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Thread: Down? Really???

  1. #21
    I used to only buy synthetic due to my concern about wet down..... so, I know where you are coming from. Main reason I switched to down is because synthetic UQ and TQ wouldn't fit in my pack.
    I like the down a lot better and won't be going back. *for "puffy" jackets, I still prefer synthetics.*


    This is what I think:
    if a person has a "habit" of soaking their sleep gear, I'd recommend synthetic.
    Really, I'd recommend a better method of keeping it dry.
    If you can keep synthetics dry, you can keep down dry.
    If your down or synthetic is completely soaked thru, your going to be cold either way.


    as far as dridown/resist down.... I have a UQ with it. I haven't really been able to test it side by side to verify that it'll dry faster than non-treated down. I don't believe all the numbers(dries %33 faster,etc) , but, am sure it will actually dry faster-which is why I got it.

  2. #22
    Acer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elessar View Post
    Ok, I'm a new guy around here and admit that from the start. Also, I'm not trying to start a fight or irriate anybody, but I've been reading about DriDown and hearing some people talk about how great this stuff is, blah, blah, blah,...but, unless your car camping or have easy access to a clothes dryer, it won't matter very much when your bag gets wet because of some accident or what ever, because once it's wet, it'll dry 60% faster than down, when you get to a tumble dryer. Until then, it'll be a matted wet mess.

    Here's where my ignorance shines, because I haven't been watching the technology news, or checking the gear forums, so I admit that my knowledge is old school based on camping equipment from 10-20 years ago. At that time, people were swearing off down because it couldn't save you in an adverse situation.

    Just my $.02, but I'm trying to figure out how down can have improved enough to make it a good investment for backpacking. Car camping is another story because you could find a dryer, or if you were camping at a park with amenities. So I won't be jumping on the dry down product train. Just can't take that chance.

    My apologies again if I've offended anyone. I hope to learn something new about new gear and am willing to hear differing opinions.
    Ask any questions period! And you will get answers from this forum. This is the reason its here. Your not flaming anybody and no question is not going to be answered. We are all here to learn off each other and how else you going to learn? Ask away. But I have used both and have both,,down and synthetic. I use them depending on the elements I think I will be in. Granted..I prefer down,,but there are times when the synthetic might fill one of my needs. Hard decisions, but once you use down, you may be a total convert.

  3. #23
    fallkniven's Avatar
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    The idea behind Dri-Down or Resist Down, is really to help on extended winter trips. As you sleep in cold climates, your bodies vapor that's released during the night, evaporates through the quilt. Night after night of that, that moisture begins to build on the down, loosing loft. The new coated down helps to reduce that loss of loft. That's really where it comes to play.

  4. #24
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgibson View Post
    Down is evil and the geese are the spawn of the devil. Just kidding.


    Both synthetics and down each have advantages....for the most part neither have any advantage in regards to getting slobbering dripping finger wrinkling wet. If you soak your gear through and through your going to be cold wet and miserable. Synth will dry out faster....but if its 40 degrees and soaked through all the way and night is coming in then you best be hot on the trail for the car. Now when you start talking about your gear getting a little wet from humidity...well then sure down will loose some loft and synthetics will still be fine. When you start talking about pack volume sure down will have an edge. When you start talking about cost of a quilt synth will have the edge. When you start talking about the usable life of the gear then down gets the edge.

    Bit these back and froths are getting to be smaller and smaller differences as time goes by.
    Well spoken by the man who makes both! And for the most part I can't find much to argue about with that post, maybe a little more to differ about with some of the other posts. But for some reason, I often end up being the odd man out around here, whether about discussing HH Super Shelters or VB vs breathable or synthetic vs down. Maybe I'm just weird or crazy? Could be, so apologies in advance!

    First of all, Elessar, how Ya doin? Your OP does seem a little extreme in the bias against down for hiking trips, and coming from experience based on years ago with different materials, but you still have some valid concerns.

    But keep in mind the mind set we have around here, where we are used to being off the ground under good sized tarps and/or using under covers and such. IOW, we are pretty confident in our abilities to keep bone dry in the worst deluges compared to our ground sleeping days.

    But, for those that have camped for 50 years with never even a drop making it into your down, and who have never lost enough loft to get kind of cold even on long cold trips, have you ever thought that you might just be lucky? Because I have seen some excellent skilled backpackers get their insulation wet. Stuff happens. I'm not going to repeat the details of stories I have told here so often, but bottom line: I have seen various tarp malfunctions occur a week or two into trips. Can every one really guarantee that there tarp will never develop a huge leak or be punctured at midnight during an all night rain? Will there never be a branch to fall on you or what was a great seam seal job suddenly stop working? I don't see how anyone can guarantee that. And if your just six miles from your car, or at least a town, probably no big deal and a chance most of us are willing to take.

    I also take issue with the idea that wet is wet and both s**k equally once soaked. Any one here can put this to the test in their back yard. I have done it with clothing. Do you really think you can soak a down jacket, squeeze it out, go gor a 1.8 mile hike in a 34*F rain, stay warm enough during the hike plus find that you are bone dry at the end of the hike? I doubt it. But I have not tested this with my down, but I have done this test more than once with my PG jackets.

    In addition, with modern DWR shells and dry sacks, I think a far bigger threat to us hammock hangers than getting your down soaked from rain or submersion in a river is condensation on longer trips where the sun rarely shines. I have personally seen some of my friends insulation lose significant loft by the end of a week, and they kept their down as free of external moisture as any one could desire! But day by day their bags or pods or quilts became skinnier, to the point where they expressed worry by the last day of the trip. If it had been 2 weeks instead of 1, and the sun kept on not cooperating, they would have been very unhappy campers. Me? With a PG bag on one of those trips as well as an HH synthetic OCF pad, both of which I soaked the foot area on the 1st night with condensation on a 49F foggy night camped by a river, who cared? Both kept me very warm anyway, and very quickly dried. By the end of the trip, no difference from the first day of the trip. So did these perform equally in this case? Nope! The PG was far superior, if you didn't mind the weight and bulk, and so was the HH pad ( which does not weigh much or take up much room once compressed).

    And aren't there threads right here at HF where folks have been caught in soaking fog and lost a lot of loft in their down after one night? I think I remember those threads! The consensus seems to be that there was not much you could do about soaking fog. Personally, I don't think my PG bag with WPB shell ( same shell as my PG jacket that I have soak tested ) would be much bothered by several days of fog. Might not be quite as warm, but I don't think it would make much difference, and would tend to dry from body heat.

    Soak a high quality down TQ and a HQ Climashield or Primaloft or PG TQ ( or bag or UQ or clothing ) and get in them at near their rated temps. Are both going to s**k compared to bone dry? YES! Are they going to stink equally? NO! Just squueze the CS out and it's going to be well on it's way to being dry right there. And if hanging as an UQ, water is rapidly going to drip towards the ground, since it is not much absorbed, similar to the difference between cotton and polyester fleece. Even if it takes a few hours with a hot water bottle and some sit ups leg lifts, that PG bag- much like my PG jacket in that test of maybe a half hour walk- will probably be pretty darn dry. But a soaked down bag and no sunshine? It's going to be a while. A lot longer than than any synthetic bag, which to one degree or another will NOT absorb water.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 01-02-2013 at 19:20.
    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. #25
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    BTW, Elessar, that DriDown and other versions of it may be quite helpful. Here was a review of a 600 FP bag that was not all that rosy, but I think most of the criticism had to do with things other than the DriDown, which they felt was disappointing but still worth while:

    http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Backpa...igns-Zissou-15
    Our testing shows that the bag, when wet, retains its loft longer than traditional down. But it's no where near as warm as a synthetic bag when wet. The National Geographic Adventure review claims the bag "stays dry seven times longer in wet conditions than untreated down." Having slept in over 50 down bags and over a dozen synthetic bags, in wet conditions all over the world, this author can confirm that DriDown does not stay dry seven times longer than untreated down. In real world conditions the difference is slight. Over the same period in the same conditions we estimate that the Zissou retains roughly 25% more loft than a traditional bag. Though less than we expected, this is significant!
    Notice that these testers, FWIW, see a significant difference between even DriDown and synthetics when it comes to handling the wet.

    While their testing does not seem all that encouraging, looking at the testing by the manufacturers it seems quite worthwhile. So take your choice of who to believe.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1YhP...layer_embedded

    This review seems a bit more encouraging:
    http://www.adventure-journal.com/201...-with-dridown/

    And there is this as an alternative:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu3TEYueH5c
    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. #26
    Senior Member Law Dawg (ret)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elessar View Post
    I use the poor man's dry bag when I motorcycle camp and that works well, even in poor weather while riding. I like the idea as well as the intent of protecting my gear. I'm gonna have to look at down again, because so many of you have pledged faith in it as the superior product. Thanks
    The cycle of improving camp gear is a continuing process. I started with cotton fill as a child and then synthetic at 18 (100 years ago) and then went to a down US military Arctic bag. Switch to the mid 70s and my wife and I purchased two Camp 7 down mummies (backpacking and moto)...still have them both and they work fine. In the 2000s moto camping took me back to synthetic (PrimaLoft) but then I tended to way overload my bike and the process to bring it to a more minimalist system...back to down gear. Nothing beats down for snuggly warm comfort and compressibility IMO. Keeping it dry is simply a matter of planning ahead.

    BTW, what is a poor man's dry bag?
    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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  7. #27
    L.D. Cakes's Avatar
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    Yeah I use to hear the same thing about synthetic being "safer" than down in wet conditions. Heck I use to preach it myself. But that's when I was sleeping on the ground where it is much more likely to get wet! I had to stop thinking tent and start thinking hanging where you're ABOVE the water in a hammock.
    I've had a river of water running under my hammock and if I had been on the ground I deff. would have been wet.
    Just learn good elevated habits... hang your tarp first when setting up, last when tearing down. Add a side stretch mod to your hammock to keep the TQ in unless you have an integrated bug net. And an under quilt protector is helpful too for splash. And of course as others have mentioned use a quality dry bag.
    I will never go back to synth. Down is just too toasty warm to give up!!!
    Love many, trust few & always paddle your own canoe. American Proverb

  8. #28
    Member macinnisl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Law Dawg (ret) View Post
    BTW, what is a poor man's dry bag?
    I just PM'ed him the same thing... I was thinking a grocery store bag HAHAHA

  9. #29
    Member macinnisl's Avatar
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    Wow that was quick, this is the answer I got from Elessar:

    zip lock bags for smaller items and trash bags for larger ones, maybe doubled or more

    I wasn't far off. That's what I have been doing for years with camping gear and motorcycle gear actually. Wouldn't call it waterproof but it helps.

  10. #30
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    My wife and I are still using our sleeping bags from the early 70's as TQs, mine is a North Face Ibex down bag and hers is a Snow Lion synthetic fill bag. So both can last a long time.
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