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MarkDHorn
01-17-2014, 22:10
I own a 20 degree REI Polar Pod synthetic bag. I would prefer a down bag for the weight, compression size, and warmth. However, the money savings is also a big consideration.

Any recommendations for making synthetic warmer or should I fork over the cash for down.

HooKooDooKu
01-17-2014, 22:43
Wow, I can't believe the specs on the REI Polar Pod... a 3-1/2# bag for only $70. About the only down is the pack size (11"x17").

For making your existing bag warmer, the only thing I can think to do is add a liner. But I don't know how much warmth a liner is really going to add, and many of the better quality ones don't have any zippers. I've also heard others complain about the liner bunching up on them.

If you are looking for a new bag, the best thing I've come across is the Mountain Hardwear UltraLamina. For a synthetic bag, it packs down pretty tight. The 32 bag packs down to 6"x10" and weighs about 2#, while the 15 bag packs down to 7"x10" and weights about 3#.

If you were interested in a size Long, Sierra Trading Post has several of the 2012 models still in stock at a clearance price. The quoted price on the web size is $200 (full price for a 2013 model is closer to $275), but it's easy to find coupons online (or sign up for their deal flyer and they will send you coupons) to take between 20% to 35% off of that price. Unfortunately, they typically charge for shipping (which adds about $12), but I recently got a coupon (now expired) that was 35% off and free shipping... I was able to purchase one of these for $130.

w00dchuck
01-19-2014, 14:53
Here's my two cents. I starred with a good synthetic bag but the weight and size became so important almost immediately I changed to an 800 fill brand name down bag. My down bag outperforms its similarly rated synthetic hands down when the weather recall gets crispy. I have a cheap stove. I buy hiking shirts where I can find em. I don't wear expensive fleece. But my tent, sleeping bag, and pack are top of the line. YMMV

Hikes in Rain
01-19-2014, 15:55
Instead of the liner, you might get better warmth and double duty by sleeping in your long underwear. Maybe add a down or synthetic vest or light jacket as the temperature keeps dropping.

Wise Old Owl
01-19-2014, 19:07
First and foremost this is a backpacking blog.. IF you can afford it, don't get the cheapest one. - go with a reputable dealer. With care the bag will last a lifetime. Don't be afraid to go to the store and get inside and lay down on the floor - size matters.

The scouts will take your old bag or you can use it for back of car camping, or donate to a child. No regrets _ I dumped all my synthetic bags on the scouts because there are parents very much like me that cannot afford to get their kids good bags for camping.