Sleeping Bags and Sleeping Pads
www.WillhiteWeb.com: Your online resource for hiking, climbing and travel
My first sleeping bag was something my mom gave me from her days in Southern California. My first year of boy scouts, I got hypothermia once and went a few nights with little sleep trying to stay warm. Eventually my parents and I wised up and started purchasing some gear that was acceptable for the conditions I was camping in…which were often quite brutal. My scoutmaster went rain or shine and I went right along side, prepared or not. Because of these miserable experiences, I have 3 below zero sleeping bags, as well as a few warmer temperature ones.
I use my -20 degree bag 9 months of the year. This is probably a psychological issue resulting from my youth experiences but I just hate being cold at night. In reality, a good 3-season bag is around a +20 degree bag. The REI Halo bag is similar to what I use during those 3 months of summer.
REI Kindercone +30
Marmot Col EQ (not shown)
I purchased a 5 foot long kids bag early on for my son. It was way too big for him but now he has grown into it. In the beginning, I just wrap the babies up in blankets and stick them along side me. Once they are age two, they really like having their own bag. Synthetic is best as they are bound to spill water on it. I purchased the Volcano Jr +15 degree bag but I go out on some pretty cold nights with my kids. A 30 degree bag should do for most families who camp in summer only.
The Marmot Col is the bag that keeps me happy and suppresses those childhood memories. I was never cold on Denali and the water resistant outer shell is very nice for all the condensation buildup in the tent.
REI Travel Sack
We often travel with these during the summer months. Our travels usually include at least one night camping wherever we visit. In Europe, we used them when camping, at hostels and if a hotel bed looked like it could have bugs.
Synthetic vs. Down
For years, synthetic is all I knew. Living in western Washington you are bound to get the bag wet, especially if you are learning the skills of backpacking. After I purchased my down bag for Mt. McKinley, I was determined to stick with down bags. If you can keep them dry, they really are the best for comfort, weight and compatibility.