Tag Archives: sleeping bags

August 30, 2018 REI Magma 10 sleeping bag.

10 Pro Tips For Staying Warm in a Sleeping Bag

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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. Hundreds (if not thousands) of frosty nights sleeping outside over the past three-plus decades have taught me 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.)

No matter how cold you normally sleep outside, or whether you’re camping in the backcountry or at a campground, these 10 tips will keep you warmer in your sleeping bag. Continue reading →

July 25, 2018 Big Agnes Picket SL 30 sleeping bag.

Gear Review: Big Agnes Picket SL 30 Sleeping Bag

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Three-Season Sleeping Bag
Big Agnes Picket SL 30
$260, 2 lbs. 4 oz. (men’s regular)
Sizes: regular and long
moosejaw.com

I know I’m not the easiest person to share a tent with: I flop from side to side during the night. A side sleeper, I curl up with knees bent and extend my arms almost fully. I’ve always preferred mummy-style sleeping bags for their efficiency at trapping heat—but some feel a bit too much like a coffin. On numerous nights of backpacking and camping from the Grand Canyon’s Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop in May to Idaho’s City of Rocks in June and Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows area in July, I found that the stretch panels of the Big Agnes Picket SL 30 gave me an experience closer to sleeping in my bed at home. Continue reading →

May 31, 2018 The Sierra Designs Nitro 800 20-degree sleeping bag.

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Nitro 800 20-Degree Sleeping Bag

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Three-Season Sleeping Bag
Sierra Designs Nitro 800 20-Degree
$330, 1 lb. 13 oz. (regular)
Sizes: men’s regular and long, women’s regular
Moosejaw.com

Choosing between sleeping bags can sometimes feel like getting the names of identical twins right—they look an awful lot alike. With bags, you can compare certain key specs: temperature rating, type and amount of insulation (or fill), total weight, and, of course, the price. Using those metrics, the new Sierra Designs Nitro bags look like a pretty good value, so I slept in the 20-degree Nitro 800 while camping on some cool and windy May nights at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, and on a three-night, 39-mile backpacking trip in Wyoming’s Wind River Range in mid-September, to see if its performance matches its impressive numbers. Continue reading →

Gear Review: REI Magma 10 and Magma 17 Sleeping Bags

September 26, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
REI Magma 10 sleeping bag.

REI Magma 10 sleeping bag.

Three-Season Sleeping Bag
REI Magma 10 and Magma 17
$349, 1 lb. 13 oz. (regular) 10° F
Sizes: men’s and women’s regular and long
rei.com

On the last night of a 40-mile May backpacking trip in Utah’s Dark Canyon, a friend and I slept out under the stars and a heavy dew fell during the night. But I didn’t notice it until after waking up, seeing the droplets covering everything around me, and sticking a hand outside to feel my bag’s wet shell. Inside my REI Magma 10—which appeared to lose none of its loft, despite its shell getting soaked—I stayed warm and dry. That was a clincher moment in convincing me of what a super value REI’s men’s and women’s Magma sleeping bags represent in high-quality, water-resistant down bags. Continue reading →

May 18, 2017 In the tent, Grand Canyon

Pro Tips For Buying Sleeping Bags

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 →

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