Hey cold sleepers

Discussion in 'Sleeping Bags & Quilts' started by Clare, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    Calling cold sleepers. What comfort rating bag do you use for British winter? I’m sleeping on an ether light insulated or possibly an exped downmat. My current summer bag/quilt is the zpacks -6 (i take that rating to mean comfort rather than extreme but not absolutely sure how zpacks rate). I’m thinking -9 is not enough of a step up so maybe -12 would be right. What do you use?
  2. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    I use the ZPacks -15°C bag or a WM Lynx.
    Clare likes this.
  3. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    Woo! The lynx is -24! Seems a lot?
  4. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    ME classic 750 -5c comfort.
    Clare likes this.
  5. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Scottish winter camp (not often :cautious:) - Exped downmat and WM Antelope ( 7" loft / -15C).
    I don't like being cold :angelic:.

    I've never slept on snow. Bothies are colder than tents, the above is OK in an unheated bothy (for me).
    Clare likes this.
  6. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    You asked.
    Clare likes this.
  7. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Hammock Gear top Quilt -17 with Exped Synmat for ground dwelling.
    Clare likes this.
  8. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    and you answered. But I wondered if you might say it’s over specced or you bought it for the Arctic but carry on using it anyway or something like that. But if it’s what you need to keep you comfortable in winter then fair enough, and I’m under estimating by a large margin.
  9. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    Alpkit Pipedream 600 (old model...better) -10C comfort limit and Neoair xlite and 3mm barrier underlay.
  10. Foxster

    Foxster Ultralighter

    Don't base a decision on the listed comfort numbers, it's subject to big variations by the makers. Despite supposed standards, many/most makers lie or exaggerate to sell their product.

    Look instead at the quality of the fill and how much there is of it.

    So, narrow down your search first to 4 season or winter-rated bags. Then give a passing glance to the comfort rating to quickly eliminate those with +0C ratings. Then compare the fill...a warm bag will have 600g+ of 850+FP down. Then it's down to cost, weight, features, etc.

    You'll quickly spot that the genuinely warm bags have the best fill quality+amount, weigh a little extra and cost more.

    A good example of a lightweight warm bag is the latest Sea to Summit Spark Sp IV.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
    PhilHo likes this.
  11. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Section Hiker

    I thought all the ratings were now standardised? https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/which-en-rating-sleeping-bag-do-i-need-i303
  12. Foxster

    Foxster Ultralighter

    There's an old saying that is something like...The great thing about standards is having so many to choose from.

    There are UK v US standards and 2012 v earlier standards and then there are differences the makers make within them, such as stating a "comfort" and a "comfort limit" number, which can sometimes be useful as a female v male number but by no means always.

    Then the Chinese who sell directly just outright lie.

    No, much better to look at the fill amount and fill power.

    An example would be a couple of bags I was looking at recently. The first gave a comfort rating of -10 and the second -8. The first had 400g of 800FP and the second 600g of 850FP. No way was the first bag really going to be warmer.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
    Clare likes this.
  13. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Section Hiker

    I'm only quoting the EN (i.e. European Standard), so not appliable to non-EU suppliers in China & US, though US companies like Thermarest are starting to use the EN standard. EN testing also has to be independant.

    Agree about the fill-power to a point, I have a great little book called 'The Secrets of Warmth' there is a good formula given throughout the book . . . Thickness = Warmth, so fill-power certainly has its part to play but its not the only variable.
  14. Foxster

    Foxster Ultralighter

    Within the EN13537:2012 there are two comfort numbers: "Comfort" and "Comfort Limit". Even if they choose to be honest, makers may not state which of these they are declaring for their "comfort" rating.

    So, you will see a -15 bag and think it is so much better than another maker's bag they rate at -9, but it can turn out the first is using a "comfort extreme" number and the second just "comfort".

    It just is not reliable to assume anything from makers' ratings.
  15. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Section Hiker

    EN13537 has 'Upper Limit', 'Comfort', 'Lower Limit' & 'Extreme' but no 'Comfort Limit'.
  16. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    A spreadsheet will happen. I remember @WilliamC, I think, saying that if you multiply down fill quantity by fp quality, you then have a standard comparison of warmth you can expect, eg 450g of 800fp down = 360,000. So I’ll get into ball park with comfort ratings, then look at The William Calculation, then width of bag, foot box, outer fabric eg The pipe dream has water resistant fabric, seems a good thing.

    then I’ll compare with apex weight/cost and by the time I’ve done all that winter will be over.
    Enzo, Davy and oreocereus like this.
  17. Foxster

    Foxster Ultralighter

    True but you will see makers state "Comfort Limit" when they (presumably) means "Lower Limit".
  18. ZenTrekker

    ZenTrekker Section Hiker

    Well given that its supposed to be an indepdendant test, I would be very suspicious of a product that quoted a non-standard nomeclature
  19. Foxster

    Foxster Ultralighter

    Sounds like a good plan.

    Waterproof outer and water-repellent down opens other cans of worms...

    Waterproof outers, though obviously seemingly to offer an advantage, can have some downsides: They can be less breathable, leading to more moisture inside and you getting colder. They can also be slippery, meaning you can't stay on your mat, again leading to you getting colder.

    I'm not sure there are downsides (other than extra cost) to water-repellent down. Maybe it doesn't retain heat quite as well? Dunno.
  20. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Between the 4 of us we've had many, many SB's pass thru' my hands. Brands - Rab (older and more recent), ME, PHD, Cumulus, Vango and WM. From my experience I would say:-

    If you have the funds then go straight to WM - it's not just about 'down' - features are also important.
    I'm a "shortie" and having a winter bag that fits is a revelation compared to a bag that is too big. I can say the same for my hubby who is big and previously had bags that were too small - now has WM bags that are the correct size.
    Their zips don't catch. :thumbsup:.
    And they (along with most US) quote the "loft". You can measure the loft of the bags you already have and work out how much loft you need to be comfortable at a lower temp. - regardless of the temperature numbers that might be quoted - after all numbers can only be a vague guide - no manufacturer actually knows you.

    You won't regret paying for the quality :).

    PS. I think you know enough about your camping to work out if water resist down/outer are important to you.
    Clare likes this.
  21. Tartanferret

    Tartanferret Thru Hiker

    Out of interest, why is the older one better?
    Presumably mine is the older one. Can’t complain for £100, I snapped his arm off.

    I use that with an Xtherm and can add superlite bivvy and add my “posh pyjamas “ (fireball smock and prism Pants)
    tja likes this.
  22. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

  23. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I have a Summerlite - but it rarely gets used in Scotland even in summer as it's OK at valley level but I'll often camp up higher and need my "3 season bag" - Which is a Cumulus 500 (450 with some extra added). In retrospect I wish I had a WM bag for 3 season but I didn't know about WM then.

    My WM Anetelope was bought 2ndhand from BPL.com and shipped over, as where hubbies 2 WM bags (- thanks to a TL member for his help as a "mule" :thumbsup:).
    Patience in waiting for the right deal pays off.

    PS. If I need to sell I fully expect the WM bags to "hold their value".
    Clare likes this.
  24. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    I've just had a look and I don't know :D

    When Alpkit revamped their range there was a few discussions that the new PD was inferior to the previous 'never in stock' model. It's heavier which had something to do with it (probably the hydrophobic/water repellency) and it's more expensive, the old one was a bargain.

    Other than that i'm not sure. When they first revamped the range was the new PD not stitch through?...
  25. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    As a general guideline, for winter as a cold sleeper (so -10C comfort limit for me) I look for 600g of decent quality down from a reputable manufacturer (PHD, WM etc). I won't buy from Ali. Make sure the mat is up to the job.

    I find this easier than getting wrapped up in the ratings and stated limits.
    cathyjc, Clare and Arne L. like this.

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