Choosing a down bag

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
User avatar
kpeter
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1066
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:11 pm
Experience: N/A

Choosing a down bag

Post by kpeter » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:37 pm

I am continuing to downsize and lighten my load and now am turning my attention to my sleeping bag.

I currently have a fully functional and perfectly warm Kelty Light Year Down 20. I like it quite a lot, I have never been too cold in it, leading me to think that the 20 degree rating is about right for me.

However, the bag weighs 2 lbs 14 ounces and even with a compression sack only gets down to soccer-ball size. The reason is that it uses a lot of 600 fill down instead of a smaller amount of more expensive 850 or 900 fill, which I've noticed the ultra light (and ultra-expensive) bags do. In fact, this is all caught up with my backpack--I have been unable to figure out an adequate replacement for my old Golite Odyssey (I posted a thread here 2 years ago) and have decided I have to move down to a 70 liter pack, and it just won't have room for the Kelty.

I've been eying those expensive $400 bags that are rated for around 20 degrees like my Kelty but which weigh only a little over a pound

https://www.rei.com/product/147652/ther ... eeping-bag
https://www.rei.com/product/152788/sea- ... eeping-bag

Shedding nearly two pounds is certainly attractive. But will these really be as warm? Are they worth the money? How small will they compress? Are there equal alternative for less?

This is too expensive a purchase to make lightly. Any and all advice would be welcome.








User avatar
rayfound
Topix Expert
Posts: 410
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Contact:

Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by rayfound » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:07 pm

Have you considered a quilt? I switched to an Enlightened Equipment 10F rated quilt and its the most versatile, warmest, best backcountry sleep I have ever had. I Didn't actually need it but since I was buying inventory/Minor defect unit I ended up with XLong, XWide and its still like 23oz.

It took me a bit of a leap of faith to switch to a quilt, but it really was a big improvement for me. Note: Am side/stomach sleeper.

User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 10992
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by maverick » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:57 pm

KP,

Check your PM.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

User avatar
Flamingo
Topix Regular
Posts: 262
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:18 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: West Oakland, California

Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by Flamingo » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:53 pm

+1 to @rayfound 's quilt suggestion. I have a 15F' down quilt from Katabatic Gear (similar to Enlightened Equipment). Switching from a sleeping bag to a quilt was a scary idea for me. . . but I'm so glad I did it. Not only is my gear lighter, but I sleep much better under a quilt.

User avatar
bobby49
Topix Expert
Posts: 968
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:17 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by bobby49 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:08 pm

Some decades ago, the domestic sleeping bag manufacturers used to import raw goose down from China, and then have the entire bag fabricated here. The price of down bags was up. Then China got smart and offered to fabricate the entire bag there, due to the lower labor costs. So, suddenly the price of down bags came down. What is it, is down up or is it down?

User avatar
freestone
Topix Expert
Posts: 872
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:42 pm
Experience: Level 1 Hiker
Location: Santa Barbara
Contact:

Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by freestone » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:23 pm

If i were in the market to buy a new bag today, it would be the Feathered Friends hoodless zipperless Tanager 20.

https://featheredfriends.com/collection ... eeping-bag
Fram...

User avatar
kpeter
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1066
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:11 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by kpeter » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:58 pm

I've wondered about quilts. I sleep about 50% on my back and 50% on my side and twist and turn a lot. Usually the mummy bags just twist and turn with me, on top of the pad. Would I risk opening up the quilt and letting in cold air with all those gyrations?

I use a 3/4 pad and shove my empty pack under my feet, and wonder how that would work out with a quilt? Does a quilt really need a full length pad?

That hoodless zipperless Tanager looks awesome for quality of materials, and warmth to weight. My prostate forces me to get up in the night once or twice. I wonder about how easy it will be without a zipper. On my current bag I only unzip it about 12 " when I get up--but that makes a difference.

Great suggestions.... Tough decisions....

User avatar
bobby49
Topix Expert
Posts: 968
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:17 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by bobby49 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:12 pm

freestone wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:23 pm
If i were in the market to buy a new bag today, it would be the Feathered Friends hoodless zipperless Tanager 20.

https://featheredfriends.com/collection ... eeping-bag
I have at least one Feathered Friends bag, and they are good. At present I use a Zpacks bag that has a total weight under 16 ounces, but I think its temperature rating is 30 F.

The good news about all of these super ultralightweight bags is that you can pack them down very tightly, so they don't fill up that much space in a backpack. The bad news is that once you get into camp, you need to give them time to fluff up or else they won't be warm for sleeping.

User avatar
freestone
Topix Expert
Posts: 872
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:42 pm
Experience: Level 1 Hiker
Location: Santa Barbara
Contact:

Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by freestone » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:18 am

kpeter wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:58 pm

I use a 3/4 pad and shove my empty pack under my feet, and wonder how that would work out with a quilt? Does a quilt really need a full length pad?

That hoodless zipperless Tanager looks awesome for quality of materials, and warmth to weight. My prostate forces me to get up in the night once or twice. I wonder about how easy it will be without a zipper. On my current bag I only unzip it about 12 " when I get up--but that makes a difference.

Great suggestions.... Tough decisions....
Speaking of zippers, no zippers... Western Mountaineering has the very best zippers. If you are getting up a couple of times a night, you will be cursing the zipper that snags every two inches. WW zippers will snag, but not nearly as much. My first bag was an Eddie Bauer zipperless bag and getting in and out was never an issue, thats why I would like to get another one.

No matter what you decide, consider upgrading your pad to full length as well. Its easy to find a pad now that is full length, under a pound and has an R rating of 3 or more. A less than optimal pad will negate all your warmth to weight savings from the new bag.
Fram...

User avatar
kpeter
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1066
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:11 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Choosing a down bag

Post by kpeter » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:33 pm

I've got a Neolite 3/4, not a full length. I have been putting my empty pack, padded backrest side up, under my feet to complete the elevation off the ground. It works for insulation, but I see that the various quilts attach to pads and I wonder if I need the full length pad to make those attachments work.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests