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  1. #1
    Senior Member SteelToe's Avatar
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    For those of you who've made both...

    How much smaller (and lighter) do down quilts tend to be when packed than equally-rated synthetics?

    and

    How much more difficult (read: annoying) was the building of the down quilt? Was it worth it (aside from the accomplishment aspect)?

    I'm gathering the data I need to make a TQ/UQ setup capable of keeping me toasty down to 20F, and I'm trying to decide which way I want to go. Synthetics seem to have the edge in ease of manufacture and cost, but I know their lower loft-values render them heavier and bulkier. Synthetics are more water-resiliient, but good down is ultimately more durable. Down can shift around leading to poorer insulated spots, but synthetic sheets are immobile.

    Does it really just come down to personal preference and how much of gram weenie you are? Am I just being shortsighted by considering a full-synthetic quilt for my first DIY insulation project? Do you gain the best of both or the worst of both with a hybrid/mix? Is there a preferred synthetic insulation material for a "high-loft" application like a 20F quilt? Can this get any more confusing?

    TCB
    "We sit together, the mountain and I, until only the mountain remains."
    -Li Po

  2. #2
    flatline's Avatar
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    down compacts to ruffly 1/2 - 3/5 the size of synthetic.

    i have a full UQ in synthetic and a king size synth TQ and i like them both.
    the UQ i use the synth.for 35deg and warmer. i have a down 3/4 that i use on below freezing trips.
    the down seams to radiate/reflect body heat better and faster.
    Last edited by flatline; 12-04-2012 at 20:00.

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  3. #3
    stevebo's Avatar
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    Good question.................in my experiance, a synthetic quilt is pretty easy to make, and on the plus side, it is really easy and fast to dry it out if it gets wet. On the negative side, a synthetic quilt is heavier and bulkier than down, and even more important to me, its performance tends to degrade with time (you lose loft from constant repacking/stowing).

    A down quilt is a little harder make (not really harder, just more sewing and planning involved) It will cost a little more to make, but on the plus side, stowes much, much smaller, will weigh less, and if you take care of it the performance will stay the same no matter how many times you use it. (quality down products have been known to last a life time ) I would guess that if you compare 2 quilts, one synthetic and one down, the synthetic one would be in a stuff sack at least twice as big as the down one , and would weigh more. I can honestly say that down has never failed me in the field (cant say that about my synthetic quilt---but that was partly my fault for not being aware the performance had degraded) To me, down is a much better value, because it lasts so much longer, and if you ever need to add more down to the chambers, its not that big a deal to rip out a few stitches and add more feathers. The only negative I can see to down, is if you get it wet, youre pretty much screwed-------but that almost never happens! hope that helps!
    Last edited by stevebo; 12-05-2012 at 06:23.
    “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.”
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  4. #4
    Senior Member SteelToe's Avatar
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    The only negative I can see to down, is if you get it wet, youre pretty much screwed-------but that almost never happens!
    Sounds like famous last words(for me, at least)

    I had no idea down lasted so much longer--that removes cost from the equation! Would a hybrid quilt with one layer of insultex or climashield (~1/4 of total loft) be worth the trouble to get some better damp performance, or would that just incorporate the negatives of both materials?

    TCB
    "We sit together, the mountain and I, until only the mountain remains."
    -Li Po

  5. #5
    PuckerFactor's Avatar
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    Another factor is the type of synthetic insulation. Climashield doesn't pack down nearly as much as Primaloft, and Insultex doesn't pack down much at all. My 10F Primaloft UQ packs down smaller than my 30F Climashield TQ of similar size.
    I've seen claims that Primaloft is on par with 500FP down in it's properties, but since I don't have any down to compare with, I can't confirm.

    PF
    It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

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  6. #6
    stevebo's Avatar
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    Check out this link http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ht=savage+gulf Hangnout uses both synthetic and down in an underquilt-------I havnt tried it, but it looks like a really great design! (kind of the best of both worlds)
    “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.”
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    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

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