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9107 Mendenhall Mall Rd. #301 



The winner for our $25 Nugget Alaskan Outfitter Gift Certificate in APRIL is 
Sarah Shoemaker.

Winners are selected from those of you who receive and open our monthly e-newsletter. It doesn't matter when or how you signed up for our e-mail club - if you are on our email list you are a potential winner each month, Yeah! 

We are aware that your email accounts receive a lot of daily mail, in an attempt to reduce our impact on your inbox, we have extended our weekly coupons to coupons that are good for a two week period and instead of sending out a separate email to announce the monthly winner, we will combine that good news with our monthly e-newsletter.

If you have any suggestions on how we can improve our e-newsletters and coupons or if there is a topic that you would like to see covered - please let us know. We appreciate and value your feedback!

It is hard to beat Mother Nature when it comes to creating the perfect moisture wicking, insulating, and environmentally friendly products. After all it has taken thousands of years of trial and error to get to this point of perfection. Here are a few examples...



The bends, or crimp, in wool fibers trap pockets of air which act as insulators against both cold and heat - Bedouins wear thin wool to keep them cool, Alaskan's wear wool to keep warm and dry. Since wool can absorb liquids, up to 35% of its own weight, wool efficiently absorbs and disperses the water lost through perspiration during exercise, leaving you drier. (Look for Icebreaker and Smartwool products)



Silk is by far the most comfortable, soft, smooth, and responsive natural material. Silk is a porous fiber allowing the material to breathe and evaporate moisture, while naturally adjusting to the temperature of your body to prevent overheating.  Silk is a light naturally hypoallergenic fiber that provides warmth without bulk. (Look for Terramar base layers and Sea to Summit Silk Travel liners for sleeping bags)



Each ounce of high quality down has about 2 million fluffy filaments that interlock and overlap to form a protective layer of still air that keeps warmth in and cold out. Down gives approximately three times the warmth per ounce as synthetics. Far less down is needed by weight than other fillings, which means a much lighter, but warmer product.


Although all three of these materials have greater mechanical strength, lower weights and more durability than their synthetic counterparts, most Alaskan's shy away from down. This is because when down gets wet, it loses its loft and starts to form heavy clumps, thereby losing its insulating properties. Two of our vendors have come up with a treatment for down that makes it water resistant.


Marmot (Down Defender) and Big Agnes (DownTek) use treated down in many of their down jackets and sleeping bags to help them stay drier longer, maintain their loft better and dry faster than conventional untreated down items.  You will find water resistant down products rated at the top of the list in many outdoor magazines and they are a great choice for Southeast Alaska. At NAO we carry Marmot and Big Agnes bags in down and synthetic with temperature ratings of 0 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Choosing a Sleeping Bag

Choosing the right sleeping bag can be intimidating, with so many varieties of sleeping bags on the market. A warm and comfortable bag can make or break a good night's sleep, no matter where you are. The first thing to consider when choosing a bag is what you will be using the bag for, whether it will be for backpacking or car camping trips. Backpacking bags focus on minimizing weight, while sleeping bags for car or family camping are all about comfort. Finding a bag that's right for you has a lot to do with where and when you plan to sleep in that bag and what type of metabolism you have. Here is a quick guide on what to look for...

  • Temperature rating: Choose a bag rated for the coldest temperature you expect to encounter. The European Norm (EN) testing protocol is internationally accepted as a dependable standard available for rating sleeping bags. Because individuals have varying metabolic rates, you might sleep warmer than your hiking partner. Women, on average, have been scientifically proven to sleep colder than men, as a result EN ratings are based on what would keep the average woman warm. The comfort ratings are based on the sleeper wearing a base layer, a hat, and sleeping on a single 1"-thick insulating pad. Keep in mind that different people sleep differently, consider whether or not you are a hot or cold sleeper when choosing a bag temperature.
  • Type of insulation: Your choices for Southeast Alaska are synthetic or the newer water-repellent down. Synthetic fills excel in damp, cold conditions and have less sticker shock up front. They are slightly heavier, less breathable and less compressible than down. Down fills are very light, compressible, durable and breathable. While initially more expensive, they offer great long-term value. However, if down bags get wet (even the water repellent down), they will not keep you as warm as they would when they are dry.
  • Weight and size: When backpacking, you want to keep weight low without jeopardizing comfort or safety. For some, low weight overrides other concerns (durability, convenience, price). For others, weight is less important than having a roomy bag for a good night's sleep. Sleeping bags typically come in two main shapes, mummy and rectangular. The mummy bags are much better at keeping you warm, they are lighter and more technically oriented for folks who are counting every ounce. The rectangular bags are wider throughout, giving you more room to move.

These factors will also influence your warmth and comfort:

  • Sleeping pad: This insulates the space beneath your bag and adds cushioning. On the bottom side of some bags, the pad actually replaces the insulation. We will discuss pads in our next newsletter.
  • Tent: Using a tent or bivy sack traps a layer of air around you, warming it by up to 10°F.
  • Clothing: Long underwear and wool socks help insulate you while also keeping body oils off of your bag. We also sell bag liners which help increase your bag temperature rating.
  • Hood or Hat: Covering you head with a hat or sleeping bag hood will help you to retain warmth.
  • Hydration and nutrition: Since Metabolism rates do have an impact on sleeping comfort it is important to eat well and stay hydrated. 
Big Agnes Sleeping Systems

Marmot and Big Agnes both manufacture great sleeping bags, however, Big Agnes developed a sleeping bag/pad system that is very different than the classic sleeping bag, so I wanted to present their unique design in this newsletter. 


The classic sleeping bag design includes insulation on the bottom of the bag, but when you lay down on this layer of insulation it becomes compressed and loses most of its ability to insulate. Big Agnes  eliminates the unnecessary bottom insulation and replaces it with a sleeve to accommodate an insulated sleeping pad.The top two-thirds of the bag is insulated in the traditional style, so not only do you have a pad that won't slide around on you, but it is so comfortable you won't even remember that you are supposed to be ruffing it.



Big Agnes System Bags
Big Agnes System Bags


 "Once you close your lids, roll your eyes back, and start snoring, it doesn't matter what type of sleeping acrobatics you perform throughout the night or how many times you roll over, you will always have the top half of the sleeping bag on the top, and the pad right underneath you. Plus you will wake up on the same side of the tent you went to sleep on!" by Pablo Velasco -The Leader, Summer 2001, Vol. 16, No. 3

"I'd like to thank Big Agnes for the opportunity to test the Lost Ranger sleeping bag, it was a joy to test, and I've been very pleased with all aspects of the sleeping bag. I'll definitely be using this bag for many years to come." Test Report by Andrew Buskov, August 20, 2007

 "On several occasions I woke up and started fumbling for my lamp next to my bed. I thought I was at home in my own bed! Never was I cold and I was always comfortable. Thanks for such an excellent product." Anonymous customer
Nugget Alaskan Outfitter | 907-789-0956 | |
9107 Mendenhall Mall Rd Ste 301
Juneau, AK 99801

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