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  1. #1
    Senior Member Annie's Avatar
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    Down vs. polyester fil

    I'm just curious if there's a reason people are using down vs. polyester fill for their quilts? It seems the poly would be safer, as far as getting it wet goes?

    I'm a quilter and this looks like an easy project, but before I get started, just wondered what the pros/cons of down/poly were to the old timers?

    I've just purchased my hammock so I have NO experience yet.
    Going out next weekend for the first time!
    YAY!

  2. #2
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    Down is a great insulator and it takes less down to achieve a certain temp rating than synthetic insulation, resulting in a lighter piece of gear. Down also compresses better than synthetic insulation, giving less bulk in your pack. I also think down holds up better over time and is better at keeping it's loft. I also think that down products feel more comfortable.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." -Terry Pratchett



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  3. #3
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    I have used both. The clear advantage of down is compressibility. Takes up much less pack space. There is also a slight weight advantage, but considering the weight of the shell it may not really be all that significant.

    If you're concerned with getting your quilt wet, go with Climashield XP or similar. If you're more concerned with bulk and weight, go with down. Either works great, and making a down quilt is not any harder than making a synthetic quilt. It's all personal preference.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lost's Avatar
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    What they said!

    I have both and really do not prefer one over the other as far as warmth, comfort, etc. I usually make my decision based on the forcast. If it may rain, I take the synthetic filled.

    Most of my trips have been in cooler weather, but the few times I have been out in the summer, I still needed something under me. I'm anxious to get out this spring/summer and try different set ups. I know my down will be too warm, and I'm afraid my Potomac will be also. May have to make a thinner, inexpensive (Joanne's, Hobby Lobby fiber fill) for warm weather use.

    By the way, welcome to HF. It's nice having more females here. All these guys are such great gear makers (we can call it sewing) and good with their power tools (sewing machines!).

  5. #5
    tight-wad's Avatar
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    Made a quilt with some Wally's World "Cluster Stuff", see my pix gallery. This was advertised as synthetic down. Looks almost like down, pretty neat. Long story short, synthetics are heavier and don't compress like down. For car camping or overnighters synthetics are fine. For long distance backpacking, down.

  6. #6
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    I don't buy into the whole synethic and down wet argument. I think both would suck wet. Usually if your bag gets wet something bigger is wrong that needs to be fixed. I don't have any data to back it up, but I think most people's get wet in their pack. If not than you need to improve your tarp coverage.

    Then again that is only my strange opinion.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

  7. #7
    i don't know HE, i will have to say, when down get's wet it clumps, leaving completely bare spots, synthetic keeps a consistent thickness and covering throughout. if synthetic gets really soaked, you could wring it out and get most of the water out and half the loft back right away.

    i do think it is very doable to keep your down pretty dry in all but the most humid of conditions with an adequate tarp though.

  8. #8
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    One of these days I would like to do a test of that. I do know that when I hand washed my cheap down jacket I had to repeatedly hold it under water to get it fully soaked. Based on that and a few days of waking up last year covered in dampness from fog (yeah shelters) and a dew soaked night, I just think it is harder than you think to fully soak a down bag.

    I should add though I remember being at a shelter on a chilly rainly night in Maine when a section hiker had all soaked gear for the days hike in his pack. I just think to be soaked to the point of being bad you have to screw up pretty bad. Fall in a river, hike in the rain with a puddle in your pack, of bad setup for sleeping to get it that bad.

    On a side note I now keep a piece of plastic on the bottom of my pack. I was having problems with the friction of having my bag on the bottom and setting my pack on the ground and stuff getting damp. Though my pack cover, pack, and stuff sacks.

    I should add that these are just my own opinions.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

  9. #9
    i've had down clump, everything got pretty wet, it still had enough loft to get me through the night though we did end up bailing the next day because of it. could have been prevented by a bigger tarp. and your right, most likely it will only get damp to moderately wet under most circumstances.

    i agree, someone should do a test, it would be interesting.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    If I had a high quality synethic bag or quilt I would. The best I can do is a really cheap one. I don't think that would be a good comparison. Another question would be how long to field dry them.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

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