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Downside to a waterproof sleeping bag

Old 06-02-21, 12:51 PM
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headwind15
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Downside to a waterproof sleeping bag

I am looking into a way to loose weight with my touring equipment. What would be the downside of skipping a tent altogether and just sleep with my pad inside a waterproof sleeping bag on top of ground cover with the head flap over the top, if it should rain?
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Old 06-02-21, 01:15 PM
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Water Proof sleeping bag that works... Never heard of it.

At a bare minimum you could use a plastic ground sheet and a rain fly and a mosquito net over your face. When camping I use a light weight, cheap, two man tent so I can put my gear inside with me. The One-Man Bivey tents work fairly well. One of the biggest problems is finding a light weight sleeping bag that packs small and light without breaking the bank, but that's another thread...


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Old 06-02-21, 01:17 PM
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Iíve never seen a reliably rain proof sleeping bag. And why do you want the pad inside the bag?
What I do, on occasion, is use a an outer bag, a sleeping bag cover. It has a traditional bottom piece, like a tent floor, and a Gore-Tex top. And a hood that can be erected to create a small air space around your head. Iíll put my thermarest inside and use a few tent pegs to keep the whole thing the right way up should I turn over in my sleep.
What Iíve had happen earlier is that if I donít pin the thing down, itíll rotate with me, Leaving the non-breathable side up. That traps moisture, wets the bag and create misery.
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Old 06-02-21, 01:29 PM
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There are water resistant sleeping bags. You can sleep out when it is dry, but when wet a sleep system is needed that includes a shelter. My suggestion is to consider a bivy sack w/ground pad (and sleeping bag of course).
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Old 06-02-21, 02:01 PM
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I found a 1.7lb summer (not rated for cold weather) waterproof sleeping bag on ebay called a Ecoopro, with a low price tag of $34. O.K. - I am not sure about putting the pad inside.
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Old 06-02-21, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
I found a 1.7lb summer (not rated for cold weather) waterproof sleeping bag on ebay called a Ecoopro, with a low price tag of $34. O.K. - I am not sure about putting the pad inside.
You mean this one? That's just a ****** cheap synthetic sleeping bag with a nylon outer, polyester inner and technical cotton (a.k.a. cotton/polyester mix) lining. They say the nylon can be water repellant... but not if you put all kinds of stitching through there. But they make all kinds of nonsensical claims here. The technical cotton is either the filling as insulation or the liner itself. I wouldn't even consider buying that for anything serious.

If you were to use that bag in even a mild rain it would probably just soak up all the water.

Have you ever gone camping before OP?

EDIT: If you want to lose weight get a tarp. Not this stupid thing.
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Old 06-02-21, 02:26 PM
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If you want to skip the tent and try a $34 (I assume USD) waterproof sleeping bag, look at the bright side If it does not work out, you are not out much money.

Most people use bivy sacks if they want to go that light. I would rather have a tent, but that is personal preference. I never tried a bivy sack.

Years ago a friend of mine had a gore tex sleeping bag, but that was so long ago (decades) that I do not recall much about it other than it weighed more than other sleeping bags of comparable warmth and insulation. I am quite certain that the zipper was not waterproof.
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Old 06-02-21, 02:41 PM
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Waterproof sleeping bag

Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
You mean this one? That's just a ****** cheap synthetic sleeping bag with a nylon outer, polyester inner and technical cotton (a.k.a. cotton/polyester mix) lining. They say the nylon can be water repellant... but not if you put all kinds of stitching through there. But they make all kinds of nonsensical claims here. The technical cotton is either the filling as insulation or the liner itself. I wouldn't even consider buying that for anything serious.

If you were to use that bag in even a mild rain it would probably just soak up all the water.

Have you ever gone camping before OP?

EDIT: If you want to lose weight get a tarp. Not this stupid thing.
Have you ever gone camping before OP?
Camping before?
I've ridden from SFO to Atlanta, Cabo San Lucas, back to Arizona. numerous Tours in California, A few weeks in Colorado. Only camping. You say probably soak up "all" the water, how do you come to that conclusion? I don't see why you have to be so nasty?
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Old 06-02-21, 03:00 PM
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For $27 bucks on Amazon my gut says POS. However, it's only $27 so why not give it a try? My worry is that if it is truly waterproof basically means that it doesn't breath. In summertime temps that means you may not get wet from rain, but you will likely from your own sweat. A bivy sack or Hammack shelter are good option. I'd get, and have, a one man tent.
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Old 06-02-21, 03:02 PM
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Your face getting wet?
You having no tent to change inside?
You getting bit by insects, etc.?

Heh.



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Old 06-02-21, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
You say probably soak up "all" the water, how do you come to that conclusion? I don't see why you have to be so nasty?
I'm sorry. I guess I was just angry by the description of that sleeping bag and that seeped into my response to you. It really is full of nonsense claims and on Amazon you can find at least 4-5 different brands offering the exact same sleeping bag with a different branding on it. Many reviewers say it has a huge hole at the bottom of the zipper and that people are freezing at temperatures well above the stated minimum.

I've worked in the outdoor industry for a long time and have tried various different types of sleeping bags. And while technical cotton is a very comfortable (but relatively heavy) material for warm weather it is mostly used in tents and jackets for its ability to become weatherproof when it comes into contact with water by soaking the cotton fibers, causing them to expand and close down any holes in the material.
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Old 06-02-21, 03:52 PM
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I just had this idea because, honestly, I only get rained on while touring about every two weeks. I am considering a tarp as some have suggested. I currently have a 3.5lb 1 person tent and a really warm 3.5 lb bag. I just thought if I used seam sealer on the cheap 1.7 lb bag and used a tarp or plastic (bivy) bag cover, I could save space and weight (about 5 lbs) and use this set up for summer touring.
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Old 06-02-21, 03:53 PM
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Gortex bivy sac. I have a first gen Integral Designs from the 1980s that still works well. It isn't waterproof, just water resistant. Has a single hoop over the head (optional) and mosquito netting.

I like it for trips where I'm pretty sure it won't rain. It keeps the damp off.

Anything that breathes will only be water resistant and needs to be able to off gas moisture so heavy sweating or really humid conditions don't suit it.

Waterproof is more like a vapor barrier, a technique sometimes used in cold climbing but with the downside of accumulating moisture inside the bag. You have to be careful or you wake up damp.
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Old 06-02-21, 04:08 PM
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If a sleeping bag was waterproof, you'd end up with condensation inside. It'd have to be goretex or something similar to be breathable and would more than likely not be 100 percent waterproof. It'd cost a small fortune also. My bivy sack has too much condensation when closed up, but my bivy sack isn't that good.

Your tent is light enough. You could buy a lighter sleeping bag. Using a tarp could save a little weight. I used to cowboy camp and skip the tarp unless it was likely to rain. I hammock camp nowadays because it is way more comfortable.
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Old 06-02-21, 04:09 PM
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It would depend, for me, on the weather. I spent six weeks in California one Summer, no rain, no bugs. Here in the Northeast, we get an average of 1" of rain per week, biting insects of various kinds, are infamous. Again, my perspective, a bivouac sack is great for survival, largely because of comparison to the alternative, I would not want to spend a rainy rest day in one. When they are all buttoned up, the ones I have used get a lot of condensation inside.
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Old 06-02-21, 04:11 PM
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I agree with the JaccoW. If a bag was truly waterproof, not merely water repellant and suitable for sleeping in the rain, it would cost a lot more. A bivy bag would be the minimum rain protection you would need.

I have had a number of breathable raincoats over the years and you can't believe the claims they make when you are using them in a real situation. Same with the claims on your sleeping bag.
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Old 06-02-21, 04:20 PM
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Bivy bags have been mentioned quite a few times. A good bivy bag weighs almost as much as a good quality lightweight solo tent. I'd rather be in even a cramped tent during a rainstorm (or when bugs are around), vs. a bivy bag.
I have used bivy bags sleeping in snow caves and under rock overhangs a few times...
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Old 06-02-21, 04:38 PM
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Personally, I wouldn't cowboy camp (no protection from the elements) on any kind of extended trip.

Might be useful to list the components of your sleeping system, including weight, your budget, and the type of touring that you have in mind (ex: SW USA in summer is quite different from Wisconsin in November or credit card touring).
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Old 06-02-21, 04:44 PM
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You definitely hit a button with (so to speak), in regards to claims in the camping gear industry. I bought this little tent 1 meter x 2 miters (Long), 40" x 80". They claim it to be a 3 person tent and have a stick figure on how these 3 people are suppose to fit in the tent. They are in it head to toe with-wise. In other words the people would have to be under 1 meter tall/ under 40", L.O.L. how many people do you know that are under 1 meter/ 40" tall?

One thing is true: I do like waking up in the morning and changing into my cycling gear, in a tent, before packing up in the morning. (especially if it's cool out). Once it's dark outside, it seems like I have less issues with mosquitos almost like they can't see me, I understand they operated by means of scent. Obviously they don't puncture the sleeping bag, my concern is my face.

Another valid point is with a tent (mine has full screening on all four sides), if it is really hot, you can strip down as much as you want/ need to, without being eaten alive by mossies. Definately not happening with the sleeping bag/ bivy set up. I have the (Nature Hike Hike & bike tent) in stealth green.
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Old 06-02-21, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
I am looking into a way to loose weight with my touring equipment. What would be the downside of skipping a tent altogether and just sleep with my pad inside a waterproof sleeping bag on top of ground cover with the head flap over the top, if it should rain?
Camping in the Southwest? Not much. Scorpions. You will get wet during infrequent rains and it will take a long time for that bag to dry.

PNW or anywhere towards the East Coast? You will be miserable.

Since you are talking about 30 dollar china special bags, I won't get into cuban tarps or light bags, which could be under 2 pounds all in but the cost would be high.
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Old 06-02-21, 04:57 PM
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I am really getting caught up in "How can I make touring easier." I used to ride up to 12K miles a year and weighed 124 to 130 lbs and tour with about 20lbs of gear and I it seemed like there were no limits. Now I have had a lay off due to a vitamin D deficiency, so my legs are weaker, and now weigh 135 lbs. This week I have been riding a loaded up a old steel rigid Bianchi mountain bike with 10 extra water bottles and two inch tires, and doing this 25 mile ride with 6 miles of climbing. I say hats off to you (crazy) tourists who tour with that kind of load, I really don't know how you do it on a tour with the fat tires and all. I was down to 4-5 mph for most of the climb. I can't wait until I get stronger (from ridin' that bike), and graduate to an aluminum road bike with 700 x 32 tires. this 'training" has been so difficult for me, it gives me a new found appreciation for a light bike. Hence the check into a lighter sleeping system.
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Old 06-02-21, 04:59 PM
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i use a bivy, but its more about creating a lower profile.
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Old 06-02-21, 05:18 PM
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I see that you are in Virginia. I have toured thru there. You definitely have mozzies there. What bivy are you using?

F.Y.I., I looked up the "Ecoopro" sleeping bag on Amazon, and the $27. bag that comes up under that search is actually a Outad bag (rebranded) which I already have, I bought it about a year ago for $16. It is definitely not the same at all, (definitely not waterproof in any stretch of the imagination.) compared to the one I spotted on Ebay. I'm not sure if the ebay one is actually any more waterproof? Besides it not being waterproof, I dislike how short it is. I am only 5' - 6", and even with my knees bent, I have a hard time tucking deep inside it. (Cocoon style.)
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Old 06-02-21, 05:36 PM
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My sleeping bag has a DWR treatment so it is water resistant, but I certainly wouldn't rely on that for rain protection. I have used a variety of bivy setups generally either a hoop less bivy or a hoop less bug bivy with a tarp. When conditions allow I don't pitch the tarp and cowboy camp on top of the bivy. If there is unexpected rain or bugs I climb into the bivy and pull the tarp over me and my gear as needed. If rain is at all likely I pitch the tarp. The weights and volume can be quite light. I don't feel like looking up the weights, but they are something like Borah Side Zip bivy 7 ounces, MLD bug bivy 5 ounces, my smaller tarp 7 ounces, and my larger "luxury" size tarp 12 ounces. So the combos range from 12 ounces to a bit over a pound and a half, plus a couple ounces for stakes.

I have used these setups for backpacking and touring including long trips. They worked fine for me.
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Old 06-02-21, 06:22 PM
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The mosquitos outside the screen door on my tent were quite impatient waiting for me to open the zipper so they could get breakfast.

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