Take-a-knee- Is the Wren difficult to deal with when using your arms? It sounds cozy, but I like being able to use my arms around camp without venting heat. Maybe I'll do a $20 rental just to play with it a little; thanks for that heads-up slowhike!
JJ- Thanks for being the voice of reason. I guess my main reason for the heavier quilt is me living below the frost line for a decade. I suspect I'm gonna be a bit of a weenie those first few weeks on the Trail temp wise. Still, something to consider.
DougThe Elder- So, I guess you like your RMS? Thanks for the info.
I've got a week to stew about it, but I'm leaning pretty hard towards the Rocky Mountain Sniveller. Really appreciate the candid opinions from you folks, thanks a lot.
Cannibal, the arm zippers on the Rock Wren are what really make the system work. They are 12in long and have a slider tab on both sides, you can close the zipper against your armpit when you are wearing the bag. Once you get situated in the hammock (this is simplicity itself), just retract your arms inside and use one hand to tug upwards on the slider (the zippers close upwards) and the other to tug on the fabric below the slider. Unless it is getting near the lower limit of the bag you don't even really need to close them 'cause they are mostly covered by your bottom insulation. Since the bag doesn't cover your arms you'll still need at least a light jacket/fleece or something. You wouldn't want to wear it gathering firewood and the like, and it probably isn't too smart to be messing with a white gas stove unless you are sure you can keep it from flaring up while wearing the bag. It sure makes those midnight "drain the main" runs a lot more pleasant.
That full length zipper is worth considering, but the longer the zipper is, the less warm the bag will be, I believe. It is easier to get substantial loft in a bag with a side zipper. $90 extra on a $300 bag is a bit steep I think. Above 50-55 F that Wren probably would roast your legs, I had a night in it where I was too warm last spring but I don't remember the temp. For a cold sleeper this may not be a problem. This issue is why I bought an Exped Wallcreeper when I saw them on sale for cheap, essentially the same bag in Primaloft with a higher temp rating plus a full zipper.
Also, I believe the Wren's 35 rating is accurate for a cold sleeper with out adding any clothing. And remember since this is a custom bag you can order it 2-3oz overstuffed if you like.
Maybe you're getting too much information. The good thing is that there is a lot of very high quality, well-thought-out gear being made by people with experience and dedicated to enhancing their customer's experiences. Whether you use FF or JRB or gear from any of a number of excellent sources you can get good stuff, at fair (not necessarily cheap) prices, from people that care about their products and the people who use them. The kicker is that any of it has to be studied, learned, and come to terms with. Any of it has to fit into your 'system'. None of it comes with a guarantee of 'a good time will be had by all'. Of course, that is part of what makes this game such fun. If all we wanted to do is spend a warm, comfortable night away from home we could occasionally book a room in the Holiday Inn and probably save a little cash to boot. Happy Thanksgiving.
Can never have too much information available. This is the type of discussion I was looking for, especially when it comes to buying the single most expensive piece of equipment I'll be carrying on my adventure. My pack is the only thing that comes close to the price.
I think that this is probably the most difficult gear decision I've made yet; only because I want them all! I do think I'm going to stick with a quilt of some type. The Rock Wren looks great and I'm seriously considering doing a rental so that I can get first hand experience, but I'm really making a concentrated effort to get away from bags.
That's exactly what I'm thinkin slowhike. In my world, simple is good.
I consider myself a rather warm sleeper, and come spring/ summer, i cant wait to test my sleeping bag (EMS Velocity 35) as a top quilt. the 1/2 zipper might be a pain, but it is soo small (5x9 can compress a little more).
I would go with the NS, cause you can double it up, as JJ said. Unless your other gear is bulky, it should be a good choice. also, better for venting:
If you get hot, push the NS aside, and keep the other quilt on. then replace the NS when needed.
I've had the velocity 35 for a couple of years now. It's a real nice bag, has kept me warm on nights below freezing at 11,000 ft. in the Sierra's in Sept. I did use a Silk liner on that trip.
I've also been using it in the hammock as a quilt with a SPE and was comfortable down into the upper 30's a few weeks ago in northern lower Michigan. Had just a base layer of Poly Pro and socks for those nights. I didn't feel the half zip was a problem, but it's the only bag/quilt I've used in the hammock, so nothing really to compare it to. I was happy with that use.
Last edited by lyleb; 11-22-2007 at 01:36.
This story is when I was ground sleeping, FYI
I used a cheap emergency bivy (space blanket, folded in half, with the long sides and 1 short side sealed off). At the time I had no idea where to use the bivy, so I put it inside the bag, but I was moving around so much because I was so hot in that setup (around 30* but in a tent). I eventually took it out, wiped the condensation off, and used it around my bag. I was still quite hot, but was able to vent the heat out a little better, and it was also much quieter.
still that was excellent to ~30*.
Last edited by skar578; 11-23-2007 at 22:38.