Winter Sleeping Bags

Messages
385
Name
James
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
Morning all,

First off I'm not sure if this fits here so I apologise in advance if it doesn't.

I'd like to do some camping this year in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountain ranges. I'd like to be able to do this on freezing cold nights (snow / icy nights) and am well aware that my current sleeping bag wouldn't do.

What sleeping bags are you using and what would you recommend? My current bag is a 2 season Vango with a comfort rating of 6c I think (I'll check when I'm home).

Budget wise, upto a £100 would be comfortable but if needs be I can go a bit over.

James
 
Messages
2,324
Name
Allen
Edit My Images
Yes
#2
Morning all,

First off I'm not sure if this fits here so I apologise in advance if it doesn't.

I'd like to do some camping this year in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountain ranges. I'd like to be able to do this on freezing cold nights (snow / icy nights) and am well aware that my current sleeping bag wouldn't do.

What sleeping bags are you using and what would you recommend? My current bag is a 2 season Vango with a comfort rating of 6c I think (I'll check when I'm home).

Budget wise, upto a £100 would be comfortable but if needs be I can go a bit over.

James

I admire you enthusiasm :eek: Me I would do B&B
 
OP
OP
vtrjames
Messages
385
Name
James
Edit My Images
Yes
#3
I admire you enthusiasm :eek: Me I would do B&B
It's something I've been meaning to do for a long time. I've thought of 'camping' in the back of the car but it wouldn't put me where I'd need to be for dawn. Similarly, the thought of crystal clear skies really makes me want to pack up the bag and head into / onto the mountains for a spot of astro photography; the other half isn't too keen mind :)

James
 
Messages
3,068
Name
droj
Edit My Images
No
#4
A decent new bag is going to knock the socks off a £100 budget! Maybe think used? Even then ....

I have a Macpac Neve ('3-season, -5deg') that's pretty good but I haven't used it in winter. However it has a handy design feature in having no fill under the body (where it would compress and not do very much), but a sleeve for a thermal mat instead. And you will need a thermal mat!
 
OP
OP
vtrjames
Messages
385
Name
James
Edit My Images
Yes
#6
Thanks Gents, I didn't realise £100 was on the low side.

I've got a Thermarest mattress so I'm covered on that side of things. My tent is Vango tunnel tent (can't remember the actual model off the top of my head) and has stood up to some serious wind and rain.

James

Edit
Vango Tempest
 
Last edited:
Messages
6,193
Name
Graham
Edit My Images
No
#7
As others have said, you may need to up the budget or do some very serious bargain hunting. Good down winter bags probably start at £300 ish but they tend to be quite heavy. More expensive again gives a better warmth to weight ratio.

That said I use a down sleeping bag rated to about 5 deg C and get by in winter but it means sleeping in a down jacket and insulated trousers, hat etc. Even then it’s borderline. Intend to replace it this year but I’m assuming it’s going to cost £’s...

Have a look on the ultralight gear site. There are good filters for searching gear including warmth rating.
 

Asha

Blithering Idiot
Messages
7,856
Edit My Images
No
#8
Perhaps take a look at this item number on our favourite auction site: 331999107855

It's no good if you're going to be backpacking as it is very bulky and quite heavy, however it is warm.

Wether it will deal with the temperatures that you're considering being in I don't know, however I've used it down to about 6 degrees and have been snug as a bug.

I'm only small but there is loads of room inside it so even for a fair sized person, it would be ideal.

I've tried a number of different sleeping bags throughout the years, some rather expensive ones and tbh they haven't really come upto expectations…..somewhat frustrating when one has forked out a fair amount!

Initially the price of this bag made me have second thoughts as I pretty much convinced myself that at such a small price it HAD to be carp.
Asit is that isn't the case.
Obviously there a re warmer, smaller, lighter, better quality ones available but if your budget is tight then I would give this NGT5 bag some consideration.
 
Messages
1,670
Name
Richard
Edit My Images
No
#9
I have some experience of this. When I was in the Boy Sprouts we used to go camping in the snow (admittedly Kent not Wales) and my ‘sleeping bag’ was constructed of two single-size blankets (cotton, I think, wartime utility type) held together with blanket-pins (like large safety-pins). I was warmly dressed in cotton shorts, shirt and cotton windcheater and long wooden* socks so didn’t feel the cold :) . This was some time ago - around 1950 :).

Edit * woollen of course!
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,402
Edit My Images
Yes
#10
I have some experience of this. When I was in the Boy Sprouts we used to go camping in the snow (admittedly Kent not Wales) and my ‘sleeping bag’ was constructed of two single-size blankets (cotton, I think, wartime utility type) held together with blanket-pins (like large safety-pins). I was warmly dressed in cotton shorts, shorts and cotton windcheater and long wooden socks so didn’t feel the cold :) . This was some time ago - around 1950 :).
I bet that made a nice change from being shoved up chimneys to clean them though, didn't it? ;) :D
 
Messages
371
Name
GC
Edit My Images
Yes
#11
How about a British Army Arctic sleeping bag? The current issue synthetic item is readily available from surplus outlets, around £50 for an as new condition. Really warm, used one down to -8ºC quite comfortably.

For really cold (south of -12ºC), the Canadian Forces 2 part system is hard to beat.

GC
 
Messages
681
Edit My Images
Yes
#13
One thing you can do it purchase a sleeping bag liner for about £5, not only will it help keep the bag clean it also adds an extra layer to trap warm air against you making the sleeping bag more effective. I have a 3 season sleeping bag with a liner and have camped on snow at -5 with a -15 windchill on the top of the Beacons and slept ok. It's well worth the overnight stay up there, especially when scenes like this great you in the morning :)



 
Messages
46
Name
Iain
Edit My Images
Yes
#14
I have seen the OEX Leviathan recommended on a few of the outdoor forums/facebook groups that I follow. Never used it myself, but the specs seem decent for the price. https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/oex-leviathan-ev-hydrodown-900-sleeping-bag-p397811

There is also Summiteer Equipment, a small UK company that offers good value products. Unfortunately, their winter options are sold out and bit above the £100 budget.https://summiteerequipment.com/collections/frontpage/products/glowworm800?variant=24468386439

As already mentioned, 2nd hand is probably your best bet if you need to stick to the £100 mark. If you are on facebook, have a look at the outdoor gear exchange group. With over 80k members, there's always a lot of stuff for sale there.

I do quite a bit of winter camping myself, but I don't own a winter specific bag. I use an alpkit pipedream 400 and a 200g fill down quilt. I sleep warm, so this set up works fine for me for all but the coldest nights that we tend to get.

My last decent winter camp, Isle of Arran earlier this year:)

Goatfell summit camp
by Iain Macleod, on Flickr
 
OP
OP
vtrjames
Messages
385
Name
James
Edit My Images
Yes
#17
Some inspirational photos up there, they're the sort of thing I'm after. I like the idea of the used ex army kit; I'll keep an eye out for those bags. My bergen is from an army surplus store and was considerably cheaper (and robust) than some of the more expensive back packs I looked at for camping so if that's anything to go by they maybe well worth a look.

James
 
Messages
2,844
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
Yes
#18
In my younger days (much younger days) I have used one of these - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GENUINE-...THER-SLEEPING-BAG-CADET-CAMPING-/122964043996

Well under your budget and good down to -40C - and I can personally attest to that. There is a separate waterproof exterior cover for it too. Inside there are pockets for your underwear/socks and one which will comfortably take a Nikon D4 and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (again knowledge from personal experience).
 

sirch

Official Forum Numpty 2015
Messages
7,544
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
#19
One thing to bear in mind, particularly with mummy style bags is size, I'm average height but fairly *ahem* broad and I find a lot of bags just aren't big enough across the shoulders. Most people wouldn't buy a coat without tying it on, you are going to be wearing your sleeping bag for 6 or 7 hours (if you are lucky :) )
 
Messages
3,402
Edit My Images
Yes
#20
One thing to bear in mind, particularly with mummy style bags is size, I'm average height but fairly *ahem* broad and I find a lot of bags just aren't big enough across the shoulders. Most people wouldn't buy a coat without tying it on, you are going to be wearing your sleeping bag for 6 or 7 hours (if you are lucky :) )
I agree with that, that's the reason I bought one of these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Rectangu...keywords=coleman+big+basin+sleeping+bag&psc=1

Not a true cold-weather sleeping bag, so off topic in that respect, and probably only suitable for carrying a short distance from the car to the tent rather than backpacking due to its bulk, but you've seen me and can probably remember I'm rather broad across the shoulders, and I can easily turn over in this sleeping bag without getting tangled up in it (and I find it's more like a cross between a duvet and a one and a half width mummy type sleeping bag). It's also plenty long enough for anyone under around 6' 6" (unless they've altered the size since I bought mine around 5 years ago). So maybe have a look at one of those, read the reviews, and see if it's any good to you Chris? (y)
 
Last edited:
Messages
46
Name
Iain
Edit My Images
Yes
#21
Some inspirational photos up there, they're the sort of thing I'm after. I like the idea of the used ex army kit; I'll keep an eye out for those bags. My bergen is from an army surplus store and was considerably cheaper (and robust) than some of the more expensive back packs I looked at for camping so if that's anything to go by they maybe well worth a look.

James
The military bags are certainly warm, but they are heavy and bulky. I'm ex forces and have used these bags in the past, but I wouldn't choose them for personal use. I try to keep all of my kit as light as possible and I'm still pushing 20kg on a winter summit camp.
 
Messages
3,380
Name
Nick
Edit My Images
Yes
#22
I use a Montane Direct Ascent bag which is great, Think it was £180 or there abouts. Packs down pretty small too and doesnt weigh much. You can always wear a down jacket inside it too and if you use a silk liner it'll boost the temperature inside. Keeps things light and as you're already likely to be wearing a down coat if it's freezing you're not really adding much to the bulk.
 
Messages
728
Name
terry
Edit My Images
Yes
#23
Lots of choice in the sleeping bag world. I wild camp during the 3 seasons and have worked my pack weight down to 5 kg (excluding camera equipment) one thing I have not skimped on is my sleeping bag bought my bag from these guys. Plenty of choices and budgets dependent on your requirements I bought a Marmot phase 20 which combines weight and warmth ratios in equal measures for me

https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/equipment-c3/sleeping-bags-c21/sleeping-bags-c88
 
Messages
21,838
Edit My Images
Yes
#24
The military bags are certainly warm, but they are heavy and bulky. I'm ex forces and have used these bags in the past, but I wouldn't choose them for personal use. I try to keep all of my kit as light as possible and I'm still pushing 20kg on a winter summit camp.
Not the new ones the 4 seasons with synthetic filling - they are 2.5Kg and rated for down to -20C
get the large - it's designed for people upto 6' 2". The medium is only for 5' 8".

Edit: most places sell them for £45-75 depending on condition and if they have the compression bag.

Strange this as I was only looking at them in the army surplus store in Haverfordwest last weekend...
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
vtrjames
Messages
385
Name
James
Edit My Images
Yes
#25
I'm 5' 8" so would likely fit in a medium size bag. If I get some spare time this weekend I'll try and find one of the ex army arctic bags to compare the weight against other sleeping bags.

@Byker28i what does the compression bag look like so I can keep an eye out for it? How small do they pack down?

Now I've had a look online I can see just how expensive the lightweight bags are!

In my younger days (much younger days) I have used one of these - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GENUINE-...THER-SLEEPING-BAG-CADET-CAMPING-/122964043996

Well under your budget and good down to -40C - and I can personally attest to that. There is a separate waterproof exterior cover for it too. Inside there are pockets for your underwear/socks and one which will comfortably take a Nikon D4 and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (again knowledge from personal experience).
Funnily enough I'd found that on eBay earlier. Do they pack down to a manageable size?

James
 
Last edited:
Messages
21,838
Edit My Images
Yes
#26
I'm 5' 8" so would likely fit in a medium size bag. If I get some spare time this weekend I'll try and find one of the ex army arctic bags to compare the weight against other sleeping bags.

@Byker28i what does the compression bag look like so I can keep an eye out for it? How small do they pack down?

Now I've had a look online I can see just how expensive the lightweight bags are!



Funnily enough I'd found that on eBay earlier. Do they pack down to a manageable size?

James
A small nylon type compression bag, packs down similar in size to other small sleeping bags you see in outdoor shops
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL9nXfSzGuY
 
Messages
130
Edit My Images
Yes
#27
The ex-army GOOD ones made by Corinthia if you can find them.
There are all sorts of junk ex army ones but the Corinthia ones are the best and cost hundreds new.
 
Messages
500
Name
BRAD
Edit My Images
Yes
#28
You could always go down the route of a sleeping bag liner or maybe a bivy bag over the top or both! I've done the Breacons/Black mountains down to -7 with this setup with a cheapish sleeping bag. My bivy bag is a military one with a heat reflective material inside and is water proof, on the odd occasion ( but in warmer weather) I've just used this without a tent. You could also check out if there are any Mountain Bothies near the area you wish to be, at least that way you could get indoors ( and they are free to use) but I guess you are trying to do sunrise sunset shots and want to be on site at these times.
 
Messages
8,104
Name
wayne clarke
Edit My Images
Yes
#32
Have a look at the army artic sleeping bag and liner, well under a £100 used, they are pretty good. Remember a good mat under you, that makes a big difference.
 
OP
OP
vtrjames
Messages
385
Name
James
Edit My Images
Yes
#33
You could always go down the route of a sleeping bag liner or maybe a bivy bag over the top or both! I've done the Breacons/Black mountains down to -7 with this setup with a cheapish sleeping bag. My bivy bag is a military one with a heat reflective material inside and is water proof, on the odd occasion ( but in warmer weather) I've just used this without a tent. You could also check out if there are any Mountain Bothies near the area you wish to be, at least that way you could get indoors ( and they are free to use) but I guess you are trying to do sunrise sunset shots and want to be on site at these times.
I had thought of that but presumably I'd still need a sensible sleeping bag - and like you said - because I'm trying to do sunrise / sunset shots Ideally I want to be on site.

Have a look at the army artic sleeping bag and liner, well under a £100 used, they are pretty good. Remember a good mat under you, that makes a big difference.
I'm amazed sleeping bag liners make such a difference. I've just had a look at the ratings on my bag and it's rate at 8c for comfort with a limit of 4c; looks I'll need to be investing in a new bag!

James
 
Messages
114
Name
john
Edit My Images
Yes
#35
You may want to check out some of the wild camping boys on yutube.Some very interesting stuff.
 
Messages
371
Name
GC
Edit My Images
Yes
#36
The ex-army GOOD ones made by Corinthia if you can find them.
There are all sorts of junk ex army ones but the Corinthia ones are the best and cost hundreds new.
Specifically the Carinthia Defence 4 if you can find one, good quality kit made in Austria.

GC
 
Messages
415
Edit My Images
No
#37
I've just dug out my British Army Artic Bag which dates from 2004 and is as new. The code is NSN 8465-99-730-9148 which is the large size. One website claims it has a comfort limit of -10 degrees C and and and extreme rating of -20 degrees C, both figures when in a shelter/tent. My labels don't identify the manufacturer. Weight is alleged to be 2.6 kg so certainly no lightweight, but I have used it at well below zero and it is superb. I really don't think mine could be crammed into a small stuff sack. The Army obviously used other sleeping bags as well but none are designed to be as effective as the Artic Bag in cold conditions.

I've also got a Lifeventure Downlight 1200, a discontinued down bag which is about half the weight but not as warm. It's rating is based on who knows what, with a comfort limit of 3 degrees C and a risk limit of -17 degrees C. Being soaked by water is the big risk for down bags.

I did get caught out by a really cold spell in Scotland when touring on my motorcycle. I only had a 2 season bag with me and it was bitterly cold at night. I ended up buying a 3 season bag in Fort William and slept inside both bags for the rest of that tour.
 
Top