I am new to hiking and looking to get a sleeping bag for use in the Western Cape. I have been looking at the Ice Breaker as this seems to come highly recommended, but I don’t want it to be overkill when it’s warmer.
I have question - can I use something light in the summer like the FA Down Light or KWay Lite 500, and then use a FA Down Blanket inside/over the bag in winter? Compact Down Blanket - First Ascent
Any feedback would be most welcome. Thanks all for the inputs.
I think the down blanket is a pretty cool idea - especially if you already own a sleeping bag and don’t have the money to buy a new, warmer one.
If I had to buy from scratch however I’d rather go for a sleeping bag with the required ratings. The down blanket won’t keep your feet properly warm - a foot box / baffle is a key feature when sleeping in freezing conditions. Also the baffles around the chest and head won’t function as well as they should.
If I were you I’d rather just bite the bullet and buy an Ice Breaker / similar bag.
Makes sense! Last question - any thoughts on the FA Explorer vs ICE Breaker - see this is comfort rated to 5 degrees - anybody have experience with this one?
The Explorer seems like a re-make of the Fusion 600. Was a very good bag - not quite as versatile as the Ice Breaker but a capable weight and budget orientated bag.
Your choice should depend on what you intend to do. Regular winter hikes in areas where it snow, then I’d say Ice Breaker. If not the Explorer seems to be a good choice. You can also sleep in warm clothing (thick socks; down jacket) and / or add a thermal liner to deal with sub-zero temps. It’s all about the balance of factors. Perhaps find a store that stock both bags and go and climb into them - the actual experience will probably teach you more than the specs.
Expanding on this - I have a very warm sleeping bag - kept me toasty warm on Kili (snugpack elite 4) and a Deuter 500L (synthetic) 725gm summer sleeping bag.
I also have a cotton liner and a “thermal” liner.
I mostly use the cotton liner inside the bags, but I was caught out in the lowveld recently, planning for warm took the Deuter, and that Cape mega storm resulted in 5˚C temperatures in Kruger, so whats the correct order to apply layers to best trap the air to give the most amount of heat?
Cotton, thermal sleeping bag,
Thermal sleeping bag cotton
I tried all combinations and ended up buying a blanket on a down day. Seriously regretted not taking my warm bag.
But my question stands - should you put the thermal against your skin and then the sleeping bag then the cotton liner, or what order?
I use a variety of the liners for those hot nights - try camping in Mombasa in Summer before the short rains come - 95% humidity 30C at night with mosquito’s!
An to answer the original poster, go to the Cape Union Mart in Canal walk - they have a refrigeration room for exactly this purpose.