What is the/your defacto cold weather, high altitude bag?

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What is the/your defacto cold weather, high altitude bag?

by thespiffy » Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:11 pm

I'm curious what everyone uses as their cold weather, high altitude bags.

I'm somewhat new to extended sub-zero exposure and being on the east coast, it's difficult to find people that have the experience at these temperatures, I find myself solo a majority of the time and almost always the only tracks on the mountains. So, I'm winging it a bit.

My 0F "rated" (cough, add 15) synthetic isn't cutting it. 4 of the last 7 weekend outings I've seen temps around 10F at night with -20F wind chill.

Additionally, I'm moving to Colorado around April for the purpose of being closer to "real" mountains. So, I'm trying to make a wise purchase regarding this new bag, something that will serve me well in CO winters and beyond-- Denali as well.

My arm chair climbing has lead me to eye the Ghost SL or Feathered Friends -40 bag w/ EVent.

As always, everyones input is greatly appreciated.



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by ScottyP » Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:47 pm

I am happy with this bag for the price, weight and quality equation.


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by mconnell » Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:58 pm

Personal opinion is that a -40F bag is way overkill for Colorado winters. I have only very rarely seen temps below about -20F and never below -30F. I have a -25F REI bag (which means that it is probably closer to a -15F bag) and have never been very cold.

If you are really set on a -40F bag, you might want to check out the Marmot Cwm. It's a good bag for about $250 less than a FF bag.

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by splattski » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:26 pm

mconnell probably has it right.
I'm in Idaho and rarely need a bag warmer than -5. You can always drape a parka over the bag to add a few degrees.

On the other hand, I got a Marmot Cwm for Denali and was very happy with it, including a couple nights around -20. Never fully zipped it up.

There is a deal on a Ghost here:
http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthr ... Post928803

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by Pivvay » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:29 pm

My cold bag is a -25 western mountaineering. It's more than fine in Colorado for me, even with a single pad. It's light but so bulky that I wouldn't bring it unless I'm expecting temps solidly below zero. Otherwise I make due with a couple other smaller bags.

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by Brad Marshall » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:34 pm

I'm a big fan of Western Mountaineering and use their -40 Bison for very cold weather. You might want to check out their Puma -25 or the Lynx -10.

http://www.westernmountaineering.com/in ... n=Products

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by DukeJH » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:39 pm

+1 for Western Mountaineering. I go to my 0 F Kodiak in the cold and add layers underneath as necessary.

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by nhluhr » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:01 pm

Bag "ratings" are a tricky game. Many manufacturers have begun rating their bags according to the EN13537 standard. REI and Marmot, for example, are doing this. However, not all of REI's bags are rated to this standard. The Kilo Expedition, for instance, came out before they moved to that rating system. Also, a women's bag rated to 0 is going to be significantly warmer/heavier than a men's bag rated to the 0 on the EN system. That is because they rate Men's bags at the "Lower Limit" number while they rate women's bags at the "Comfort" number... whatever... Just know what you're looking at.

Personally, I do love my KiloExpedition but it has a double zipper that can be a bit annoying sometimes. Also, with the second inner zipper zipped up for maximum warmth, it's a bit tighter inside than the specification would suggest.

If you need much warmer than this bag, then you are definitely looking at a "-40" bag from MHW or FF or the the like. Keep in mind, you can always just decide to wear puffys to bed and get away with a lot lighter bag.

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by kiwiw » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:41 pm

Feathered Friends Snowy Owl, for when temp is a balmy -60 degrees!
http://www.featheredfriends.com/Picasso ... egree.html

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by thespiffy » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:25 pm

Gracias! Thanks for all the tips.

As always, you all come through with solid wisdom.

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by bledl » Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:22 am

I use a Mountain Equipment Iceline bag for winter biwaks or higher altitude. It comes with a water reppelent outer material & very good down. Very solid craftmanship from the UK. Good to use down to minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit (not wearing a lot of cloth in it).

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