Busy as can be over the last couple hours but just finished a huge task and had to come into the office to put a couple things on the calendar. I had an ice cold sparkling water in hand and decided hopping online and sitting in front of the space heater for a bit might feel really good!
Look what was delivered!
This isn't a review yet, because it was just delivered and I obviously haven't used it overnight in cold weather yet. But I do want to mention it because I researched for hours, days, even weeks before deciding on a cold weather bag! And I always not only over-think every decision in life, but I always doubt myself.
And I'm SO FREAKING HAPPY I chose this one! My initial thoughts are that I made a very good decision.
The bag I chose is the ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood -25 Degree Flannel Sleeping Bag.
If you are a regular reader of It's Just the Coffee Talking, then you already know that I was researching and planning to buy a cold weather bag. You also already know about how insanely cold my daughter and I were on one of our cross country girls camping trips when we found ourselves in the Badlands and Custer State Park, camping in freezing weather and snow. (We had temperatures from a high of 90 degrees down to somewhere around freezing because it was cold enough to snow - and snow it did! What a huge range of temperatures in just 5 days!).
I've been planning on heading up North again (although my plans have been thwarted and may have to be put off until this Fall instead of Spring) and one of the main things I knew I needed to invest in was a cold weather sleeping bag.
Now, the bag someone else chooses might be different than my choice; because we all have different priorities, wants and needs.
- One of my big pet peeves with sleeping bags is the taffeta and rip-cord fabrics slip and slide around! They are fine in a cot, but on a self-inflatable sleep pad or on a tent floor, they slip unmercifully. To make it worse, if you've ever had to pitch a tent on ground that wasn't as flat as you thought it was, that almost imperceptible incline with a taffeta or rip-cord bag will have you sliding down during the night until you wake with your feet (or head) shoved up against the tent wall and you continually have to push yourself back into place.
- The second issue is actually tied into that. When I try to roll over to different positions, I get all twisted up in the stupid bag, and because it slides as well, I often end up with the zipper under me and have to sit up, and do that hopping-while-sitting thing and pulling my bag around to get it situated again.
- Third issue is being able to sleep on my side. I am a side sleeper! I also like to bring my knees up. I go crazy fighting regular sized rectangular bags (and again, getting twisted up) and don't even THINK for once second I could ever sleep in a 'mummy' bag. You know, the typical cold weather 'mummy shaped' bags that get very narrow at the feet? I start to hyperventilate just looking at them and would cry if I had to sleep in one. The claustrophobia of not being able to move would kill me. My heart would race and I'd have trouble breathing and I'd end up having a heart attack and die!
- The warmth factor. I'm hopefully NEVER going to be camping when it's under 0 degrees but the -25 degree rating doesn't mean you can comfortably use it at that temperature. Sleeping bag ratings mean it will keep you ALIVE at that temperature. You aren't literally going to die. Will you be warm? Nope. Comfortable? No. But still alive in the morning? Yes. So basically, add about 20-25 degrees to the bag rating and there is your 'average' comfort zone. This means I needed to find a really, really warm bag because I'm always (ALWAYS) cold.
- One of my other priorities/needs/wants was a I wanted the half moon top on a rectangular bag because I wanted my head and pillow to stay secure and in place - not sliding all over the tent floor as well as the warmth factor. Unfortunately, those are hard to find on the rectangle, canvas bags.
- And... I needed it to be affordable.
There were things I didn't care about that others might prioritize. Two of those right off the top of my head are;
- The size
- The weight because they are backpacking and need to carry it for miles
THAT IS HOW I CHOSE THIS BAG
- The fabric is not a slippery taffeta or rip-cord. It's a canvas similar to what reminds me of a Carhartt jacket. You know the durable brown coats made my Carhartt? That. So it has more of a grip than a slippery taffeta.
- Second is that it's wide! Wide enough that I immediately opened it upon delivery and tossed it on the hardwood floor so I could climb inside and test it out. I was laying on my floor, in my new sleeping bag, on my side, with my knees drawn up and a huge smile on my face!
- It's not as big as I thought it would be from looking at some other peoples photos on reviews. But I realized that is because those people were not folding the bag in half length wise before rolling. I folded it up as it came from the manufacturer, which was to fold it in half and then roll up; which makes it a little thicker than your average rolled bag, but not a whole lot bigger/wider.
- The flannel is comfortable and I liked the colors. I knew it was plaid, but I was happy to see it's browns and cream, not blue and white like I thought from the online photo.
- The -25 F degree rating on the bag means that with the 'comfort level' rating adjustment of about 20-25 degrees, coupled with my personal "always cold" status, I should stay warm when camping in the low 30's. Fingers crossed.
- I did not get the half moon shaped top to hold my pillow in place, but the bag is long enough I can just scooch down in the bag a put my pillow at the top of the bag.
- Lastly, the zipper seems durable and easy to zip yet didn't work its way down by itself when I was wiggling and turning over and testing the bag.
I also ordered a new sleeping pad that is extra wide to go under this bag. It hasn't arrived yet though.
Basically, there isn't one thing I don't like about it straight out of the box and I'm thrilled with my final decision.
For the record, after spending a couple weeks researching pretty much EVERY BRAND AND STYLE SOLD, and using my own personal priorities as well as my not-very-big budget, it came down to the one I chose, or it's sister-bag:
ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood -10 Degree Flannel Sleeping Bag
My husband was helpful in the deciding factor. He looked at me deadpan, and stated matter-of-factly without hesitation: "You are always, always cold. Get the warmer one."
There ya go.