View Full Version : sleeping bags?

March 10, 2001, 12:20 PM
i started a post over at tactical forums that got a lot of responses and thought the good people here at tfl could benefit from it.

What type of sleeping have you owned that you liked and why?

What do you think is the difference in the down vs. fiber argument?

March 11, 2001, 12:14 AM
I have been backpacking for a few years now and I think a synthetic sleeping bag is the way to go. Many people think that down is better simply because it is a bit lighter for the same amount of warmth, but I can base my decision on the warm when wet idea. According to study by REI: synthetic bags loose 10% warmth and gain 60% in weight when wet, but down looses 90% warmth and gains 128% in weight when wet. It is better to be warm and wet than cold and wet.

March 12, 2001, 04:14 AM
Not all that many years ago *I* would have said, "Go with a down bag and get yourself a `quality' ground cloth & cover for it." But, have just recently doing a bit of research on some of the newer synthetic insulation that's `out and about' these days, I'd have to `vote' for some of the higher `high tech' stuff.

The *best* I found was a construction that used a *closed* stranded cell `bulk' / `dead airspace' insulation in combination with with a combination `reflective' & `windbreak' (Along with other factors, in the *highest* `high tech' offering, like `breathability' and other `strange?' `features'.) layer over the outer suface. Also, amazingly enough *not* in the priciest versions I ran across, there were even *some* that had gone to sort of a `flannel' or `polar fleece' liner for the inside. And `pound / pound', or `ounce / ounce' as it may be, even in the `higher priced spread' what one would pay for now for a down sleepingbag and what one would be getting even with the addition of the `ground cloth' / `cover' VS one of the new `high tech' sleepingbags is such that your `value' is now with the `high tech' ones. Both in what you `get for your money' (IE: What you can hold in your `grubby meathook' and see.) and `performance' (IE: When you crawl in for a good nights sleep.) *AND* just what it is you have to *lug along* (IE: Weight and size and just what kind of `performance' it has *for* that weight and size.)

*I* could carry *two* bags in the space, and actually *possibly* shaving some `total' weight off, too, that I used to carry *one* down bag! I *like* it! I'm starting to get a bit on the `frail' side these days and *anything*, short of giving up `firepower', I can do to reduce what I have to carry I'll go for! So.... Take a look at the synthetics *and* also take a good look at the `features'. I think that if you look at least a half dozen places that cater to `backpackers' *and* go looking for other places *other than* those `so-called' `backpackers' places and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much `bang for your buck' you can really get these days.

March 12, 2001, 08:25 AM
Western Mountaineering Bags are the way to way.
I have an Antelope SMF. I also have a liner from WM called the Line Light. These are great bags. Both are down.

March 13, 2001, 07:47 PM
I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in "98 and I carried a synthetic bag.It may have been a few ounces heavier than a down bag and not quite as compact but when it rained for almost all of April, I slept in a warm DRY bag and some of my hiking companians had to sleep in thei wet down bags.If you're not expecting wet weather then down is excellent.Unfortunately Murphy is an old friend of mine and I prefered not to take chances.If you're a wriggler in your sleep, check out the Mountain Hardwear bags that allow you to toss and turn in them.

March 14, 2001, 01:57 AM
I have two REI Nod Pod bags, one right & one left-hand zip, that I like. If I go backpacking with my lady we zip the bags together. I will be replacing them this year with REI Polar Pod bags. (The Polar Pod bag line replaced the Nod Pod line.)

March 14, 2001, 09:30 AM
Echo the advice given above -- my last two big backpacking trips have been to very wet places (Glacier National and the Lake District) and there's nothing like sleeping with a wet bag! Go with synthetic! I use a TNF Blizzard (5 degree) bag for cold weather and it's not that much heavier than a comparable down bag.

Campmor always has good deals on sleeping bags and other camping equipment. Check out http://www.campmor.com -- I sure wish I knew about this place when I was a Scout (circa 1983-1988). We had cheap dome tents that had a habit of collapsing under high winds. :(


March 14, 2001, 10:09 AM
A good all-purpose sleeping bag is the Cat's Meow by North Face. It uses synthetic insulation and will last a lifetime. I use mine on the Appalachian Trail where it tends to rain a lot in the Spring. Down packs into a smaller stuff sack and is still a little lighter than the best synthetic insulations, but I wouldn't want to have to worry about it getting wet.

March 14, 2001, 03:43 PM
Down when dry is better for compactness & weight. If you get it (too) wet, you're SOL.

In Colorado, although we do get our rain, etc., I have yet to get a bag wet yet in over 20+ years of being on the edge of it - very serious stuff many times.

We use Marmot almost exclusively (pricey stuff but very good quality & it's your life on the line) with REI Gore-Tex bivy bags for extra protection - even in a tent. Bivy bag also helps to hold your pad under the bag.

We've got winter weight & summer weight bags depending on what we're going into.

If I was living in a more moist/humid climate, I'd probably be using synthetic.

Whatever you choose (jolly well keep it dry no matter the material), I'd not scrimp on the "cocoon of life" package. When all else fails, that bit of fluff may very well be the difference between life & death.

March 14, 2001, 04:18 PM
I'll second Labgrade's Marmot reccomendation. I use mine for mountaineering, summer and winter, and they are top notch. I have a synthetic bag for warmer, wetter climes and a down bag for cold dry spots. I use them with a bibler bivy sack and have always stayed dry and warm. I usually buy my bags 'long' so I have room for boot liners, water bottles, etc. Marmot bags are expensive, but worth every penny.