Questions RE: Lightweight/Low Volume Bag Setup for Climbing

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Questions RE: Lightweight/Low Volume Bag Setup for Climbing

by PellucidWombat » Thu May 31, 2012 10:20 pm

OK, to start, I already have a plenty fine setup of a synthetic bag & puffy, so let's not get into the down/synthetic debate here. However, I've come to see the light and am looking at getting a down setup for the niche use of 2-4 day fair weather climbs in the Spring-Fall season to keep my pack smaller. I also have some alpine trad climbing plans that require carryovers, so naturally weight is also a consideration here.


1. I'm wondering what some climbers here recommend for a light, small compressed size down setup for say, 0 to 20 degrees, though most especially in the 20 degree range. I tend to stay warm when climbing but get very cold when sleeping, so it is worth losing a bit of the weight/bulk advantage to being comfortably warm in the high 20s at night.

I'm especially looking at Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering bags, although I don't mind trying to be cheap so long as the bag stays reliably warm, compact & light, though the durability and waterproof features are less important to me.


2. I'm also being tempted with the idea of getting a half bag and supplementing it with a warm down jacket, which can add some versatility to the system, although it might not be as comfy. Anyone have opinions/suggestions about this setup vs. a full length down bag and me optionally bringing my current synthetic puffy?

Specifically the system I'm thinking of here is the Brooke's Range Elephant Foot bag combined with the Brooke's Range Alpini Mountain Anorak Hoody

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Re: Questions RE: Lightweight/Low Volume Bag Setup for Climb

by MoapaPk » Thu May 31, 2012 11:55 pm

My experience is that the down jacket has to be really good to keep your shoulders and arms warm with a elephant sock. The loft of the jacket should be comparable to the sock, which is just about never the case. If that's the kind of puffy that you roll with, great.

Even cheap sub-kilo bag (like the ones made by REI, ... pecial-buy) are usually fairly good. I've used said bag around 20F, stuffing my warm down clothes inside the bag, on top of me. Such bags compress to really small bundles.

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Re: Questions RE: Lightweight/Low Volume Bag Setup for Climb

by ExcitableBoy » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:13 am

WM and FF are worth the cost. MY WM Apache Super Dryloft (+15) 2lbs, 4 oz has served me well for 15 years, stuffs down small enough use use with a 28 liter bag with a full alpine rock kit (rock shoes, 2 60 meter ropes, rock shoes, the whole kit and caboodle) in the summer. It is warm enough to have used it on multiple winter ascents of Rainier, Ruth Gorge the first 2 weeks of May and Hunter the first 2 weeks of June. FF makes similar bags. Down bags are one of the items that are worth the expense. The good ones are genuinely better than the cheaper ones and with proper care will last for many years.

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