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  1. #1
    Senior Member mitch's Avatar
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    Down or synthetic

    Why are most all of the under quilts made with down? I know that it is lighter weight, but it can't be that much lighter is it? It also seems much more difficult to maintain than syn. And, if it gets damp or wet, the insulating factor is greatly reduced. So what's the story?

  2. #2
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    I got a KAQ for my underquilt. I hike in the Northeast and it can get a little damp. But I have a JRB top quilt that can be used as a underquilt! A good tarp will keep the rain away.
    Greg

  3. #3
    Hooch's Avatar
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    Good quality down products aren't just lighter than comparable sythetic products, but they're also much more compressible. That's not to say there aren't high quality synthetic products out there, like the KAQ, for instance. It's all really a matter of what is important to you and what works for you.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

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    Senior Member Arkwater's Avatar
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    Much lighter & much more compressible. More compression = smaller pack = even less weight.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I have two JRB quilts and one synthetic top quilt. The two down quilts pack smaller (as in, the two quilts in a single stuff sack) than the synthetic and I know they will last for years, whereas the synthetic has a more limited lifespan.

    Since I am not hiking in humid climates and have a nice large tarp and poncho to use as a weather shield, I intend to keep using the down. Don't be fooled, wet synthetic is pretty miserable too. It's just a bit warmer than wet down.

  6. #6
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    I wonder, does anyone here have any experience with a soaked synthetic UQ? Or a soaked down UQ for that matter?

    To the question of choosing down over synthetic...down is not only lighter, but quite a bit more compressable. This can make a difference for many people.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhalin View Post
    I wonder, does anyone here have any experience with a soaked synthetic UQ? Or a soaked down UQ for that matter?

    To the question of choosing down over synthetic...down is not only lighter, but quite a bit more compressable. This can make a difference for many people.
    Over thirty years ago I crawled into a soaking wet Snow Lion synthetic sleeping bag in May up on a ridge on top of Hinchinbrook Island in Alaska. I don't recall the temp but it was above freezing since snow was melting everywhere. I awoke the next morning rested...and dry. The outside of the bag was still quite wet. Had I had a down bag I wouldn't have slept that night.

  8. #8
    Down over synthetic is 3 to 1.
    Down wins these hands down -
    1.Compressibility
    2.Weight
    3.Longevity

    Synthetic wins Wet Warmth, but then again that's an oxymoron. Other than a hot shower at home when's the last time you were wet and warm?

  9. #9
    GrizzlyAdams's Avatar
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    so being a gear junkie I have some down bags/quilts and a couple of synthetic ones.

    The synthetic ones are for those relatively rare occasions where, if my bag were to get wet, it would be Really Really bad. Kinda like Take-a-knee's story. So I have a Wiggy's 0 degree bag for that.

    My "more than a couple of days in a row on the trail" adventures have tended to be in the warmer months, and there down reigns supreme for weight and compression. If I had to shiver though one night I could do it. Haven't had to yet.

    Grizz

  10. #10
    Senior Member animalcontrol's Avatar
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    When it domes to wet down Vs wet synthetic, I'll stick with an old saying here in the Midwest...
    "If wet down will kill you in 1 hour, wet synthetic will kill you in 2"
    That being said, there are so many techniques to keep your stuff dry...you would have to try hard to get a down item soaked to the point it wouldn't insulate.
    I've been cold (hypothermic) and I've been wet. IMO, I'll take down everyday of the week.
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