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Now I Fly
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PostSun Mar 12, 2023 3:46 pm 
I'm ready to bite the bullet for a winter sleeping bag. I'd love to hear what folks' favor winter bags/systems are. I spent the morning replacing the shock cored in my HUBBA's poles and can't wait to get out for a night! Thanks B!

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Randito
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PostSun Mar 12, 2023 5:28 pm 
FWIW: The system I use for winter camping is puffy pants and an extra puffy jacket with a hood combined with a "three season" quilt large enough fit over those extra clothes to work well for me. While the total weight is a bit more , I find the greater comfort during the making camp, cooking , taking a leak at 2AM and getting going in the morning to suit me. If you are figuring on snow camping multiple days in a row and Temps below 10F , I recommend considering using a vapor barrier, as a vapor barrier add significant warmth for little weight and very importantly greatly reducing the accumulation of body moisture in the insulating layers. In very cold conditions, the dew point occurs within the insulation layers , so even with 100% breathable materials condensation forms within the insulation and it weight goes up and insulation value goes down over the course of an extended outing. https://andrewskurka.com/vapor-barrier-liners-theory-application/

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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Mar 12, 2023 6:14 pm 
It's hard to beat Feathered Friends cold weather bags.

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Schroder
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PostSun Mar 12, 2023 6:17 pm 
Western Mountaineering

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Eric Hansen
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PostSun Mar 12, 2023 7:20 pm 
+1 on Randito's comments about the puffy pants/jacket system. Peeing in the middle of the night? If you are a male consider bringing a wide mouth quart bottle (definitively marked with a duct taped X you can feel in the middle of the night). Kneel at the tent door and pee in the bottle (and dump in the morning). Sure beats putting your boots on and getting out of the tent. Vapor barrier knowledge is valuable, even if you opt not to use a barrier. Vapor builds in your sleeping bag if you are not regularly drying it (hopefully on a sunny south facing slope/rock midday) on a daily basis. Years back I dropped into the Grand Canyon on the Grandview Trail, in knee deep fresh powder. It was New Year's and night time temperatures were in the high teens on the Tonto Plateau. Third night out I went to bed and an hour later I was getting cold. That led to the realization that I hadn't dried the bag in the sun and the top of the bag probably had vapor in it, less loft. I turned the bag over (i.e. bottom on top of me) and that did the trick. A mid day break to dry the bag became a must do daily routine. One general thought, perhaps worthy if you are relatively new to cold weather camping. Ease into it. Staying warm takes a lot more mindfulness, and advanced routines, when it is 10 degrees than when it is 25 or 30. I've got a Western Mountaineering 15 degree down bag and a Marmot zero degree down bag.

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Randito
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PostSun Mar 12, 2023 7:36 pm 
Eric Hansen wrote:
Peeing in the middle of the night? If you are a male consider bringing a wide mouth quart bottle
Pee bottles for dudes (and female urinals -- Freshette) definitely are more convenient, but make sure your tent mate doesn't bump you while you are trying to seal the bottle. I also wear down booties while sleeping , so the amount of farting around required to step outside and then come back in is considerably less, plus if is a clear night, the view can be amazing.

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Now I Fly
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PostSun Mar 12, 2023 9:13 pm 
So much great information to be found here at nwhikers! Thanks for the input! I have a 20 degree Kelty that I combine with a down quilt for shoulder season adventures. It's worked, but just barely (some nights). I'm looking forward to a decade of cold, clear, and warm nights! I don't imagine more than two nights in a row for winter trips. Nothing hardcore. Weather dependent trips. Snow camping with friends below Muir, November/December 1978. I still miss that Eddie Bauer expedition weight down coat!
Cheers, B!

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BigBrunyon
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PostMon Mar 13, 2023 12:27 am 
As someone who knows the gear, my extensive experience tells me you're gonna need something packing a punch in the HEAT department to compete at 0 degrees

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Bargainhunter
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PostMon Mar 13, 2023 10:31 am 
I do like trying different sleeping systems and experimenting with what works, pushing the limit at times, often bordering on masochism. An option: Instead of a winter bag, consider two lighter weight bags as that would be more versatile for summer and shoulder seasons individually. Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering quality is top notch (but you will pay $$$ for their excellent quality). I have a light one of each and they nest well together for colder, winter outings! But if you are looking for value and warmth per dollar, keep your eyes peeled for thrift store deals. Last week, my local Goodwill had a new looking (no bum/Fred Beckey smell) Sierra Designs bag for $13. A little internet sleuthing revealed it was a mid/late-90s "Convertible 3-D" model design with thicker insulation on one side than the other; it has a 15F or 30F rating depending on which side is up. Due to bulk and weight of the synthetic Polarguard insulation, it's strictly a car camping set up for me, but a couple of cheap bags like this beat a $600+ winter bag for those on a budget. Deals are out there for the patient/lucky. For extra cold outings, I have several amazing lightweight but very warm down quilts that Costco was selling for only ~$16 (!) a few years ago. They would work well on top of sleeping bags for extra warmth, especially over two people nestled together in a mountaineering tent. As for the puffy down pants and jacket, I must agree that also a great option. Many years ago, at -26F on Denali, I awoke shivering, curled in a frozen ball in my -5F rated bag despite wearing all of my clothes and putting a boiling hot water bottle in my bag before sleeping (damn you Mark Twight and Extreme Alpinism!). I looked over at my tent mate who had invested in a pricey set of Feathered Friend down pants and parka, and he was sprawled out snoozing comfortably ON TOP of his sleeping bag just in the puffy clothing! Sleeping cold night after night will tire you out too. Survivable? Yes. Comfortable, no. Also, it's obvious but needs repeating, pay attention to what's under you. When temps drop into the teens, a Thermarest Neoair Uberlite just isn't going to cut it. Ask me how I know.

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zimmertr
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PostTue Mar 14, 2023 12:09 am 
I've never taken my REI Downtime bag to zero degrees but I do have to leave it unzipped when it's in the low 30s or I'll sweat. Not that heavy either and compresses quite well. I think your sleeping pad makes a bigger difference.

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Gil
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PostWed Mar 15, 2023 10:46 pm 
I used a 0 degree Polarguard bag when I lived in Alaska. The coldest I ever spent out in it was minus 50. We used bivvy bags, buried in the snow. Not the most pleasant night I've ever had, but hey I survived! Snow can be a wonderful insulator, particularly in a very dry climate like central Alaska in winter. The problem with a Polarguard bag like that is that you needed an extra backpack just carry it!

Friends help the miles go easier. Klahini
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Bargainhunter
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PostThu Mar 16, 2023 9:07 am 
I'd love to hear the details on how you pulled this off. Minus 50F absolute in a 0F bag? Doesn't sound survivable unless you are adding wind chill and you were out of the wind. Were you in a snow cave burning candles to bring the temp up closer to 0F? Wearing a down suit too? But yes, the old school Polarguard is bulky and frankly, not a very good insulator for it's bulk, although I may be confusing my synthetic insulations. Back to the OP, as cheap as I am, sometimes it's best to fork over top dollar to get top quality for essential things like tents, boots, sleeping bags, pack, raingear, etc. If I were you I'd buy once and cry once and get a light, compressible, warm Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering bag (or equivalent).

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Gil
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PostThu Mar 16, 2023 8:25 pm 
Hi there: No wind chill, just honest minus 50. Zero-degree North Face Polarguard bag (can't remember the name of it), Early Winters Gore-Tex bivvy, which I still have, 45 years later. I also wore a synthetic puffy and booties. We dug trenches and put a foot of snow on top of our bags, just like they used to. But we were hardy undergrads at UAF -- we used to go ice climbing down at Denali when it was below zero.

Friends help the miles go easier. Klahini

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Now I Fly
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PostTue Mar 21, 2023 2:22 pm 
Ended up going with Feathered Friends Snowbunting 0 EX. Thanks again for all the feedback/advise! B

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Bargainhunter
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PostTue Mar 21, 2023 2:33 pm 
Cool. Please report back when you've put it through the paces, especially at 0F!

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