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Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

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Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

Postby Kessler10 » 01 09, 2019 •  [Post 1]

My sleep setup for back country hunts and review of each

Bag
10 degree 850-fill goose down sleeping bag. Weighs in at under 2 pounds, water resistant with contour hood. Stuffs down to 7x14 inches
-this is the second sleeping bag I have owned and I absolutely love it. Its a high end bag but not at the high end price. When I say high end bag those can sometimes be $500+. You can find this for almost half that price if you really look. But mostly its in that $300 range. it is a lot of money but this bag keeps me so warm, is water resistant and doesn't even weigh over 2 pounds. Bumping up from 750 fill to 850 fill does cost more but you will notice the difference right away. I actually look forward to sleeping in this bag any chance i get.

Sleeping Pad
Sea to summit comfort light sleeping pad. Inflatable with 4.2 R Value. packs down to 4x9 inches. Weighs about 1.5 pounds
This is an inflatable pad, and I have used in for 4 hunting seasons. it comes with a patch kit, but I have yet to have any punctures in it. You dont have to blow to fill it up whic is noice when you camp at 10K+ feet. Oxygen is at premium :lol:
and you can adjust the air in and out with a press of a button to get it to be the right firmness for your preference. this is the only sleeping pad I have owned so nothing to compare it to. But I have for sure heard people having to go through more than 1 sleeping pad in a single season before. And so far this one is as good as the 1st year i used it. And comes with a pretty high r-value. meaning it provides significant barrier from the cold ground, yet still comes in at only 1.5 pounds when packed down

Pillow
therma Rest Trekker Stuffable Pillow. Stuffs down small enough to fit into a pocket
-This is a luxury/comfort item for me. I sleep better with a small pillow so I bought it. It doesn't take up much room or weight and it helps me sleep better. for sure not required so this probably falls in my "comfort" list. I have been on hunts/hikes with people who make fun of me then when we are laying down in the tent they wish they had one. there are lots of options for small pillows like this. My assumption ois they are all fairly similar. the one decision would be to get an inflatable pillow or not. this one is not inflatable. Its a stuffed pillow and when its not packed away its probably about the size of a football.
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Re: Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

Postby Indian Summer » 01 10, 2019 •  [Post 2]

Name brand on the sleeping bag?
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Re: Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

Postby Kessler10 » 01 10, 2019 •  [Post 3]

Indian Summer wrote:Name brand on the sleeping bag?



REI Co-Op Magma 10 Degree is the name of the bag
I bought it last year when it was first released and paid $399 for it. I should've waited a bit, but I really like the all the specs of the bag.
You can find it for under $300 if its on sale.
REI is of course a well know brand but its not a sleeping bag brand thats been around as long as say Western Mountaineering bags. But its much cheaper than those types of bags, and from I can see its pretty similar

below is a link to a top 10 sleeping bags review for 2018

https://www.cleverhiker.com/best-sleeping-bags/

below is link to this bag on sale

https://www.rei.com/product/110922/rei- ... SkQAvD_BwE


below is the review that was done on the bag.
Weight: 1lb 14oz

Chosen For: Lightweight Value & Warmth

REI’s Magma 10 (and Magma 17 for women) has a combination of weight, warmth, and cost that few other sleeping bags can match. The Magma gets it right where it matters the most - quality materials, a solid warmth-to-weight ratio, comfort against the skin, no-snag zipper, and a well shaped footbox and hood. The Magma’s combination of quality and cost make it one of the best value sleeping bags we've tested, hands down. The Magma isn’t the highest quality sleeping bag on this list (Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends still get that nod), but we've been pleasantly surprised by its performance. The Magma will likely be a bit overkill on warm summer adventures (we like quilts for those trips), but if you're looking for one sleeping bag that can do it all at a very fair price, the Magma is an excellent choice.
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Re: Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

Postby Kessler10 » 01 10, 2019 •  [Post 4]

one reason and probably the main reason you can get away with buying a bag like this for a price around $250-$300 is b/c REI builds/makes the bag and then only sells the bag on their site. There is no 3rd party marking it up like is done with a lot of other bags.
If you want an REI bag you go to REI. If you want a Western Mountaineering bag you can go a lot of different retailers or sites and get it. So the price has to stay higher. Western Mountaineering cant sell it for cheap on their site then Backcountry.com and Amazon have it marked up 50%. the price has to stay consistent. REI doesn't have that problem. So if I can find a piece of gear I like from REI liek this sleeping bag and made by REI, I buy it. There return policy is really good as well.
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Re: Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

Postby Swede » 01 10, 2019 •  [Post 5]

When we spend very high dollars it is easy to get an excellent product. You just can't afford much more. It is good to read about a little more modestly priced item that still has the quality we need. After all I might still want to have enough left over to go hunting. Thanks for the thread. I don't need a bag now, but if I did, this one would get a look from me.
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Re: Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

Postby Lefty » 01 13, 2019 •  [Post 6]

Sadly and unfortunately many of us our fiances require us to be budget minded. And the worst part often there isnt anything currently made that fits the budget.
OK the $19.00 sleeping pad fits.
Friday night14 of us camped. I took out a bunch of new 11 year old scouts to Lariet Cave in Crater of the Moon National Monument . Protected in a part of the cave in 50 degree temperatures.
Only one young kid was warm in a cheap bag, Garage sale military down/ feather bag. Weighed maybe 8 lbs.
One kid had a 0 rated bag he got at an Army surplus, on sale for $39.00 while dressed in dry winter clothes he awoke cold. One scout has the Coleman 0 rated bag he got on sale for $69.00 with winter clothes on inside he stayed warm, only because he was awake and messing around until I awoke at 5:15 AM :shock: . Remember this is a 50 degree cave. Of all the scouts that stayed warm they had higher end bags.
One kids dad was a mountaineer sleeping in a $600 bag. And my old Klymit pad.
The experienced boys slept in Hammocks ( yep in a cave) or long hauled cots 1/2 mile in. Some had the cheap $10 Walmart closed cell pads ( my suggestion.) They all had bags that retailed for over $100. fortunately the scouts that like to camp here in Idaho where it is likely mountain camping in the summer there will be frost , One scouts dad has the military bag set up,. not cheap , heavy and warm.
Others watched Craigslist and bought higher end bags from people who thought they were going to be back packers. One scouts dad paid $500 last June,.. for nearly $3,000 worth of gear 3 osprey packs 2 MRS tents,Alps an Western Mountianeer bags and other top end gear. He turned around and relisted some of the stuff and put money in his pocket.

In reality that how most of us will need to do to get high end stuff on our budget. Heck I drive a 10 year old truck shoot a 12 year old bow and received my better gear as a gift when My daughter was pro-forming items.


I really don’t back-country hunt but I do hunt wilderness, wilderness study areas. Places you cant get to with a trailer so Ive tented and slept in the back of my pickup shell about 65 nights maybe more this year

R10 military high-tech closed cell foam pad covered in cheapo Home depot indoor out door carpet.
3 ½ inch Cableas 36x80 self-inflating pad or 2 2 ½ inch Cabelas 25x80 self-inflating pads
I have the canvas with flannel bag, I don’t think its is made now https://www.blackpinesports.com/grizzly-ripstop-0-sleeping-bag
Memory foam pillow
a decent 50 degree old bag opened up to cover my head or for the dog, I like to sleep with my arms out.

When backpacking no pillow my tent fits inside the pad. Last year 10 back country nights I go for light and warm.https://www.rei.com/product/810386/therm-a-rest-ridgerest-solite-sleeping-pad
https://www.klymit.com/ksb-0-oversized-down-sleeping-bag.html
If I were to add or change anything I would do tohttps://www.rei.com/product/829826/therm-a-rest-z-lite-sol-sleeping-pad. Well if I could change anything I wish I could comfortably sleep in mummy bag
Ive slept on lots of different self-inflation pads I would rather add weight to my tent/shelter. Ive owned and used a number of Kymit pads. First I need some ground warmth/insulation that most do not provide. And Im not taking along a patch kit. They make patch kits for a reason, inflatable will get holes Nothing is a bigger bummer than poking a hole in a new pad,.. Ive done it on three different pads with less than 10 night each.

Just watch Craigs list or one of our sponsors for close outs my At one time a watched camo fire, my wife buys stuff on Campsaver
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Re: Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

Postby jmez » 01 22, 2019 •  [Post 7]

You really don't have to spend big money to get good gear that will work in the back country.

For my first five years I used a Sea To Summit bag that I bought at Cabela's on sale for $45. It is a 30 degree synthetic bag that weighs less than 2lbs. I am a hot sleeper and generally cold isn't an issue with me. The same bag in a 15 degree rating was $60. I still have the bag and use it and have never had an issue with it. I have a Western Mountaineering 20 degree bag now. I bought it off of ebay, had been slept in 3 times, for $275.

My first tent was an Alps Mountaineering two man tent that I took for 7 years. I paid $50 for it used on ebay. It got destroyed on a MT hunt year 7 when we had really bad winds. Part of the issue is where we set our camp, we were right in a wind tunnel and didn't realize until it was two late. That said, my buddy had a brand new Big Agnes tent that got destroyed as well so no real complaints with a bargain tent, it served me well.

First pad was a 3/4 length Cabela's model that cost about $30. It worked well and my kids still use it when camping. I upgraded my pad becasue I wanted to go full length and also wanted more loft.

I only bowhunt so extreme temps generally aren't a huge issue. Classifieds and ebay are great resources for getting quality gear at deep discounts. A lot of the cheaper gear out there will work just fine. In my experience the only thing I won't skimp on are boots. Everything else isn't that big of a deal.
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Re: Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

Postby jmez » 01 22, 2019 •  [Post 8]

That said, I'll list my current set up.

Bag: Western Mountaineering Alpinlite, 20 degree down bag. Bought off ebay for $275 in as new condition. Great bag, very light and packs down to nothing. It is too warm for me on Sept hunts so I use it as a quilt. I don't zip it up at all and generally have it rolled down around waist level. If it were to get cold I could just zip it up and likely use it down into the 15 degree range with base layers on.

Tent: Henry Shires Tarptent Cloudburst 3. For the money I don't think you can buy a better tent that the Tarptents. On above said trip to MT where my tent and a Big Agnes tent were broken by the wind a buddy had a Tarptent Douoble Rainbow. No damage at all to his. I needed to replace mine so settled on a Tarptent based on that experience. I also have four little boys and it is only a matter of time before they will start tagging along so wanted something with a little bigger footprint. Most backpacking tents would be really cozy at their stated rating, a 2 man is realistically a one man unless you like spooning. The Cloudburst 3 is truly a 3 man tent with plenty of room. I can sleep in it with my pack and my bow inside the tent and never touch either one of them. It also has two large vestibules, one on each end so with more than one guy there is plenty of room to keep your gear covered. It is a 4 season tent with snow load rating, one of the few made that doesn't cost upwards of $700. (Hilliberg) It is very light for its size and rating, 3 1/4 pounds for a huge tent and 4 season rating. A comparable Hilliberg weighs over 6lbs. Great value, $385. It is cheaper and lighter than most of the better 2 man models on the market. Great shelter, great company.

Pad: Big Agnes Q Core XL long wide. I really like this pad, you have to blow it up which sucks but it is really comfortable. I started with a cheap, Cabela's 3/4 length pad. It didn't have enough loft and didn't like my feet hanging off of it. I'm 6'0' and weigh 200lbs and am a side sleeper, I never touch the ground, even when rolling over with the Q Core. A word of warning, I have had zero issues with mine and have had it about 7 years. A lot of people have had the Q Core fail at the seams, I think this is a real problem with the pad. It is no longer made and been replaced with a different model now. I have no complaints with mine but there are enough negative reviews out there that is is a real issue with this model of pad, buyer beware. They are expensive as well, I got mine off of a clearance site for around $160 if I remember correctly, that was a pretty deep discount as it was around $200 regular priced.

Pillow: Thermarest stuffable pillow. Great little pillow, I need a pillow to sleep. I tried a few of the air models to save space and weight and don't like them at all. They either have too much air or not enough air, no middle ground. Air pillows are no good for me. The Thermarest packs down pretty small and offers the right amount of support for me. Don't remember what I paid for it, they are around $30 I think.

Cot: Thermarest U/L cot. I bought one of these after my two hunting partners got them and raved about them. I am not a big fan. I took it to the backcountry once and found no benefit. You still need to place your pad on top of the cot. I didn't find it any more comfortable than the pad alone so it was just extra weight for me. It only went on one trip and I sold it. It is light but also a lot of parts and very bulky in your pack, takes up a ton of room. It is a bit of a PITA to put together. One of my buddies has a Helinox cot, weight is same as the thermarest, it is much more stable/supportive, has fewer parts and goes together very quickly. If I were going to take one I would get the Helinox, not the Thermarest. This is a luxury item and $$, going to cost around $200. Was useless for me.

General tip for all sleep systems. Go to Wal Mart in the camping isle and buy a couple of tubes of Gear Aid seam sealer/grip. Paint lines on the floor of your tent, and on both sides of your sleeping pad. This will prevent you and your stuff from sliding all over the place. Some guys use silicone and it works as well but plan on replacing it every year, it peels off easily. This stuff is unaffected by the weather and goes on like a glue and it won't peel off at all.
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Re: Gear review: Sleep System for backcountry Hunting

Postby Kessler10 » 01 24, 2019 •  [Post 9]

jmez wrote:You really don't have to spend big money to get good gear that will work in the back country. .


100% Agree you for sure don't need to spend big money to get good gear that will work in the back country. Never let price be the factor to not go out and hunt elk or get a piece a gear you need. You can alwasy find ways to make it happen on almost any type of budget.

I think lots of variable go into it.
-how much money are you personally comfortable spending, since everyone has a different perspective on budget, makes different amounts of money professionally..... and what is expensive versus not expensive to you?
-What is important to you when hunting in the back country. If the most important thing to you is staying warm at night, I recommend looking at R-value for sleeping pads. Inherently, higher R-Values come with higher price tags. But you can alwasy dig for sales and purchasing this type of gear during the off season or close outs is a great way to save money. Waiting until 2 months before hunting season, will be tough to find best deals on back country hunting gear from my experience
-Do you count ounces when packing your gear? i for sure do. If you do, then getting gear that is lighter weight usually involves that piece of gear being made out of more expensive (lighter materials) so price will be more

I consider my self kind of a tight a$$, and will alwasy look for a deal. But for some weird reason my back country hunting gear is a place I tend to make a splurge if I find the right piece of gear. And my wife will alwasy remind me of that when I try to be tight with money on something :lol: she might want.
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