Author Topic: sleeping bag  (Read 3861 times)

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Offline hayes

sleeping bag
« on: June 04, 2011, 10:37:57 pm »
I'm buying gear for my first cross country trip.  Which is better, a down or synthetic sleeping bag?

Offline pptouring

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2011, 07:25:22 am »
The million dollar question!  My wife and I currently use 40° down bags, but have been wanting to purchase something around the 15° range and have gone back and forth with this very same question. Each has it's pros and cons, so....

We like our current down bags, they're extremely light and are very compact, but we've also been very lucky as to not get them wet during any of our trips.  If your down bag gets wet, you're pretty much without a sleeping bag until it dries. Synthetics are becoming nearly the same weight and size as down bags and you don't really have to worry about them getting wet like you do with the down bags. Synthetics are a lot cheaper than down bags so if a little extra weight and bulk aren't an issue that is another plus. However, if you want to save 1/2 to 3/4 pound, are not to concerned about getting it wet, and have an extra Benjamin or two you can spare then go with the down bag. Not sure if this helped, but good luck on finding the right bag and on your trip.

Offline hayes

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2011, 07:42:02 am »
The million dollar question!  My wife and I currently use 40° down bags, but have been wanting to purchase something around the 15° range and have gone back and forth with this very same question. Each has it's pros and cons, so....

We like our current down bags, they're extremely light and are very compact, but we've also been very lucky as to not get them wet during any of our trips.  If your down bag gets wet, you're pretty much without a sleeping bag until it dries. Synthetics are becoming nearly the same weight and size as down bags and you don't really have to worry about them getting wet like you do with the down bags. Synthetics are a lot cheaper than down bags so if a little extra weight and bulk aren't an issue that is another plus. However, if you want to save 1/2 to 3/4 pound, are not to concerned about getting it wet, and have an extra Benjamin or two you can spare then go with the down bag. Not sure if this helped, but good luck on finding the right bag and on your trip.

Thanks! I appreciate your thoughts and experience ...
Thanks.

Offline humunuku

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2011, 09:27:01 am »
I've been using down for years for bike touring and backpacking.  Just buy a waterproof stuff sack and you'll be fine.  Down bags are lighter and more compressible (pretty important since you have limited storage room on a bike).

Offline staehpj1

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2011, 10:22:35 am »
I'm buying gear for my first cross country trip.  Which is better, a down or synthetic sleeping bag?
I'd probably use down except my daughter is pretty allergic.  She wakes up with a groggy head and a swollen face when in the same tent with a down bag.

On the other hand I am a cheapskate so maybe not.  On the TA I did fine with a $70 bag (Slumberjack Superguide).  I have since bought a nicer bag (The North Face Cat's Meow).

I have in many years of backpacking, canoe camping and now bike touring never had a problem keeping a bag dry and on a bike tour opportunities to use a coin operated Laundromat are typically frequent.  So if money isn't tight a good down bag might make sense.  You can certainly get by fine with a synthetic filled bag though. 

Offline bogiesan

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2011, 08:57:07 am »
You can get much more depth to this question's possible answers by researching backpacking sites. Weight/comfort, hassle/care, and cost/longevity ratios are all part of your decision.
In Idaho, down is queen; it's a desert. I carry an ultralight 1 pound bag and a sturdier 2 pound bag that provide a wide range of comfort rating. When I ride with Cycle Oregon on the west side of the Cascades, I take a synthetic bag.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline Chuck_Harmon

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011, 09:56:16 pm »
I just purchased my first down bag.  I got tired of the size of my synthetic bag, it was over ten years old, had served me well and I wanted to try something that packed smaller and weighed less. 

I will be using the down bag for the first time next week and then again the first week in August when I ride around Lake Erie.  I do not know yet if I will prefer it to my synthetic bag.  A lot depends on whether or not I can keep it dry.  I definately plan to use some seam sealer on my ten year old tent before my trip next week. 

I do like the fact that the bag packs small enough to fit in a rear pannier.  This means that the only things that I will be carrying on my rear rack are my tent fly wrapped in my ground cloth and my tent poles and stakes.  I used to carry my sleeping bag and air mattress on the rear rack too and it became quite a mound.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2011, 10:55:22 pm »
IF, and it is an important if, you are confident in the waterproofness of your tent and pannier or BOB bag,  then down is wonderful for being so lightweight. If you can't say for certain that your tent and pannier will keep the sleeping bag dry then go with synthetic. They've come a long ways since my first one 40 years ago.

Offline rcrampton

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2011, 02:30:34 am »
I've been using down for years for bike touring and backpacking.  Just buy a waterproof stuff sack and you'll be fine.  Down bags are lighter and more compressible (pretty important since you have limited storage room on a bike).

Ditto. On trips where I have to carry a lot of clothing and fight for space, the compactness of my down bag is wonderful. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I keep it in a waterproof stuff sack so I don't worry about it getting wet.

I used synthetic my whole life but as I got my backpacking weight down to sub 20 lbs a down bag became a must, and I never looked back.

Offline forrest

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2011, 09:49:29 am »
look at the web site campmor they have several, a good one is the slumberjack they now have it listed for around 30.00, weight is 3lbs and folds to 18x8 inches.   

Offline Bicycle Rider

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2011, 02:11:45 pm »
If you're more concerned about the product than the cost...

Down:
Pros: Compresses smaller and is a little lighter for the same weight/temperature range.
Cons: Requires special cleaning, does not insulate well when wet (if at all).

Synthetics:
Pro: Easier to care for, doesn't lose as much of it's ability to insulate when wet.
Cons: Slightly heavier than down for the same weight/temperature range, doesn't compress as small as similar down bag.

Ask yourself:
"Are you camping outside or do you intend to use shelter (tent, bivouac, etc.)?"
"How important is weight and how much room do you have to pack it?"
"Will the bag require frequent cleaning (either from you or outside elements like dirt)?"

Another factor to consider is what kind of temperature range will you be encountering? A low temperature bag will be uncomfortable in warmer weather, but a warm weather bag could be dangerous if the temperature should drop too far below it's range. Some bags are designed so they can be used in different temperature ranges. Either they have more insulation on one side than the other or the down can be shifted from one side to the other to accommodate the expected temperatures. These are very useful if you expect a large change during your tour, either because of it's length (change of season) or terrain (elevation, climate zones and so on).

I hope this helps
May you always have the winds at your back, and a low enough gear for the grades

Offline Westinghouse

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2011, 10:15:11 am »
I used a 15 degree Slumberjack, synthetic bag across the ST in the dead of winter. It worked just fine.

down---Warm, lightweight, compresses small, not too functional when wet

synthetic---warm, a bit heavier, larger bulk, functional when wet

Offline bud16415

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2011, 01:29:19 pm »
  This is my sleeping system called a MSS. You can mix and match the bags and or the bivy cover to suit the weather you expect to encounter. With the bivy you can lay down just about anywhere and stay warm and dry without a tent if need be. The whole system is quite heavy though.

http://www.tennierindustries.com/rfi-mss.html
 
Anyone using a military sleep system on bike?
They are quite pricey new but I got mine army surplus for $200 in the digital camo. The older woodland bags I see around for $75 to $100

Offline Westinghouse

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2011, 03:12:39 pm »
That is kind of expensive. The Slumberjack cost about $60.00 where I got mine.

Offline bud16415

Re: sleeping bag
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2011, 12:29:54 pm »
That is kind of expensive. The Slumberjack cost about $60.00 where I got mine.

  They sell for around $600 thru outlets and Uncle Sam I'm sure pays at least double that. Having the option to go between 50F and -50F is a huge comfort range. One unit can be broken down if needed and used by 2 or 3 people also or just pack the sections you think you will need for a given trip. I have slept really comfortably at -10F in a hammock with mine. For stealth camping the Bivy and crawling in between the right layer would be all you would need to get comfortably thru the night.

  Another GI item that can be a lifesaver is the light weight poncho and poncho liner. Those liners are really light and warm and can be tied into a poncho and they make a great sleeping bag in a pinch.

  GI tents are another deal. Heavy bulky and drafty.