Since my recent hike was in colder camping ground than a normal hike, I wanted to focus on a few items that I relied on to actually keep me warm. So, part 1 of this series will be the thing for keeping me alive ZPacks 20F Sleeping bag.
I bought the Z Packs sleeping bag in the spring of 2016, but due to the warm weather, I did not have the possibility to use it until Autumn. It is also worth noting that my particular bag is the previous version of their sleeping bags, which was built with all horizontal baffles. They have since redesigned these bags so they now use a combination of horizontal and vertical baffles. In addition, the size names have been changed, but actual specifications and dimensions, fill weights and total weights have remained the same. I will note it below if necessary.
At this point, I only used my Z Packs sleeping bag in total 6 nights on the trail (4 in October and 2 in November). Apart from that, like any team, I must admit that I have extended it to the house on a large scale … haha! I understand that many of them would still see this as fundamentally unnecessary, and believe me, I wish it were more, but I think I’ve used it enough to comment on how I feel about this sleeping bag, and how it has worked so far with rest of my other camping equipment.
Z Packs Sleeping Bag offers many options on their website to set up one of their sleeping bags so that it is best suited to your needs. For me, I decided to start with the Z Packs 20 Degree Version, then I decided to go with the long and wide version (now called the “standard” width). I chose not to add a sample tube and chose to use the standard 3/4 zipper option. On a less serious note, I chose to go blue because I thought it looked good … Although the green has it too! At the time of my purchase (and even now at the time of writing), their downward stock is not processed with 900 fingers of lead, which is “ethically derived directly from the producer”. (It is also worth noting that the ZPacks site does not have an option for the extra filler to add to their bags because each baffle is already filled with 30% If you feel you need a bag slightly warmer, it makes more sense to go with the next rated hottest bag.)
To start with, I have to say that I am very happy with the way my Z Packs sleeping bag is suited to me (or maybe I have it). I am 5’10 “tall (when I am standing) and when I lie down on my back, without penetrating my feet in the foot box to the point of compressing the bottom, the top of the sleeping bag (not stirred) strikes my lips, or just under my nose. When I lower the top down, it rests comfortably on my shoulders and still does not force my feet in the footbox to compress the bottom, although There is very little room for the length of play when it is folded, and on this basis I would say that it suits me as it should. low, and just long enough to accompany me without being long.This scenario is optimal in that it is the most thermally effective method of a sleeping bag.
As for the width, in my opinion, it’s another home run! I am currently 184 lbs. When I measure the circumference of the chest and shoulders with a strip I am about 50.5 “(in standing position). As I mentioned, I opted for the wide version, which ZPacks lists as 61” wide and this is perfect for me (again, this width is now called the “standard” width). I could probably adapt to the thin version, but I imagine that when you fold, they tend to relax and spread at least a little more (that’s why I note my measurements as “standing” ). When I fold inside my bag (when it is completely zipped), the bag races around me with enough space so that I can comfortably carry a puff if necessary and still do not compress any insulation. In addition, I find the conicity of the bag to complete my body shape quite well. From head to foot, the bag suits me pretty much the same: not too tight, but loose enough to move freely, or stick pieces slightly thicker to complete the temperature of the bags. This sleeping bag suits me very comfortably without being too restrictive, or so loose that it has a negative impact on thermal efficiency.
Some online discussions I’ve seen about the ZPacks sleeping bag have seemed to gravitate towards the shape of the foot box. ZPacks chose to use a simple envelope-shaped footbox, which I imagine led to a less complicated construction technique and probably to less wasted materials. I also assume that this design would allow staff to produce these sleeping bags easier (faster) and at a little less cost. Some of the other manufacturers of sleeping bags use a 3D, trapezoidal or anatomically designed footbox that is essentially designed to fit the shape of your feet when they are relaxed. There are advantages to everyone, however, considering the fact that ZPacks is a company that focuses on lightweight and simple but effective parts, I think the envelope-shaped footbox is more suited to their purposes. …
In my experience, I have found no problem or mistake with the wraparound box in the actual use. Of course, when I think about it, it feels a little different from my other sleeping bags, but that does not mean it is less comfortable or even less warm (which actually matters). When I lay down on my back, my feet were not really straight, but rather relax and do a little more. For this reason, the envelope-shaped design worked well, and my feet do not compress down into the sleeping bag enough to make an effort, at all, at all. But it is certainly nothing to think about when deciding the total length of the bag. Based on my height (5’10 “standing), I would say they have already put a foot in the lengths. And as I mentioned earlier, when my sleeping bag is closed on the shoulders, is for me I would say the X-Long would probably be a more appropriate option for me. Other words, at 5’10 “I would say along The version is perfect for me.
If it is cold enough for me to use this bag, I wear my large NeoAir XLite and even a 1/8 “ccf pad, which I either choose below (for protection) or up (for additional felt heat) the XLite that this is a full-length pad, I can not really feel any coldness on the zipper, but it would not surprise me if I did it if the pad is not on something that insulates me from the floor.
As for the terms, I’ve used it in, I’ve described that in some details in the “Real World Use” section above. This post was written in December 2016 and since then I have used this sleeping bag 3 other times, once on a hike and 2 other times during the 2017 ATKO. I can not remember these conditions, right at the top of my head, it was not all so cold, mid-30s or so. I had no trouble with the bag though (and I should not).
My feeling with this quilt (so far) is that for me it is a 20-degree ceiling. For me personally, this means in my tent, with a thin skin layer, and of course a hood. As well as something hydrated, and with a good meal in my stomach. Honestly, if I were planning for temps consistently little ways under 20F, I’d probably go with my helium sleeping bag (although it would be nice to pack a 10F bag … what I had a hard time debate between the 20F and the 10F …)
As with the EN ratings, if I’m not mistaken, I thought I had somewhere (probably on BPL) seen that a few quilts were now rated with the EN rating …? I think I remember a thread that Tim Marshall discussed it … but I could be wrong. In any case, as you mention, EN reviews are not absolute, and while I believe they offer a fair “standard”, I still do not believe that this translates exactly how it works for each of us. There are so many variables involved, it’s hard to really, really nail a particular temperature rating. I know I’ve had a difference as the temperatures have influenced me over different nights in the same bag. Saying all this, I’ve always assumed (regardless of the EN rating) that the “nominal temperature” was covered with all other variables, such as using a suitable underpad, in a tent or shelter, and hydrated, and probably even with a thin skin layer. These are also the requirements for EN ratings.
I will say that I want to use my Zpacks sleeping bag next year on a 20-day JMT hike and have given my (still limited) experiences so far, I feel that I am doing well. I plan to spend several nights on top of (or near) high passports (because I really want to do that!), But it will also be a touch and go thing. I expect that some nights are probably at least at the 20F mark, and maybe even a little under, but I find most will be a little higher. In this light I say that this is a 20F bag for me, considering how I understand it, and what to expect. I can not say that …
I know that I’ve gone everywhere, and still do not really answer your question as you had hoped, but it’s the best thing I can say … I hope that helps something.
For mine, in particular, I think I would survive at 0 with all my down layers, but not happily. If you wanted to take the ZPacks bag down to 0 I would recommend to go with the 10F bag rather than the 20F bag (what I have) and make sure you get it wide enough so that you can layer your down layers inside without compressing them. For me, I wanted this particular bag to take me to around 20F and just under if needed. I believe it will work for me to do that.
All ZPacks sleeping bags come with a dry rubber Cuben Fiber bag. Of course, this bag is meant to “compress” the bag, to carry it in a backpack, not long-term, at home. Unfortunately, ZPacks does not provide storage bags for their quilts, so it is up to you to deliver one, or simply to store the sleeping bag that is laid or suspended. I decided myself to buy War-Mart equipment and sew mine. It is large enough not to compress the sleeping bag, and it is cotton, it breathes the bag to keep it dry.
So I think, pretty much my thoughts on this sleeping bag so far after possessing for several months, and in fact with a handful of times on the ground. I will admit that it took me a few years to pull the trigger on this sleeping bag, but now that I have it, I am very excited that this is part of my arsenal!