/ Super Warm Sleeping Bag
I am in the market for a new bag, and would prefer to buy something that would be comfortable at extreme cold and altitude.
I currently have a decent sleeping bag, that is fine up to minus 10, with a liner, but would prefer something much warmer, for Denali and other dreams.
Try phd mountain softwear
A key feature of a very warm sleeping bag is that it should be cut wide enough that you can wear your puffy clothing inside the bag. Make sure it's got a generous fit that will accommodate your clothing.
Buy a second -10 bag and use both together.
I use 2 x -5 rated bags to -20ish all winter and it works really well.
Personally I have a Rab, Ladak 800 (extra long with a cotton linning)
It cost me £210 about 24 years ago.
I have only been cold in it once, which was when I was staying in a Bothy in Scotland over new years about 20 years ago.
I seem to remember that it was suppose to be good for about -12 (ish)
I think the equiverlent sleeping back would be the Rab Acent 700 or 900
The zip is damage at it's bottom (it has had a temp repair which is doing for now) and Rab are happy to do repairs on there old equipment. In my opinion Rab has a great pedigree, great reputation and makes good sleeping bags.
If I was looking to buy a new down bag I would buy another Rab
I'm amazed that you can get a -40 degree bag at just over 2kg.
2 bags are cheaper, more flexible, and less ice in your down after a few sub-zero days and nights.
Good ground isolation and 2 bags (a 15-years-old mountain equipment dreamcatcher 750 and a cheap decathlon bag) sleep me comfortably at -30 C.
Another vote for using 2 bags. I've used it several times when you need some down warmth/weight power, but need the outer robustness of a synthetic bag. Or just ourely when it's cold and I want the extra warmth.
This article by Andy Kirkpatrick discusses the matter in detail:
Do you actually have plans to do Denali or is it something you might like to do one day?
I would wait until you are going before you buy the bag and in the mean time continue using your current bag which should be warm enough for all UK use.
For Denali I would get a bag with 1000 to 1200gs of high quality goose down. In my view you don't need more than that unless you are planning on spending a lot of time at 17k Camp, which I wouldn't reccomend as it is grim as.
When looking for a bag ignore the temperature rating. Instead consider only bags that use top quality goose down (EU 700 fill and above) and the fill weight of the down. Also consider if you sleep warm or sleep cold.
For example if I was looking for a bag for summer alpine bivis I would look for one with a fill of 300g, but if I was a cold sleeper I would go for a 400g fill.
There are plenty of good bags on the market. The new range from ME looks superb and would be the first place I'd look if I was after a new bag.
Thank you for all the great advice.
I am doing Elbrus in July, and hopefully Aconcagua in December. Then Denali next Summer. So, I have to get a new bag, and thought I may as well get a good one while I am at it.
I will definitely look at all the suggestions.
The two-bag concept can work well, but be careful with the sizing. You don't want the outer bag so tight it compresses the inside bag and stops it lofting. Given most sleeping bags are not designed to be used this way you will have to shop around and have a good look at the cut of each bag.
It has also often been used traditionally not necessarily for economy or efficiency but in places where there are moisture issues in addition to cold issues - your peaks are not in that category. North Pole trips, Patagonia in winter etc. A synthetic outer bag is more resistant to external moisture and protects the inside down bag, but you need to watch sweating and condensation issues, so these combos are often used with an additional vapour barrier liner (VBL) between you and the inner bag.
Remember that most camps on these mountains are not that cold, maybe only -5C to -10C but it's those couple nights at high camp that can be -30C. I agree with Tom that 17K on Denali WB is a grim place, but it sounds like you will be camping there and in such places you're normally grateful for the best bag you can afford, ditto Vinson etc. Aconcagua can also get surprisingly cold at 6000m.
PHD are good, but expensive, and personally I find their cost hard to justify. Nowadays I think Mountain Equipment bags are better than Rab bags, but that's just a personal opinion and I have a good *old* Rab bag. If you're ever in the US, Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends make excellent bags. I've used the top FF bag down to around -45C a few times. It is bulky though. FF can also make adjustments and custom work for you. PHD can do some things for you too, and could advise on double systems. Some of this size issue will depend on *your* size too.
The good thing about top quality sleeping bags is that if you look after them they really do last a long time. All my big bags are at least 10 years old and still good to use.
Not suitable for your objectives but a possible literal answer to your question.
I used a Rab Expedition 1200 on Denali in 2010 and had no problems at all with it. It was incredibly warm and the pertex outer was great for keeping frost or condensation (depending what time we got up!!) at bay.
The bag was sized quite generously which meant that not only could you store inside everything you didn't want to freeze, but it also enabled you to get dressed inside your bag before stepping out into sub zero conditions.
I'd previously used a ME Snowline on Aconcagua (which was great) but decided I needed something warmer for Denali.
would be interesting to see how these two would compare in the field
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