View Full Version : Sleeping bag/ 4 season tent advice

03-13-2008, 02:16 PM
Can you winter hiking gurus shed me some advice on a good -20/-40 sleeping bag and a four season tent ? I used the Mountain Hardwear Trango tent last time with a guide service in the Whites and it seemed to hold up well above treeline in the storm. But, I would like to have a second opinion.

Also, any advice on sleeping bags ?I am leaning towards a synthetic one. i have read mixed reviews on North Face dark star and North Face tundra. Does anybody have experience with those ?


03-13-2008, 03:59 PM
Which four season tent is best for you is really a matter of the type of winter use it will see. How much wind and snow loading you expect to encounter will determine the best tent.

I can say this however - I have spent many nights in the trango with guide services on Mckinley, Rainier, Mt Whitney and alone(I also own one) - I don't think there is a stronger tent made - both for high winds and heavy snow loading. The five poles intersect in no less than 7 points making it extremely strong and it ventilates well if you leave the top vent and the top of the 2 doors unzipped. The negative is that it's a heavy tent. I believe the 2 person model is a bit over 10lbs.

Regarding a bag - I have an ems mountain light -40 and am very pleased with it. I prefer down because of it's light weight and compressablilty - but you have to be diligent about keeping it dry. Synthetics will insulate better when wet, but they don't compress as well. Everything has a tradeoff. However, for winter use, the pad system under it will go a long way toward determining your comfort - I usually use a z rest with a prolite 4 inflatable.
Hope this helps.

03-13-2008, 04:50 PM
Thanks, Tim. I think I will go ahead with buying a 2 person trango as at some point I do hope of using it at higher altitudes in the northwest.

I am still leaning towards a synthetic bag as i dread having a wet down bag.

As usual great advice, thanks again.

03-13-2008, 06:44 PM
You're quite welcome. This is a good time of year to be shopping for winter gear - retailers have lots of new gear on closeout that they don't want to carry over the summer and you can find some great bargains on the auction site(s). Lots of folks buy things and never use them or hardly use them after they find out the sport is not for them. I bought my tent used(it looked like it was only set up in someone's living room) for less than 200.00.

03-13-2008, 06:59 PM
Tim and I each have a Montbell SS Down Hugger. Mine's one rating lower than his because I'm a very cold sleeper. We don't have a ton of winter camping experience, but I was very happy with this bag.

The "hugging" and the baffles are well-designed, I believe.


03-13-2008, 10:45 PM
Thanks a lot, guys. Also, can you please give some advice on snowshoes ? I would think i need ones for deep snow while mountaineering.

03-14-2008, 08:52 AM
I've only owned 1 pair - the old yellow grivel's that are no longer made - you can still find then used occasionally. I'll tell you what I like and don't like about them. The main advantage is their light weight - they are designed to be used in conjunction with your crampons as they have no attached traction device - thus their extremely light weight. Not surprisingly, they work well with my grivel g12's. Since I usually have crampons in the backcountry it saves a lot of weight as I'm not forced to carry my crampons when using these. The downside is they are tricky to put on and they probably don't have as much flotation as a conventional pair of snowshoes. They have a heel lifter which saves your calves on steep terrain, but when using the heel lifter, I found that traction is compromised if the terrain is icy under the snow - because you loose the traction from the heel points. If it's just steep and deep snow then they work great. Most of the time I've used these though was drafting with a group, or on the firmer snow on glaciers, so flotation wasn't an issue. If I were to do a lot of solo travel or a lot in deep fluffy snow - these probably aren't the best choice. You'd be better off with a more conventional type like the one's Tubbs and other brands offer. MSR also make's some excellent aluminium lightweight models that have detachable tails for extra flotation.

03-14-2008, 11:57 AM
I have a Eureka Alpenlite tent that works well (have stayed above treeline in some pretty high winds in it)......still weighs about 8 lbs though (you can split tent/fly between 2 guys though).

I would go for the down bag .....geat weight savings as well as compression to a smaller stuff sack. But I agree damp/condensation is an issue with down. I have a Western Mountaineering Puma (-25) down bag made with a Goretex shell (the Puma GWS)...I have had it overnite in the White Mtns., as well as used it for 7 nights in Antarctica on a trip....after a week in the tent it was still great.

Just my 2 cents.......go for the down!

03-14-2008, 05:37 PM
We have 2 tents. One it the Trango 2. Awesome, strong, and roomy, but heavy. We also just picked up a Hillberg Jannau that is around 6lbs. We will be trying it for the first time this weekend on the traverse. It has good reviews and is very light. It only has one door which is kind of a disadvantage.
As for sleeping bags I own the EMS mountain light -20 bag. It is really warm, but don't get it wet. I find that the mountain hardwear wraith -20 stays drier. The fabric they use seems to keep out moisture better on all of their bags. I use the prolite 4 sleeping pad as well.