I went camping in the Adirondacks recently, and my sleeping bagwhich once seemed comfortably roomyhad mysteriously become pretty tight. It must have shrunk in storage; weird, huh? In any case, who makes a good synthetic, roomy bag for middle-aged people in the 15 to 20 degree range? John New York, New York
Yes! Thats a common problemshrinking sleeping bags. The darned things!
Big Agnes Encampment Sleeping Bag
Encampment Sleeping Bag
Chances are you no longer want or would be comfortable in a mummy bag, the bag you probably had in storage. Mummies are efficient because you arent heating up a lot of extra space inside the bag. But they can be, well, snug. Like a mummy! Full rectangular bags are much roomier and more comfortable, but theyre inefficient because you do have to warm up a lot of interior air. The solution: A semi-rectangular bag. Its trimmer than a full rectangular, roomier than a mummy, and pretty warm.
Big Agnes makes a bag called the Encampment ($169; bigagnes.com) that would suit you. Its a 15-degree, synthetic-filled (Polarguard Delta), semi-rectangular bag (although they call it a rectangular") with a full hood, draft yoke around the neck, nylon shell, and other good features. The weight is not badthree pounds, four ouncesbut thats in part because it has no insulation on the bottom side. You need to use a good-quality pad with it.
That said, the gold standard in semi-rectangular bags in your desired temperature rating is the Western Mountaineering Ponderosa MF (westernmountaineering.com). Its a down bag, which helps make it light (two pounds, nine ounces). And it has a naturally water-resistant polyester microfiber shell. Yeah, water can be an issue, but this bag would have to be pretty soaked before it lost a lot of insulation. The Ponderosa is not a cheap bag$420 in the model that can fit people up to six feet, six inchesbut its a lifetime investment.
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