Another sleeping bag question . . .

Today, in Sam’s, I came across some “mummy” sleeping bags made by some Swiss company (?), or maybe it’s a Sam’s brand. They were synthetic-filled and appeared to be of high quality for $29.00. In the past, I have only bought less-expensive stuff, or used Army surplus/my old Army gear.

This may be the wrong place to ask this, but we plan on some kayak-camping this year and my old sleeping bag is now doggie-property. I am wondering if this “Swiss” brand (has a white cross logo) is decent. I am not interested in the elitist, most expensive and preppy gear mentality - just good-enough to do the job. After a pretty good run, my last 0 degree bag began to fall apart, but this was in the same price range as the one at Sam’s.

Please, no comments analogous to the Costco posts. I’m an Army veteran and have camped in some fairly extreme conditions with “good-enough” gear over many years. I am just curious to know if what I saw today is a good-enough bag at a good price, or if there are better options.

Thanks for your input . . .

I’m afraid that you get what you pay for
with sleeping bags.

I didn’t read the thread you must be referring to about Costco but if you only want something “good enough” you could do better buying a decent used bag on backpacking forums or ebay.

Name brands don’t necessarily mean anything either but there are some good brands with lower priced bags.

Know that even many of the top brand bags are optimistic by as much as 10 degrees when they rate their bags.

Just my .02.

The probable answer is based on the bag’s loft, longevity of loft, and hopefully no non-disclosed contents that cause allergies. If the synthetic fill is lofty enough to trap air, it will provide warmth. If the first time you wash it, the loft is permanently gone, it is not worth it. The main issue with the cheaper synthetic materials is longevity. Plenty of our kid’s K-Mart acquired sleeping bags were initially lofty but soon became like thin pancakes as the synthetic fill broke down from wear and washing.


– Last Updated: Feb-27-09 10:33 PM EST –

If you buy a new sleeping bag for $29.00 from "anywhere", I don't think it's reasonable to expect that it will be "good enough" for 0 degrees, or anywhere close to that temperature.
0 degrees was the only temp. I saw mentioned by you; that's why I used that temp.

Sleeping bags, and rain gear are 2 things I personally don't want to find out "aren't good enough" when the s--- hits the fan. I don't try to skimp on either.

I didn't read the Costco thread.
I don't consdier myself an elitist.
I am a 12 Army vet, and have spent the better part of 50 years canoeing, backpacking & camping.


did it have a fuzzy liner with
leaping deer? I think I saw that bag. I spent a week sleeping in a Wally World bag in British Columbia a few years ago. There was frost on the tent and in the meadow every morning. We were camped across the Elaho River from a glacier and I was comfy every night. I can’t imagine it being good down to 0 degrees, or rolling tight enough to fit a kayak hatch.

Design Considerations

– Last Updated: Feb-27-09 11:09 PM EST –

A sleeping bag at that price probably does not have a good way of holding the insulation in place or eliminating cold spots. A good bag not only has baffles (numerous internal chambers containing the insulation), but the baffles substantially overlap each other so that none of their seams line up, or worse, are sewn-through. Poor baffling (or none in many cases) means it won't be long before the insulation moves around, creating enormous cold spots. Sewn-through seams will help hold insulation in place, but those seams are always cold spots (how do you like the idea of having 8 or 10 cold spots between your neck and feet?). Another thing you get with a good sleeping bag is differential cut, which means the inner layer is of smaller dimensions than the outer, which prevents your body from creating zones of almost zero-thickness insulation at every location the bag is in tight contact with you (cold spots against your arms, elbows, hips, or your whole back if you curl up a bit when sleeping, are "normal" in a bag with no differential cut). You can't get nice features without paying for them, because a lot of hand labor goes into a good sleeping bag. On the other hand, for $29 you can probably afford it as a temporary gear investment, but there is a lot of cheap gear I personally wouldn't use if someone paid me. Try using a paddle purchased at a place like Dick's Sporting Goods and you'll know exactly what I mean.

buy quality gear
keep it for a long time. or more specifically, think carefully exactly what your needs are (is compressibility an issue?, wash stability? fit? longevity?) and spend no more, no less then neccessary to get what you want, whatever that price is. that may be 30 bucks for a sleeping bag, it may be 300, depends on your specific needs, how you travel, where, how often, expected weather conditions, etc, etc, etc.

Wallyworld bags
I have a very hard time finding a tapered bag that fits around my shoulders. I did manage to get a couple of inexpensive bags that actually fit at Walmart. I think they were even less than $30. I do not expect them to last very long. The zipper does tend to catch the fabric and after one week of use it has a hole in it. You do get what you pay for. Sure, I can probably buy several replacements for what a decent bag would cost but the world really doesn’t need all those bargains in the landfill.

You can get some pretty decent bags that will last much longer for $100 or so.


gear treatment
YOur profile shows you are in NC. You plan on using the bag for kayak camping. Your probable low temp will be in the 40 degree range not 0. You got long service out of your last low cost bag.

Yes the Sams bag should do fine. The construction may not be top quality, but if the zipper and stitching are good, and you treat it gently in stuffing it into its sack, and store it out of its sack, it may well serve you for years. It not the same usage as someone doing 20 winter backpacking trips a year.

Working with Scouts in inner city troops for many years, gear cost was a big factor; and what would work was very important. The temperatures experienced, the pad below the bag, and the treatment of the bag, were big factors in the purchase choice.


go to Rei’s oulet store always has great bags on sale at extreme discounts. And I mean extreme.

Thanks, guys, a lot of good advice (nm)

elitist, expensive, preppy gear
I got tired of a sleeping bag that was so big it would barely fit through the hatch and decided to go with a down-filled bag that packed down small. It’s hard to find a down-filled bag that isn’t “elitist, expensive, preppy gear”, although after waiting and biding my time I was eventually able to find a Big Agnes Lost Ranger on clearance at REI for $70. I think I know what you mean, but “good enough” is in the eye of the beholder. People liken kayak camping to backpacking but say you have so much more room. With a small tent and small sleeping bag and cook ware, I’m already running out of room. “Good enough” in my case meant looking for smaller, more compact stuff.

If …
If you buy a sleeping bag for $29, I think it’s safe to assume it’s not Swiss


I second reioutlet
Don’t waist your $29 on that bag. I’m all for not spending $300 on top of the line backpacking bag. I’d recommend you look at spending between $75-$125 on mid level bag that will truly provide the warmth you need, and last through some use. If you want down over synthetic then you’ll spend a bit more.

Look at Alps Mountaineering bags on REIOUTLET, I got a -15 degree bag for my wife there and it did really down into the 20’s, but would never make it past 0. If you can find a clearenced Marmot, or North Face that would be a good value.

Also check They are smaller retailer then REI, based in north NJ, but they have great gear and some stellar deals.