Canadian Canoe Routes

Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)
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Author:  KaptainKurt [ March 14th, 2020, 9:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

Hello everyone!

This is my first post. I feel like I have completed the proper amount of lurking for the forum. I think I have the basic understanding but I'm still working on how to yield the best results when searching the forum etc. I have some of my own insights I would like to share on some subjects too. Also, some of the information I am looking for, while covered in some areas of the forum seem dated (10 years or so).

Here's some context to my situation. I went on my first solo trip May 2019 in HHWT for 6 nights. I had planned a trip in Algonquin but... ice out happens. This year as I was planning a spring trip out loud, my wife started including herself in the plans. The previous year she thought I was nuts as she has strong opinions about being warm. This is partly my fault as we had stretched some summer sleeping bags for a September Algonquin trip which didn't keep her warm enough. Since that time however, she has increasingly felt the pull for the wild and the healing effect (affect?) of a trip in the backcountry. We have upped our adventurous spirit this winter by getting into winter camping with a hot tent. This activity lead us to purchasing new -18c synthetic sleeping bags. It also helped me to realize there is a TON of: sleeping systems, ideas, conditions, philosophies, technologies, considerations, on and on and on...

We're looking for some new sleeping bags for spring/fall canoe tripping. I felt this would be the best place to ask for advice. Here's some information for your consideration:

1) Ideally we would like down bags. Both for the size and weight factors. I have compared modern synthetics and I'm more inclined to down for the above reasons. We pack all of our sleeping stuff in a dry bag so getting the down wet is of minimal concern. I think I'd rather not use a liner. I don't like the idea of another expensive add on after making a purchase. A good argument may sway me otherwise.

2) Most spring/fall trips right now would be 3-7 days in Algonquin, HHWT, Killarney, Massasauga, KHPP etc. in the realm of May/September/October temperatures with the possibility of some solo trips myself in April.

3) We have insulated NEMO air pads with a -4c to -9c temperature rating. We've used these winter camping but not yet on a canoe trip. Just regular air mats previously.

4) We have merino wool and synthetic base layers.

5) Not sure if this matters but we will both be turning 32 this year.

6) I'm value driven. This is not the area to cheap out. No point in breaking the bank either. I lean towards previous years models as I don't see a massive value add in models on a year to year basis in relation to the price point.

Additional thoughts:

My wife was initially wanting a -7c or -9c sleeping bag she's paranoid about being cold at night. From discussing with some outdoor store staff we were cautioned that sleeping hot can cause you to sweat which later can cause you to feel cold. Good point. As the weather warms, the bag will be of less usefulness in this way. Also my thought is by getting closer to the 0c mark in a sleeping bag we might be able to extend the usage of these new bags closer toward the summer weeks and get the maximum usage out of them. The concern there is being too cold in the shoulder season. I understand that we won't find a bag that will work from April-October. The going advice seems to be to add a few degrees from the "EN comfort rating"

Does anyone have experience in this area? Any suggestions? Thoughts? What's your setup? My current inclination is a Marmot Radium for myself and a Marmot Angel Fire for my wife. We've also looked into some Mountain Hardware options and with less enthusiasm some MEC brand bags.

TLDR: looking for suggestions for his and hers down sleeping bags for Spring/Fall canoe trips.

I apologize for the long post. I just felt the need for context since no one here knows anything about me. If anyone wants, PM me with ways I could improve my post or improve my posting etiquette.



Author:  scratchypants [ March 15th, 2020, 6:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

When my wife joins me we switch to a double set-up: Klymit Double V and North Face Dolomite Double. It ends up packing smaller than our single gear (although there may be better, single gear that packs even smaller). We've woken up to frost and have been fine wearing merino base layers.

Author:  Sam82 [ March 15th, 2020, 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

Check out They offer beautiful custom made quilts. Undergroundquilts is another fabulous company to deal with.

Author:  jedi jeffi [ March 15th, 2020, 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

There are lots of things you can do.
Shoulder season is very unpredictable.
As you have learned wrong choice and too cold or too hot.
I have been out in - 10 c and plus 20 all in the same week.
Insulated undermats are worth their weight in gold and key into keeping you warm.
I prefer layers.
A good insert can add up 5c to your bag and don't take a lot of space.
I also carry a canvas bivey cover from a surplus store. On cold damp windy nights they keep the wind off your bag and still breathe.
Also a dedicated sleep only warm socks, hats and jammies.
Finding one thing that works in such variable conditons in shoulder season it is tough to find one thing that is perfect.
And people like equipment are a litte "variable" too :D

Author:  Chuck Enwinde [ March 17th, 2020, 2:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

Two things I bring along outside of summer camping are a down vest and a down throw. Their weight and packability amount to cheap insurance against being cold.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ March 17th, 2020, 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

jedi jeffi wrote:
Shoulder season is very unpredictable.
I have been out in - 10 c and plus 20 all in the same week.
A good insert can add up 5c to your bag and don't take a lot of space.

I was out on a trip a few years ago and started out for first night sleeping kinda sweaty under mico-fiber sheet. Then a blanket, then a 30/50F “flip bag” and a week later ended up using a 0F bag draped over me like a quilt. All while in camped in the same place. Fortunately I was truck camping, and had brought sheet, blanket and two different sleeping bags.

A good inset can be a godsend.

The “flip” bags are made with different loft on each side. Mountain Hardware has (or had) a couple “flip” bags, a 30/50 down flip, a 30/50 synthetic version and a 25/40 version.

One caveat with a flip bag, for obvious reasons they are not a good solution if you prefer using the bag simply draped over you like a quilt.

Author:  KaptainKurt [ March 17th, 2020, 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

jedi jeffi wrote:
There are lots of things you can do.
I prefer layers.
A good insert can add up 5c to your bag and don't take a lot of space.

As in layering clothes? Do you have insert recommendations?

Author:  jedi jeffi [ March 17th, 2020, 11:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

You can get a fleece insert which gives you a layer
Others have mentioned Quits of throws.
If people are on the frugal side you can make one out of a flannel blanket.
I prefer the fleece they dry fast, either from sweat or very damp wet days.
I am in the process of sewing to Eddie Bauer throws together to make a much warmer insert.
It will also double as a very light summer bag.
Just as a blanket on top of you in the sleeping bag they add a great amount of extra heat.
Trouble is they are as slippery as :o
So they slide out of position.
biggest bonus 2 rolled together rolls smaller than the fleece insert and much lighter.
I got mine at costco much cheaper than this ... NrPXRydWU=
I still carry the dedicated hat,socks and warm jammies just in case.


Author:  Mike McCrea [ March 17th, 2020, 2:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

Do any of the commercial sleeping bag manufacturers still make “modular” sleeping bag systems?

The military has a 3 (I think?) piece modular sleeping bag system, an outer bag rated at 30F, an inner liner that takes it down below zero and an outer cover for even lower temperatures

Probably more than needed for shoulder season tripping, but a modular bag system that ranged from 50F to the teens or twenties would be one-bag handy.

Author:  smithy97 [ March 17th, 2020, 11:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

For shoulder seasons I use a Marmot Nanowave 25 (-4 C) synthetic bag and a Sea to Summit Reactor Extreme fleece liner. This is such a versatile setup. You can use both together, or each separate. I know you mentioned you weren't a fan of liners but I suggest trying this one out. It adds a decent amount of warmth and also is much easier to wash instead of washing your sleeping bag. If there's a warmer night you can just use the sleeping bag. If there's a really really warm night, you can just use the liner.
Both of these can be found for great deals (the sleeping bag is on for $90) and the liner is normally $90 but can be found on sale for less. So for less than $200 you have a very versatile setup that works for a range of temperatures. Both the sleeping bag and the liner pack down very small and are lightweight.
Can't recommend this setup enough honestly.

Author:  jbrave [ March 19th, 2020, 10:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

I have a bunch of Mountain Hardwear down bags. Sometimes you can find them for a great price out of season, full-price they are expensive. In very cold weather, the reason for going synthetic is that your body heat creates moisture in your bag and by morning it can be quite damp, also your breath will condense around the bag opening. However I think that only happens at very cold temperatures. If you are thinking the coldest you would be out is roughly around 0, I would get a -9 bag, that way you can deal with a little variation, being cold is really crummy for sleeping and that -9 is more like a -4.

Author:  Neil Fitzpatrick [ March 22nd, 2020, 10:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

Anyone use Taiga sleeping bags?

I'm looking for a barrel bag with a small packed volume and there aren't many options. Taiga sells one for much less than any other comparable 850/900 fill goose down bags. $250-$280 CAD for a Taiga vs $470 plus for other 850/900 fill goose down bags.

Author:  Sam82 [ March 23rd, 2020, 10:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

There are a number of options in the States. Check out for vendors.

Author:  Neil Fitzpatrick [ March 23rd, 2020, 7:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

I made a decent attempt at but it seems I would need to spend a lot of time to sift through the info.

Still curious about Taiga. Very reasonable prices and Canadian made.

Author:  smokey [ March 24th, 2020, 10:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sleeping bag recommendations? (Spring/Fall)

Hey Neil, I’ve been using Taiga bags for awhile now. Bought a Scheherazade bag for my wife in 2002, one for myself in 2004 and a now discontinued bag similar to the duck down barrel bag (except it was goose down and rated to 0C. The 2 Scheherazade bags are rated to -9C. The bags all have seen approx 20-30 nights use per year are well made and all still in great great shape, no thread pulls, zipper problems etc. I feel the temp ratings are as stated as my wife sleeps cold and has taken her bag down to the minuses and stayed warm. I sleep warm and have taken the bags past the stated limits by a few degrees over the years with no discomfort. I bought them when we lived in Ontario without ever seeing or knowing anyone who used them and I’ve been more than satisfied with both the companies service and product. Price was right and bags performed as stated. HTH.

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