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Size of backpacking sleeping equipment

Hobbit Helen 27 Jun 2020


I want to get advice or information concerning sleeping matts, sleeping bags, backpacks. My annoyance is am 5ft 3" but all of the above is aimed at people mostly a foot taller than me, it would bet great if I cant find shorter equipment not only for size but for weight aswell. Just wonderingvif anyone can guide me to companies that supply to hobbits. Many thanks x

 marsbar 27 Jun 2020
In reply to Hobbit Helen:

I have a 3/4 length thermarest sleeping mat.  

I suppose you might be able to get a sleeping bag made shorter but I like the extra length so I've never tried.  

It seems you can get quite a few womens sleeping bags now.  

Post edited at 16:43
 Mark Haward 27 Jun 2020
In reply to Hobbit Helen:

As Mars Bar said, 3/4 length Thermarest type mats are great, Thermarest Z Lite can be cut to size / shape.

    For sleeping bags PHD make them to your size / configuration. They are not cheap but I have always found them brilliant.

   Have found that Osprey do backpacks suitable for women / hobbits. Have used them a lot for gold D of E students.

Good luck

 heleno 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Hobbit Helen:

I'm also a Helen and I'm only 5'1. 

On my one and only mountain marathon I found my size a distinct advantage for the overnight camp ‐ my mini sleeping mat felt almost big enough and I could lie full length in a minuscule ultralight tent.

I'd second the recommendation for PhD down products.  However if your budget doesn't run to that, have you considered children's / junior sizes?

In reply to Hobbit Helen:

I'm feeling quite tall amongst the Helens here, at 5.5.

I use women's osprey packs. I have used Macpac in the past, but the quality isnt that good any more. I have a winter women's sleeping bag (unfortunatly also from a now defunct company) and a sea to summit mat (recently reviewed here), a women's model. I'll probably buy a women's bag from sea to summit next time. I also use black diamond womens walking poles. Unfortunately they are mint green, but at least they're not pink. I try and buy women specific gear where possible... hopefully it encourages manufacturers to make more options, and remind them that everyone is not 5 ft 11.

My top tip is to put a stuff sack of clothes in the bottom of the sleeping bag to stop the big cold pocket. Or a hot water bottle, but that doesn't really help the weight issue   

In reply to Hobbit Helen:

Not a Helen, but veteran of small sleeping bag choices for the kids as they grow up I guess!

Are you a warm sleeper? If so something like https://www.rei.com/product/129831/rei-co-op-radiant-20-sleeping-bag-kids would be a good size and unusual to be down at that size, weight and cost. Coupled with an insulated 3/4 length mat that could be quite a good setup at a reasonable price. MEC similarly good for sleeping bags. PHD fabulous but requires a second mortgage (although you do get somewhere to sleep so I suppose that's ok). 

For packs, the usual model is that at 5ft-ish you get a non-adjustable small pack or a big adjustable pack that's cranked down as small as it goes. Again, probably not ideal. Gregory, Arcteryx and Osprey have ranges with swap-in hip belts, which could be handy. One of the bonuses of being smaller is that there's quite often clearance stock long after the Mediums have sold out. Again, unless you can afford Aiguille to make a pack to your requirements, you may be better off looking at some of the North American brands - Rock & Run have the Gregory women's packs in the sale currently, and they are a dependable brand. 

Also, if you follow my kids carefully constructed arguments, you can just get someone else to carry the heavy stuff ;-)

have fun


 Lankyman 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Helen R

> My top tip is to put a stuff sack of clothes in the bottom of the sleeping bag to stop the big cold pocket. Or a hot water bottle, but that doesn't really help the weight issue   

Get a small dog to go in the bottom of your bag. No weight penalty, warm toes and it can even carry it's own food. Winners all round!

 ScraggyGoat 29 Jun 2020
In reply to Hobbit Helen:

Exped do short length mats and sleeping bags, with a wide choice.

Lightwave do shorter sleeping bags

PhD mentioned above do both standard short versions, half bags and made to measure.

They are all at the premiere end of the market.

The next problem will be finding anyone who stocks so you can try out, note PhD are direct to customer only with no retail outlets

Your final choice is to find on ebay, or here second hand on UKC a cheap sleeping bag, hand-wash it and chop it, assuming your sewing skills are ok ish. Down normally degrades most around the head & chest (the bits you would chop off), while the rest of a bag is normally is good nick, so a bag a regular user wouldn't look at, or would assume was worthless due to degradation, might be a bargain for you; particularly if you are also on the slim side.

Post edited at 12:01