Winter Sleeping bags

I feel it is time for a new winter sleeping bag, my kathmandu moonracker has lost much of its loft and my Fairydown Superlite is not warm enough over the colder months. So after suggestions on what bag to get? There seems to be a surplus of top quality and mediocre brands on the market now.
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The sleeping bag I use now is relatively new and is only the second one I have had in my tramping career. My pholosophy is to buy the best bag that you can. The extra weight is minimal. Times that I have tried mucking around using a lighter bag in summer I have ended up getting cold. It isn't very often that you see top quality sleeping bags going cheap. It is one of those things which are going to last you a lifetime and you will very quickly forget how much it cost you. Price should be one of the lesser considerations.
Like a good pair of shoes dont look at the price just how comfortable they will be at the end of a hard day. Snap on the bag this is only my second bag the first was a fairy down explorer which still gets some use as a backup bag or loaner
I did not really look at the price when I purchased my Fairydown Superlite.... Plan is to get down to chch and test out a few bags to see which one is the best feet. Spent $1000+ on fishing rods this week so have to delay my spending a bit.
My contributions: I have 5 sleeping bags. I gave the Fairydown Superlite away as it was too short (I'm 173cm tall). Of course, you can upgrade your current bag by buying a warm sleeping bag liner e.g.Snowflake or inserting another thin bag. I used a Macpac Sanctuary 500 lite recently (on my 5 Passes trip near the Routeburn)inside an early model very light Macpac Pinnacle to good effect. The Pinnacle has a waterproof breathable outer and only has 150g down. Also using a bivvy bag increases your warmth by another 5 degrees. I also wear a couple of thermal layers to bed plus a hat, a silk sleeping bag liner and socks and cinch up both my hood and my neck muff so that only my nose is poking out. Some people say that sleeping naked is best, but if I get cold when I'm sleeping naked, I warm up when I add layers and conversely, if I'm too warm and I strip off, I cool down. The main thing is you shouldn't wear so many layers that the down is compressed. Check out the Montbell Spiral Bag that won the Editor's choice awards for 2009 at!
I am 194cm tall and my long version of the Superlite could be a fraction longer.
I posted this Q on a USA ultra-light forum that has some NZ members, but would love to get feedback here as well... ---------------------------------- Can any New Zealanders comment on the suitability of our current sleeping bags for an extended NZ trip? Things you'll need to know... 1) Wife & I each have a FF Swallow (30 degrees), which we zip together. 2) We have had the bags for a while, and like them. I think I might call it a 40-degree bag instead of 30, but in low 20s in Big Bend Nat'l Park we survived many nights quite well with some layering of clothing 3) Tent (for NZ trip) is a MacPac Celeste w/10k HH floor. Inner portion of tent has virtually no mesh so condensation shouldn't be an issue. 4) Will be sleeping on dual TR Neo-Air mattresses (short 47" versions). Thinking something like small portions of a chopped Z-Rest for under the sleeping bags below the knees. 5) Bags will be carried in bottom of packs, enclosed in a STS SilNylon stuff sack, which in turn will be enclosed in a sealed garbage bag. 6) We'll be doing about 30 assorted tracks from 11/09 thru mid-March 2010. As few nights in huts as possible -- we prefer to tent. No mountaineering, no crampons, no ice axes -- don't ever envision camping on snow. Mueller Hut is probably one of the few nights we would be tenting at high altitude. Entire itinerary listed here, if that helps... I think I have 3 primary questions: 1) I know that NZ weather is completely unpredictable. But I would like some feedback on TYPICAL nighttime low temps, given our itinerary & the time of year. i.e. are our bags going to be warm enough? 2) We are going to take EVERY OPPORTUNITY to avoid any river crossings where the water would come up to our packs. If we have to hike an extra hour or two to cross in a shallower spot we will do it. So, having said that...can we still pack our bags in the bottom of our packs & count on them remaining dry? We will have pack covers, fwiw. 3) Given the precautions we're taking to keep the bags dry, any reason to switch away from down for these notoriously wet NZ environs? Thanks for any advice...
During that time of year most of the time the temperature should be above freezing. It can and does snow but that is more likely at higher Altitudes. Being able to cope with low 20s before you should be fine in most locations most of the time. Same people do find our temperatures colder due to the higher humidity in the air. I have always used down bags and have never gotten them wet. Your precautions should be accurate.
Trtlrock, Normally you wouldn't get below freezing except at high altitude during the time of year you're planning for, although it is not uncommon for snow in March in the South Island above the bushline and Lake Angelus, Rees-Dart-Cascade Saddle, Travers-Sabine all spend time above the bushline. All three also have a good hut network if the snow becomes an issue. I pack dry clothes and sleeping bag inside a rubbish bag inside a pack liner and never had a problem with wet gear when crossing rivers (despite been dunked a few times as well), otherwise your precautions seem sound.
Thanks for this info -- helps to know I'm on the right track, so to speak...
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Forum Gear talk
Started by militaris
On 5 May 2009
Replies 24
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