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Synthetic fill sleeping bags

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Synthetic fill sleeping bags

Postby Bearlover » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:32 pm

Hey Y'all.. I totally respect your opinion.. in fact I am willing to bet my life on it. Travelling in early season alone leaves me at a distinct disadvantage.. in fact it can be quite hairy at times. I have been left cold by my down bags performance when wet. I dearly love my Western Mountaineering antelope goretex 800 fill power down 0 degree bag.. but after 14 years(In fact this bag outlasted the last five girlfriends) I am ready to move on..(don't telll my bag okay!!?)
What do you have to say for bags with polargard 3d insulation? Any advise on a similar bag with "warm when wet insulation"? Any advice appreciated.. help this crispy old man out of the dark ages an into a shining new future... Okay enough bullcrap.. I just can't make head or tail of the hype around these synthetic fills.. can you? I am not interested in desirners specs.. just true info like.."I had one of those bags and it was a total piece of crap!" Or similar. Thanks for the help.
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Postby copeg » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:16 am

OK I'll bite. Here's my take. I've had two synthetic bags in the past. The first I don't recall what type of insulation, the second had polarguard 3D. IMO the hype over "warm when wet" is overated. Granted, synthetic is better than down in this respect, but don't let the "warm when wet" fool you into thinking that it is 100% insulative when it gets even a little wet (however, they do dry much faster than down). The synthetic insulation doesn't compress like down, and the lifetime of synthetic is literally a fraction of that of a down bag that is taken care of. Obviously I prefer down. I've experienced wet down and its not fun. I've experienced wet synthetic, and its not fun. Both the times my bags got wet, it could have been avoided (ie packing it in a stuff sack and garbage bag, compressing it immediately after getting out in the am to prevent condensation inside, etc...). Just my take :)
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Postby gary c. » Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:52 am

trailblazor, thanks for your take on the subject. I just recently posted on another forum that I had ordered a down bag(not a hikeing forum) and several members jumped right in to inform me how bad down was because it might get wet. For a little while it made me question my choices.
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synthetic bags

Postby gdurkee » Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:16 pm

I agree with Trailblazer. I've never used anything except a down bag. If you've got the money (and it looks like it's too late since you already ordered... but maybe next time) get a Marmot goretex one -- the Pinnacle is a pretty good 3 season. The GoreTex (or whatever they call it now) really works to keep the basic moisture out. If you're camped in the middle of a stream, you're in trouble no matter what you've got.

Even with a regular down bag, if you're careful about where you camp and use a tent (yes all you light-weight it-never-rains-in-summer folks, a tent), you'll be fine.

Ignore the other forum folks and have fun.

George
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Thank You all!

Postby Bearlover » Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:40 pm

Thanks for your advice! I have never used anything but a down bag.. I guess I just might keep the old Western Mountaineering Antelope in service a few year more. Old like me she just keeps on trucking! I have done everything wrong .. dried in direct sunlight.. dried near the fire, washed in detergent... ya know total newby mistakes yet the dam thing is still intact.. in fact I sleep under it here in the Santa Cruz mtns cause it gets chilly sometimes.. don't make fun of me I know 32 degrees is pitiful as far as cold temps go... I am a Cali man born and raised.. we just have no clue when it comes to cold.. and never will. :retard: Peace Y'all and thanks I believe I will carry the old downie once again this may. To hell with the new-fangled crap. Goose down and Gortex. My God, didn't John Muir himself survive a sub zero night next to a hot spring for gods sake? All this "modern" living has made me soft as a butter nut squash I guess. Happy Hiking you nuts!
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Postby jimqpublic » Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:44 am

I've used both- down and synthetic- sometimes combined when I had two summer bags and no winter one. My Polarguard bags are not the latest generation though. They are much heavier and much harder to stuff. They also have a much narrower comfort range. I feel a bit damp and clammy inside. Too hot seems really hot. Sort of like comparing the comfort range of cotton vs. synthetic sweaters.

Synthetic isn't "warm when wet". It just isn't as cold as down. If it gets a bit damp where it's against the dewy tent fabric it doesn't mat down and lose insulation. Don't let it get soaked though. My favorite bag was a Marmot Gore-tex down bag. Unfortunately I lost it off the back of the motorcycle about 5 years ago and for a replacement I couldn't afford another Marmot. The gore-tex probably creates some condensation issues but it prevents spills or tent contact from getting the bag wet.

As mentioned above when you first climb out in the morning lay down on the bag or roll it up to squeeze all the moist air out, then let it re-loft and do it again. Otherwise each day of a trip the bag gets just a bit damper.

I have used a vapor barrier liner inside my bag for winter use quite a bit. It extends my comfort range at least 10 degrees and it prevents condensation in the down. I believe it also reduces my body's moisture loss overnight. It does not feel damp or clammy inside.

For the ultimate summer/winter system I would suggest a 25 degree down mummy bag with a larger 45 degree synthetic bag. For winter put the down bag inside the synthetic. Any condensation would be in the synthetic part. For Sierra summer use take the down bag. For wet trips (like cycle touring in Ireland) just take the synthetic bag.

In summary- I think for the Sierra where we have a lot more dry weather than wet down is the way to go if you're using a tent. For snow caves or a tarp or a guaranteed rainy trip maybe synthetic is better.
Jim
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Postby gary c. » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:16 pm

Do you guys recomend trying to waterproof a down bag? The outer shell is ripstop nylon.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:16 pm

I used the 15 deg Marmot Pinnacle with Dryloft this weekend. My feet got cold because (DUH) I use a 3/4 thermarest, and forgot to put my pack under my feet. Normally I sleep good in the tent, but since this was my first backpack in 5 months, I kinda "forgot
After the JMT I sent it to the cleaners. I got it back and put it away without checkling it. A few months later I carcamped, and froze my butt off! The down was shifted to the sides so there was nothing to keep me warm! Three years later I sent it to Marmot and they restuffed it for free!

I have a 0 deg Sierra Designs down bag, but its 12 oz heavier, and doesn't have the dryloft or goretex. I use it mostly for car camping.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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