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In the context of a long hike (AT, PCT, CDT, LT, etc.):

What are the advantages and disadvantages of double sleeping bags over two individual sleeping bags? How do they compare to single sleeping bags that can mate?

Which solution can keep you warmer? How much warmer? Which solution yields a lower packed weight?

Essentially, what are the main differences and criteria that should be taken into consideration when choosing a two person sleep system?

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Another possibility, advocated by Ray Jardine in his book Beyond Backpacking, is a down quilt. – Ben Crowell Mar 4 '14 at 3:21
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The only real difference is that in a one piece double you don't have zips so the insulation is evenly distributed. The zips add some weight over a one piece but not much - it also won't pack quite as small but has the advantage that it can be split across two packs.

Where you have zips, the insulation has gaps. So if you are going somewhere really cold, you might want to go with a one piece.

I far prefer the two pieces that mate together because I carry a much higher temperature than my wife so I like the fact I can unzip and roll my side down to my waist if need be.

Also easier to pop in the washing machine :-)

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This answer is mostly on comfort, for more technical/practical considerations, please consult Rory's answer above.

I can express opinion about this double sleeping bag. enter image description here

  • Cheap, which affects it's other characteristics.
  • Weights 3.6 kg, takes up most of the space in a large (60+)l backpack.
  • Warmth is about the same as my single 3-season sleeping back.
  • Putting insulation pads underneath is a little awkward, as the sleeping bag is quite large.
  • Sleeping in the correct temperature (maybe down to 5 degrees Centigrade) is very comfortable. It feels like a large bed, in which one can move freely. Actually the bag can probably fit 3 persons.
  • Because it is so spacy, there is some air movement inside (i.e. less warm than an individual mummy bag), which can be good or bad.

Overall, it is equivalent to two separate sleeping bags. On a serious journey I would not take it, as

  • Finding even ground for two (actually more like three) sleeping bags is harder than finding two individual good spots to put the sleeping bags.
  • None of the advantages of mummy-style sleeping bags.
  • At the end of an exhausting day one rarely has the energy to hug the sweaty and filthy other person.

On the other hand, for leisurely weekend trips in warm weather this provides the ultimate comfort and intimacy with the loved one.

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