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Thread: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

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    Question Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    Hey Gang,

    What's the general consensus around bag temp ratings? Go 20 degrees lower in capability than you expect to encounter? For instance camping with overnight lows in the low 40s upper 30s means a 20 degree bag?

    Thanks !

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    Default Re: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    Before I went to heating my tent, I had two sleeping bags - a 30 or 40 something degree generic bag for everything but the dead of winter and a 0 bag for when I expected to freeze my butt off. For either bag I always used a liner and/or blankets to add more R value as needed. But it needs to be said that everyone's body handles temperatures differently. If you tend to get cold easily, definitely go for the lower rating.
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    Default Re: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    I'm assuming a Buddy heater is a no-no - even with the mesh ceiling and a cracked door flap?

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    Default Re: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jopopsy View Post
    I'm assuming a Buddy heater is a no-no - even with the mesh ceiling and a cracked door flap?
    I'm actually a big fan of the Buddy heaters. A mesh ceiling and a cracked door flap would be plenty of ventilation. It almost goes without saying that having a CO detector is a smart move, but the real safety issue to me are the clearances to the sides, front and top of the heater. I just bought the Mr Heater golf cart heater to use in my smaller tents for just that reason - the clearances are slightly less than the Buddy and Big Buddy.
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    I Have to Get Out...Again James.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    Just keep in mind that the temperature ratings for the bags are relative. My wife is a lot more sensitive to the cold than I am. Also, the ratings are not a measure of comfort. They are designed for survival. In other words, when the temps drop to 0 degrees a 0 degree will keep you alive but you will be freezing cold. So in my mind the lower ratings are better. You can always uncover if you get too warm but if you are too cold there isn't much you can do about it.

    I have used a Buddy heater once. My wife said it helped. I have never slept worse while camping. I kept worrying that the thing was going to catch the tent on fire. I had a CO detector in the tent and nothing bad happened other than in my head.
    I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
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    Default Re: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    Isn't that true for bags that don't comply with the new EN rating standards?

    How sleeping bags are rated: You may notice an “EN tested” tag on many 3-season backpacking sleeping bags. This stands for the European Norm (EN) 13537 testing protocol. The EN rating is internationally accepted as the most objective and dependable standard available, though not all bags use EN testing.
    In EN testing, a bag is assigned two temperature ratings:

    • Comfort rating is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep the average woman or "cold sleeper" comfortable.
    • Lower-limit rating is the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep a man or "warm sleeper" comfortable.

    Everyone's body and sleep comfort is different, so EN ratings are merely a guideline to help you compare products.
    (EN ratings are based on a sleeper wearing one long underwear layer and a hat, and sleeping on a single one-inch thick insulating pad.)

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    MacGyver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by James. View Post
    ...the ratings are not a measure of comfort. They are designed for survival. In other words, when the temps drop to 0 degrees a 0 degree will keep you alive but you will be freezing cold.
    I'll have to disagree with that. I've never seen a "how to choose a sleeping bag" site mention survival in their ratings, it's always warm at such and such a temperature.

    https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-adv...eping-bag.html
    http://featheredfriends.com/choose-sleeping-bag/
    http://www.dummies.com/sports/campin...g-for-camping/
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    I Have to Get Out...Again James.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    I stand corrected. I would swear that I read that somewhere though. LOL, I have been telling people wrong for years.
    I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
    E. B. White

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    Apprentice Geezer Happy Joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jopopsy View Post
    What's the general consensus around bag temp ratings? Go 20 degrees lower in capability than you expect to encounter? For instance camping with overnight lows in the low 40s upper 30s means a 20 degree bag?

    Thanks !
    I tend to agree but always have and often use a liner (like MacG).
    The liner does 2 things; helps keep the bag cleaner (is easier to wash if you pick one that is washable) and it helps during cold snaps. I use either a cheap fleece sleep sack or a military poncho liner.
    For really cold snaps (snow in June/July) I have wrapped a poncho around the outside of the bag (means that the bag must be aired out the next day to get rid of trapped moisture).

    I have yet to find an acceptable tent heater (tried virtually all the Mr. Heater line including several models of buddy heaters; none, so far, are thermostatically controlled and therefor result in too much or too little heat, while using excessive propane.
    The most successful heater I used was a thermostatically controlled blue flame heater but because it was unvented and the thermostat was above the level of the cot it resulted in condensation and shut off when the hot air in the top of the tent was just barely above my, still cold, sleeping level.
    The best of all worlds would be a buddy heater with a low mounted thermostat, IMO...(Mr Heater are you listening?).. the condensation can be solved with ventilation...
    I do a minimum of 16 square inches of low positioned vent with a matching 16 square inches of high positioned vent. and only run a heater to temporarily heat the tent to enter and leave the sleeping bag... for this; gelled alcohol fake fireplace fuel works, was given a case for free...only light where it won't cause fire or melt a hole in the tent floor (I use a terra cotta flowerpot dish)... or a, barely adequate, at altitude (9,000 feet and above) alcohol fireplace; both/either are positioned safely far from the tent side and wall art, yet where they will not be kicked/knocked over or fallen upon, to prevent fire.
    I wore out a cheap 4-5000 btu canned propane heater preheating the tent, and never found another that worked as well.

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by Happy Joe; 07-31-2017 at 07:00 AM.
    2006 Jeep Rubicon; 4.11 gears, 31" tires, 4:1 transfer case, lockers in both axles
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    Tents work best for me, so far.
    Experience along with properly set up 4WD will get you to & through places (on existing, approved 4WD trails) that 4WD, alone, can't get to.

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    Default Re: Sleeping bag temperature recommendation

    FWIW I'm going to use the Buddy Heater in my screen shelter while we're awake. I don't want to risk any accidents or worse sleeping w/ one in the tent.

    So for my bag situation we have LL Bean 40 degree bags; I also have very thin fleece bags that I can throw into the Bean bags if it gets chilly. If I know I'm going out when its going to dip in the low 40s upper 30s I'll take the 20 degree bags. Sound like a plan?

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