New Sleeping Bag?

This is a tough one. I’m in the market for a new sleeping bag and not too sure what to get. I currently have two bags. The first one I bought around 1990 and it was originally something like a 0 or -5C synthetic bag. I took it with me when I traveled the world in 1991 and it spent most of its time in a stuff sack. 18 years later and it’s safe to say that it is “punched out.” My son Grady used it last year but I don’t think it is warm enough for shoulder season camping. It’s still good for warm weather stuff though. My other bag I bought maybe 8 years (time flies!). It’s a down barrel bag from Taiga. It’s okay and rated to -7C. I don’t find it all that warm but what the heck. It think it’s a good bag for Grady now because he wouldn’t like a mummy bag. My daughter Emma May has her own +5C bag and it works well for her, and my wife also has a Taiga down mummy bag.

Ideally I want a bag that compacts really well. I plan on taking the family backpacking once or twice this year and there’s no doubt that I’ll be carrying most of the gear. Therefore the space savings of a small bag would be fantastic. Weight isn’t a huge issue, but obviously the smaller the better.

Where the decision gets tricky is when I consider coastal camping. This would include boat trips that I hope to do (canoe, kayak) as well as coastal hiking. I think it’s not that unlikely that camping may include some wet/damp sleeping bags at some point. If that is the case, then it is clear that a synthetic bag would be a much better piece of gear. On the other hand, even if I found a small, warm synthetic bag, it wouldn’t do much good if everyone else in the family were in wet down bags.

Currently I’m thinking along these lines:
1. rule #1 – the bag never should get wet. I already bought some waterproof stuffsacks that help mitigate risk
2. get a MEC Merlin -3C which is very small and not too expensive (4L and $230)
3. get a Mountain Hardwear Lamina synthetic bag which is inexpensive and not too bulky (10L and $140)

One comment on “New Sleeping Bag?

  1. Digger, I think your best option is to buy a 40ft diesel RV. You would have tv, shower, stereo, fireplace…the works. That way you could just use good old blankets or you could even crank the heater and sleep in the raw.

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