Camping gear

Wondering if anyone has advise on what brand of sleeping bag is a good one that will pack up super small? Any advice on cots versus sleeping pads? What’s your favorite brand and why? Thank you in advance

6 Replies

KenH, June 17, 2018 at 8:21 pm

I’ve tent camped only one year and I went into a sporting goods store and looked at the small sleeping bags they had on sale. I got one about the size of half a loaf of bread rated to 50 or 55 degrees. It’s a Marmot brand bag. That should do you most years unless you tend to get chilly at night then you might want a warmer one but of course they will be bigger and heavier.

I used a 2 inch Thermarest self inflating sleeping pad and I found that to be comfortable. They roll up fairly small and they are light. I am sure that cots are more comfortable and I was traveling with the Argo-Riverbend club/charter and they had a two bag limit but no weight limit. So I could have gone with the extra weight of a cot. If you are using the Register truck then you have a 1 bag, 50 pound limit which is strictly enforced. In that case you need to consider carefully if you want to bring a cot given that you will have to leave behind other things you might like to make room in your weight limit for the cot. If weight is not a concern and you prefer a cot then bring a cot.

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Denton Kernodle, June 18, 2018 at 11:36 am

I don’t usually use a bag in the summer time. I use a blanket and sheet, that will do fine for me. If you have concerns about warmth then take long pants and a sweatshirt. As to a cot or a mat, either is fine but you have to pack up the cot and put it in your bag, and that is hard to do. The bigger issue is a pillow. If a regular pillow wont fit in your bag then get an inflatable one…they work great.

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Mike Howe, June 18, 2018 at 2:26 pm

I have a kelty cosmic 40 sleeping bag. Packs/rolls up to the size of mini football. Includes stuff sack. Theres also a kelty cosmic 20 but that might be too warm for ragbrai. Marmot and REI probably makes something very similar and would be just as good.

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jwsknk, June 19, 2018 at 12:18 am

Just a sheet for me too. Usually take one long sleeve tech shirt. I have arm and leg warmers along if it gets too cool. Colder rain gear can get layered on.

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Barry Schnoor, June 19, 2018 at 6:46 am

I’m holding off some decisions on gear until I see the week’s forecast closer to ride time.

I’ve experienced Iowa evenings when the temps don’t get below 80f. I won’t want to haul my bag if it’s that warm. (On the other hand, it weighs 3 pounds…and probably won’t make me exceed my 50 lb limit.)

But I’ve also experienced nights in the 50s. Hammock sleeping is cold when it’s 55 degrees. I’ll want my bag for those nights.

My guess is I’m taking the bag. I’ve spent too many nights in the hammock shivering to want to do that again.

The forecast in the days preceding the ride will tell us a lot about what to pack.

Excited for the ride! I’ll be pulling 48 miles on Skyline Drive (Shenandoah National Park) this weekend. I don’t expect Iowa to have hills like that!

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John Bilsky, June 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Check out Big Agnes for excellent lightweight sleeping pads.

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