New to forum and sleeping bag questions.

bpotter

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Apr 6, 2013
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Hello, Have looked at the information in this forum in the past but first time poster.
I am in the process of looking for a new sleeping bag. This is my first time in late October MT mountains. With tent. I'm looking for advise on temperature ratings 0 or 10-20 and down (maybe Marmot) vs Slick bag or other synthetic.

I know I need about three bags but will try to use this for backpacking mountain spring-fall fishing and flatland spring fall maybe winter as well. Have lighter bag or sleep on top of bag if tent and warm weather. I've been hauling an early mountain Northface snowshoe but looking for something lighter and smaller packing in my old age. Regular backpack partner is a Labrador so fragile is a concern.

Any suggestions appreciated
 

Jdog

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Mar 2, 2012
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Derby, KS
Synthetic...look at the Kifaru Slik bags...their chit is legit

Down...look at the Western Mountaineering, Marmot...I have a WM and its awesome. I would have looked at others but I am 6'8" and they made one to fit my lanky tail.
 
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bpotter

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Apr 6, 2013
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Thanks Jdog.
I am struggling with down vs synthetic choice (insulation when wet vs weight and durability of down).
I get about three or four years from synthetic bag and they seem to start loose insulation but strangely still manage to maintain all their weight. Kifaru Slik seems to be the best of both worlds but I wonder about how long the insulation will hold up compared to a good down bag.
 

Floorguy

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Palmer, AK
Thanks Jdog.
I am struggling with down vs synthetic choice (insulation when wet vs weight and durability of down).
I get about three or four years from synthetic bag and they seem to start loose insulation but strangely still manage to maintain all their weight. Kifaru Slik seems to be the best of both worlds but I wonder about how long the insulation will hold up compared to a good down bag.

How many times has your sleeping bag gotten wet? I don't mean damp but really wet to the point that having down would have been detrimental to your health. That's what I did and realized that it hadn't happened before.
 

Jdog

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I used to always use synthetic...then I made the switch to a quality down bag. Mine is the WM Badger. I hesitantly took it on a AK sheep hunt last year and it performed great. To me...there is no comparison, down just feels better but comes with a risk if you fall in a river etc. But my bag stays in a Granite Gear compressions sak and I always am mindful to keep it safe and dry. I personally love the feel of a down bag over synthetic. BUT...if I was looking to buy a synthetic bag...I WOULD NOT HESITATE TO PURCHASE THE KIFARU SLIK--THERE STUFF IS LEGIT AS IT COMES AND THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE IS GREAT...PLUS ITS TESTED LIKE NO OTHER BY ARON SNYDER.

If cost is an issue...go with the Slik...the WM bags are pricey.
 

Floorguy

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that doesn't mean it can't.

True for me though I hadn't taken any precautions with my syn bag and will with the down like a lightweight dry bag and bivy sack instead of regular stuff sac and ground cloth

You know you could "doesn't mean it can't" as a justification for anything. Like my synthetic bag getting soaked and then the weather dropping and turning it into a block of ice (this is Alaska after all).
 

Beastmode

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Since I have went to down I have never looked back. The compression size is phenomenal as well as the comfort. I keep it in a waterproof stuff sack and its good to go as long as I don't let it sit in the bottom of a river. :D I hunt on the coast and it is wet all the time and never had an issue. I keep it in the stuff sack until its in my tent.

I don't think you could go wrong with a slikbag though.
 

Shrek

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that doesn't mean it can't.

I could but the worst case scenario for most of us would be sleeping in our clothes or hiking out if you couldn't sleep. If you soak a synthetic bag it looses a lot of its insulating properties also so you will be sleeping in some of your clothes and getting them damp also so the problems multiply. You are probably going to hike out either way a get spares from the truck or head for a laundromat to dry everything you have out. Except for situations where hiking out is not a really good option I feel down is better. Military in the field or guys hiking in 30 miles to hunt sheep probably need synthetic but guys 10 miles or less from your truck just keep an old bag and some spare clothes in the truck imo.
 
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bpotter

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Apr 6, 2013
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A long 0 Slikbag is not inexpensive but yes it is much less than an equivalent rated WM.
Wet? Never had the entire bag soaked through but have had in places and damp in spots from condensation or leaks. Most of my time is spent in MN and Northern WY. It's the 3 days at 30-40 degrees with constant drizzle that worry me water wise.
Anyone have experience with the waterproof shells like Marmot Membrane or the DWR down coatings or do most of you use a bivy sack with down? Come to think of it a bivy sack over a 15-2O degree bag might add a lot of options temperature wise.
All your comments are appreciated.
 

Matt Cashell

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I take my TiGoat bivy everywhere, because it is so tiny and light. It does seem to add a little warmth to the rating as a vapor barrier too. I have also had a couple instances where I developed a small amount of condensation between the bag exterior and the bivy, but it did not hinder insulating performance.

The only advantage to synthetic over down that I can see is synthetic does maintain some insulating value when wet. Yet, as previously mentioned, I also haven't had any problems with down getting wet enough to affect my sleep.

Perhaps you can try to prepare for any eventuality, but it seems to me that whether your bag is synthetic or down, if it gets soaked, you are going to end up stoking a fire all night in your clothes anyway.
 

Shrek

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, but it seems to me that whether your bag is synthetic or down, if it gets soaked, you are going to end up stoking a fire all night in your clothes anyway.[/QUOTE]

That has been my experience. I rolled a canoe on a trip just before dark. We all had synthetic bags and jackets but it was a long cold night by the fire. I was better off than the rest as I had wool base layers and an old wool blanket . Wrung them out and they were dry in no time. The rest of the guys were melting their bags trying to get warm.
 

mhunter

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Jan 6, 2013
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The only advantage to synthetic over down that I can see is synthetic does maintain some insulating value when wet.

One more advantage is that synthetic dries much much much faster compared to down. IME it's virtually impossible to dry wet down bag in the field but synthetic is another story. I'm not saying wet synthetic will be easy to get dry but possible anyhoo...so if i'm far away on my own and there is no easy/sure way out my choice will be synthetic unless it's way below freezing.
Matt
 

Justin Crossley

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I will not even look at a synthetic bag until they get closer to the down weights. For me the weight and size savings is more important than having a bag that I "might" be able to dry if I some how get it wet.
I have used top quality bags of both types and I think down is the way to go by far.
 

Ironman

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I haven't seen anyone address the fact that down bags require baffles in order to keep down somewhat stationary.
Does anyone feel this causes cold spots? Being how climashield is a continuous filament, no baffles are needed, and seems like your R rating would be constant throughout the bag, unlike a down bag.
 

Lawnboi

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Im in the minority here I guess, I don't like down and have sold all of my down pieces for synthetic.

I chose synthetic for a number of reasons and so far am very happy with synthetic bags over down.
First thing I didn't like about down, was it got wet and stayed wet. Didn't matter if I got in my bag wet, or condensation from days in the field without dry time. My bag always seemed damp. With synthetic they dry very fast and don't hold that moisture at all.

Next as far as short term durability goes. Most down bags are made of pretty UL material. And if you poke a hole or rip your down bag you are in for a feathery mess. With a synthetic im not afraid to take it ouside the tent. Im not afraid of burn holes, or really using my gear. A little seam sealer fixes it all up with no insulation loss. Kifaru soft goods are tough! really tough! Ill sit out and glass with them or wear my boots in them, hang them outside to dry and roll around in my floorless shelter without worry.

last reason I really like synthetic, It dries very fast. In the event it does get wet or damp. Which I don't know about you guys but my bags do get a good bit of condensation on them at times. The synthetic gear dries extremely fast. Seems once your down gets wet, your pretty much screwed.

Syn dosnt pack as small or as light, but its close and the long term durability issues arise as well. Ill still take synthetic over down. Though if I ever bought a down bag again it would be a WM.

Insulation when wet is not a factor for me. IMO if your bag is wet.... your going to have a bad time no mater what the insulation is.

Ill also comment that after using my ID event bivy for a few more nights that I would trust a down bag in that thing, one impressive bivy!
 

Backpack Hunter

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I generally prefer my Kifaru synthetic bags over my down filled ones anymore.
Weight comparability is pretty close, give or take 2-3oz depending on what bag I'm comparing it to. Compressibility is right there as well, smaller than some bigger than others. Versatility with a synthetic bag is a little more as it is usually not as fragile.
It takes a lot less time to dry out my synthetic bags compared to down. If it happens at night though as mentioned you will be stoking a fire all night long.
 
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bpotter

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Apr 6, 2013
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This has been very helpful and glad I registered. I talked with a couple manufacturers that ofter more or less waterproof membranes. It sounds like breathe-ability will be reduced which would limit the upper range and might actually wet out a bag.

So know leaning more towards synthetic because of the wet Labrador and ability to dry out thing. I just don't want to keep buying a new bag every 5-10 years but at my age probably won't need that many more bags regardless. Anyone had a chance to try the Mountain Hardware ultra lamina Q therm elite?

Sure starting to look like Kifaru might be getting an order.

Makes me I wish my 1977 20 degree Snow Lion Polarguard bag hadn't decomposed after 15 years. More than once was fine to -15 in a timberline tent with the bag and a WWII wool Navy blanket.
 

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