View Full Version : down versus synthetic

05-01-2014, 12:03
I am wondering which sleeping bag to get for my thru hike. I am leaning toward a down sleeping bag because of the weight issue but I am worried about the dampness of the trail. Any wisdom??? Looking at Cat's Meow or Mountain Hardwear Phathom.

05-01-2014, 12:08
Some makers are using a treatment on their down which makes it more resistant to moisture, such as Sierra Designs Dri-Down. This means it will retain some of it's insulating properties if it gets moist, I'm told. Might be worth researching. I'm not thru hiker, but I do prefer down because I like to keep things light. I pack my sleeping bag or down blanket sometimes) in a Sea to Summit 13L roll top dry bag.

05-01-2014, 12:33
If you use a water-resistant stuff sack and a pack liner and/or cover, the likelihood of getting your sleeping bag wet is very very low.

05-01-2014, 12:56
I personally use a synthetic bag... but that is because my primary hiking is done in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, a place where the humidity is so high, I've been told by an experienced back-packer that a down bag will absorb moisture right out of the air... adding to its weight.

However, the bulk of the AT isn't the GSMNP... so high humidity likely will not be an issue for the bulk of your hike.

But if you do decide you want to go with a synthetic, I would suggest looking into Mountain Hardware Ultralamina Series. Here's a comparison:
Cat's Meow 20 - 2lbs 11oz Total Wt - 9"x17" stuff sack $160 (Campmor)
Ultralamina 15 - 2lbs 13 oz Total Wt - 7"x13" stuff sack $220 (Campmor)

As you can see, the Ultralamina weights about the same, is quoated as a slightly warmer bag, yet stuffs MUCH smaller than the Cat's Meow.

05-01-2014, 14:06
I would use down, but just be careful with it so it does not get wet.

05-01-2014, 15:17
Thanks everyone

05-01-2014, 15:41
Yeah, the only time I was happy that I had a synthetic bag was in SMNP - I was a little careless on a rainy, rainy day it ended up soaked. It still kept me warm down to 20 degrees. Other than that, I would have preferred a 20 deg down bag (already had the synthetic and didn't want to drop the money on a down bag).