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grrickar
05-29-2005, 13:56
My last section hike I took a down bag along for the first time. I bought a cheap one because I was not certain how much I would be using it. It was the Kelty Lightyear model, 45 degree. The temps likely got down into the low 50s, maybe the mid 40s - and I found the bag to be very cold at times. I know it is not the best quality bag to be had, but I had some issues and I wanted to know if this was a problem with all down bags.

I slept in a 2 man tent with another individual - a REI half dome. The tent did not breathe well and I was worried about condensation dripping on the bag since down does not insulate well when wet. Is this a problem with other down bags?

The other thing was that I suppose either I would sweat a bit or something, because the bag would feel damp and clammy in the middle of the night. I put a Cocoon coolmax liner in there, but had the temps dropped below 40 I do not think I would have been comfortable at all. The next day I'd have to hang the bag and hope there was some sun or wind to dry the bag, else I'd be cold the next night. Is there something I should have done to prevent this? The section hike was two weeks ago, and we hiked from Dennis Cove to Roan High Knob. It was windy at times, somewhat a damp feel in the air (it rained the first day of the hike and was humid thereafter).

RockyTrail
05-29-2005, 14:42
My last section hike I took a down bag along for the first time. I bought a cheap one because I was not certain how much I would be using it. It was the Kelty Lightyear model, 45 degree. The temps likely got down into the low 50s, maybe the mid 40s - and I found the bag to be very cold at times. I know it is not the best quality bag to be had, but I had some issues and I wanted to know if this was a problem with all down bags.

I slept in a 2 man tent with another individual - a REI half dome. The tent did not breathe well and I was worried about condensation dripping on the bag since down does not insulate well when wet. Is this a problem with other down bags?

The other thing was that I suppose either I would sweat a bit or something, because the bag would feel damp and clammy in the middle of the night. I put a Cocoon coolmax liner in there, but had the temps dropped below 40 I do not think I would have been comfortable at all. The next day I'd have to hang the bag and hope there was some sun or wind to dry the bag, else I'd be cold the next night. Is there something I should have done to prevent this? The section hike was two weeks ago, and we hiked from Dennis Cove to Roan High Knob. It was windy at times, somewhat a damp feel in the air (it rained the first day of the hike and was humid thereafter).Most 45 degree bags are pretty light on down...I think REI makes one they call "travel down" mostly for car or hostel-type camping. I use a 20 deg bag year round in the mountains but then I'm too cheap to buy a summer bag.

Most good bags have a DWR (durable water repellent?) coating that will repel most sprinkles of water. In fact I have spilled water on my Marmot bag and it just rolls off, so I don't concern about condensation drips but puddles of water are another matter. You might could test your bag at home for this to alleviate worry. Also don't try anything like putting the foot of the bag under or in a plastic bag because you will get soaked from internal moisture generation, the bag has to breathe to release your natural body water vapor.

If you get too hot, just unzip the bag or get on top, indeed you will sweat inside if it's too warm. hope this helps

Crazy Larry #1
05-29-2005, 15:15
as far as i'm concerned down is out. just like i don't use cotton, except for t-shirts when i'm out on the trail.

my summer bag is a kelty 40 degree quallofill and when i hike in very cold temperates i've used a kelty 30 degree hallofill and the best i had was a sierra design stretch 0 degree hallofill.

all three have proven to stay light even when damp or wet.

what i really liked about cold temprature bags was the fact that i could crawl into them with ice hanging onto me, and i did a few times, and i would be pretty comfortable very shortly.

usually i would just hang them in the sun if there was any and they would dry enough to pack....

furthermore these types of bags are designed to pull the moisture off from ur body. there was a many a night when i would crawl into the bags soaking wet from ice or sweat and wake up the next morning dry. ofcourse the outside of the bag was soaked.....

wanderer

MacGyver2005
05-29-2005, 18:03
I have to respectfully disagree with Wanderer. Down is lighter and can be compressed smaller than the synthetic bags. Still, wetness is an important factor. You should be careful of the bag staying dry with any down bag. If you are really concerned, get a Gore-Tex bag cover. This will keep you warmer anyway, and will certainly keep you dry as long as you don't decide to cowboy-camp in a monsoon. :)

Regards,
-MacGyver
GA -->ME 2005

neo
05-29-2005, 18:04
My last section hike I took a down bag along for the first time. I bought a cheap one because I was not certain how much I would be using it. It was the Kelty Lightyear model, 45 degree. The temps likely got down into the low 50s, maybe the mid 40s - and I found the bag to be very cold at times. I know it is not the best quality bag to be had, but I had some issues and I wanted to know if this was a problem with all down bags.

I slept in a 2 man tent with another individual - a REI half dome. The tent did not breathe well and I was worried about condensation dripping on the bag since down does not insulate well when wet. Is this a problem with other down bags?

The other thing was that I suppose either I would sweat a bit or something, because the bag would feel damp and clammy in the middle of the night. I put a Cocoon coolmax liner in there, but had the temps dropped below 40 I do not think I would have been comfortable at all. The next day I'd have to hang the bag and hope there was some sun or wind to dry the bag, else I'd be cold the next night. Is there something I should have done to prevent this? The section hike was two weeks ago, and we hiked from Dennis Cove to Roan High Knob. It was windy at times, somewhat a damp feel in the air (it rained the first day of the hike and was humid thereafter).i have a kelty light year 25 and 45 down bags,i have carried the 25 light year on extended hike,s,what i have noticed is the down loss a little loft each day due to vapor from your body,it dampens down,it losses loft,any time i am in town i would through it in a drier on low heat for about 15 minutes and it would restore loft till the next time,i am not a big fan of down:cool: neo

they kelty light year bags have 650 fill down,your better bags have 800 to 900 fill down,the lowest fill i have seen is the campmor down bags 550 fill down,:cool: neo

neo
05-29-2005, 18:09
Most 45 degree bags are pretty light on down...I think REI makes one they call "travel down" mostly for car or hostel-type camping. I use a 20 deg bag year round in the mountains but then I'm too cheap to buy a summer bag.

Most good bags have a DWR (durable water repellent?) coating that will repel most sprinkles of water. In fact I have spilled water on my Marmot bag and it just rolls off, so I don't concern about condensation drips but puddles of water are another matter. You might could test your bag at home for this to alleviate worry. Also don't try anything like putting the foot of the bag under or in a plastic bag because you will get soaked from internal moisture generation, the bag has to breathe to release your natural body water vapor.

If you get too hot, just unzip the bag or get on top, indeed you will sweat inside if it's too warm. hope this helps
marot makes some excellent down bags,top of the line:cool: neo

grrickar
05-29-2005, 20:50
I have considered a Marmot or WM bag, but the cost is so high it isn't one of those things I want to buy then try, so that is why I bought the Kelty. I want to iron out issues I may have with down using this bag, then graduate up to a better one. I realized when I bought it that it would really only be useful for summer, late spring and early fall.

I like down because it is light and packs down so small, leaving more room in my pack. I'm leery of it because I got cold several times and the bag felt damp. I can't blame dew because the winds were blowing about 30mph that night at Doll Flats. If I were to hike a week or longer with no sun (to dry the bag), this particular bag would have been really damp inside. I kept the bag inside my pack in a garbage bag - now I'm thinking it might have dried some if I didn't put it in there. I put it in there just in case water got in (or my platy busted).

Much like alcohol versus other stoves, people seem to be one one side of the fence or the other when it comes to down versus synthetic. Am I in the minority seeing that I'm on the fence?

neo
05-29-2005, 21:01
I have considered a Marmot or WM bag, but the cost is so high it isn't one of those things I want to buy then try, so that is why I bought the Kelty. I want to iron out issues I may have with down using this bag, then graduate up to a better one. I realized when I bought it that it would really only be useful for summer, late spring and early fall.

I like down because it is light and packs down so small, leaving more room in my pack. I'm leery of it because I got cold several times and the bag felt damp. I can't blame dew because the winds were blowing about 30mph that night at Doll Flats. If I were to hike a week or longer with no sun (to dry the bag), this particular bag would have been really damp inside. I kept the bag inside my pack in a garbage bag - now I'm thinking it might have dried some if I didn't put it in there. I put it in there just in case water got in (or my platy busted).

Much like alcohol versus other stoves, people seem to be one one side of the fence or the other when it comes to down versus synthetic. Am I in the minority seeing that I'm on the fence?
the only reason i bought the kelty light year 45 is it was a close out on campmor 79.99,i like the mountain hardwear synthetic 40 degree bag better
a campmor close out also 69.99,about the same wieght but does not pack as small,but it has a full lenght zipper,i use it as a quilt in my hennessey hammock,plus i can convert it to a 10 degree double bag for 2,with my sweetie pie bag doubler:cool: neo

Ridge
05-29-2005, 21:54
My husband has preached to me about the difference between down and synthetic. He says east of the Mississippi use only synthetic, higher humidity. The volume of major fires out west proves that. He is now on the PCT using an old down bag, lighter and warmer per oz. of weight than any synthetic. That said, when he thru-hiked he used a synthetic bag because of the high humidity along the AT. Wet down is useless, takes longer to dry and won't keep you warm when wet. He has since purchased one of the new "synthetic down" type bags and he claims its really good, just not as good as real down. He tells the story of a westerner hiking the AT who became hyporthermic and died, reason was the combination of down and wetness. He has hiked many times out west and says its the only place he feels comfortable using down. He knows lots of hikers on the AT uses down, they are very careful to keep the bag dry, ie: double trash can liners, etc., he's just not willing to take any chances. hikerwife

MacGyver2005
05-30-2005, 10:02
grrickar, you are not the only one on the fence. It is tough to choose which works best for you, but that is a good thing. You obviously are putting enough thought into it to make an educated decision.

As for not using a down bag east of the Mississippi, I must proclaim that I heartily disagree. A down bag is fine in any weather, in any location, as long as you are intelligent with it. As for anyone dying from using a wet down bag, I would imagine that there is more idiocy to add to the story about that individual, if it is even of any truth at all. You do not have to carry a bag cover if you are going to be sheltered from the elements. My father and I have been hiking since Springer in early March and he has been carrying a Marmot Helium, a 15* 900 fill down bag. He has not had any issues with it to date and loves it. We tent in an REI Half Dome Plus 2, and have done so in some pretty heavy rain. His bag never got wet, and he never got cold. As for you getting cold, you were using a 45* bag in <45* weather, and not to mention a cheaper bag. A lot of people are not comfortable at the manufactures minimum temperature for their bag, so keep that in mind. I won't go out in anything under 20* with my 5* bag, and I use a silk bag liner and thermal underwear with my 40* bag if it starts to get close to 40*. But don't forget the price; if you are going for a good down bag, you're going to be spending several hundred dollars.

Regards,
-MacGyver
GA -->ME 2005

Ridge
05-30-2005, 10:41
Hypothermia is the leading cause of deaths and medical emergencies along the AT. Drowning is second. I got this info from an AT newsletter off the web. I know personally of a scout leader who became hypothermic on top of Blood Mtn one Feburary and died. He was in a wet down sleeping bag, probably from body condensation since beginning the trip at Springer. I was at Neels Gap when his body was brought down. A Ranger I knew told me the details.

Colter
05-30-2005, 11:03
As for not using a down bag east of the Mississippi, I must proclaim that I heartily disagree.

As do I.

When I was trying to choose a bag for hiking the AT I remember reading a post by Hungry Howie. He was talking about the constant drumbeat about the risks of getting down wet. He said he figured it was because there are lots of huge corporations who manufacture synthetic fills and have huge budgets to constantly tell people of the risks of down. No big corporations manufacture down. He went on to tell a story where his bag got a quart or more of water soaked into it right off the bat on the AT and he slept damp but warm. Howie made a good point.

I used a Feathered Friends down bag on the AT. It was rated to about 20 deg. It kept me toasty warm every night. If you have decent camping skills, condensation will never be enough of a problem on the AT to have a noticable effect on on a quality down bag of sufficient warmth. If my bag lost any loft at all that summer, or since, I haven't noticed it. I can't say the same for my synthetic bags which noticeably lose loft and warmth over time.

No man-made insulation can match down for compressability and warmth for the weight. With any bag, keep it as dry as you can, and dry it when you get a chance. A little condensation on the outside of the bag won't affect the warmth of a down bag.

grrickar, I'm confident that the reason you were getting cold is that your bag simply wasn't rated to a low enough temperature.

MacGyver2005
05-30-2005, 11:13
Hypothermia is the leading cause of deaths and medical emergencies along the AT. Drowning is second. I got this info from an AT newsletter off the web. I know personally of a scout leader who became hypothermic on top of Blood Mtn one Feburary and died. He was in a wet down sleeping bag, probably from body condensation since beginning the trip at Springer. I was at Neels Gap when his body was brought down. A Ranger I knew told me the details.
Darwinism is a wicked thing. I personally (and three other hikers) rescued an older couple off of the mountain just south of Kincora on April 24th out of a snow storm. They are from Florida, and were wearing many cotton articles. They were not properly equipped for this hike, and would have never made it off of the mountain if we had not recovered them. I would never blame cotton for their mistake, just as I would not blame down for the mistake of that scout leader. Not to mention the fact that he gives us scouters who know what we are doing a bad name.

People do stupid things. Don't blame their equipment for their moronic nature.

Regards,
-MacGyver
GA -->ME

rumbler
05-30-2005, 20:48
He was in a wet down sleeping bag, probably from body condensation since beginning the trip at Springer.

I've spent many a night in a down bag in just about every condition possible. The idea of a down bag becoming wet from body condensation is an event that I would consider to be most improbable.

Mags
05-30-2005, 22:06
I've owned the same Feathered Friends bag since 1997. In the years I've owned it, not had any problems with it.

Used it out West and back East.

Personally, a sleeping bag is one item that is worth buying the best you can afford.

Bolivershagnasty
05-31-2005, 13:01
I'm currently using a Serria Designs down bag, rates to 20* that I have borrowed from a friend for awhile to see how I like it. It cost over 200.00 and closer to 300 if he's telling the truth. It's only about 2lbs and compresses to the size of a small coffee can. It's usally hot and I sweat in it and have to unzip it and use it as a cover until about 3 a.m. As far as moisture goes I've spilled about a glass worth of water on it before and it just puddled right on top of it. Not a drop soaked in and it was there for awhile before I noticed it. I use it on 2 to 4 days hiking trips and notice no less loft than the night before. It's incredible how little the thing is and at 35-45* something on top of Standing Indian Mnt (5400 ft or so) it's like being in my own bed at home. I think I'm going with down but you have to have two bags, one 40-45* for summer and one 20* for spring and fall. If your packing in January and you need advice as to what bag you "need",, you "need" to stay at home. The lesson is I think you just have to get best bag you can afford. A cheap anything is just that. There is a direct coralation between "cost" and "quality" in anything. You cant sub something cheap(er) for something nice and be satisfied...