Top Menu

As we have zero bike touring experience, the concept of how the weight of our gear will affect our travels is hard for us to grasp. All I know is that every single cycle tourist we have read about has started off with too much stuff, and has ultimately ended up sending things home. Since we don’t have a home, I’d like to avoid being forced to do that.

I recently read a comment by someone who said that “ounces add up to pounds.” Surprisingly, that simple statement actually resonated with me. It helped me to visualize the cumulative effect of having a few ounces here, and a few ounces there. I’ll try to keep that in mind as we continue to acquire gear.

Our latest bit of research has focused on sleeping bags. Because I am a side sleeper, and because they are actually lighter than their mummy-bag cousins, we’re looking at quilts instead of sleeping bags, something that until a few months ago I didn’t even know existed. I also think that quilts will be a bit more versatile at different temperatures.

These quilts have made our short list:

If you follow the above links, you’ll see that none of them are inexpensive. But, after cycling an entire day, we’re going to want to sleep comfortably.

Check out my post on tents, another vital component of our sleep system.


  1. How do these save weight over a bag? The zipper? The part over your head? I’ve done a lot of camping, including cold weather camping – I need to fully zip up, even over my head, up to my chin and sleep in a cocoon. Psychologically also, I take comfort in the zip up. And I need at least the cushion of the bag for a pillow. That’s me. What about a pillow? I would not give up my mummy bag on a trip to Alaska for anything. 40F at night is mild but still cold sleeping. YMMV

    • Good question. The link I included may explain it but basically it is the part of the bag that would be underneath you that is dispensed with. Apparently, down fill only has decent R value when it has air around it, and compressing the down when sleeping on it negates much of that. These quilts are designed to be used with a good sleeping pad though, one that has reasonable R value itself. As for the cocoon thing, that just would not work for me.

  2. Hey Mike,
    Take a look at the Enlightened Equipment Revelation quilts as well. In my research of thru hiking the Appalachian Trail this bag keeps coming up as the top pick. Similar weights as the Zpack. Obviously the pack weight goals of a long distance thru hiker would be similar to those of a long distance touring cyclist. I don’t have personal experience with either brand but the Enlightened Equipment Revelation & the ZPack were the two on the top of my list after reading tons of reviews and blogs. Happy trails.

  3. Strike that Mike. It looks like that one is on your short list as well. I guess I should of ready your picks a little closer.

  4. I like the sniveller just for the name. Then when it is a tough day and you have had enough you will be allowed to snivell.

  5. Hi Mike,

    I don’t know if you have looked at anything to do with Ray Jardine, he wass one of the earlier pioneers of trimming down his pack weight. His website might give you some ideas as he has been quite the outdoor adventure junkie.

    Best Regards


  6. Just remember that you have to keep down dry. That’s not always easy. Second, you are going to need to swap bags–the weather will change.

    The pad is nearly as important to warmth as the bag, and after a long day of hard work, NOTHING is more valuable than a big, thick pad. Just remember that the nice thick Thermarest pads will begin to leak and will need replaced. It’s worth it. Maybe this is just me, but I like a good bed. I recover much better, since the muscles can actually relax.

    A thicker pad means a lighter sleeping bag. Conversely, a spindly pad means a heavier bag. Often the thick pad doesn’t actually cost you anything. I did a lot of mountaineering with a 40F down bag and a thick pad. It looked funny to some, but that sub-2-pound bag was quite warm on top of that pad.

    I used to do climbing trips deep in the mountains, where we would hike for days with the full backpacking kit AND full big-wall climbing kit. We were brutal on weight. I’d cut off extra straps, trim hems, shorten tooth brush handles, and weigh clothes. Nothing can be off limits, and challenge everything you think you know. I gave up a lot of little things for a thicker pad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.