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View Full Version : Sleeping Bags.....Which One?



HikerMan36
01-14-2008, 13:54
With all the info. out there it becomes a little too much to take in. In the opinions of Whiteblaze members which is the best bag to get....Down or Synthetic? Please opine:-?.

FanaticFringer
01-14-2008, 14:03
Down.........

cheflovesbeer
01-14-2008, 14:05
I use down bags now. I really like my Feathered Friends (http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-v-synthetic-guide.html) bags. But here is a good down verses synthetic article.http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-v-synthetic-guide.html
(http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-v-synthetic-guide.html)

Frolicking Dinosaurs
01-14-2008, 14:17
Depends on the type of hiking you do - if you never sleep out in really cold weather and your pack can hold the extra bulk of synthetics, they may be a good option for you. For cold weather and smaller packs - go with down. It is warmer for weight and volume than synthetics and last longer.

winger
01-14-2008, 14:23
I prefer down, but nothing especially wrong with synthetics, I have a Kelty 15* synthetic and it is light and warm. As mentioned above I too like the Feathered Friends bags, I have an older Widgeon and it actually has a GoreTex outer cover. Am debating about getting a Wren for hammocking.
Western Mountaineering also makes a fine product.

tomsawyer222
01-14-2008, 14:37
I prefer down as well i have a feathered friends osprey and it definetly wrmer than its rating...My girlfriend has the egret and it keeps her warm. Feathered friends does a good job with the womens specific bags.

scavenger
01-14-2008, 14:49
My advice is to get the lightest down bag you can afford at a temperature rating suitable for your intended use.

highway
01-14-2008, 16:45
Down fill, from the best manufacturer you can afford for three season about 30-35F. I don't do winter

jrwiesz
01-14-2008, 16:45
I use down bags now. I really like my Feathered Friends (http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-v-synthetic-guide.html) bags. But here is a good down verses synthetic article.http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-v-synthetic-guide.html
(http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-v-synthetic-guide.html)
Both links take me to down VS. synthetic.:-?

Cannibal
01-14-2008, 17:10
I use both on my hammock; synthetic UQ and down top quilt. The difference in compressibility is very apparent. My synthetic UQ is just a torso length and my top quilt is a JRB Rocky Mountain Sniveler; they both end-up basically the same size when packed away, but the RMS is like 3x the size unpacked.


If pack space is important, go with down.

saimyoji
01-14-2008, 17:17
Synthetic (MH PG3D 45* bag) in summer, down (Marmot Pinnacle 800+fp 15*) in late fall/winter.

max patch
01-14-2008, 17:20
I thru'd using a synthetic, and the first gear upgrade I made when I returned was to get a down bag. Down doesn't necessarily mean expensive; you can get a good 20 degreee down bag from Campmore for around $110-$120.

LIhikers
01-14-2008, 18:00
I've just love my Montbell, ultra light, super stretch, down hugger #2.
It's rated at 25 degrees, packs small, is light, and keeps me plenty warm at 25. I'm hoping we get some real winter, this year, here on Long Island so I can try it in colder conditions.

russb
01-14-2008, 18:11
I've just love my Montbell, ultra light, super stretch, down hugger #2.
It's rated at 25 degrees, packs small, is light, and keeps me plenty warm at 25. I'm hoping we get some real winter, this year, here on Long Island so I can try it in colder conditions.

This weekend should be a good one for you then. If you went to the Adirondacks you would get an even better test. Old Forge is predicted to be a HIGH of 2*F on Sunday, and that isn't even in the high peaks region!

BR360
01-14-2008, 18:58
Down is preferable: lighter, more compressible, more breathable, more durable. Have to be more careful with it, as it cant tolerate wet weather without you being careful, which is really not hard to manage with common sense.

FWIW, one rig I'm experimenting with is a 3-season (35dF) down bag, which I supplement with a LaFuma Extreme 800 40 dF synthetic "overbag" for cold weather. This synthetic layer is where the warm moist air of my body meets the cold dry air of the night air, and therefore doesn't dampen-out the down. I ripped the zipper out of the LaFuma, and have used it as a quilt in my hammock during 50+ dF nights. Gives me max flexibility.

Jim Adams
01-14-2008, 19:13
how much backpacking experience do you have?

down is definitely preferable to most hikers but ONLY if you know how to keep it dry...that also means keeping it dry when it isn't raining! you can totally soak a down bag with condensation, creek crossings, leaking water bladders, etc. if you lack some experience. this isn't to say that you don't know what you are doing but i am simply pointing out other problems that you may run into if you don't have many miles under your belt.
i have far more miles under my belt canoeing than i have backpacking and as a result always purchased synthetic bags instead of down. then one day i realized that over all these years that i never got my bag wet so i purchased down and will never go back. you also have to realize that if myself and all of my gear gets soaked...my bag will still be dry!
if you have the experience then down is the way to go...if not i would seriously consider one of the many very good synthetic bags available on the market. it would be a cheap investment for your hike and by the time you complete your thru, you will definitely know how to keep any bag dry.

geek

ScottP
01-14-2008, 20:52
Down is almost always better. If you're inexperienced you'll only get your bag wet once until you become very experienced at keeping dry. It takes a lot to kill you--the worst case scenario involves getting your bag wet and then having it freeze. Big deal, you're on the AT and you can just keep hiking until you find road access and get to town. In a do or die situation you're really never more than a day's walk from a town. You'd have to be pretty stupid to get your bag totally soaked though.

The major advantages to synthetics:
cost
loft more quickly
slightly warmer when wet

Also, give quilts a thought. You can do a do it yourself synthetic pretty cheaply and easily (or buy one from fanatic fringe), and it's about the same weight as an expensive down bag. You can do a DiY down quilt cheaply and not easily, or buy a down quilt from a multitude of companies.


Some people (including me) say that synthetics never really feel warm--they just keep you from feeling cold. Compared to synthetics, climbing into a good down bag feels like climbing into bed with a person of your preferred gender.

bigboots
01-14-2008, 20:59
I am a year round (4 season) hiker and have lived just fine with my synthetic 20 bag. If you know how to layer your bag, you will be just fine. Granted a down bag with a lower temp rating might be nicer, but is NOT nessisary. 4 seasons+1 sleeping bag= 1 happy camper

Bigboots

Critterman
01-14-2008, 21:12
Some people (including me) say that synthetics never really feel warm--they just keep you from feeling cold. .....

I have used both over the years and I believe synthetics are more comfortable and warmer because down bags have absolutely no insulating effect where your body compresses it underneath you. Every time I roll over I feel a cold spot until my body heats up the sleeping pad in the new position. I never had that problem with synthetics. Synthetics are just too bulky.

turtle fast
01-14-2008, 21:59
I have several sleeping bags both down and synthetic...I have to agree with Critterman, down compresses for cold spots even though i can mitigate it a bit by using my thermarest....I have been prefering my synthetics...may be a tad bulky but I stay warm!! Also worth repeating that:
1. synthetic bags are normally much cheaper than down bags
2. Down bags if gets wet wont insulate well
3. Down bags are harder to wash to get clean

slowandlow
01-14-2008, 23:50
My advice is to get the lightest down bag you can afford at a temperature rating suitable for your intended use.

The best advice given in this thread.

FanaticFringer
01-14-2008, 23:58
The best advice given in this thread.

I'll second that.

cheflovesbeer
01-15-2008, 00:00
Try this feathered friends (http://www.featheredfriends.com/) link. I should have checked.

River Runner
01-15-2008, 04:01
I started with synthetic, switched to down, and love it. Not only it is lighter and more compressible for the warmth, but down just provides an almost immediate cozy warmth that synethetic just does not match. I also find that down seems to have a broader comfort range than synthetic - it just doesn't seem as hot when the weather is warmer than I expect.

Keeping my bag dry is always priority number one, and I think the whole warmth when wet thing is highly overrated. I don't want to sleep under a soaking wet bag whether down or synthetic. So if I am using precautions to keep my bag dry anyway, what's the advantage of warmth when wet?

HikerMan36
01-15-2008, 11:15
I use down bags now. I really like my Feathered Friends (http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-v-synthetic-guide.html) bags. But here is a good down verses synthetic article.http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-v-synthetic-guide.html
(http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-v-synthetic-guide.html)
Thanks for the info. It really helped.