Well, it’s still not summer of 2018… so I am left to continue to dream, and to plan, for our future JMT hike. A couple of weeks ago I posted about the cook kits that my son and I will be using on this hike, and today I want to share with you our sleeping systems, or at least the core components of our sleeping systems… By this I mean our sleeping pads and our sleeping “bags” or other similar items. While I do briefly discuss supplemental items, such as clothing, this post will highlight only the core pieces of our kit, and other items will be discussed in future posts. So on with it!
In my research, I quickly learned that the High Sierra summers are quite a bit different from our Southeastern US summers… Here in July, I typically can’t take off enough clothing to get comfortable… and then I tend to sweat so much that I stick to everything! From what I gather about the Sierra’s though, the July nights can drop into the 20’s (F), and it’s not completely unheard of to dip into the teens! So, with this in mind, I decided that we would need to carry a system that would keep us warm to around 20F, but (and of course) that it needed to be lightweight! The choice was a rather simple one for me!
I have long since been a fan of the NeoAir sleeping pads. While some complain that they are way to noisy (which I don’t disagree… although to a much lesser degree than most say), I find that they provide me with the best nights sleep when out in the backcountry over any other method/pad I have tried. For me, it’s comfortable, warm, and the lightest air pad option that I care for. As well, my son too has now used both, the Exped SynMat UL7 and the NeoAir XLite, and he too prefers the XLite!
I will be using the large NeoAir XLite (since this is the pad I already have), and I picked up the regular size from REI a few weeks ago for my son. In addition to the XLite’s, we will both also carry a ~20″ x 60″ wide, 1/8″ thick, CCF pad (from Lawson Kline a few years back – no longer available). These CCF pads will pull double/triple duty though… We will carry them outside our pack’s for easy access during the day to use as full length sit down/lay down pads, and then at night they can go under our XLite’s to provide additional protection, or on top of the XLite’s to provide additional warmth.
While the XLite’s will be keeping our bottom’s warm, we have decided to go with the 20F Zpacks Sleeping Bag as our top insulation. As I have mentioned before, the Zpacks bags are actually a hybrid between a sleeping bag and a quilt. They do not feature a hood, however, they do include a 3/4 length zipper, without a draft tube (although one can be added), which by design should be located at the bottom of the bag (as opposed to the side, or the top). This design allows me to zip myself up inside the bag for those coldest nights (as with a traditional sleeping bag), or unzip the bag and drape it over me on warmer nights (as with a traditional quilt). For me, this design is more versatile than either a traditional sleeping bag, or a traditional quilt. And yes, they weigh very little too! (Check them out almost blowing away in the video above…)
Thankfully, I already owned my own Zpacks sleeping bag, however, this was one item I needed to pick up for my son. But, I lucked up at the ATKO17 last weekend and got a new one with “cosmetic issues” (which I still can’t find) for $100 off normal price! Score!! 🙂
Besides this, I will be carrying my trusty GooseFeet Gear down pillowcase with the Exped UL Air Pillow inside it. I need a pillow to sleep, and for me, this has been the best option I have used to date. My son is young, and obviously he does not require a pillow… LOL…
So, here is a break down of our sleeping systems with weights:
Stick’s Sleeping System
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite (Large): 15.5 oz
- Lawson Kline’s 1/8″ CCF Pad (~20×60″): 2.7 oz
- Zpacks 20F Sleeping Bag: 19.5 oz
- Exped UL Air Pillow: 2.05 oz
- GooseFeet Gear Down Pillow Case: 1.61 oz
- Total Weight: 41.36 oz or 2.59 lbs
Burnt Rice’s Sleep System
- Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite (Regular): 11.9 oz
- Lawson Kline’s 1/8″ CCF Pad (~20×60″): 2.8 oz
- Zpacks 20F Sleeping Bag: 20.4 oz
- Total Weight: 35.1 oz or 2.19 lbs
So, these are our core components to our sleeping systems. As I mentioned above, we will also have some clothing that can supplement these pieces if necessary, or more likely, we will use to keep our sleeping bags clean (yes, that means we will be carrying “sleeping clothes”). And as I mentioned, this will be covered in future posts… So, be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the series covering different systems for our future JMT hike! And of course, feel free to leave any information that would be helpful for our hike!
Till next time, thanks everyone, and happy hiking! 🙂
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the companies listed above. I am not getting paid in any way, from any one, to present this post. This is a reflection of my thoughts, and plans for what is to come!