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Thread: Sleeping bag ratings question.

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Default Sleeping bag ratings question.

    I have a "big boy" over sized bag from Coleman rated to 0.

    I have a second bag rated to +15.

    If I put the 15 rated bag inside the zero bag when do I start feeling cold?

    I have used this combination down to +20 and been very comfortable but never down to the magic zero number. Doubt that I ever will but it would be nice to know.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    As you know, a 0 bag will keep you alive, not comfortable at 0. I would think that with both bags you would be comfortable down to 0.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Add a O to value for +15 =-15 right?
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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    The two bags together I suppose would be able to be ok at -15
    But i think the theory is you having layers in which more heat is trapped, as well as Air pocket between the two layers which will also heat up.
    I have only been lucky enough to sleep outside at the coldest -5 degrees Celsius with an extra windchill factor making it around -10 to -15 degrees c
    in a bag rated at 0 degrees Celsius, plus a small travel bag inner, and thermals clothing, and a bivy bag underneath, and a fire made it Okishly Bearable.
    Last edited by Antonyraison; 07-24-2017 at 03:10 AM.
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    We rate them at Fahrenheit here in the states.
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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete lynch View Post
    We rate them at Fahrenheit here in the states.
    I Get that. Hence I specifically SAID Celsius
    Quote Originally Posted by Antonyraison View Post
    I have only been lucky enough to sleep outside at the coldest -5 degrees Celsius with an extra windchill factor making it around -10 to -15 degrees c
    Southern Africa, in winter is not very cold in comparison.
    I am very used to converting inch,feet, lbs, and Fahrenheit into something more useful for me to understand though.

    I am just supplying with what I have experienced, I have not experienced anything colder than those few Nights spent out in Rhodes, Eastern Cape.. near our likely only ski resort in the entire continent.
    The other Very cold nights I recently spent out was a week in Magobaskloof near tzeen a month ago, (had no sleeping bag, and a natural shelter) the weather would drop down to about 0 to -2 degrees C.

    So Yeah that is the experiences I have in umm well in Our terms damn cold.
    In summer it is easy to get 40 degrees Celcius in the shade.
    Last edited by Antonyraison; 07-24-2017 at 06:04 AM.
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    When you get to -15,-20 it starts making little difference, the numbers match at -40.

    Lots of folks do not realize that the official measurement system for the US is metrics, has been since the 1860s. Our society simply refuses to make the change.

    All of the official weights and measures in the Bureau of Standards are metric and converted to the English system, which the English no longer use.

    At one time the excuse was that it would be too expensive to recalibrate all the machinery, especially the millions of gas pumps, but that excuse is long past in our digital age. Most of our technical stuff is already in metrics, or could be converted with the press of that computer button that changes English to metric by itself.

    Same with temperature. All you have to do is look at the other side of the thermometer or flip the switch from F to C.
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    Wait... hold on a second. You put both bags together, and were comfortable at +20? Either you have the blood flow of a woman...or the bags aren't really rated to those temps. The one 0F bag should have been plenty comfortable.

    Anyways, to answer your question.... it isn't that easy. First of all, unless the bag has an EN rating, it is hard to tell what the real rating is, and what the rating even means. The EN system was developed because there was no standard before. Of course, US bag manufacturers don't have to follow the EN rating system, and many don’t. The high end bags are starting to use the rating, because that is what the customer base of high end bags want. If the manufacturer doesn’t use the EN system, then the rating they give can mean a lot of things. It could mean that you won’t freeze at that temperature (but will still be cold). It could mean that you will be comfortable. Of course, they could have just guessed and never tested it either.

    Now, when you layer the bag, the best way to determine the rating is to measure the loft. What you are measuring is the thickness of the total assembly, but only what would be on top of you, if that makes any sense. Here is a link to a loft chart.http://www.zpacks.com/quilts/down_loft.shtml What this chart will tell you is the “at least” low temperature your combination will go to. So, it could go lower, but it will “at least” go to that temp.
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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    I think Mors Kohanski has a chart rated for comfort rated on thickness of material. If memory serves he calls it a clo unit.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Blood flow of a woman...yuck, yuck. You may live to regret that but I will safely be beyond the range of shrapnel.

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    Ed edr730's Avatar
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    Those bags together will get you down to -20. May or may no need a blanket on top if it's a bit colder.

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Blood flow of a woman...yuck, yuck. You may live to regret that but I will safely be beyond the range of shrapnel.
    Blood flow of a woman? I have been know to take a woman to camp just to keep me warm! But that was in another time. Now I have to use a very good sleeping bag or two.

    I have never been one of those "warm sleepers". As I age it is getting worse. 'Specially bad on the hands and feet where circulation is worse.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Blood flow of a woman? I have been know to take a woman to camp just to keep me warm! But that was in another time. Now I have to use a very good sleeping bag or two.

    I have never been one of those "warm sleepers". As I age it is getting worse. 'Specially bad on the hands and feet where circulation is worse.
    You need a couple of dogs.....Keeps ya warm, sometimes obey, not real picky on what you feed them....and always happy to see you when you have been gone for a while......
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    In colder weather (less than 32 degrees F) anymore I start with the mindset that I can always take it off/unzip it if I get too hot, so I usually (it depends if I am in a primitive camp also) start out with a CLEAN DRY wool union suit, CLEAN DRY wool socks, a long sleeved shirt over the union suit and a wool stocking cap. Sometimes up high in the mountains I will add a pair of wool pants...That is what I climb into bed wearing...also if I am horse camping (that is, I have a mule or horse on a picket rope/high line or tied to a trailer, or in a small temporary corral) I will wear a set of side seam buff moccasins to bed also...my "modern" backpacking bag is a NorthFace Mummy Ex-Large rated to +10 on their web site (it is about 9 years old now) I use a wool flannel sheet inside the bag and lots of times I will cover the bag with a piece of 10 oz canvas, I have tried using a bivy over the bag but I wake up soaking wet or with ice on the bag.. I use a Thermarest pad regardless of wither I am using a cot or sleeping on the ground. Ever since I was proscribed Plavix as "collateral damage" when I got the two stints, I am cold, unreasonably cold, just out of the blue. It sucks. So I start out like it is gonna get 40 below and then before I break a sweat I start peeling layers...But this is really how I start out. I have a couple of the USGI "sleep systems" but I have not really used them much at all. I love my Hudson Bay blankets and my buff robe and really can sleep very warm in very bad weather but DANG are they big and heavy....and they do NOT do wet well......

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    Senior Member Manwithnoname's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Blood flow of a woman? I have been know to take a woman to camp just to keep me warm! But that was in another time. Now I have to use a very good sleeping bag or two.

    I have never been one of those "warm sleepers". As I age it is getting worse. 'Specially bad on the hands and feet where circulation is worse.
    I am exactly opposite. The older I get the colder I need it to sleep. A sheet and fleece blanket keeps me peachy to the 50's. On topic of the bags I've got a light weight fleece rated to 50 I think and another rated to 40. Either one of them in the 50's I end up unzipping cause I get hot. I've been in the heavy one in 40's and same thing, I get hot. I've never tested it but same theory, I've wondered how cold I could go using the fleece one inside the heavy one.

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    Not a Mod finallyME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Blood flow of a woman? I have been know to take a woman to camp just to keep me warm! But that was in another time. Now I have to use a very good sleeping bag or two.

    I have never been one of those "warm sleepers". As I age it is getting worse. 'Specially bad on the hands and feet where circulation is worse.
    Obviously my comment was a fun poke. However, that is something someone needs to consider when they look at whatever rating the bag is. Generally, for the overall population, men sleep warmer than women, and children sleep warmer than adults. And, as KYRS has mentioned, the older you get, the colder you sleep, requiring more insulation.
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    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    I look at this a little differently from what you are talking about. Sleeping bags only accomplish one thing.

    They trap warm air close to the skin. So if the bag is too big for your body size in winter - the rating will be way off. The bag needs to be snug as a bug but not uncomfortable and tight. I think my dad learned this the hard way at 75 years old at the end of August one night at Blue Knob State park. He took two Coleman's and slid one inside the other and promptly froze his keister off! This wasn't just the bags or ratings or whatever. He forgot to isolate himself from the ground. You can have the most expensive highest rated bag and if you are on the ground you will be a "pop"sicle. A close cell foam or self inflating pad is mandatory. If you are a side sleeper or a tosser and turner, your hip cannot touch the ground or you will have cold spots.


    Krackshooter - put your system together pads pillow whatever you are going to take with you and grab a good electronic inside and out digital thermometer. One that records and holds the low and the high (most do) put one sensor inside the bag at the foot box and the other just outside. Sleep without the tent in the backyard on a cold fall/winter night. You can always bail and come back-inside and park next to the log fire. The digital will save the results for the morning.

    remember in a survival situation a huge amount of pine branches will get you off the ground and change the results.


    Also as we get older our red blood cells diminish in number, some may say this is a lack of testosterone. - as my dad is about to pass from cancer he needs a regular monthly infusion of red cells just to stay warm at 70° He is age 81 now.
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    Ed edr730's Avatar
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    wise old owl is right about the cold ground, I like a thick foam rubber in cold temperatures. About 10 pounds of boiled rocks or about the same temperature will keep you warm till morning...or pretty close to morning. I just use a hot water bottle, but the old people talked about soap stones or something on a rope.

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    We have an Aircee queen size 15 degree sleeping bag, and a very good pad. When it is really cold I have a very thick comforter we put over the sleeping bag. With me and 2 girls in there the comforter normally comes off within the first hour, and we stay very comfortable all night. Camped in the Rockies one time and it got down to 20 degrees one night, I never knew it was so cold till I crawled out of the bag. Couldn't believe it was so warm in that sleeping bag.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I don't think it was the bag that was keeping you warm.
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