Sleeping bags

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december drive
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Joined: Jul 23 2003 11:42 am
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Sleeping bags

Post by december drive » Jul 23 2003 12:35 pm

Im going to get a new sleeping bag soon and i was wondering

Synthetic or down
Im leaning more towads synthetic cause they seem to be a little cheaper any info would be much apreciated. thanks

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mttgilbert
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Post by mttgilbert » Jul 23 2003 1:51 pm

It depends on what you're doing and where you're hiking. If there is any chance that the bag might get wet then get synthetic. If you always hike in the desert then get down. If you buy a down bag you get more insulation for the weight, but synthetic is cheaper. Down is more compressable (it will stuff down smaller than synthetic) but it is also very hard to clean.

You should also think about the cut of the bag. there are three kinds, Mummy, rectangular, and tapered (this bag is somewhere between the mummy and rectangle). Mummys are warmer but kind of claustraphobic. Rectangles are too heavy to carry for backpacking and they are not very heat efficient. I prefer the tapered bags.

I have two tapered bags, one down and one synthetic. For wet and dry fall-winter camping. During the summer though I just use a military poncho/liner sleeping set-up, with excellent results.

The choice of what bag you buy is a very personal one and unfortunately theres no way to find out whats best for you until you try some different set-ups. Just make sure you go to a reputable dealer (REI popular etc...) not wal-mart or sports authority. The people at REI and Pop are usually well informed and are happy to help you pick the right bag.

Good luck

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glenntm
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Re: Sleeping bags

Post by glenntm » Jul 23 2003 2:03 pm

december drive wrote:Im going to get a new sleeping bag soon and i was wondering

Synthetic or down
Im leaning more towads synthetic cause they seem to be a little cheaper any info would be much apreciated. thanks
I have 2 bags. One is a Kelty 30 degree synthetic mummy bag. Nice bag, packs small, and lots of room. About 1 lb 8 ozs. No complaints. The other is a North Face Cats Meow 20 degree down mummy bag. A little heavier than the Kelty (2 lbs 11 ozs.), but great bag. No cold spots, and looks like new. I’ve been happy with both. Both were pretty reasonable priced. The Kelty was 99.00, and North Face 139.00. They are both LONG bags so I paid an extra 10.00 for each at REI.

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Sredfield
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Post by Sredfield » Jul 24 2003 6:30 pm

I'm really liking my REI SubKilo 20 degree down bag. As I recall, $140, weighs less than a Kilogram, and can compress to the size of a small cantelope, although I don't compress it that small.

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BoyNhisDog
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Post by BoyNhisDog » Jul 24 2003 7:11 pm

Get down, It will last you a good 20 years if you take care of it. I got my first down bag at 16 years old and used it countless times. It was still so good after all that time that I gave it to the Goodwill.

Down won't wet out as easy as you may think either. If you have a tent then there should be no problem at all for down. Once on trip that rained very heavily I just lay a plastic sheet over my bag and it stayed dry. Choose your campsite carefully and you’ll be fine.

Down retains its loft longer. Put a silk or cotton liner in it and you’ll gain 10 degrees of extra heat, and the liner is very easy to clean. Your bag will stay cleaner.

Poncho liners are great in hot weather. A 25 degree bag with a full zipper is one of the most versatile bags for me. Sometimes I take a 5 degree bag but not often.

Get a waterproof stuff sack for when you are hiking but store the bag loose and uncompressed at home. It will keep its loft forever that way.
Glen

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olesma
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Post by olesma » Jul 25 2003 9:12 am

Heed the wisdom of Glenn. Glenn is the grand old man of the sea as far as hiking in the southwest is concerned. When he speaks - one would do well to listen. Wisdom through many years of experience.

Matt also gave you some good comparative info.

Personal preference and comfort play a role as well. Frequency of use is another factor to consider. If you only do the occasional overhighter - then maybe the cheaper route of synthetic is the way to go. If you are a more avid backpacker and you are concerned about wight/durability/size - then go with down.

Whatever you decide - when you go to the store, take off your shoes and climb in the bag, then roll around like you're sleeping. Try that bad boy out. Don't just buy it cause it looks cool or somebody recommended it. I know a lot of people that loved the old NF Blue Kazoo. I hated it - too constricting for my big frame (6'4" 220 lbs. - all muscle of course :D ). I need a bigger bag, so the smaller mummy bags just sucked for me. Even the long versions rarely did the job.

Select a few criteria for yourself, weigh your needs and prioritize the cirteria accordingly, then make a judgement call from there. Some criteria to consider:
  • - How often will I use it?
    - In what type of weather will I use it?
    - What will be the temperature range in which it will be used? (take the extremes from both ends - and strongly consider the most common tempreatures)
    - How important is comfort?
    - How important is durability?
    - How important is weight?
    - How important is size?
Once you have answers to all those questions, you can look at the specifics for various types of bags and come to a pretty good decision on which bag is right for your needs. Then go to a store and try a few out.

My personal recommendation for a store to try them out is REI (you can get a lot of specs on the sleeping bags online here) - they will most definitely let you try them out.
'Weird is a relative, not an absolute.' - A. Einstein

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Billy
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Post by Billy » Jul 25 2003 10:44 am

I'm not very knowledgable when it comes to camping equipment, but I got my bag at REI it's a Shasta + 15, what ever that means! But I did get to try the bags out, the employees at REI were very helpful. I also got one of those great air mats, let me tell you, they are a life saver, no more sleeping on rocks for me :D My bag is synthetic, and it keeps me nice and warm; you know us women, are bodies just don't retain heat.

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olesma
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Post by olesma » Jul 25 2003 11:46 am

Billy wrote:you know us women, are bodies just don't retain heat.
I frequently refer to my wife as a reptile. When she is fine - I'm sweating to death. When I'm fine - she needs a down comforter.

Seriously - we have a blanket in the car - she uses it every time we travel anywhere for a significant amount of time, no matter the time of year.
'Weird is a relative, not an absolute.' - A. Einstein

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Billy
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Post by Billy » Jul 25 2003 11:58 am

Seriously - we have a blanket in the car - she uses it every time we travel anywhere for a significant amount of time, no matter the time of year.
as stated by olesma

I'm not that bad, but in the winter time, my body is like an ice cube :BH:

I do love my sleeping bag, I have a mummy bag, which suite me just fine, it's a man's bag. Some women, depending on the shape of their bodies, might look into the womens sleeping bags, they give you more room in the hip area. Finding the right sleeping bag definitely takes time, and it is very important to try them out for that individual comfort.

Don't make the same mistake olesma made in the past, by not trying the bag out first :lol: hehehehe

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olesma
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Post by olesma » Jul 25 2003 2:06 pm

Billy wrote:Don't make the same mistake olesma made in the past, by not trying the bag out first :lol: hehehehe
Actually - I didn't make the mistake of buying the Blue Kazoo. I tried it out and hated it. By trying it out I prevented a bad purchase.

Thus the wisdom of trying it out. I was just saying that everyone recommended it for varying reasons - but it just didn't work for me when I tried it.

The point: don't buy something just cause someone else says its great. Especially with something that relies so heavily on personal taste.
'Weird is a relative, not an absolute.' - A. Einstein

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Billy
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Post by Billy » Jul 25 2003 2:45 pm

It's kind of like buying a pair of hiking shoes, it's good to get some advice from others, to help you get an idea of where to start, but from that point on, determination must be made by personal comfort and individual need.

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Snick33
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Post by Snick33 » Jul 25 2003 2:47 pm

As Glen suggested, spend the money for a silk liner. It's easier to keep the bag clean, keeps you warmer when you need it, and can be used alone in the summer.

And I doubt that I need to advise anyone of this; but never loan anyone your chainsaw, your sigificant other, or your sleeping bag.
Mother nature seems to like humans, and not just because they taste like chicken

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olesma
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Post by olesma » Jul 25 2003 3:31 pm

Snick33 wrote:And I doubt that I need to advise anyone of this; but never loan anyone your chainsaw, your sigificant other, or your sleeping bag.
Rick - I knew I missed you for some reason. Wisdom like that can only come from one source - a skinny-dipping cancer survivor!

You are the man!
'Weird is a relative, not an absolute.' - A. Einstein

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Greg Jackson
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Post by Greg Jackson » Jul 25 2003 10:21 pm

Okay,

I hate to say it, but I own a synthetic North Face Big Fella. It fits myself and my 65 pound dog nicely. The main problem is that my toes get cold because it is made for a 6' 5" person. The idea of a silk liner sounds like a great idea to keep the toes warm.

Glen or Rick, where would one look for such an item?
Dog is my co-pilot.

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mttgilbert
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Post by mttgilbert » Jul 25 2003 10:34 pm

I know I'm not glen or rick, but I do know that they sell liners like that at REI, check out the link below;

http://www.rei.com/online/store/Search? ... at=4500001

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Greg Jackson
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Post by Greg Jackson » Jul 25 2003 11:00 pm

Thanks Matt,

Grew up around REI, but have never seen these animals before. I think that the upcoming winter will be much warmer!
Dog is my co-pilot.

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Snick33
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Post by Snick33 » Jul 25 2003 11:14 pm

Got mine ar REI Greg, two years ago. I know all about those cold toes, I'm 6'3" and my toes are always right at the bottom of my bag.
Mother nature seems to like humans, and not just because they taste like chicken

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CindyC
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Post by CindyC » Jul 27 2003 8:48 am

I have the North Face Blue Kazoo and have used it for over 10 years. It works well for me. It has been drenched many times and always bounces back nicely. My next bag will probably be the Cat's Meow. As the years have gone by I'm finding I'd prefer a slightly wider cut :oops:
'Achievement lies within the reach of those who reach beyond themselves'

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BoyNhisDog
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Post by BoyNhisDog » Jul 27 2003 2:49 pm

Greg it looks like you have a good line on where to get the liners. I go mine at a small local Tucson shop anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything negative to say about synthetic bags. I just use down and really like it for it’s durability and performance. That green jacket you see in my avatar is a Patagonia Puffball and it is a “synthetic down”. I have had that jacket for years and it has held up fine, making those cold windy days outdoors a real pleasure to be in. It has lost some loft but not all that much. My Northface down jacket has kept it’s loft better but I like the Patagonia Puffball better for some reason.

Like the great advice above, it is what fits you and your budget. Even mummy bags come with different cuts. Some are more roomy but they are also heavier and not quite as warm. I have a very “cozy” mummy and a more tapered one. The cozy one is an Western Mountaineering Ultralight. I love that bag for it’s versatility but it is a bit restrictive in the leg area.

The debate over down vs synthetic has gone on for far longer than that Boy Scout thread and will continue far into the future. :lol:

BTW, my wife had a Blue Kazoo for about 20 years and really liked it. Nice bag.

Just think December Drive, if you find a bag that will last you for 20 years you’ll be an old woman of 35 before you have to think about replacing it. :D
Glen

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ADGibson
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Post by ADGibson » Jul 30 2003 9:12 pm

I have a synthetic bag. I have the worst luck when I go out and always seem to get my pack wet. :?:

I do like down bags but I just don't think it's for me.

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