Chinook Pass and Mount Rainier

Sleeping Bags and Sleeping Pads

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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.
Sleeping Bags and Kids
REI Halo +25 Sleeping Bag - Long

REI Halo +25 Sleeping Bag - Long

In handing out its '09 Best of Adventure Gear award for a sleeping bag, National Geographic Adventure posed, "The year's best news for campers? Finally, sleeping bag temperature ratings we can trust.". “REI has adopted European standard for all its mummy bags rated above 0ºF. That means its ... Halo 25 … really is comfortable down to 25 degrees. Honesty. What a concept ….”. Our premium 3-season down bag offers the perfect balance of low weight, high-quality materials and top performance—great for backpackers and ultralight adventurers. Features premium 750-fill-power goose down insulation, a downproof, partially recycled ripstop polyester shell and lining. Exclusive REI Down Fill Calculator optimizes the amount of down per baffle for the most warmth with the least amount of down. In-the-round design and baffle spacing allows the goose down to remain fully lofted and keeps it from shifting and migrating, preventing the onset of cold spots. Contoured hood, face muffler, trapezoidal foot box, full-length, anti-snag zipper, and full-length draft tube with ground-level seams all keep body heat in, cold air out. External chest pocket keeps essentials—headlamp, watch, glasses—right at hand and easy to find in the dark. Differentiated drawcords (1 round, 1 flat) let you adjust hood and neck easily in the dark. Pad loops provide attachment points to keep your sleeping bag and pad together, so you needn't worry about rolling onto the cold ground (straps sold separately). European Norm (EN) comfort rating allows direct comparison with comfort ratings of any other EN-rated bag. Comes with stuff sack and large cotton storage bag.


REI Halo

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.
REI Kindercone +30 Sleeping Bag - Kids'

REI Kindercone +30 Sleeping Bag - Kids'

Affordable enough for parents, tough enough for kids! This three-season sleeping bag has plenty of features to keep kids cozy and well-rested. Two-way, antisnag coil zipper extends all the way around the foot to let kids walk around in their bags before settling down for the night. Bag opens up flat for use as a quilt; polyester/cotton liner features fun, updated graphics. Thermolite® Quallo provides toasty warmth and continues to insulate even when damp. Modified mummy shape and draft tube backing the full-length zipper seal in warmth. Pillow pocket in hood allows kids to stuff extra clothing inside for a comfortable pillow. External chest pocket keeps all the essentials—headlamp, watch, glasses*#8212;right at hand and easy to find, even in the dark. Relaxed fit increases comfort by providing space to move around. Comes with 9 x 18 inch nylon stuff sack.


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 +55 Sleeping Bag

REI Travel Sack +55 Sleeping Bag

This lightweight travel sack is great for international hostelling, summer camping, RVs or simply to keep in your trunk for emergencies. Lofty hollow-core polyester fiber insulation is warm without a lot of bulk, compresses easily for packing and continues to insulate if wet. Unzip zipper and lay bag flat like a comforter or just unzip it partially at the foot for ventilation or to roam around camp without leaving your bag! Short zipper with snap tab closures creates armholes for ventilation. Both zippers have an anti-snag backing for easy entry and exit. Differentiated drawcords (one round, one flat) let you adjust hood and neck easily in the dark. Also works great as a sleeping bag liner for added warmth. Zippered chest pocket holds watch or other small items, alleviating late-night fumbling. Nylon stuff sack included.


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.
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