Riaang wrote: For a warm nights sleep you need to consider multiple things, not just the temperature rating of a bag.
If you have 3 people in a 2 man tent, the type of sleeping bag you carry doesn't even matter
But seriously - many of us have made the mistake of messing around with cheap gear rather than just getting something good in the first place. If I was buying a winter bag right now, I would get the MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR LAMINA 20 - its a -7 bag, weighs 1.3kg. I use a Mountain Hardware Pinole (which I was lucky enough to pick up for R900 a few years ago). It is a -5 bag that weighs 1.4kg, it's an exceptional bag. Both the Pinole and Lamina are synthetic, so they will hold out better if they get wet than a down bag would (you should never let your bag get wet, but wet caves, mist, falling in rivers etc all happen and aren't always avoidable).
To be quite honest, Mountain Hardware is one of my favourite brands and I am yet to have had a bad experience with their gear (well aside from price)...
Thanks for the advice !
Wezleyb wrote: Looks like I will have to fork out the bucks for a proper bag. I will probably settle for the FA Ice Breaker as recommended by most (selling for 2800 bet price I could get). The mountain hardware was is cheapest 2500 and does look like good bags.
OutdoorWarehouse had the fA IceBreaker @R2500 on their October 4PG Promo (runs till 9 Nov) when it began, but it doesn't appear any more. I think it would be worth phoning to check if they still have it on promo, because I bought a CoolMountain II tent at the reduced price which was also originally on this promo but does not appear any more.
make a difference. today.
Wonder what this one's like, anyone tried one/know of them?
The Ghost - a -40 bag that doubles as a bivy bag and a sleeping bag. Weighing 2.14kg and costing $1000 - it actually doesn't seem to be that heavy or expensive compared to its nearest competitor available locally.
The Lamina -30 - I mentioned above that the Lamina 20 looks awesome, then I started reading up on the different bags that Mountain Hardwear has to offer. They have a video on their website (struggling to find a sharable link) that explains their "Lamina design" - but basically, instead of sowing the hollow fibre in place - a process that compresses the substance and causes cold spots - they have devised a means of welding the 2 together. They claim that this process has allowed them to make hollow fibre bags that perform like equivalent weight down bags. This Lamina bag is a -34C bag synthetic bag weighing in at 2.3kg and retailing at $300. By contrast - First Ascent's top bag, the Blue Wolf (tested on Everest) is a down bag at R6k, -25C and weighing 2kg.
The Phantom 0 - a casual down bag for those fast-n-light guys. -17C bag weighing (-9 Comfort) weighing 1.2kg - that isn't bad at all!
But the winner of the "what some random Drakensberg hiker thinks, based on research that excludes physical testing, is the best winter Berg bag on the market" competition is, drum roll please, the HyperLamina Torch . Rated a -16C bag, -9C comfort, at 1.6kg - and synthetic - it would appear to be a remarkable product. Sadly it is a mission to get one sent to SA, and it is quite new to the market, so there aren't a lot of reviews floating around.
Btw - I do not work for Mountain Hardwear, never been given any of their stuff for free and have no incentive to promote their stuff. Simply - I have used a few items of theirs and been very impressed with them. The reason only MHW appears on the list is that I have had a look at plenty of other brands, but rarely find any bags that compete in weight, warmth and price.
What my research has shown me is that sleeping bags are generally advertised at their limit rating. Ratings are subjective, and even though it may be -5 outside, being in a small 2 wall tent with another person is much warmer than outside. I bought a supposedly -8 down bag a few years ago, it turns out to actually be a -2 comfort bag and I was cold in it on its namesake mountain "Kilimanjaro".
My second sleeping bag was a Mountain Hardwear Pinole 20 (synthetic, -7 survival, -4 comfort, 1.4kg). This bag cost R900 at the time (if only I knew how lucky I was to get this) and is my go-to bag for the Berg right now - all year round.
For the last few days it has been bugging me that it is so difficult to get any of the descent international sleeping bags in SA, but then I put my business hat on and thought about it - what is the market they would be selling to? South Africans wanting to climb most of SA's mountains will be fine with an FA Icebreaker - even in winter. I have used my K-Way Kilimanjaro and MHW Pinole (equivalent to the Lamina 20, except about 100g heavier) in the Berg in winter, and they were adequate, although not always entirely hot. If someone from SA wants to climb the colder mountains they can get an FA Blue Wolf or order internationally, but the number of people requiring this won't be large. Also, the cost of these top sleeping bags - after customs, VAT, transport etc - becomes quite substantial.
If a shop stocked the Hyperlamina Torch, I doubt it would retail for less than R4500 and I doubt that they would sell more than 1 or 2 annually. The Mountain Hardwear Lamina 20 has been on sale at Mountain Mail Order for months now. Marked down from R2500 to R2010 - it retails for about $165 (roughly R1950) in the States (source Amazon and their link to sunnysports.com). One can only assume it is marked down by 20% due to a lack of demand for them. I suspect that MMO will not stock these again after they clear out their current stock.
Anyway, enough ranting/monologue for 1 night
Ps. just to throw in a final 2c worth - seeing as everyone stopped reading about 4 paragraphs ago anyway - a wise businessman once said "the best product in the market place rarely wins; the product perceived to be the best with the best marketing will usually win. This is why people buy bottled water when it is fundamentally the same as what they get out of a tap almost for free."