Lightweight Sleeping Bags That Zip Together?

Old Jan 4th, 2014, 01:44 AM
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Lightweight Sleeping Bags That Zip Together?

Hello! We are a couple about to embark on a year long journey to Europe. We will be traveling out of our packs, and we have a few questions about what choice in sleeping bags to make. We will be staying in hostels/couchsurfing a lot of the time, but there will also be a lot of tent camping along the way. Since we are traveling as a couple, it is essential that they zip together. We would like them to be as light as possible, but at the same time we want to get the most warmth out of the weight that we can carry.

1. Would you recommend getting waterproof bags? We've heard a lot about waterproof bags trapping moisture inside them, and having problems when it's really cold out, but we're also concerned about the frequent rainy days in Europe.

2. Should we go with down or synthetic material?

3. We've read that a bag with a left zipper will zip with a bag with a right zipper - is there any way to determine a left/right zip through online ordering? Our local outdoor outfitters are very sparse.

4. Are sleeping pads necessary? Are they only for warmth, or do they aid in comfort as well?

5. We've seen a lot of variations in temperature ratings of sleeping bags. We aren't trying to camp in blizzards, but do we need to go for a zero degree bag for camping in the fall/winter in Europe?

We would love to know any options and opinions you have to give. As far as price goes, we'd like to hear about the top of the line gear but realistically, we are traveling on a budget and are more likely to purchase something in the mid-range.

Thanks so much in advance,
Kat & Joseph
ItsTheWater is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2014, 06:19 AM
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Welcome to Fodors. Not many posters read this board, you will likely get more answers on the Europe board. However, very, very few Fodors posters on any board tent camp in Europe. You will be more likely to find people who do that on Lonely Planet's thorntree, or on a camping site (I don't know of any, but I'm sure you can find some on the internet).

Also, what nationality are you? Do you know about the Schengen limits on how long you can stay in many of the European countries? If you are American you are limited to 90 days out of 180 in all of the Schengen countries combined.

I grew up in England. I would not tent camp in northern Europe in winter. I would have doubts about doing it in southern Europe. I suggest that you post your itinerary on the Europe board and get some advice about weather. With the hostel/couch surfing options available now I have serious doubts that it is worth hauling camping gear around Europe, unless you are planning on some long distance hiking. Note that you will often not be able to use sleeping bags in hostels.
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Old Jan 4th, 2014, 07:58 AM
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I agree with everything thursdaysd said. What nationality are you? Unless you are european yourselves - if you haven't nailed down your visas (unlikely for couch surfing-type visits) what you want to do isn't possible. Plus most tent campsites are very seasonal.

What sleeping bags to get would be the LEAST of your concerns. But for that, check out the nearest REI they have experts on staff to advise you.
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Old Jan 6th, 2014, 09:53 AM
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This forum attracts primarily your average tourist ItstheWater as noted above. Few are going to be knowledgeable about what you need to know about in regards to camping and sleeping bags etc. As it happens I am one exception.

The problem is that your post raises as many questions as it asks and indicates a lack of knowledge in several areas that will be of importance to you and so makes it difficult to know where to begin to advise you.

I would suggest you first take a step back. What you know is that you want to travel for a year in Europe and have thought of camping as a way to save on costs.

So the first thing to do is find out if that is feasible. Don't ASSUME it is and get into the details of sleeping bags. That's a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.

To begin with, you need to state what passports you hold. There are restrictions as noted above on how long you can spend in a country based on that. So question one, what passports do you and your partner have?

Next, what it is practical to expect in terms of hostels, couchsurfing and camping as a means of keeping costs down. That requires you to say what budget you hope to do this year of travel on. There is no point in discussing details if your budget is totally unrealistic to begin with no matter what you do. So question two, how much money do you plan to have available for this trip per person and what does the amount have to cover?

Answer those two questions to begin with and if they work out then the details can come later.

Briefly, you don't want a waterproof bag; you should go with synthetic; left and right zip together bags are easily found in medium price range bags; you need sleeping pads if camping; temperature ratings are not standardized and so somewhat meaningless but a 3 season bag from a reputable maker will be fine in any case. There's no point going into more detail than that for now.

As for other forums to try, I see no point in doing that until you have something to post on them. Right now, this is as good a place as any to start with. You have 3 readers who have knowledge of travel in Europe and one of whom at least has experience with camping and camping gear if that becomes part of a viable plan.
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Old Jan 7th, 2014, 12:58 PM
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Some hostels don't allow sleeping bags.
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