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  1. #1
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    Sleeping Bag + 11 Days in Africa in 7kg - A45 or A30?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm delighted to have found these forums and hope all you experts can give me some advice! I'm a pretty good minimalist packer, but for my next trip I'll be camping in Africa and need to bring my own sleeping bag. I have a very compact bag that only weighs 2lbs, but per South Africa luggage restrictions, my carry on can only weigh 7kg, plus a very small personal item (will use that for camera, charger, other assorted items). I'm not too worried about clothes, as I'm good at rewearing/doing laundry. Would the A45 be the best bag for this? I like the A30 and would otherwise choose that if it wasn't for the sleeping bag.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Hi @runningtravels and welcome to the Forums!

    Sounds like an exciting trip - I hope you eventually post pics of your packout

    The weight difference between the A45 and A30 isn't much... so if you go with the A45 for space, you may want to consider shaving ounces by buying a Halcyon version, removing the internal tie downs in the main compartment, etc.

    Look at REI or similar to get a good compression sack for the sleeping bag that balances the weight vs size...even scrunched down, sleeping bags are bulky.

    Since you're already a minimalist packer, let us know if you have specific concerns once you do a test pack


    ETA: The Guide's Pack is about the same weight (less extra pockets) as the A45 in Halcyon... if you're schlepping a long way, you may prefer that, but I like the 'live out of' convenience of the Aeronauts
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  3. #3
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    Thank you so much for your response! It sounds like the A45 is indeed the best bag- good tip on the Halcyon, I'll probably end up with that over ballistic. With some clever packing (using a lot of tips from this forum!) I'm really hoping it won't be overpacked even with a sleeping bag. I think I've decided on a compression sack, but maybe I'll get the A45 first and then figure out the max size I can get.

    I do like the Guide's Pack (and didn't realize it was basically the same weight, which is amazing!) but I'm trying to avoid something with a frame if I can- not great for all the tight spots it'll be shoved into on a truck once I arrive. I think the A45 is the winner here.

    Thank you again for your help!

  4. #4
    Forum Member PaulT00's Avatar
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    You may need to be a bit careful over weight with an A45... one of that design's defining characteristics is that there is always room for one more thing, and the last thing you need is to compress a sleeping bag down to a size which fits nicely and leaves enough room, only to discover that you've gone over the weight limit. A full (or relatively so) A45 could exceed 7Kg very easily, and won't argue much as you add more stuff to it. It really depends on exactly how bulky the compressed sleeping bag packs down and how much other stuff you need to fit alongside - from a dimensional point of view rather than a weight perspective; could you fit everything in an A30, or is it likely to be a complete non-starter?

    (plus, the A45 notionally exceeds some airlines' maximum carry-on dimensions, although if it's underpacked that isn't always a problem)

    I'm also voting with @G42 on the live-out-of convenience of the Aeronauts whichever size, by the way. I tried downsizing slightly to a Guide's Edition Synapse 25 for work trips, but the top loading backpack design defeated me from a getting-to-everything-easily perspective. Beautiful bag for a suitably sized EDC, but not one to live out of while travelling - at least in my view; but my A30 works like a small portable wardrobe, everything is easily get-at-able with the bag sitting on the floor or a chair or table or the end of the bed, so I find there is no need to really unpack over a multi-day trip.

    Whichever one you go for, you might want to think about getting the frame sheet too, which gives the bag a bit more structure. An A45 will never behave like an external-framed backpack however you look at it - but the frame sheet will help to stop it sagging and might make it more comfortable to carry.
    A45CC K CQPC 3DCCGES25 SK SCBQKTTMCBLSB TT TSS4 PCSBSCBTT CQPC PQBPQK LT SETT 3DCCQKS19 TT P3DCCTS PP BBLCBCP TTRi QK NFTD A30DLBC

  5. #5
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    good points @PaulT00... made me think of something else...

    @runningtravels - check the itinerary and see when the weight restriction actually is required... if you finish the organized part of the trip and end up back at the departure city/int'l airport with time to sight-see or whatever, you may find that you're now only subject to the departing airline weight/size limits, which may mean you can pick up souvenirs/gifts on your last day out and fit them into the A45 or whatever

    as much as I love my A30, I find that I upsize to the A45 whenever I need to pack my work boots - and mentally I think that's a similar volume to a compressed lightweight sleeping bag...

    the kicker is always to ensure you pay attention to that overall weight and do not use the extra space the A45 gives you... the other bonus that people often like about the underpacking of an A45 is that you don't have to be quite so precise when living out of it/repacking
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  6. #6
    Forum Member ClicketySnap's Avatar
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    Do you have the sleeping bag already? If not, what kind of temperatures/conditions will the sleeping bag be required for? I can think of a few to recommend that will pack down very small and very light, but they're geared towards people who will get a lot of use out of them (hikers) and can justify the $300-$600 price tag. To me, the sleeping bag will be the key element for you deciding which bag.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    good points @PaulT00... made me think of something else...

    @runningtravels - check the itinerary and see when the weight restriction actually is required... if you finish the organized part of the trip and end up back at the departure city/int'l airport with time to sight-see or whatever, you may find that you're now only subject to the departing airline weight/size limits, which may mean you can pick up souvenirs/gifts on your last day out and fit them into the A45 or whatever

    as much as I love my A30, I find that I upsize to the A45 whenever I need to pack my work boots - and mentally I think that's a similar volume to a compressed lightweight sleeping bag...

    the kicker is always to ensure you pay attention to that overall weight and do not use the extra space the A45 gives you... the other bonus that people often like about the underpacking of an A45 is that you don't have to be quite so precise when living out of it/repacking
    Yes thank you @PaulT00 for your advice! Some salient points for sure. Unfortunately the 7kg is for the airline, so it will be the same on the departing trip. I do really like your point about not having to be so precise each day, just when flying with it- that's a definite plus for me, as I will be in a place every day or so. And gives me more incentive to underpack, even with the A45...

    Quote Originally Posted by ClicketySnap View Post
    Do you have the sleeping bag already? If not, what kind of temperatures/conditions will the sleeping bag be required for? I can think of a few to recommend that will pack down very small and very light, but they're geared towards people who will get a lot of use out of them (hikers) and can justify the $300-$600 price tag. To me, the sleeping bag will be the key element for you deciding which bag.
    This was my biggest struggle, as I couldn't justify those prices. I went with the Alps Mountineering Quest 20 (which I got for half off), as it is supposed to pack down very small. Does that sound reasonable? It'll be late spring in Africa, so can get to about 30F at night. With the use of a compression sack, I'm really hoping the compress-ability reviews I read hold true!

  8. #8
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    My only experience with compression sacks for sleeping bags is that you end up with a hard little bundle that's hard to pack. While I have a 20* sleeping bag that compresses down to about 2/3 of a loaf of bread, I have neither an A30 or A45 to try it out for you...

    I wonder if you could just roll it and stuff it into one of the end pockets?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tress29 View Post

    I wonder if you could just roll it and stuff it into one of the end pockets?
    Ugh that would be great!! I'll see how small I can get my bag and double check the end pocket dimensions. That might be a great solution.

  10. #10
    Forum Member ClicketySnap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runningtravels View Post
    This was my biggest struggle, as I couldn't justify those prices. I went with the Alps Mountineering Quest 20 (which I got for half off), as it is supposed to pack down very small. Does that sound reasonable? It'll be late spring in Africa, so can get to about 30F at night. With the use of a compression sack, I'm really hoping the compress-ability reviews I read hold true!
    definitely not a brand I've heard of, but for minimal use it will probably work just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by tress29 View Post
    My only experience with compression sacks for sleeping bags is that you end up with a hard little bundle that's hard to pack. While I have a 20* sleeping bag that compresses down to about 2/3 of a loaf of bread, I have neither an A30 or A45 to try it out for you...

    I wonder if you could just roll it and stuff it into one of the end pockets?
    Actually most of the well-known hikers don't use compression sacks at all these days. Every video I've ever watched of these people loading their backpacks or breaking camp, they stuff the sleeping bag into their backpack with no stuff sack or compression sack of any kind. It fills up the spaces better, and is arguably better for the life expectancy of their sleeping bag. I'd maybe try kind of folding the sleeping bag into a shape that will fit into the bottom of the Aeronaut, and squashing it down with the tie straps.

  11. #11
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    You may have quite strict size requirements if you are flying small planes to get to your ultimate destination. Well worth checking if this applies to you. Some planes can only accept bags with a cross section of 12 x 10 inches or less, which would make the A45 too big.

    I can get 7kg in a 20 litre duffel bag, so I second what other folk have said about being aware of the potential for overpacking in a larger bag and all the comments on sleeping bag selection.


    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    I think you had probably better go with the A45, unless you are bringing hardly anything besides the sleeping bag. This is my A30 with an old 600-fill down women's sleeping bag in a stuff sack in it. No way it would fit in the end pockets. (It was a battle getting that puff bomb in its stuff sack!)
    Sleeping Bag + 11 Days in Africa in 7kg - A45 or A30?-img_3425-jpeg

  13. #13
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    Almost all of my flying is done on airlines with a 7kg carry-on restriction. My halcyon A30 weighs 7kg when packed comfortably full, not absolutely packed tight. I think an A45 would have to be very underpacked, maybe the end compartments empty, to remain under 7kg.

    I've just come back from Japan, where it's late winter/early spring, to New Zealand. I took a knee-length down coat with me and packed that into a compression bag. The key to packing is to fold it, not roll it. I folded the coat so that it was the size of the central compartment of the A30, then put it into the compression bag and pressed down on it to exclude the air. I ended up with a flat parcel that sat tidily on top of everything else in the A30, meaning that it was easy to take out when I arrived in Japan and needed to use it.
    A30 in original halcyon/wasabi. Side Kick in verde/northwest sky and cloud/viridian, Pop Tote in Mars Red, Travel Cubelet in Mars Red, A30 packing cube backpack in northwest sky, large travel tray in sitka, packing cubes, pouches and cubelets

  14. #14
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denises View Post
    I took a knee-length down coat with me and packed that into a compression bag. The key to packing is to fold it, not roll it. I folded the coat so that it was the size of the central compartment of the A30, then put it into the compression bag and pressed down on it to exclude the air. I ended up with a flat parcel that sat tidily on top of everything else in the A30, meaning that it was easy to take out when I arrived in Japan and needed to use it.
    Thank you! I have a couple of compression packing cubes and they have always ended up bulging so much in the middle that it didn't seem like it was worth using them. I'll try them again sometime and use this method instead of what I was doing before (rolling).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by svea View Post
    I think you had probably better go with the A45, unless you are bringing hardly anything besides the sleeping bag. This is my A30 with an old 600-fill down women's sleeping bag in a stuff sack in it. No way it would fit in the end pockets. (It was a battle getting that puff bomb in its stuff sack!)
    Sleeping Bag + 11 Days in Africa in 7kg - A45 or A30?-img_3425-jpeg
    This is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for, thank you soo much for your help! I think I'll go with the A45 and try to underpack it.

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