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    Post Synthetics for AT?

    I am preparing to section-hike the Appalachian Trail, and because of the wet weather, I am thinking about using TQs and UQs with synthetic insulation. I understand that synthetics perform better under wet conditions, although with enough moisture their thermal capacity will also decrease.

    I also understand that they are heavier and don't compress as much as down. I will be carrying a large pack, but am aiming at a maximum weight of 25-30 pounds. I think that the lack of compression won't be a problem, but I do have concerns about the additional weight.

    Any advice? Other pros and cons of synthetics?

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    Senior Member Slo's Avatar
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    Maybe instead of synthetics spend the extra weight on a nice large tarp?

    Ideally you're not sleeping in a wet synthetic top quilt either. Get a storm proof tarp then nothing gets wet, you save the space and probably a lot of weight as well.

    Just a thought, HYOH
    "I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"

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    never had issues with down on the AT or anywhere else, even when kayaking/canoeing.

    to me synthetics tend to make me sweat more, and i do not like that just my $.02 worth
    Peanuts

    "A womans place is on the trail"

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    The big thing is you just have to protect the down and let it air out every chance you get dry weather. Don't let the down hit the ground at all even if its dry is my approach.
    "I love not man the less, but Nature more."
    Byron

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    I have heard a lot about the syn over down argument over the years, but the only thing I ever hear is pre-purchase... its never "thank god I had syn because it got wet and I was still warm".

    A better option, IMO, is to accessorize down quilts with something like a 2QZQ UQ protector, perhaps custom material on the TQ if you concerned, and perhaps most importantly, a method of pulling out your tarp to setup first in the rain while protecting the contents of your bag - whether stuff is in a dry bag or not.
    "If I weren't so weird, I wouldn't be so normal" -- scope

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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitino View Post
    I am preparing to section-hike the Appalachian Trail, and because of the wet weather, I am thinking about using TQs and UQs with synthetic insulation. I understand that synthetics perform better under wet conditions, although with enough moisture their thermal capacity will also decrease.

    I also understand that they are heavier and don't compress as much as down. I will be carrying a large pack, but am aiming at a maximum weight of 25-30 pounds. I think that the lack of compression won't be a problem, but I do have concerns about the additional weight.

    Any advice? Other pros and cons of synthetics?
    Bulk is almost as bad as weight, in my opinion. Down is infinitely more compressible than synthetics, and a proper tarp or undercover should keep your down dry. A nice 4-season tarp with doors like the silnylon Warbonnet Superfly (19 oz) or the HG Winter Palace (8.5 oz) is gonna keep your down nice and dry. Unless there's fog - nothing can stay dry in fog. It creeps into every nook and cranny.

    When I used synthetics, I did sweat like a pig. Then again, I was also using a pad as underinsulation back then and condensation is a real issue.

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    Senior Member Slo's Avatar
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    Underground Quilts (UGQ) also offers hydrophobic down, which is essentially waterproof down. They have some good demo videos on youtube of it in action and comparisons to regular down.
    "I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo View Post
    Maybe instead of synthetics spend the extra weight on a nice large tarp?

    Ideally you're not sleeping in a wet synthetic top quilt either. Get a storm proof tarp then nothing gets wet, you save the space and probably a lot of weight as well.

    Just a thought, HYOH
    I like the way you think outside the box. This is great advice, thank you.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    ... a proper tarp... should keep your down dry. A nice 4-season tarp with doors like the silnylon Warbonnet Superfly (19 oz) or the HG Winter Palace (8.5 oz) is gonna keep your down nice and dry.

    When I used synthetics, I did sweat like a pig....
    Thanks for reinforcing the idea of a large tarp, and for the specific recommendations. I was not aware of the condensation issue with pads, so thanks for that too. And another post also mentions sweat as an issue, which seems to indicate that synthetic insulation is not as breathable as down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dakotaross View Post
    ... the only thing I ever hear is pre-purchase... its never "thank god I had syn because it got wet and I was still warm".

    A better option... is something like a 2QZQ UQ protector... perhaps most importantly... pulling out your tarp to setup first in the rain...
    Thank you, had to smile about the "thank god I had syn..." quote.

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