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Thread: Down? Really???

  1. #31
    Member Wolf's Avatar
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    Down is the way to go

    I use only down for all my trips. My topquilt is made with a Pertex outer shell that really sheds water. When I ground camp under a tarp I have a 7 oz bivy made or Pertex on the top and silnylon on the bottom. That adds one more layer to keep moisture at bay.

    I've endured many nights of fantastic storms and never had my down wet out.

    The only issue with down, in my opinion, is that in very humid conditions it will absorb more moisture than man made filaments. When we humans sleep we give off moisture in the form of perspiration. In the more humid nights, less of that moisture can escape through the bag. But, to me this is not a problem if the trips are only 1-2 weeks long. The bag is not going to wet out.

    Also, on days when the sun is shining, it is easy to air the bag and get the little bit of moisture out.

    Even man made filament bags have this same issue, but it is not as pronounced.

    The only time down becomes a problem is when we are going to be on very long trips and enduring lots of rain, humidity, etc etc etc and no sunshine to air the bag out. Or, when we go into arctic regions in subzero weather for weeks on end without wear VBL to bed. (Read about Will Steger's dogsled trip to the North Pole.)

    Down is by far the best choice for most of our trips. It will far outlast the man made filament bags by several years. Shucks, I still have a North Face Blue Kazoo that is older than dirt. Still going strong. A man made filament bag of the same age would be thin as roadkill.

    Sorry if this sounds preachy...sure didn't mean to do that.

    Buy yourself a good quality down bag and it'll be your friend for many years to come.
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  2. #32
    markr6's Avatar
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    I'm a newcomer to down and it's this forums fault! I bought two new sleeping bags about a year ago and it was the best gear decision ever, other than switching from a tent to hammock.

    I've only had a wet sleeping bag once in my life and that was due to a poorly designed zipper/closure on a cheap tent. I now only buy high quality gear...lesson learned.

    After a year of using down, I'm completely impressed with the warmth, weight, packability, quality and overall comfort.

    WBBB + 20 UQ + 30 sleeping bag = more sleep than any person should ever get in one night

  3. #33
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Here are some old threads on keeping things dry in fog, for those ever concerned that they can't guarantee always keeping their down dry on longer trips. And none of this even involves a tarp malfunction:

    http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=49219


    http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ead.php?t=8940

    http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ead.php?t=6804
    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

  4. #34
    Pag's Avatar
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    I'm a synthetic user here but if I wasn't allergic to down I'd be willing to try it. To be honest I've gotten my gear wet three times in my life. Two were easily avoidable and all three were terrible experiences. I hot tent in the winter (ground dweller.. I know it's terrible but I'm heavily invested in it and not willing to separate with such a good system) and I can tell you that my synthetic bag dries out in the morning in about 10-20 minutes and my best friends down bag takes 30 minutes minimum. That's not a problem though to be honest and would vary heavily person to person depending on how much you sweat.

    I do have an exped 9 downmat and I will cry like a baby if it ever gets ruined. That thing is so unbelievably warm and it packs down so small.

    In winter your gear will get damp, and that is a fact. It's unavoidable that when you are in your warm sleep system there will be an area that warm air meets cold and relative humidity does it's magic making conensation. So there are ways to deal with it, but Ihe methods for ground dwellers and hangers must be different and I haven't figured them out yet. I should probably put this somewhere else but here goes. My problems with winter hanging are mostly related to the bivy bag system because a hammock sock is not the same. I use a bivy and the frost forms between the bivy and my bag. I'm not breathing into my bivy like I would in a sock and it covers top and bottom unlike the under quilt protectors. Being able to pull my bag out of a bivy and dry the frost off in 10-20 minutes in the am is essential for longer trips and I can't see that happening with a hammock setup with most peoples winter setups. I did experiment making a sort of peapod bivy with WPB but even at easy temps (20 degrees) the condensation on the bottom was horrendous. My under quilt had more condensation in that setup than I am comfortable with and my face was sticking out all night. My top quilt was very clean in the morning though. How do you winter hanging vets deal with condensation in the am? Short of sleeping in naked gun style full body condoms I don't see an ideal (workable) setup.
    --If a cow laughs hard, does milk come out its nose?

  5. #35
    Senior Member Law Dawg (ret)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macinnisl View Post
    I just PM'ed him the same thing... I was thinking a grocery store bag HAHAHA
    Ahhh thanks. Read, somewhere here I think, that someone uses trash compactor bags in their backpack to keep their down insulation and hammock etc dry. I was thinking that they would be more sturdy than trash bags and could be used for panier liners and rain covers for gear storage under the hammock.
    Mark is the name and If there is more than one way to understand what I just said....I meant the good one.

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  6. #36
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
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    I'm of the opinion that down became popular with the growth of ultralight hiking. Iv never tried that or down until a couple of months ago. I bought a down coat because the only synthetic coats I could find looked like crap. Well I like the coat but for kayak camping I'm not likely to take down.

  7. #37
    Senior Member markrvp's Avatar
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    We have a saying in our Scout troop... "if you're getting your sleep gear wet, then you're doing it wrong."

    It's true. I have a trash compactor bag that acts as a waterproof liner inside my backpack. Then my down quilts go in Ultra-Sil dry bags. If it's raining while you set up, hang your tarp first, then assemble everything else under the tarp where it's dry.

    So then you go to the question, "why down when it's more expensive?" Answer: weight and bulk savings. Down weighs considerably less than synthetic fill and it compresses smaller in your pack, which means you can use a smaller and lighter weight pack.

  8. #38
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
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    Ive been kayak touring for about 20 yrs. I dry bag things I even double bag important thing, but important things can still get wet. I guess I do things wrong.

  9. #39
    Senior Member markrvp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibgary View Post
    Ive been kayak touring for about 20 yrs. I dry bag things I even double bag important thing, but important things can still get wet. I guess I do things wrong.
    Sounds like you took offense to my post when none was intended. I think reasonable people could agree that the considerations for dry bagging for kayaking are slightly different than normal backpacking. When I go canoeing I pack my down items in an Ultra-Sil dry bag and those go with my other gear in a heavier dry bag. So far I've been able to keep things dry.

  10. #40
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
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    Well Mark perhaps you struck a nerve. I haven't had good luck with dry bags. I started with the heavy duty kind but found they would form cracks. With the lighter OR bags they would get small holes or the seam tape would come off. Now I try to take things that are less compromised by dampness.

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