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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ears's Avatar
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    down Vs. Synthetic

    hey guys,

    first off sorry if this is in a different thread, the search i did yeiled nothing. anyway,

    i know there used to be alot of differences from down to synth like cost to weight ratio, and water proofness, now though im reading that those have shifted with the new synthetic being lighter and the weave/coating waterproofing the down..
    can i get a little help? or views? i know down is supposed to last longer but dropping 300+ kinda blows, and i was looking into em cause the quilts being made are pricey, granted they are well made n from smaller shops thats irrelevent for a college kids bank account.
    thanks!

    im looking for a three season...thanks for your input!
    I'm a Hammocker stuck in a tenter's body.....

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with synthetics. However, as good as some of them are, they still take a backseat to down's compressibility and weight. As long as those issues aren't critical to your experience, then synthetic is a perfectly acceptable option. Yes, in the long-run down will be less expensive because it won't need to be replaced as often. But you're right about the initial price tag hurting feelings.

    Get synthetic to start (I did) and upgrade as you can or desire.
    Trust nobody!

  3. #3
    Senior Member SmokeHouse's Avatar
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    Just personal preference. For me, I saved until I could get the 'down' gear. I just used a pad, , but after I bought the down, it was worth the wait,,,, for me..

  4. #4
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    LOL! There is currently a thread going about Wiggy's synthetic bags right now. That is not really synthetic vs down, but it kind of turned into that.
    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

  5. #5
    Senior Member bigbamaguy's Avatar
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    like the others, I started with synthetic insulation and have moved to down once I could afford it. I really like my down quilts but still have my synthetics should the need arise.
    Par Si Vis Pace Para Bellum

  6. #6
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ears View Post
    hey guys,

    first off sorry if this is in a different thread, the search i did yeiled nothing. anyway,

    i know there used to be alot of differences from down to synth like cost to weight ratio, and water proofness, now though im reading that those have shifted with the new synthetic being lighter and the weave/coating waterproofing the down..
    can i get a little help? or views?..................
    Well I didn't offer much help for your question on my last response, just referring you to the current Wiggy thread. The synthetics do keep getting a little bit lighter and more compressible with each generation, but I don't think there have been any big steps in quite a few years, and down still solidly has the significant advantage when considering both weight and especially volume. And particularly when looking at the more expensive 800 to 900 fill power(FP) down. It is closer, but no cigar. But consider Climashield XP. ( there is now even newer(better?)- Apex). Cannibal took a torso WarBonnet(WB) CS UQ that weighed about ~18 oz (with about 10 oz of CS XP fill) to minus 11F. I don't know if he had even reached the bottom yet. Admittedly Cannibal calls himself a "furnace", so take that into consideration. There are no down UQs(that I know about) even rated for minus 11F, though probably they would be if used by the furnace. The virtually identical current WB Yeti, the down version of the one he used, is rated for zero, with 10 oz of 850 FP down and 18 oz total wt.

    Cannibal, have you used your down Yeti colder than minus 11F yet? Were you warm?

    So, if 10 oz of 850 FP down is rated to zero, and 10 oz of CS XP can be used to at least zero or below by some, just how much advantage is there with even 850 FP down, warmth to weight, compared to CS XP? I'm starting to suspect, not a huge amount. Plus I'm convinced that if you get the XP wet, you are way better off than if you get the down wet. Yes, I know, just don't get your down wet. But there is still that volume taken up in your pack advantage AND

    i know down is supposed to last longer
    That is the main thing right there. I still don't know how long CS will keep it's loft. And when it looses loft, I don't know for sure if that will proportionately effect it's warmth. But I do know some of my previous Polarguard bags, the newer lighter versions, lost loft way too fast. My down PeaPod is at least 5 years old, and I can't tell it has lost even 1% of it's loft. Too me that is the biggy.

    but dropping 300+ kinda blows, and i was looking into em cause the quilts being made are pricey, granted they are well made n from smaller shops thats irrelevent for a college kids bank account.
    thanks!

    im looking for a three season...thanks for your input!
    Now this is the bottom line. 300 bucks is rough. Though it might last 20 years or more, right now If you don't have the bucks, you don't. And you have to either a: not hang while it is cold until you can save the money or 2: use a pad as already recommended until you save the money or 3: get a Climashield UQ. Or,
    4: buy some CS or Primaloft and make one. For $16-$32, you can buy enough CS to be warm to 20, or for $47 enough to take you to about zero.(plus the price of your nylon shell, and of corse your time if you have or are willing to develop the skills) I think the Primaloft is even cheaper.

    But, I see you can but a 20*F Hammock Gear Phoenix (torso, get a pad for your legs) for a mere $179. That is pretty cheap actually, for a high quality piece of gear.

    Or, for about $110-$125 and barely over a pound and good to about 30, you can get one of these Climashield quilts:
    http://arrowheadequipment.webs.com/a...s/show/1015891

    Good luck and good hunting!
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 01-25-2012 at 07:58.
    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

  7. #7
    samsara's Avatar
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    I am definitely not an expert but I also really appreciate what Cannibal said. Get what you need so that you can hang out in the woods. Add to your collection when you can (that's pretty much what I'm doing)

    I have a DIY IX UQ that will take me down to about 40 and an old synthetic 20* sleeping bag (25 years and still will work down in the lower 20s). The UQ works but we had colder temps at the recent 2nd annual FL hang. My SB is warm but HUUUUGE and heavy so I knew I needed something updated that could squish down smaller and weigh less. After seeing a down TQ that MAD777 made I was convinced that down was where I wanted to be. But... I may not be a poor college kid but I am a poor state employee with medical bills

    So I survived the first night of the hang (28*) and had the dumb luck to win a 20* Phoenix in the raffle on the second day and stayed toasty warm that night at 23* (my bag was definitely at it's limit though). I love down and the Hammock Gear quality is top notch and when I can save up enough I'll get more down. Having said that I want a 3 season TQ that I can kick around and use (and abuse) a lot and most likely get wet (we get wet in the summer in FL).

    So here's my plan... synthetic for 40 and above (I have a quilt kit on it's way and will use my IX UQ) and for the two weeks of winter we have down here I will buy a 20* Burrow this fall when I've had the time to save up some money. I'm hoping to move back up to the NW (where I'm from) eventually and will add a set of 0* down TQ and UQ when I do that.

    Compresses down to nothing, light as a feather (puns intended), and wonderfully warm... I'm a fan

    Dave
    "Laying and swaying in a hammock is like a steady morphine drip without the risk of renal failure" - Dale Gribble

    The Florida Hangers Facebook page and the Florida Hangers web page

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    it really all comes down to personal preference, experience, and the type / style of hanging or camping that you do. i am a two season camper for the most part spring, fall and personally all my insulation is synthetic. my reasoning behind this is that a lot of my time outdoors is spent either on the water (canoeing) or in the rain ( unfortunately it never fails, go for a hike and get dumped on) yes synthetics are heavier and don't compress as well as down, but they are cheaper and if you have ever spent multiple days and nights outside in the rain it never fails that everything is going to end up damp regardless of what you do be it from the rain, the humidity, fog, or your own wet self. having spent more time than i have cared to with damp insulation down would probably have been a disaster. i'll gladly pay the weight and volume penalty if it keeps Murphy at home just that much longer.....

  9. #9
    Having both, I would again go with the down crowd. Unless you're expecting extremely wet weather (and hopefully not getting wet, despite the tarp). I didn't feel like the synthetic quite wrapped around me as well as the down.

  10. #10
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodwolfy View Post
    Having both, I would again go with the down crowd. Unless you're expecting extremely wet weather (and hopefully not getting wet, despite the tarp). I didn't feel like the synthetic quite wrapped around me as well as the down.
    My Quallofill 0* sleeping bag is 3.6 lbs and keeps me warm as hell. That bag don't care if it gets wet - it's still warm.

    But I saved my pennies and got an HG down TQ & UQ during the Black Friday sale. Thanksgiving isn't far away so save your pennies! It's worth it for the compressibility alone.

    I like the cold weather so compressible insulation was my personal top priority. For others, a nice pack or a lightweight tarp might be the ticket. Just depends on your priorities, your willingness to DIY, or your willingness to panhandle with a sign that says, "WILL WORK FOR DOWN TOP QUILT AND UNDERQUILT."

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