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  1. #1
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    lets talk about down...

    so i had two questions... When is it preferable to using down to say climashield apex? If i made a 600 fp down UQ would it be similarly warm/compressable to climashield? 700? I realize 800-850 is the best warmth/weight ratio but for those of us on a budget is lower quality down worth it or am i better going synthetic?

    2nd question are group buys of down reasonable? Do you get a good cost savings for ordering a ton of it? I realize the packaging of the down is likely a hassle but i wasnt sure if it was just not that big a savings to order in bulk and thats why i didnt see too many group buys of it.

  2. #2
    MAD777's Avatar
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    Down is significantly lighter and significantly more compressible for the same warmth compared to climashield and other synthetics, but it costs significantly more. Down is also harder to work with if making your own. The one advantage to synthetics is that they retain some insulation properties when wet, whereas regular down doesn't. (I've never had a problem keeping my down dry). However, very recently a water resistant down has been developed with no disadvantages to its other excellent properties, of course at a more premium cost. If car camping, or camping a few hundred yards from the car, it's no big deal. If hiking over mountain ranges, it is a big deal.
    Last edited by MAD777; 08-19-2014 at 08:41.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAD777 View Post
    Done is significantly lighter and significantly more compressible for the same warmth compared to climashield and other synthetics, but it costs significantly more. Down is also harder to work with if making your own. The one advantage to synthetics is that they retain some insulation properties when wet, whereas regular down doesn't. (I've never had a problem keeping my down dry). However, very recently a water resistant down has been developed with no disadvantages to its other excellent properties, of course at a more premium cost. If car camping, or camping a few hundred yards from the car, it's no big deal. If hiking over mountain ranges, it is a big deal.
    so even low fill power downs 600 are going to be superior to climashield?

  4. #4
    old4hats's Avatar
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    If one wants warmth, light weight, and no hassle comfort down is imho the top choice. I have an old sleeping bag with holifill insulation, and I used it as a top quilt several times in temps in the low to mid 20's, and stayed warm. It is bulky and heavier, so when I got my 20 deg. top quilt I was very surprised at the ease of packing and the warmth it provided. No matter the season, I am never far from that tq. For what it is worth, my tq and uq both are from Underground Quilts.
    If you prepare for failure you will probably succeed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michgan241 View Post
    so i had two questions... When is it preferable to using down to say climashield apex? If i made a 600 fp down UQ would it be similarly warm/compressable to climashield? 700? I realize 800-850 is the best warmth/weight ratio but for those of us on a budget is lower quality down worth it or am i better going synthetic?

    2nd question are group buys of down reasonable? Do you get a good cost savings for ordering a ton of it? I realize the packaging of the down is likely a hassle but i wasnt sure if it was just not that big a savings to order in bulk and that's why i didnt see too many group buys of it.
    Just some food for thought: Years ago, I slept plenty warm enough one night in the mid to hi 40s, beside a very humid lake, I think humidity was in the 90%+ range. My layers were simply a cotton t-shirt and jeans if memory serves correctly. I think I got a bit on the cool side maybe about 4 or 5 AM, but then remembered my fleece cap, put it on and slept warmly until well after sunrise. Keep in mind I was car camping, dry and well fed. This was with a WBBB hammock and a WB Yeti UQ, and a 40-50 degree ancient synthetic bag used as TQ.

    However, this was with the original WB Yeti which had CS XP insulation(Apex is supposedly a tad warmer), one layer of 2.5 oz/sq.yd. Since it is a very short UQ, that means I actually had about 2.5 oz of insulation ( no baffles of course) underneath my torso.

    Now I sometimes wonder if that was some sort of unusual occurrence and could I even repeat it? Hard to say, but just going by what I initially wrote down about the experience, I do have to be curious about whether there are any 600 FP down UQs out there that would have been any warmer using only 2.5 oz of down? Or even using 800-850 FP, but using only 2.5 oz? Are there any out there rated into the high 40s that would use only 2.5 oz of down? Or, maybe rated even lower temps? I sort of doubt it but I can't say for sure. In fact, do any UQs even exist, even short ones, that have only 2.5 oz of down in them?(maybe?) Also, comparing the warmth per weight in this case does not even take into account any possible effects of moisture that may have condensed inside the quilt over days on the trail, or any outside moisture.

    Lastly, when comparing warmth to weigh of CS vs down UQs, do a search on the AHE 20 oz CS Jarbidge ( not quite full length, neck to ankle) and read some user reports/reviews. It is only rated to 25F(used to be 30F) using 6 oz of Apex insulation. But do a search and see how low several people have actually taken this little bargain. Quite a bit lower than 25 in several cases. Again, talking warmth to weight, are there any UQs of this length, rated to 25F or lower, that use less than 6 oz of down?

    As far as packing down small, down easily remains king. If space is at a premium in your pack, then you are probably going to need down. Probably lasts longer also, keeps it's loft longer in my experience though I think CS lasts longer than previous synthetics- no proof though. And I don't think that CS used as a TQ would perform quite as well compared to down as it does in an UQ. The newer moisture resistant down also should overcome many of the moisture advantages I have found with CS clothing which I have found in some of my testing with wet clothing.

    so even low fill power downs 600 are going to be superior to climashield?
    Based on my experience quoted above, I don't think so. though they might pack a little smaller and might last a little longer. But I don't think it is going to be warmer per weight than CS Apex used in an UQ. But, I can't prove any of it!

    So, you can get some good gear either way you go, pros and cons!

    Bill
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 08-18-2014 at 21:15.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  6. #6
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    so even low fill power downs 600 are going to be superior to climashield?
    no. you are comparing apples to oranges.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunner76 View Post
    no. you are comparing apples to oranges.
    I think that this is the best answer so far.

    And...the question really is...what is it you need for YOUR recipe...apples, or oranges?

    They're both great, tasty, sweet...but orange cobbler doesn't hit the spot the same, nor does apple sherbert.

    Someone previously stated the point about how you're using your gear. Down is preferred because it's highly compressible, and it's the lightest weight for a similar level of insulation. If you're planning on using your insulation day after day covering huge miles while carrying your gear...down is king. If you're mostly just camping, not hiking all day carrying that gear...then there's much less benefit in investing in down vs using a cheaper alternative.

    It's how you plan on using it, along with your other needs (such as budget and weight/space concerns), that determines what YOUR best investment is.

  8. #8
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    Have a look at UGQ. They offer a choice of 700 FP and 850 FP down. For a 20 full-length underquilt, the weight difference is ~3oz. I don't know if you can conclude that filling the same underquilt with 600 FP down would make it another 3 oz. heavier. The AHE New River full-length underquilt is rated to 25 and weighs 30 oz. Unfortunately AHE doesn't give the width and length of the underquilt. But from this I would guesstimate that it would make more sense to make your underquilt with Apex. It won't be as compressible as down, but it probably won't be heavier than the same quilt filled with 600 FP down.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    30 oz New River is 48X78". 32 oz version is 48X84. 20 oz Jarbidge is 42X58. All using the same 6 oz/sq.yd. Apex CS.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hutzelbein View Post
    Have a look at UGQ. They offer a choice of 700 FP and 850 FP down. For a 20 full-length underquilt, the weight difference is ~3oz. I don't know if you can conclude that filling the same underquilt with 600 FP down would make it another 3 oz. heavier. The AHE New River full-length underquilt is rated to 25 and weighs 30 oz. Unfortunately AHE doesn't give the width and length of the underquilt. But from this I would guesstimate that it would make more sense to make your underquilt with Apex. It won't be as compressible as down, but it probably won't be heavier than the same quilt filled with 600 FP down.
    Thanks, this is a little more along the lines of comparison i was looking for.

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