Marmot Women’s Helium 15F Down Sleeping Bag Blue Left Zip Assessment

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    Make Your Own -20 Degree Sleeping Bag? I need a sleeping bag that can keep me comfortably warm in weather as cold as -20 F. I want to customize it with lining, pockets and such. What material would you recommend and what synthetic filling would you recommend?

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      I sewwd several sleeping bags back in my 20’s when I was into winter backpacking and mountaineering. You used to be able to buy kits with all the materials to make them from several companies: Frostline, Altra and Holubar were the major manufacturers of these kits. In fact I sewed the ONLY model of kit bag that was available in a minus 20 degree version, the Holubar Ultimate, which contained over 3 pounds of goose down. it was such a ridiculously warm bag I ended up selling it to a guy going on a polar expedition — it was too hot for me too sleep in at any temperature above 0! I found it more useful to use a two bag system consisting of a lightwieght 3 season down mummy bag (rated around 20 degree F above 0) and a second overbag that the mummy goes inside, made of polyester insulation and rated to around 35 degrees. I can use the overbag alone in the summer or on canoeing trips (where you would not want down because it could get wet), use the down bag alone in Spring and Fall, and carry both bags in the Winter. 2 bags like that are easier to carry than one honking big winter bag like you are thinking of making.

      Sleeping bag construction is complex. You have to be able to stablize and compartmentalize the insulation so it stays maximally lofted around your body. This is not a simple engineering task in sewing. You can buy the materials you need from Seattle Fabrics (nylon ripstop or taffeta for the shell, down or various types of polyester fill for the insulation and hardware like 6′ two-way zippers and cord locks.) I think they may even still sell patterns to make sleeping bags. Even though I had been sewing for more than 15 years and was an expert seamstress, sewing those sleeping bags was the most difficult and complicated assembly I ever did.

      Sleeping out at such low temperatures is a life or death situation. You really need a bag that is designed to keep you reliably warm. Personally I would not risk that with something that I tried to invent myself when there are affordable and well-designed options already available and proven for such conditions. Campmor has many choices in sleeping bags for a range of conditions. You will spend more buying the materials and probably wasting a lot of them tweaking the design than it would cost to buy one already made.

      I suggest you buy a bag and then, if you want, sew a liner with the pockets and other features that you want that will fit inside. Many people like the idea of a fuzzy Polartec fabric liner but I can tell you the reason most sleeping bags have slippery nylon lining is that it makes it easier to get in and out of the bag and to move around once you are inside. If you try using linings that are fuzzy, like fleece or flannel, they will stick to your skin and get tangled up when you move around.

      Also, as I said, any bag made to keep you warm at 20 below 0 is too hot to sleep in above freezing — my old bag felt like a sauna — hot and sweaty — when I tried using it in milder temperatures. I would have to unzip it and leave a leg hanging out to stay comfortable. When I used to sell sleeping bags we had many customers who made the same mistake (though we would always try to talk them out of it.) They would get cold overnight using some flimsy Walmart bag and decide they needed the “best most expensive” bag. They would buy a polar expedition weight sleeping bag and then discover it was just as miserable to be too hot in it as it was to be chilly in the cheap bag. This is why you should choose a bag for the condition range you are most likely to sleep out in OR do the two bag system like I use.

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    How Much Down In A Winter Sleeping Bag? I’m going to make a winter sleeping bag and am having trouble finding out how much 800 fill down I should put in the bag. The bag will be around 80″ long and 40″ across at the longest point. It will be a mummy style bag.

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      I have sewn down sleeping bags in the past and used a number of different bag combinations for winter and mountaineering for over 30 years. A true winter bag (sub-zero rated) typically takes 2 to 3 lbs of high-loft fill. I have a question: first off, did you really mean that your bag would be 40″ wide? 40″ across would be far too wide to be a “mummy bag” and 40″ in circumference is too narrow for anyone but a small child. Also, more important than any volume or weight of down is the design of the shell and baffles which allow the down to expand to create the insulating air space. This is a complex sewing problem. I’m a very skilled seamstress and have designed and built lots of different types of gear but would be very reluctant to do a sleeping bag from scratch (the ones I have sewn were from pre-fab kits from Holubar, Frostline and Altra, all of which are no longer in business.) They were incredibly complicated in construction and assembly.

      Are you planning to do this to save money? I think in the long run you will waste money on a project such as this. If you truly plan to sleep outside in the winter you can’t risk bag that won’t keep you warm. Constructing a shell that will maximize loft is really tricky. For around freezing you need at least 4 inches of maintained loft above you. Down to 15 to 20 degrees F you need around 5″or 6″. If you might encounter 0 degrees F or lower, you might need up to 7″ or 8″.

      I have a more economical and practical suggestion, one that I have proved in years of winter camping. Buy yourself a moderate temperature rated down mummy bag (rated for around 20 to 25 degrees F). It should weigh around 3 # total or less and stuff down about the size of a large bread loaf. Then buy a slightly larger (tapered rectangular or modified mummy) single-layer polyester fill mild weather bag that will fit OVER the mummy bag. One of these should weigh in at 2 to 3 # and also pack down just slightly larger than the mummy. I have one that doesn’t even have a zipper (to save on weight.) Using 2 bags together has a number of advantages:
      1. two small packed bags are easier to pack than one big one (and even a down cold weather bag will be bulky and weigh 4 to 5 # or more)
      2. you will be warmer with the down bag inside the fiber bag than in any single down bag.
      3. the fiber fill bag will resist moisture and protect the down bag from getting damp from condensation inside the tent –always a danger in the winter.
      4. you can tuck clothing between the two bags to add insulation and keep the clothes warmer and dryer.
      5. If the weather gets warmer you can wriggle out of the outside bag and lay on top of it with your down bag. Also, a polyfill bag gives you better insulation underneath than a down bag because your weight doesn’t compress the fill as much.
      6. The overbag keeps your down bag cleaner, saving drycleaning bills or the wear and tear of machine washing.
      7. You will be able to use the poly bag alone in the summer (especially for canoe trips or any time the bag might get soaked) and also as an emergency bivy bag to take on day hikes and summit climbs. You can even use it as a sitting pad in the tent or outside in the snow. You can use the down mummy alone on Spring and Fall trips.

      I have used this system for 20 years and much preferred it to lugging my 5 # 6 oz. hand-made down mummy bag on winter trips. That bag was warm, but lacked versatility and was often too warm.

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    Backpacking Summer Sleeping Bag? Backpacking with low temps being 60-65F should I just pack a pair of thermals for my legs, a fleece and my sleeping mat, or should I tote along my 20F rated sleeping bag. thanks

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      Well how warm is your 20*F sleeping bag? I use a 30*F sleeping bag, but its lost a lot of its loft so its not a 30F bag anymore. It was a high end bag so its lighter than a lot of the 40 or 50F bags out there and my new 0F sleeping bag is even lighter weight but 10x`s warmer than the older 30F. I would do whatever is comfortable for you. If you check the weather the day before you leave for the week youll be out you can decide to take your 20F and sleep in gym shorts or take a nice wool blanket and sleep in thermals and a fleece.

      I dont think we can make this decision for you, do you like to sleep warmer or cooler? You also dont know what the temp will really be until the day before you leave. I`ve been out on summer nights where its in the low 40`s and the next night its in the 70s.

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    Does Sleeping In A Hammock Require A Warmer Sleeping Bag? Does sleeping in a Hennessy hammock require a warmer sleeping bag than sleeping in a tent?

    If I plan on buying a 20F sleeping bag, what is the equivalent in a Hennessy hammock? The 0F sleeping bags are more expensive and heavy, so I’m hoping I don’t have to get something so warm.

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      Sleeping in a hammock does require a bit more effort to stay warm than sleeping in a tent. A few months ago I purchased a hennessy deluxe with side zip entry and I found out that my butt can get quite cold even on a relatively warm night. I remember the first time I tried sleeping in it I only had a blanket to cover up in because I thought I would be fine. It was only going to get down to the low 70s, but I woke up at 5am freezing my butt off. My whole backside was CHILLED.

      I tried buying a heavy queen sized comforter to wrap up in and that worked okay on the warmer evenings, but I still found that my back got cold on the cooler evenings when it got down to the 50s. Come to find out, the blanket loses its insulating properties when compressed – which is why my back got cold. And I’ve read where the same thing happens to sleeping bags.

      I’ve since learned that it is best to have a sort of undercover for the hammock with a pad between the undercover and the bottom of the hammock itself to help insulate your back side. I have tried using a space blanket sort of fastened to the bottom of the hammock, but I didn’t notice too much of a difference since I didn’t have anything between the space blanket and the hammock. I am hoping to get an undercover from hennessy and do it up right. With an undercover and a good sleeping bag – I would think you could stay warm down in the 40s – maybe even lower if not much wind.

      So I guess it really depends on how cold it’s going to get at night where you’re at. I think you will be fine with just a good sleeping bag as long as you’re in the upper 50s or more. If you’re looking at dealing with some pretty cold weather but don’t want a really bulky sleeping bag – then you will probably need the undercover with pad and space blanket.

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    Warm Weather Sleeping Bags? I’m going to summer camp this summer and i needed a new sleeping bag last year because mine ripped at the last minute so my mom bought a $10 sleeping bag at menard’s and not to my surprise its already broken. So I need a new one and even thought im not going on trail this year i am next year so i might as well just get a good one this year but id like to spend under $70 so i need some details. Where should i look and i am wondering if i might need to wait until spring to be able to find a warm weather one. I dont want to be ordering online.

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      Go to a store where they have sleeping bags, all shops that sell outdoor equipment will have them now but just before the summer also many supermarkets and department stores will have them and those are often much cheaper.

      Ask the staff of the place for permission to open the packaging before you buy your sleeping bag. If they do not allow it, go to an other store.
      Of course, when opened and found to be not broken, you will have to buy that particular sleeping bag, whether you get it re-packed nicely or not.

      If it is a proper store you can buy and open just after paying, before leaving the premises and if not alright you return it and can get a refund or a new bag till you have one that is in good condition.

      For a summer sleeping bag you should be able to make do with any, if you are in need of a warmer one you need to check the packaging, there will be an indication for the warmth of the bag, three seasons is warmer than summer, 4 seasons is including winter, so warmer again.

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    Will Moisturising Help My Sleep Bags? Im 17 and have sleep bags that are big.
    i got some Doublebase Gel thats says it is:
    a highly moisturising and protective hydrating gel for regular and frequent use in the management of dry or chapped skin conditions which may also be itchy or inflamed.

    it says its isopropyl myristate 15% w/w
    liquid praraffin 15% w/w

    will this help with sleep bags?????

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      Do an Answers search and you will see many have tried all the under eye and dark bags creams and under eye rollers and report they were not even slightly effective.
      There is an epidemic of under eye bags and circles and many are reported by those in teens or early twenties. The main reason is reaction to skin sickening toxins in skin care, cosmetic and skin medicating products. Many teenage girls use 20 or more products daily and an alarming number of products contain skin(and health) harming toxins. See this site Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. A Feelgood Resource. The Database tested many thousands of products and identifies which ones are the most harming and those which are non or only minimally harming. So first thing to do is select the none or least harming products.

      Then try these safe, natural, tried and tasted treatments that quickly and permanently get rid of them. They really work and have helped many on Answers

      This is a response I received from wannabeblue28:
      "Hi Mukunda M. I have just been rubbing my face with oil using my fingers and hands and It has made a HUGE difference in my complexion after just one night. ...... My skin looks so much tighter everywhere and i no longer have bags under my eyes! Thank you so much for your post, I have been suffering with acne and under-eye circles since i was young."

      She had seen an answer I gave about how vigorous face massaging with pure natural oils had permanently rid my face of acne AND removed my bags/circles. Massage greatly tightens skin under and around the eye area and the bags go away. Find Answer with a search “Mukunda M vigorous massage to remove eye bags/circles”

      The most helpful ones are:
      (Using both hands together) massage with palms and front of fingers held together
      (1) Do long up and down sweeps close to nose from chin area up to near eyes.
      (2) Do another up and back at an angle from chin point to cheek bone.
      (3) Do fast up and down massage close to eye from cheek bones at an angle of 45 degrees (on your crows feet).
      Best if do for several minutes daily - will markedly tighten skin in eye area and diminish the circles in the first two or three days. Use any oil. Olive is good.
      IMPORTANT: To avoid skin pulling first make facial skin taught by partially opening mouth and pulling lips firmly back against teeth (tightens most of face)

      Use any natural oil. Extra virgin olive oil works well for many.
      Additionally facial yoga exercises help a great deal. Find on You Tube. Do the "The lion face" and try to hold for 30 seconds. A variation of that is protruding the tongue as if trying to touch tip of nose with tip of tongue.

      YOGA MEDITATION is a great help and is easy to do. It enables you to completely relax and gives you deep, restful sleep. 6 or 7 hours of restful sleep is considerably more beneficial than 8 or 9 more hours of non restful sleep. I found Siddha Yoga meditation was the most beneficial.

      SOURCE(S): Consultant with many years research into safe, natural cures/treatments – skin conditions, skin enhancement, anti aging and rejuvenation treatments

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    • Cody
    • February 20, 2014

    Sleeping Bag Recommendations? I am looking for some thoughts on sleeping bag arrangments. I am going on a 6-day climbing trip in the Southern Talkeetnas (southcentral Alaska) at the end of June. We will be staying in a non-heated (but insulated) hut most nights, but possibly camping on a glacier for a night or two as well. I am debating the following options:
    – 40deg North Face Scorpio bag (primaloft) with silk liner [1lb 12oz]
    – two nested North Face Scorpio bags (I have two) [2lb 11oz]
    – 15deg Marmot down bag [3lb 7oz]
    I sleep relatively warm (I wear all my clothes and use hot water bottles if need be), but I dont like sleeping cold for a week straight.
    Anyone have any experience with nesting two bags together? What system would you take?
    Unofrtunately I can’t buy a new bag right now, or I would go with the Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15.

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      Nesting two sleeping bags is less efficient than using a bag rated for the temperature you are at. The two North Face bags will probably not keep you as warm as the Marmot by itself.

      Another option is to bring a North Face bag to layer with your Marmot.

      There really doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of data concerning nesting bags together. Some of the inherent problems are compression of insulation, heat conduction and condensation.

      Putting one bag inside another you get the problem of not enough room for the interior bag to get enough loft to insulate well, but if you just open up the outer bag and just lay it on top, it’s more likely to roll off or be drafty.

      The shell material can be a heat conductor, so this can cause issues. If the interior shell is exposed to cold air, it significantly reduces the insulation ability of the outer bag.

      With two bags of different materials, the selection of inner and outer bag can be rough. I’ve seen theories for both layering options (synthetic outer, down inner VS. down outer, synthetic inner). Mostly, it’s trying to guess where the majority of your moisture is going to occur and which layer will trap the most heat. If you layer your two bags (a North Face and the Marmot), the down bag should definitely be on the interior as it’s the warmer of the two.

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    • John
    • February 22, 2014

    What Is The Warmest Sleeping Bag In The World? Not that I’m planning a trip to the antarctic quite yet – just interested. Are there any sleeping bags used for polar expeditions that can enable you to sleep in comfort at, say, minus 40C (MINUS 40 F) and enable you to survive down to, say, minus 55 C (minus 67F) whilst wearing just normal clothing underneath? If not please explain why, with all the incredible advances in technology, it is still so difficult to produce a portable-ish bag (around 5kg/11lb or maybe a bit heavier) that can do the job in these conditions. Ps this is in no way taking away from the exceptional toughness of the polar explorers etc who willingly endure these cold conditions.

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      I used to do winter backpacking and Alpine mountaineering and had a double vee baffled high fill power down bag with a storm collar that I sewed myself from a Holubar kit. It was rated to 40 below zero F, weighed close to 6 pounds and even in a compression stuff sack was really bulky strapped to the bottom of my frame pack. It had about 14 inches of loft and looked like there was someone sleeping in it even when it was empty. My buddies used to tease me about having cornered most of the world’s market in down but boy was that sucker warm. TOO warm for most usage, I soon discovered. The coldest I ever used it in was a night on the slopes of Mount Washington in the Presidential Range in mid winter when the dead air temp dropped to minus 34 overnight with a windchill of below 60 (we were in a tent so the windchill was not a factor). I was snug as a bug in it, lying on two layers of 1/2″ ensolite and wearing only light merino wool long johns. But every other night I ever used it I had to upzip it part way and stick out a leg or arm to vent some of the heat buildup. At zero degrees and above the thing was like a sauna!

      I loaned it to a friend to use on an expedition climbing Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, and he found the same thing, despite sub zero temps on many nights during storms. I finally sold it to a guy going to the Himalayas and bought what I have used ever since, a much more flexible two bag system consisting of a high quality down 20 degree rated mummy bag and an oversized 35 degree rated polyester fill bag. I use the poly bag alone in the summer (sometimes with a light polycotton liner or a microfleece liner), the down bag alone in the Fall and Spring and both bags together for winter use.

      Combining two bags has several advantages and that is why most of the high tech severe condition sleeping systems use something similar. It is easier to carry two compactly packed bags than one huge one (both my bags stuff down the size of large loaves of bread and fit safely inside my internal frame backpack, one on each side so the weight is balanced). Two bags create an air pocket between them for more warmth and also a place to keep your dry clothes or to help dry slightly dampened ones from your body heat over night. The polyester fill outer bag protects the down inner from moisture from condensation and frost inside the tent. The poly bag is compact enough to take in my summit pack for outings away from base camp in case of an emergency bivouac or rescue situation. If i get too warm at night I can scootch out of the outer bag and lay on top of it with the inside down bag — also the poly bag doesn’t compress as flat under me and makes a more comfortable and warm underneath insulation. I also have a Goretex bivouac sack that can fit over both bags for additonal warmth and weather protection if I had to sleep in a snow cave or an exposed situation.

      Layering systems for sleeping in temperature extremes just make more sense to me than trying to haul a heavy bag that is only comfortable in bitterly cold conditions. It is the same principle as layering your clothing.

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