After a hard day hunting and a fine meal cooked over the campfire, a deerhunter requires a good night’s sleep in order to be able to rise refreshed and fit, ready for the next day in the field.
Pick a bag for the worst case scenario. The low temperatures experienced in the Trinity Alps, Marble Mountains or Sierra Nevada’s, during the winter demand a good quality sleeping bag. One that will withstand temperatures well below zero, keep the hunter warm with a minimum of bulk and will withstand the rigours of hard use that are inevitable in the mountains.
There are two types of suitable sleeping bags for the hunter—down and synthetic. A down bag is more compact, but useless if wet. A synthetic bag is bulkier and heavier but will still be useable if wet. Whatever you buy, make sure it is rated at least to minus 10 and preferably minus 20 or even minus 30. If one finds it too hot, one can always leave the one side unzipped.
A quality bag will last many years with a minimum of care and ensure the hunter of a good night’s rest and no worries in sub-zero alpine temperatures. A silk or nylon inner sheet will keep the bag clean, add a few degrees warmth, and allow you more ease of movement within the bag. If you have your bag dry cleaned, make sure you air it for at least a week before using it.
Damp is the enemy of a good night’s sleep. If your sleeping bag gets wet you will be miserable or worse, hypothermic. You need to keep the bag dry. If you are vehicle based, a groundsheet and tarp, or a floored tent will work well. If you are backpacking a lightweight tent is the answer. An emergency tent such as a tube tent (and parachute cord), is also a useful survival tool to have in your day pack as an aid to sleeping dry should it be necessary to spend the night out in the wilderness.
A good selection of sleeping bags for every occasion can be found at: