Thank you amper!

Iím choosing synthetic over down for contingency gear. Down has its advantages to be sure, but I want to carry gear that doesnít need to be stored uncompressed, and that doesnít degrade in performance so much when wet. Were I backpacking regularly, I might choose differently.

After my first post I bought a Recon 3 sleeping bag rated down to 23deg F. I havenít tried it out yet; itís a heck of a lot smaller than the milsurp sleep system. Itís the smallest-packed-size synthetic bag I could find with that kind of rating. As far as I can tell thatís the ďyou wonít dieĒ rather than the ďcomfortĒ rating. With an already-owned synthetic camping blanket, a watch cap and good base layer Iím optimistic that I could get down somewhat lower than that at need.

For a sleeping pad, I wanted the best balance I could find between insulation, comfort, bulk, and cost. For bulk I really wanted to stay with an inflatable; thatís how I ended up where I did.

I thought long and hard about a hammock setup. In the end I chose not to carry one, as Iím not confident that Iíd always be in a place where I could find a place to hang it. For planned backpacking, I could really see where Iíd want to have one.

We use poly tarps for car camping and have been super happy with how they perform.