandium Sleeping Bag

October 14, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Marmot Scandium sleeping bag.

Marmot Scandium

Three-Season Sleeping Bag
Marmot Scandium (20° F)
$199, 2 lbs. 14 oz. (regular)
Sizes: regular and long ($219)
marmot.com

A backpacking truth: You can say what you want about the details of a bag’s construction, but the real measure of its value comes on nights when you need it to accomplish just one function—keep you warm. Beside Quiet Lake at over 9,200 feet in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains in early October, I awoke to find frost coating much of our gear that we’d left outside the tent; the overnight low had dropped nearly to freezing. And I had not even noticed the cold, snoozing comfortably all night in the Scandium. Continue reading →

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