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Old 04-06-2010   #11
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 9
Western mountaineering sleeping bags no question. The most ultralight tough and packable sleeping bags out there. They are expensive but have lifetime warranty and used mine well over 300 days already. 15 degree 1lb 10 oz. They are down, but brind a tarp and build a small shelter.

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Old 04-06-2010   #12
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
Where are you boating? If you expect to have multiple days of rain, like in the east coast, synthetic is worth it. The only thing worse than a wet night in a down bag is a second wet night in a down bag. If in the rocky mountain west, you're more likely to be able to dry out a wet bag. You may consider a 20 or 30 degree bag augmented by a down sweater for surprise cold nights. If you go down, shoot for 700 fill or better, it's much lighter and more packable. Dries faster too. Some down bags have a water proof shell, which helps for a little drizzle.

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Old 04-06-2010   #13
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SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
My ultra-light Western Mountaineering bag is a masterpiece: super-quality down, excellent fabric, beautiful cut. It stuffs unbelievably small for the warmth. I've slept in it (really slept, not just dozed & froze) in a bivy sac at 11,000 ft. in the low 20s with snow and wind.

A good river combo is an ultralight bag (the Big Agnes bags are also excellent), a bivy sac with netting and a bit of headroom, and an ultralight tarp (I've got SILTarps and a SILShelter from Integral Designs that fit in a coffee mug. I've camped out with them on South Island NZ in bloody downpours and stayed reasonably dry).

The key difference with a synthetic bag is that if it does get soaked, you can press out the water and sleep in it. It'll be damp at first, and might stay damp underneath, but for the most part it'll dry out with body heat. Which can save your life. A wet down bag is impossible to dry without considerable heat and fluffing. If you get down, get a really good drybag for it.

Integral Designs used to have some really good lightweight synthetic bags as well. I got a roomy but light Primaloft model that works to mid 30s, with a liner bag that takes it into the 20s (for me, anyhow).
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Old 04-06-2010   #14
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billings, Montana
Paddling Since: Tues
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 333
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I,ve got a big agnes and like the bottom pocket setup for summer, but I will say that even with the insulated air pad if you push the neg temps it can get awful cold. WM makes the best bags, worth the money.
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Old 04-06-2010   #15
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
For cool-cold trips, a bivy sac is a must. A lightweight tarp keeps the rain/snow off your bag and/or bivy and lets you sit up, cook, and eat during storms.

On warm nights, you'll sleep under the stars with your bag unzipped. Cool and dry, tuck into the bivy. Warm with rain, use the bag and the tarp. Cold with rain or snow, use all three.

The combination gives you the greatest temperature range for the least weight and bulk.
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Old 04-06-2010   #16
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Edge o' the Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 195
Check out the Therma-Rest "Haven" sleep system.
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Old 04-06-2010   #17
Bozeman, MT
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 106
On the cheap I use a $100 25 degree (Mountain Hardwear) synthetic bag with a small fleece top that I wear around camp anyways, and the REI minimalist bivy (cheap and bomber). Keeps me warm and dry in most spots in the Rockies. Although I Want to upgrade to a smaller/warmer down bag when I win the Lotto!
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Old 04-07-2010   #18
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 108
One person mentioned condensation. Any suggestions. I have the Golite Shangra-la 3 and a down bag. I have had probs with condensation, ie. Middle Fork on cold damp nights. One thing I did wrong the first night was not allowing adequate ventilation from underneath. It helped to get it off the ground. Lots of people use the Mega-mid. This was sig. more expensive. I think those folks were have some condensation as well. Would the nest that goes inside be helpful? Should I just get a cheap bivy to prevent my downy from getting moist?
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Old 04-07-2010   #19
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Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: '05
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 394
Silk sleeping bag liners are absolutely amazing to supplement a crappy summer bag on a fall or spring night. I've used 'em on bike tours and they help a ton more than I thought they would. Got mine at Sierra Trading post back in the 90s. They dry quickly, are super light and tough enough. Something about the tight weave I think.
Dude, I'd see you on the river but I'm hardly ever out there.
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Old 04-07-2010   #20
castle rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 203
I will second the Big Agnes gear. 15 degree plus sleeping pad is just a bit larger then 20 degree bag in a stuff sack. Plus I still think they are made up in Steamboat!!!! Plus I like the fact they are roomy and you dont slide of the pad and moves really nicely with you

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