Sleeping bags and pads...


ou will be sleeping in your sleeping bag every night, a mummy bag is the warmest and lightest and what I recommend. A thermarest, is necessary (NEO AIR). A full length is the most comfortable, but a ¾ length will also work. For sleeping at night, you want a headband or stocking cap to sleep in. Sleeping in a set of long underwear will keep your bag cleaner and it will be easier to face the morning cold. For a pillow, I generally put my Down jacket in my stuff sack or a pillowcase.

Synthetic vs. Down -- if you won’t be using a sleeping bag very often and/or are worried about getting it wet, then buy a synthetic. One of the most popular synthetic fills is Polar guard 3D -- Mountain Hardware, Sierra Designs, North Face, Go Lite, Marmot & Moonstone make good bags. Prima loft and Lite loft are also good. Snug Pacs by Gun Accessories and Lamalite by Wiggy’s are two other synthetics to consider. A decent synthetic will cost $150-300 dollars.

If you use your bag a lot and want the best, buy a Dry loft Down Bag with 700 - 800 fill quality down. They will cost around $400-500 but will last much longer. The best down bags are the Western Mountaineering Kodiak, Apache & Antelope Super Dry loft. North Face, Feathered Friends, Mountain Hardware & Marmot make some excellent down bags also.

A 15-25 degree type bag will work well for August and early September. In later September a bag rated somewhere between -- 10 to 15 degrees would work. If you want one bag for all seasons, get a bag in the -- 5 to 10 degree range. A lightweight, summer/early Fall Synthetic Mummy bag will weigh 3-4 lbs. A heavier, late fall, bag will weigh 4-6 lbs.; down is generally ½-1½ lbs. Lighter than a synthetic of the same temperature rating.

If you use your bag a lot, purchase a silk liner and you won’t need to wash your bag as often. To care for your sleeping bag when at home, leave it in a loose bag (many of the good bags come with one) or hang it in your closet.

Keeping one in a stuff sack breaks down the loft. But on the hunt it is mandatory, you don’t want your sleeping bag to fill your whole pack. You will need a waterproof stuff/compression sack for your hunt. OR (Outdoor Research) makes one called the Hydro seal that is excellent (this is what I use). Granite Gear and Integral Designs also make great compression sacks (recommended to keep bulk down). If you’re worried about getting your bag wet, you can line the stuff sack with a plastic garbage bag before stuffing. The “OR” stuff sac I use is water proof.