Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rethinking My Pack - Sleep System

In a previous post, I was rethinking my "Big Four." In a seemingly never-ending quest to reduce weight, I was contemplating using a backpacking quilt instead of my summer bag. During the summer I've been carring a Mountain Hardwear Phantom +32 Long mummy bag. It's 23 ozs, and packs up pretty small.

I found I was generally using it like a quilt - Sleeping directly on my pad with the bag unzipped over me. Of course it's not designed for that, and when it's cold I have a hard time sleeping on my side with it tucked in well.

What I decided on and why after the jump ...

I'm getting ready for a long section of the Appalachian Trail this spring - From Franklin, NC to Vermont. That hike will straddle spring and summer, with potential below freezing nights in the Smokies, and warm summer nights once I get past Mt Rogers. I decided not to try and outfit myself with one quilt to do it all. I'd save a few bucks, and achieve greater weight savings for my longer summer load by taking my current shoulder season bag this spring, and getting a warm weather quilt for summer. I'll swap gear in Pearisburg, VA.

I looked at a number of quilt manufacturers, and found Hammock Gear provided the greatest weight savings per dollar. So I dug into their web site. They offer a range of top quilts rated from 0 degrees to 50, with options for length, width, overfill and foot-box construction. I decided on their 50 degree quilt.

The Burrow 50° is made of 1.1 oz ripstop nylon, filled with 900 fill Hungarian goose down, and constructed with a sewn-thru construction that saves weight and is adequate for summer. I ordered mine in the standard length of 74", with the standard straight taper. Because I'm a side-sleeper, I asked for the 55" width. They will either sew the footbox closed, or install velcro or snaps so that it can be opened up and laid out flat. I opted for snaps. The foot box opening is cinched with thin line and a cordlock, allowing one to control ventilation. For ground dwellers like myself, they will sew in loops employed to help keep it tucked in on colder nights. There is a snap and drawstring to snug it around one's neck.

It came in at 14.14 ozs on my scale, which is 9 ozs lighter than my summer bag. I have also ordered a small Thermarest NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad and Pump Sack to replace my Exped SynMat UL7 and Schnozzle Pump Bag in the summer months. That will provide an additional 5.85 ozs in savings, for a total of 14.7 oz reduction for the sleep system. In keeping with a theme of this blog series, that cost me $23.23/oz to achieve ...

Coupled with a lighter pack, the other weight savings I've achieved,and sending cold wx clothing home, I'm really going to be looking forward to getting to Pearisburg!

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