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Camping Equipment and all Clothing Tents, sleeping bags, stoves etc. Riding clothing, boots, helmets, what to wear when not riding, etc.
Photo by James Duncan, Universe Camp, Uyuni Salt Flats

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by James Duncan,
"Universe Camp"
Uyuni Salt Flats




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  #16  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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The sleeping bag has to be part of a system. I use:

Bubble wrap under tent
Picnic blanket on tent floor
Canvas bed
Thermarest
Ex-British Army arctic spec bag
cheap cotton liner
clean pyjamas, socks and hat.

I can be too warm at minus fifteen using kit that cost under £150 on e-bay. This IMHO is one of the occasions military surplus actually works. You have to remember though that the squadies are expected to cut down branches, break into buildings, dig holes and other activities related to shelter that a civilian traveller would only get away with in a real emergency.

I compare this to my first £150, minus 35 rated commercial bag that was freezing at minus two.

Andy
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  #17  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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Really interested pointers so far, and I must say that the Alpkit looks very interesting.

I also looked at Helsport and they, too, look appealing, but the price differnce is over double, and I don't think I can justify that leap in expense. As for the sundry items that go into camping, realisticall I do not want to add to the list of items.

So I'm looking for that bag that will keep me warmin - tmps using the tent footprint, the tent, my therma-rest, my bag and my poncho (although the poncho may serve best under the bag...by the sounds of it).

If this format needs to be doubled for my other half, then we simply don't have room for all that stuff. A bag upgrade is all I really want to do, and possible upgrade to a thicker, longer thermarest type... but no more.
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  #18  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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Hi, with a down bag the bottom of the bag will be packed flat giving next to no insulation from heat loss downwards due to transmission. The answer is a closed cell mat under the self inflating mat. Also Alpkit bags are generously wide for tapered bags-not full-on mummy bags. But down needs to be well aired each day to avoid becoming less effective. Linzi.
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  #19  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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Down

Down gives much better size/weight/warmness ratio. However I personally don't buy down bags as in my view down is basically like furs, raised to harvest. Do you like fur coats? I bet many people who are against furs have never thought about down that way.
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  #20  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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Linzi's point about eating is a very good one. We need food to keep us warm as (as Linzi says) sleeping bags only insulate, not heat. Keep a bag of peanut M&Ms or similar next to you to snack on during the night if you get cold. Woolly hat is a good idea too.

Another option is whisky! Actually, consuming alcohol lowers the blood temperature slightly and so should not be taken if there is a real risk of hypothermia. However, in most circumstances it's fine. I always take a hip-flask camping and find a big dram before bed helps me nod off much easier!

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  #21  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by Rebaseonu View Post
Down gives much better size/weight/warmness ratio. However I personally don't buy down bags as in my view down is basically like furs, raised to harvest. Do you like fur coats? I bet many people who are against furs have never thought about down that way.
I did read a bit about that on the Alpkit website offered earlier. They seem to be trying to offer a more ethically sound down source. I don't support fur, but have no problem with leather, sheepskin, rabbit skin, given that the carcass is also eaten.

I do not know if they birds are eaten but if not, seems a ridiculous waste and more off putting. I also find the thought of live-plucking very unpleasant and distasteful.

Alpkit are loooking into their sources and reporting back (this kind of transparency from a firm is very commendable and definitley instills trust and respect from my point of view: I bet the big brands don't go to that trouble!!).
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  #22  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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On the other hand we raise every kind of animals just to eat them or get produce, so basically this down raising is not technically much different, because we can say we need down to survive and that from some aspects is probably true.
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  #23  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by Rebaseonu View Post
.....because we can say we need down to survive and that from some aspects is probably true.
100 years ago, I would say yes, this is true, but back then no animal was killed yet not eaten...

Personally, I love the idea of a nice warm down bag, but the thought 20 geese suffereing horribly to fill makes me feel uncomfortable.

If I find an ethical supplier, then fine, otherwise, I may go with synthetic and life with less insulation. It would still be an improvement on my existing 3 season bag... I may investigate this with Alpkit and Helsport...
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  #24  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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I also find the thought of live-plucking very unpleasant and distasteful.
I didnt know they did that - I don't use down but I certainly never will after reading that.
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  #25  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by Caminando View Post
I didnt know they did that - I don't use down but I certainly never will after reading that.
I understand that the majority of down producers employ this method, unfortunately.
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  #26  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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I remember reading somewhere that they do that several times, birds grow new feathers and they are plucked again. Also, very highly rated are feathers from young birds.

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  #27  
Old 22 Mar 2009
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The best down is eider down which is removed from used nests, the birds themselves pluck the down to line the nests for their young. Around here geese are plucked after being killed for meat usually in the late autumn, mostly because by then the supply of grass ( their main food) is diminishing. I have no idea what other systems do to obtain down... but it would be very expensive to hand pluck, and you can only machine pluck dead birds, as the process would probably kill them anyway.

I use a sheepskin as an under blanket as I have a camp bed which allows air to circulate under it and that can be cold. I sit on the sheepskin when I am riding, even though it does raise me even higher.
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  #28  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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I have a Cumulus Mysterious Traveller. It's 1250g, Polish down, waterproof Pertex cover, and rated to -16. It was about £170.

SLEEPING BAGS - Cumulus down sleeping bags - Technical Summary : very warm, very light
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  #29  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warthog View Post

Preferences:
  1. Have right and left zip options for zipping bags together
  2. Preferably synthetic in case it gets wet on the bike.
  3. A decent "-" temp comfort rating
  4. Pack relatively small for biking around (relative to other similar bags, not to a 2 season!)
  5. Decent price: I cannot afford to shell out £100s of notes. Range between £150 and 200 (€160-220)
Suggestions?
1. We use (since 1991) a pair of down bags that aren't full mummy, but partial or barrel. They zip at the side as usual when used alone, but when opened out, instead of zipping side by side, one goes on top and the other on the bottom. To make it very slick, one is really warm and thick, the other is much lighter - so depending on temperature, thin up or thick up! Works a treat!

2. Down not synthetic, as noted by several others.

3. Temp rating is VERY relative - we're a good example - I sleep very cold, Susan very warm. At home I'll have a sheet and a fleece blanket and a down quilt, and Susan will have the fleece and sheet, but not use the down quilt at all! Better too warm than cold, but you can always use a fleece liner if you know it's going to be a cold weather trip. We always use a silk double liner to keep the bags clean so they need much less washing.

4. Down is SO much smaller for the same warmth - also down has a wider "temperature range" than synthetic - in other words, still comfortable warmer and cooler than synthetic.

5. You get what you pay for, and a down bag will outlast several synthetic bags. Get really high quality, high loft down, minimum fill power of 600 and it's amazing stuff.
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  #30  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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Grant makes good points regarding down. I've always had synth but that's because down is too expensive for the temp ranges I need. The Helsport I mention earlier in this thread is rather compact for being a high-spec synth sleeping bag, though. I've used it for winter camping in Norway with zero complaints. It cost me something in the area of 200-230 euros, but that's in Norway. I'm sure it'll be half the price in the UK or elsewhere.
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