Down or Synthetic?

Discuss commercial bags, quilts, hammock systems you have used and give weights, your likes and dislikes.
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Ridgerunner
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Down or Synthetic?

Postby Ridgerunner » Mon May 26, 2008 10:25 pm

For the last five years, I have been hiking with a Mountainsmith 20 degree long synthetic mummy sleeping bag. I really like the bag as it is very roomy for my wide shoulders. It has a draft tube and an external pocket for $$ or whatever. The down side is that it is around 4 .5 lbs and compessed down slightly larger than a Heineken mini keg. It is a warm bag and kept me toasty on a few nights below freezing. After doing some research, I came to the conclusion that if i was going to shed weight and space, I was going to have to find an affordable down bag.Easier said than done. As you all know, a top end down bag can set you back 5 or 6 hundred dollars. A hard pill to swallow on a limited budget. Last year while striving to lighten the load, I ran across a Reg. Marmot 20 degree Aspen 600 down mummy bag on clearance at Dick's for $70, regularly $149. It weighs in at 2 lb. 12 oz. and compresses down to the size of a football. It does not have a draft tube around the shoulders like the mountainsmith bag and is a little snugger being a regular. It came with a storage bag and a stuff sack but not a compression sack. I believe I read somewhere that it is not good to over compress down. It has served me well on the last 4 trips but has not had its lower temperature rating tested yet. I usually use the bag with a Thermarest Prolite3 mattress. It is a comfy space saving inflateable mattress but I am weighing the pros and cons of using a lighter closed cell mattress.
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DarenN
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby DarenN » Mon May 26, 2008 11:17 pm

i'm using a MEC Nomad synthetic. semi mummy. kinda like a mummy without the hood, and a little more footroom. to pack it i use an Outdoor Research Dry Compression bag. it'll go down to just a bit bigger than a football. weighs about three pounds. it's rated to 0*C, (32F), and i can say that it works at those temps, as long as you have a good pad below it.

in the Hennessy Hammock i've found that a Thermarest is a pain in the butt. maybe half length would be better. what i've found to be very effective is a car windshied reflector ($2 at the dollar store)that is shiney silver reflective on the good side; white foam on the other. put the reflector in the hammock shiney side up, and the sleeping bag on top. warning! it can make for a very warm afternoon nap! ;)

Daren........
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Ridgerunner
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby Ridgerunner » Mon May 26, 2008 11:45 pm

in the Hennessy Hammock i've found that a Thermarest is a pain in the butt. maybe half length would be better.


I had the same problem with my Speers hammock. My problem was the pad would slide out from under my bag, exposing the bag for cold spots. To remedy this problem, we use a rubberized netting in our cold cases at work to keep product from sliding around :idea: It is the same type of stuff you can get at WallyWorld to put on the shelves of your tool chest or kitchen drawers. Works pretty good. ;) The next hammock I make will have a sleeve sewn in it for your pad along with a wider bug net and 2 feet longer in length and sew in a couple net pockets on the inside for personables. :D Hammocks are "da Bomb" :lol:
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oops56
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby oops56 » Tue May 27, 2008 12:52 am

DarenN wrote:i'm using a MEC Nomad synthetic. semi mummy. kinda like a mummy without the hood, and a little more footroom. to pack it i use an Outdoor Research Dry Compression bag. it'll go down to just a bit bigger than a football. weighs about three pounds. it's rated to 0*C, (32F), and i can say that it works at those temps, as long as you have a good pad below it.

in the Hennessy Hammock i've found that a Thermarest is a pain in the butt. maybe half length would be better. what i've found to be very effective is a car windshied reflector ($2 at the dollar store)that is shiney silver reflective on the good side; white foam on the other. put the reflector in the hammock shiney side up, and the sleeping bag on top. warning! it can make for a very warm afternoon nap! ;)

Daren........

Oh this is going to sound bad 2 dollars at the dollar store :? :?
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dlarson
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby dlarson » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:43 am

I use a Western Mountaineering Ultralite. It's a 20 degree down mummy bag with a draft collar, packs up to about football size, and works well. The specs say 1lb 13oz but I have found mine to way 31.35oz packed in it's stuff sack. I don't use a compression sack for reasons already stated by Ridgerunner. It's the most expensive item I have at $370.

The bag is too warm for summer hiking here in Minnesota. I usually wake up a little wet from sweating. It sure is cozy though when I crawl into it at night. I have used it once in Autumn when the night temp got down to what I think was 35, maybe 37 degrees. I became cold and had to put on my thermal base layer on and elevate my feet off the ground with my pack. The bag itself was warm but I was losing heat through the ground. My 3/4 length foam Ridgrest just wasn't working for me.

I'm currently looking for a smaller, lighter bag for the summer. Somewhere around 1lb and 40 to 45 degrees. One bag I'm considering is the Western Mountaineering Highlite.

Personally, I prefer down to synthetic. I find it less bulky, and have heard it is longer lasting; synthetic fill does breakdown over time, like down, but it breaks down faster.
I've never had a problem with wet down... yet. The shell on my bag is pretty water tight.
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zelph
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby zelph » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:16 pm

The bag is too warm for summer hiking here in Minnesota. I usually wake up a little wet from sweating. It sure is cozy though when I crawl into it at night. I have used it once in Autumn when the night temp got down to what I think was 35, maybe 37 degrees. I became cold and had to put on my thermal base layer on and elevate my feet off the ground with my pack. The bag itself was warm but I was losing heat through the ground. My 3/4 length foam Ridgrest just wasn't working for me.


What would you suggest using for a pad to make this bag work for you at the cooler temps?

The next hammock I make will have a sleeve sewn in it for your pad along with a wider bug net and 2 feet longer in length and sew in a couple net pockets on the inside for personables. Hammocks are "da Bomb"


Good point for all to keep in mind when purchasing a swing for the first time. ;)
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russb
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby russb » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:01 pm

I, too, use a hammock. Mine is a Claytor so it has the pad sleeve. +1 on the sunshade reflector idea.

As far as sleeping bags. I have a JRB quilt which is still warm even in below freezing temps. I also have a NF -20F down bag which is extremely warm at -10F (haven't tested it below that yet). I do have a 40* syntheitc bag which I will take when i go canoeing or when it is expected to be quite rainy. Other than the extreme cold or ridiculously wet, I use the JRB quilt.

hoz
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby hoz » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:55 pm

I have two bags for different seasons. A NorthFace synthetic that weighs 2# and some oz's and will take me down to 40 degrees maybe 30 if I pile all my clothes on. I use this one spring, summer and fall. Compresses down to a football. I bought this from Sierra Trading Post several years ago for 60 bucks.

The other bag if I expect colder temps is a House brand generic down from Sportsmansguide.com. Compresses to slightly over a football and weighs 3lb. I'd take this one to 15 degrees, again colder if I wore all my clothes. Bought several years ago for 78 bucks.

Today if I couldn't find something at either of these outfitters I'd go to Campmor and look at their House Brand down bags. Very reasonable prices.

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dlarson
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby dlarson » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:44 am

zelph wrote:
I have used it once in Autumn when the night temp got down to what I think was 35, maybe 37 degrees. I became cold and had to put on my thermal base layer on and elevate my feet off the ground with my pack. The bag itself was warm but I was losing heat through the ground. My 3/4 length foam Ridgrest just wasn't working for me.


What would you suggest using for a pad to make this bag work for you at the cooler temps?


I'm still looking into that Zelph. I need a full length pad, maybe closed cell foam will work like the Gossamer Gear NightLight Sleeping Pad but I'm also considering a Therm-a-rest or TorsoLite self-inflating style pad.

For winter camping I could combine a full length foam pad with a self-inflating pad. But I've also been told I could just use two foam pads.
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Mister Krabs
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby Mister Krabs » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:21 pm

This winter I got a chance to test out my POE AO-lite short self inflating pad (similar to a prolite3) Below freezing I used it with a cheap blue pad. I am not comfortable on blue pads alone, even two stacked, but I am on a thermarest type pad. The combo was warm and comfortable together. I've got a big 4000 c.i. pack, and can keep both inside with the blue pad unrolled and everything else stuffed down into it.

The POE is way lighter at 13oz than my classic thermarests. It's great for three season, and with an 8 oz blue pad for below freezing, it's very versatile. I chose the poe over the prolite because of the siderails that keep you on it, I had trouble sliding off my old short pad.


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