Gear Guy


What sleeping bag is perfect for a weekend on the Virginia stretch of the AT?

What sleeping bag do you recommend for two to three days near the Virginia section of the AT? I tend to be a warm sleeper and hike spring through fall. Is there a single bag that will meet my needs? Matt Fairfax, VA


Something really light, I should think. I know that in the Northwest I don’t use a bag that’s rated to below 30 degrees during the spring and fall, even when camping on snow. Currently that bag is MontBell’s U.L.SS. Down Hugger #3 ($279). Weighs a mere 19 ounces and packs down to the size of a large grapefruit. Fine in chilly weather, not too warm for temps in the 40s. Down fill for long life, and no, it should not matter that it gets humid.

I also like Marmot’s Arroyo ($249), also rated to 30 degrees, very light at 23 ounces, excellent down fill.

To go REALLY light, check out Western Mountaineering’s HighLight ($270). It’s a 35-degree bag that weighs 16 ounces (sick!). Half-length zipper, superlight fabric, 850-fill down. I would think it would be fine for the camping you describe. On a cool night, just bundle up with more clothes.

You go synthetic, you save $$ but start to gain weight. REI’s Aura +40 ($179), for instance, is rated to 40 degrees (duh!) but still weighs nearly two pounds. So nearly twice the HighLight, with much less warmth. Or there is Mountain Hardwear’s Lamina 35 ($140). Rated to 35, synthetic fill, two pounds, two ounces. So not bad, weight-wise, but still more than down.

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