Fleece sleeping bags.

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Woods Walker
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Fleece sleeping bags.

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:11 am

Fleece sleeping bags.

During warmer months I often replace my standard sleeping bags inside the 72-hour BOB with a fleece bag.

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It packs down very small and is 1lb 8 oz. The bag is made by Northeast outfitters. I got it at Dicks about 8 years ago. I didn’t see the same bag on their web site but similar products can be purchased for around 15-30 bucks. I have seen them at Wal-Mart for around 12 bucks. This is not a gear item that will break the bank.

http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0022801516244a.shtml

http://www.campingworld.com/browse/skus ... iateID=590

http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/stores ... 1-YahooSSP

For the most part these are simple rectangular bags however I have seen them in full mummy configuration.

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My bag did have a shock cord loop to hold it in place when rolled up however years of use finally snapped the cord. No real effect on the bag. I just cut the remaining loop and use paracord. One aspect that I like about this bag is the nice YKK zipper. Something that I didn’t expect from a cheap 20 dollar made in China product.

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So how does it perform in the field? I have found the fleece bag to be a little warmer than my USGI poncho liner. The reason is the zipper. Nothing against the poncho liner however. I have two poncho liners. A Wiggy’s and standard issue USGI but still like the fleece as it can be made into a blanket or a bag. I have pulled a tie-offs on my USGI poncho liner attempting to make a sleeping a bag out of it. Must have happened during some late night tossing and turning.

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The fault probably lies with me and is no way a statement against what I view as a good gear item. A zipper kit would have corrected this problem however these are a pain to install if not good at sewing. A ranger roll setup with a USGI poncho would have been better but that is another topic. In any case I now pack the fleece bag. As a standalone bag I would rate it to maybe upper 40’s despite producer’s claims of 50’s however this is relative to the user. I am a bit of a polar bear.

Accessorizing your fleece bag:

A good way to increase the temperature rating and versatility of a fleece bag without adding too much weight is with some extras. The following are gear items that I employ to beef up what is admittedly a marginal bag.

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1. AMK Thermolite bivy. This offers increased temperature rating and wind/water proofing.

2. AMK double sized Heetsheet. Same advantages as the Thermolite but to a lesser degree.

3. Cheap Mylar blanket. Not big enough but better than nothing

4. DWR bag liner. Can act to protect the bag from windblown rain and increase temp rating.

5. DWR top/Sil nylon bottom full bivy. Offers head protection and waterproof bottom combined with DWR top aids in weatherproofing the fleece bag and increases the temp rating

There are other goodies too like the Mantas bug net etc. The best way to increase the temp rating is with extra clothing. I know some people don’t like sleeping in clothing but if not wet I would seriously consider wearing something like a base layer, hat, socks and if cold enough a jacket.

Pros:

1. Cheap. If someone can’t save the coin for a sleeping bag than this is better than nothing.

2. Can be stored packed for a long time. Often sleeping bags stored compressed will go flat. But the fleece bag has no real loft.

3. Packs down very small and is UL. For someone with a smaller BOB there is no real excuse for not packing one. Again something is better than nothing.

4. Greatly enhances the ratings of a marginal sleeping bag. I have found that a fleece bag/liner adds about 10 degrees.

5. Fleece feels comfortable next to the skin and dries very fast. Lacks all the badness of cotton.

6. Multi use gear item. This is the aspect I most like. The fleece bag can be used as a marginal sleeping bag, bag liner, unzipped into a blanket, a large towel, scarf, head and upper body supplemental protection and surely a whole bunch of other things I have never thought of.

Cons:

1. Marginal protection from cold. This is not to be used in place of a full fledged sleeping bag for winter weather. Even with extra items expect to be cold below freezing. Extra clothing helps but still we are talking about a thin fleece bag.

2. No head protection. You will need to crawl up into a ball or use it with a bivy etc for that. Again this is a rectangular bag that is not overly large.

3. Fleece melts easily. I have fleece garments just full of holes from camp fires. If you sleep outside a tent near a fire than don’t be surprised to see some pinholes. But this is true with other synthetic protects like standard nylon sleeping bag shells. This is no wool blanket.


Conclusions:

The fleece sleeping bag is a good inexpensive gear item but reasonable expectations should be considered.
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Post by Ovationman » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:23 am

Great review as allways Bravo.

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Post by Allen » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:23 am

Thanks Woods Walker!
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Post by IllicitDreams » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:44 am

I use a fleece bag myself for most of my camping trips. I've found mine for under $10 locally.
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Post by the_klenzer » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:27 am

Thanks WW, advice taken!
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Post by stimpy321972 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:25 am

I have used one for years. It seems there are many companies making this particular bag.


Great presentation though WW
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Post by Milkboot » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:08 pm

I bought one from a K-Mart up in PA a few years ago on a road trip, it ended up being a little cooler at night then I was told it would be and it worked great! it even came with its own little stuff sack. It stays in my car most of the time because I am just to lazy to bring it out. But I did find some nylon webbing to wrap around the stuffsack to make sure I can attack it to my BOB. If anything its my own lil security blanket :P

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Post by Kentucky J » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:45 pm

Did you go to college to be this bad ass? This is some world-class shit, sir. Bravo!
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Post by doc66 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:07 pm

Used them this past weekend on the Ohio BOB hike and it worked great.
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Post by AltimGXE » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:15 pm

Hmm this is a good idea, I have piles of fleece sitting around here. Maybe I should make one with a hood :)

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Post by Tyler Durden » Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:42 pm

I keep one of those $6 swiss ones from CTD in my car. No worry of filling being crushed like a normal bag when stored packed up.

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Post by Jamie » Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:53 pm

I used one in my MBO 2 weeks ago, and will keep one packed in my BOB from now on...thanks for the nice write-up WW!

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Post by Woods Walker » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:59 pm

NFA.

Glad to hear the fleece worked out. Did some overnighters on the railroad tracks and used my fleece bag and DWR liner to pump up my MSS Green patrol bag. There was a little frost on the tent in the AM so guessing it was around the freezing mark. I was only in my boxers so the fleece was a big help. Felt warm with the exception of the top of my head. My hat fell off during the night and despite being only a foot way it was impossible to find in the dark.

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"There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing"
"Do not mess with the forces of Nature, for thou art small and biodegradable!"

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