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  #1  
Old 29 Dec 2006
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Will my sleeping bag be warm enough?!

Hello,

I'm planning a trip through Africa and I have recently bought a sleeping bag from eBay (a new one!). It has a comfort rating of 10 deg C, which I thought would be okay for most of Africa (North to South and back, about 9/10 months from Sept). It's RRP is £60 (i got it for £28), a Berghaus Equinox which is square rather than the 'mummy' style-which tend to be warmer (I didn't want to sleep with my legs together for so long). It is compact and I know the warmth comes from the 'loft' properties of the bag...I'm just worried it seems too thin and I will freeze in Africa. I think I will get a liner which may add some extra warmth as well as helping keep it clean. Does anyone know therefore if this bag is likely to be too cold most of the time, and also does a liner add much warmth to them?

The bag I got is also available here if anyone wants a nosey:

http://www.ekmpowershop.com/ekmps/sh...&productid=762

Thanks,

Chris
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  #2  
Old 29 Dec 2006
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hard to say, comford ratings are bollocks annyway, depends on: cover under you, how wel your feed, wind, are you tired or well rested, etc etc and also a verry personal feeling of temparature. i see you live in england cant you just try it at the temparature you are expecting?? if not buy a liner, there often rather cheap and especially if there fleece help a lot.
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  #3  
Old 29 Dec 2006
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I seem to remember a lot of discussion some time ago about sleeping bags - whether down was better than synthetic etc. Might be worth having a look at those.

On both the west africa trips I've done I've taken high end down bags - last time it was a Rab mountaineering bag rated to -20C. You might think that was overkill and that I'd sweat to death, but there were a couple of nights when I was cold in it (the worst, a night spent facing the wind on top of an open lorry on the Mauri ore train where I was fully dressed in the bag and wrapped in a tent to stay warm).

I also found that after a day on the bike in high temps in the desert I'd feel the cold in the evening and would welcome the warmth in the bag, (but thats me and you're prob different) and because it opens out flat like a duvet I could use as much or as little of it as necessary. In hotels, in towns etc when it was hot all night I'd just use a thin sheet.

Sleeping bags are a big item to store on a bike and for me the compressability of down means I could take a better bag for the same volume.
The down side (sorry!) is that they're not up to much when wet but that's never been a serious problem in 30 odd yrs of bike touring, and they are pricey, but is that likely to be a big factor in your overall budget
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  #4  
Old 29 Dec 2006
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It depends on conditions, altitude, your tent and sleeping mat. From the look of the bag in the picture I'd say it's more suited to bunkhouse accomodation, or very warm outdoor use.
You may be better getting a lightweight down bag. You'll get a much warmer bag for the same size/weight as the one you've just bought. You could then add a liner for colder condtions, or use the liner on its own if it's really hot.
If you're travelling through a variety of countries on an extended trip then you'll be experiencing a wide range of temeratures, so it's unlikely a single bag will cover all those conditions.
Take a look at Vango's down bags -they're not too expensive, around £60-70 if you search the net.
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  #5  
Old 29 Dec 2006
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I've got a decent ground mat...Thermarest Prolite 3, which is a full length 3 season one. What have other people taken around Africa? As long as I'm okay 95% of the time I can suffer the odd cold night (as long as it is more of an extreme rather than every night). So taking the hypothetical 'average' night at an 'average' altitude and in an 'average' african country...in your opinion am I still likely to freeze my arse off?

Cheers
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  #6  
Old 29 Dec 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris of Motocross Africa
..........I'm okay 95% of the time I can suffer the odd cold night (as long as it is more of an extreme rather than every night). So taking the hypothetical 'average'.......
95% OK is probably on the high side for anything related to long travel.

Its all a personal thing. You're probably OK and there's no rule against changing equipment while on the trip.

You plan and replan according to many things - bike, roads, equipment, conditions, etc...

Bags are also made that are 'semi mummy', being not as confined as true mummy bags. For camparable ratings, down will pack smaller than synthetic. As posted before, the pad and any extra coverings can make a great difference.
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  #7  
Old 30 Dec 2006
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I think it would be a good idea to take a liner. It helps cleanliness and is warmer. On very hot nights sleep in the liner on top of the bag. Take a wool hat and wool 'sea boot socks' for very cold times. You lose a lot of heat by breathing. If you creat a baffle you can easily reduce the heat loss by 50%. Wear the hat, socks and your helmet. then construct a little 'tent' over you face using a towel, or something like that. it sort of 'double glazes' you heat loss from breathing. get vegetation (ideally dry) under your tent outside to keep you away from the ground. Try to site the tent out of the direct flow of any wind.

a longer term solution if you stuck is to create a compost heap under your tent. Is a good idea to have a spare plastic sheet between the tent and compost (smell). Years ago I used to build about a foot high heap of green ferns ( bracken) when camping in the new forest. In those days I had a secret weapon. Zip two bags together and take the gf fly sheet not only helps keep you dry, but because tent is not drying there is not much cooling from evaporation.
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  #8  
Old 30 Dec 2006
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I bought one of those fleece liners and I hate the damn thing , too clingy and it's not that warm .
My advice would be to get a warmer bag and sleep with as few clothes on as possible and then if it is absolutely " brass monkeys " you could start to wear clothes inside the bag .
Or buy another bag in Africa .
If you have a water cooled bike you could drain a bit out of the radiator to fill a hot water bottle .[ I bet Touratech haven't thought of that one !]
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  #9  
Old 30 Dec 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris of Motocross Africa
I think I will get a liner which may add some extra warmth as well as helping keep it clean .............. and also does a liner add much warmth to them?
Hi Chris

Good plan. I have three liners, silk, cotton and fleece. I rarely use the cotton one, and the fleece can be a bit of a pain when I turn over, but the silk one (£9.99 from Lidl) is excellent. Despite compressing down to the size of a fist, it doubles the effectiveness of my (three season eBay) bag. It's also warm enough to use on its own in hot weather; I slept in my garden in it throughout July under a flysheet on my thermarest and was fine. As others have said, only you can really decide so, first time frost's forecast, get pitching!

Regards, Mick
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  #10  
Old 30 Dec 2006
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Temp ratings are super personal - I sleep very cold, and my wife Susan sleeps very warm. For instance at home I'll be well tucked under my half of the 4" thick down quilt, and she'll have thrown it off and using the sheet only.

I used to work in a sports store selling sleeping bags, and the bag ratings for me were all way optimistic. For others, pessimistic.

Liners to give you a little extra and options is very important. Remember in Africa you are often at altitude, and it can get cold. it's amazing how cool it can be at night in Tanzania, and especially Namibia in the desert.

I'd recommend a warmer down bag and silk liner as a better base.

Also see http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tri...tercamping.php for more on cold weather camping, sleeping bags and prep.
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  #11  
Old 30 Dec 2006
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Thanks for the replies. Is the consensus then that I will be too cold or is your advice how to keep warmer if I am? I think I may stick to a liner, then I can always use one of those 'space blanket things' from first aid it, clothes etc to keep warm if needed. Or am I being stubborn; should I swallow my man-pride, admit I bought the wrong bag and get a different (down) one?

I could test the bag outside but I assumed I would freeze here in the UK in the hope that an African night would be warmer...is this where I am going wrong!?! Maybe the question I should be asking then is how cold is an African night!

I tend to sleep with the windows open in the UK, even in the winter they are ajar, but then I use a reasonably thick duvet.

How have others found fleece liners, did you use them? Also, is a silk liner warmer than a cotten liner?

Thanks again,

Chris
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  #12  
Old 30 Dec 2006
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I use a silk liner and quality down bag and would not compromise my warmth and comfort - but I would strongly recommend 100% pure merino wool long john and long sleeve t-shirt, these add loads of warmth no bulk are easy to care for pack small and can be worn as a Base layer to remove sweat from your body even in hot climate without getting smelly like man made stuff - as well as making very warm sleeping clothes, available from several shops but try the Norwegian shop in Keswick, Cumbria
( www.norwegianstore.com ) about £ 50 for full set but worth every penny.
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  #13  
Old 30 Dec 2006
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Chris. I'd guess no one wants to say that they think your bag's not up to it but based on what you're planning to do that would be my opinion.
I've always chosen my bag based on the coldest conditions I'm likely to encounter and used it thus:
Hot - use cotton liner as sheet
Warm - use unzipped bag as throwover
Cold conditions - full bag

Your system would seem to be:
Hot - cotton or other liner
Warm - use bag
Cold - use bag plus help such as clothes.

There's nothing wrong with that but I personally don't like sleeping in my clothes and tend to overspec my sleeping bag so I don't have to. I also don't like using a liner inside the bag as I tend to twist the liner and the bag in opposite directions in the night and strangle myself. Others obviously differ.

Temp range is trickey but on my last trip the coldest night I encountered (apart from on the train) was about -1C / -2C (ice on the bike seat next morning) in the north. South of the Sahara cold was not an issue but you have to get there first.
Like you I've used Thermarest inflatable mats and most of the time found them pretty good - until you get a puncture. Last time that happened, it was a seam that leaked, the repair kit didn't work and I spent quite a few miserable nights with the cold from the ground seeping upwards. The older foam mats don't leak but they're nothing like as comfortable and bulky to pack.
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  #14  
Old 30 Dec 2006
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Thanks again... Would anybody like to buy a brand new sleeping bag?
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  #15  
Old 30 Dec 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond
Like you I've used Thermarest inflatable mats and most of the time found them pretty good - until you get a puncture. Last time that happened, it was a seam that leaked, the repair kit didn't work and I spent quite a few miserable nights with the cold from the ground seeping upwards. The older foam mats don't leak but they're nothing like as comfortable and bulky to pack.
Good post!

Addendum - I've tossed all my Thermarests and replaced with Exped - air mattress with down fill. Awesome. Warm, packs small, fairly expensive but worth every penny for a great nights sleep - best I've ever used in 40-too-many-years.

Search the HUBB on

Exped Mattress

for another comment on them.
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