Different sleeping bags for different conditions...
I currently have 4 different bags, usage depends on the conditions I expect to strike and if I am staying in huts or camping out.
|My pit or sleeping bag set up and ready for use at Carrington Hut, 2018|
Considerations regarding weight and down vs syntheticUsually I find I am far too hot in a closed sleeping bag so I usually use mine unzipped as a quilt.
There are two types of bags: down and synthetic. Down is lighter but losses all of its insulation potential if wet. Synthetic will lose some of its warmth if wet but the water can be squeezed out more effectively and is much easier to dry.
|Goose down sleeping bag fill|
|Synthetic polyester sleeping bag fill|
New Zealand is wet, so I generally favour synthetic bags but it is impossible to overlook the weight savings using a down bag. The Packlite is about as lite as you can go in synthetic and still have a decent bag, but there are down bags with the same or better insulative qualities that weigh in at 600gms!
Domex Packlite XL (2013- )My summer bag is a synthetic Domex Packlite, 1.2kg, and compresses to a very small size. It is, as the name implies light, so only for warm weather and hut stays. With a thermal bag liner it is good down to 0-5 degrees.
Domex are the original kiwi sleeping bag manufacturers they have been around for nearly 60 years now and make quality products. When I was in the Army back in the late 1980's we used Domex sleeping bags and I believe they still do today.
|The Packlite in use, Wharfedale Hut, 2014|
|Laying in my Packlite, QCT in 2016|
As I mostly tramp in the summer and stay in huts this bag is used 80% of the time. Retail these go for around $150 NZD.
Marmot Trestles 15 (2012- )
|The Marmot Trestles 15|
These normally sell for $300 NZD, there is also a Marmot Trestles 30 which weighs 1.4 kg and is good down to about -2 degrees.
Macpac Escapade 700 XL (2015- )
My cold weather bag is a Macpac Escapade 700 which I brought in 2014, it is an XL size, rated to -5 degrees and weighs in at 1.25 kg. Normally these retail for $485 NZD but I got this in an Autumn sale for $275.
|Macpac Escapade 700 XL|
|Using the Escapade at Mid Robinson Hut, 2015|
Exped Lite 500 down bag
My newest bag is another down filled one the Exped Lite 500. I brought this bag as a lighter option when section hiking the Te Araroa trail and for more moderate spring and autumn weather.
|My new Exped Lite 500 down sleeping bag|
This bag weighs 1.02 kgs, packs down very small and is rated to -2 degrees. I often find my Macpac bag too hot unless it is very cold and wet. This gives me a lighter option while still providing some warmth.
|Exped bags come with a sil-nylon stuff sack and a large storage bag|
Care and storage of sleeping bagsI have my sleeping bags hanging in a dry, dark closet which is the recommended way to store them. It is also ok to store them in a large mesh bag if one has been provided when you buy your bag. If you store them rolled into their stuff sacks you are compressing the fibres which degrades the insulation very, very quickly.
|Acceptable ways to store your sleeping bag|
Here is a very informative article from Outdoor Gear Labs about choosing the right sleeping bag for your needs.
|My Macpac bag airing in Magdalen Hut in 2017|