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  1. #11
    New Member icecycle's Avatar
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    My take on the matter is simple. Synthetic bags are great when you first get them, but they don't last. My wife and I bought REI down bags when we got married in 1975. The bags are still excellent, toasty warm.

    Back in the 1990s my wife bought me a top end synthetic bag. Oh it was great the first year for snow camping, but the next year I noticed the insulation properties had declined, and (un)down it went from there. It was a MEC bag, and they wouldn't stand behind the product.

    I am new to the hammock thing, but I will save my pennies for a down UQ.

  2. #12
    Senior Member HappyHiker's Avatar
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    I had to laugh at your hammock info - Hammock: Bananna *giggles* *ahem*

    It all depends on your needs/ preferences. If expense is the primary factor in your decision, synthetics win, but not by much. As posted by BillyBob58, a synthetic UQ can be had for ~$130. A down one for ~$50 more. That $50 will buy you many years of service.

    Synthetics have the advantage in extremely wet enviornments, but sleeping in a wet bag is no fun - period. Down is fairly easy to keep dry (dry bags, compactor liners etc.) It takes a lot to get a down bag wet enough to be useless.

    Personally I favor down: light, compressible and if cared for, long lasting. I have several down bags that are approaching 25 years of use and still loft like new. All of my synthetics gave up a looong time ago.

    Are you set on an UQ/TQ combo? For ~$100 (Kelty Cosmos 20 down bag) and a CCF pad for $15 to $50, you can sleep in comfort. No, not as comfortable as the UQ/TQ combo, but for 1/3 to 1/2 the price it's simply another trade off that you have to personally weigh.

    Figure out your budget, then work within that. You can come up with several viable combinations (CCF/down bag, synth TQ/UQ, down TQ/UQ, down bag/ synth UQ etc) then think about which would work best for your needs and go from there.

    HTH
    Experience is the worst teacher - it presents the exam first and the lesson later. - Unknown

  3. #13
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I don't think my synthetic Quallofill 0* 3.6 lb sleeping bag has lost any insulative properties over the last 20 years. Maybe it still insulates because I have never washed it, though it is washable. It has certainly gotten plenty wet over the last 20 years, but I always knew when I crawl in that I will be warm, wet or not.

    I think I'm gonna make a pod out of it or something.

  4. #14
    samsara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    I don't think my synthetic Quallofill 0* 3.6 lb sleeping bag has lost any insulative properties over the last 20 years. Maybe it still insulates because I have never washed it, though it is washable. It has certainly gotten plenty wet over the last 20 years, but I always knew when I crawl in that I will be warm, wet or not.

    I think I'm gonna make a pod out of it or something.
    I don't know what kind of insulation is in my 20 something year old Coleman bag but I have the same experience as you. It still kept me warm down to 23 at the hang a couple of weekends ago. I have never washed it and, since it didn't come with a stuff sack, it has always been stored uncompressed in a garbage bag.

    It has been a great bag but for me the deal breaker is the weight and size.

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

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  5. #15
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    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.

    "
    Quallofil? How old is that thing? And only 3.6 lbs for a 0 F rating with Quallofil? WOW! Who made that bag? Impressive. I see you and Samsara answered my next questions in your following posts:

    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    I don't think my synthetic Quallofill 0* 3.6 lb sleeping bag has lost any insulative properties over the last 20 years. Maybe it still insulates because I have never washed it, though it is washable. It has certainly gotten plenty wet over the last 20 years, but I always knew when I crawl in that I will be warm, wet or not.

    I think I'm gonna make a pod out of it or something.
    Quote Originally Posted by samsara View Post
    I don't know what kind of insulation is in my 20 something year old Coleman bag but I have the same experience as you. It still kept me warm down to 23 at the hang a couple of weekends ago. I have never washed it and, since it didn't come with a stuff sack, it has always been stored uncompressed in a garbage bag.

    It has been a great bag but for me the deal breaker is the weight and size.

    Dave
    That is great to hear. The nights spent in damp or wet bags on that NOLS trip that I oft refer to were in early 80s era Quallofil bags. These were heavily used and did not have much loft though they had all of the weight. And I have two Polarguard(newer PG versions 3D and Delta) bags, each lightly used, that lost a good bit of loft within a year or two. However, loft loss or not, the heavier ( about zero rated? 4 lbs for tall) has in recent years proven still toasty to at least 10F. So it has not lost a lot of warmth. Another thing: both bags lost their loft pretty quickly, but have not lost any more in the 10-15 years since the original loft loss.

    So here is another question regarding synthetic bags: if they loose half their loft, do they loose warmth proportionately? Or is thickness not as important with some synthetics as it is with down?

    Question for Silvrsurfr and Samsara: Your old synthetic bags are still plenty warm, OK. But, have you noticed if they are significantly less lofty than when new?
    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. #16
    beep's Avatar
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    When getting started, I bought my down sleeping bag as a used item on eBay. I saved 35-40% off retail value for a "nearly new" bag.
    "The more I carry the happier I am in camp; the less I carry the happier I am getting there" - Sgt. Rock

  7. #17
    samsara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    Question for Silvrsurfr and Samsara: Your old synthetic bags are still plenty warm, OK. But, have you noticed if they are significantly less lofty than when new?
    No clue. I didn't pay much attention when I bought it but would assume it has lost a fair bit of loft. In my completely un-researched and non-professional guesstimation I would think that most of the synthetics should be able to lose plenty of loft and still work. If their claim to fame is that they can get wet and still keep you warm then by definition (I may be wrong but it makes sense to me) they will lose a lot of their loft when wet. So whether they are wet or just old (or under you in the hammock?) and not lofty they seem to be fairly warm.

    Like I said... un-researched and just a guess but my bag still works. My only complaint is the weight and bulk.

    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. #18
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    for car camping synthetic is fine.. my intrests are in hiking and up, untill monday i was useing an BLACK ICE 20*synthetic bag inside of my hammock.the only real problems i had with is the bag didn't compress very much and it left very little room after stuffing it into my back pack. the weight was another issue for me. after my last hike i had it hanging up outside for airing out..a windstorm carried it away. so i'm now free to make my new down, topquilt. this coupled with my current 30*stormcrow down uq should yeild a lite weight compressable load i can enjoy, backpacking into the desert.

  9. #19
    Merganser's Avatar
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    I remember reading a thread somewhere (maybe not even on this site) with a bunch of math in it that showed that Climashield was at least as warm as down, oz for oz, that was before APEX. The Climashield required far less loft than down due to it having better thermal resistance properties. Climashield fibers are hollow. Loss of loft will most certainly effect warmth but not proportionally, as it would with down.

    Down is still king for being compressible, so if size is a factor...

    I do most of my camping by canoe. I've been on trips where it rained for several days in a row. I can afford some bulk for the security of knowing that if things are damp I still won't freeze.

    BTW Besides requiring more stabilization, Primaloft will not hold up a well as Climashield.

  10. #20
    Acer's Avatar
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    For an UQ,,you can get a New River synthetic quilt off Arrowhead for 155.00 and it will take you to 30 degrees or colder depending on what you wear to sleep in,,you can use a Sleeping Bag of any type,,down or synthetic and get quite comfy,, Some of these down TQ that are rated 40 degrees for say about 170.00 and how you dress,,will get you down there ..or read about pads for now,,using them..lots of options for you to look at,,lots of gear is also sold for a few bucks less that retail sometimes too,,be watching for the sales as people upgrade their gear or dump the excess they have accumulated over time. Lots of DYI'ers out there too that enjoy making stuff,,learn that and buy the stuff and make your own if you have time. You can even find on the forum,,ways to take a sleeping bag and make it into a Under Quilt..even tho its alittle heavy and bulky,,works great as well. Good luck and happy hanging.

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