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Help with a synthetic sleeping bag selection
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Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Help with a synthetic sleeping bag selection on 04/08/2009 08:39:47 MDT Print View

I already have 2 older bags.
North Face polarguard 40dF, weighs 4#
and a Northface down -40dF, also weighs 4#.

I am 6'-3" and a side sleeper and move around a bit.

What I am looking for is something between the two, a synthetic 15-25d F bag that is really rated to that temp, at least 6'4, decent girth or a stretch, at least a 3/4 zipper that weighs a max of actual 3#.

I tried a lighter (50d) montbell superstretch burrow and I think I could live with that design, but the 15-25d montbells are a bit heavy.

Thought I found the perfect bag with the Eureka Casper. The price is definately good, 3#-1, 15 degrees etc, but its too narrow for me. Also mine does not weigh 3#-1. Its more like 3#-6. I also doubt its going to work at 15d F.

So far about all I can find that fits the weight catagory is Mountain Hardware bags with 1/4 zips, but I want a 3/4 zip. Maybe I am missing one ??

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Help with a synthetic sleeping bag selection on 04/08/2009 09:09:00 MDT Print View

I've given up on synthetics. If they're rated 15-25 new, they'll deloft rapidly until they're a 40d bag. IMHO. Beyond that, how about a Marmot Pounder Plus, and a UL bivy?

Aaron Zuniga
(gliden2) - F

Locale: Northwest
Snthetic Choices on 04/08/2009 10:13:10 MDT Print View

Hey Troy,

Have you considered the BPL Pro Series Quilts. Their extremely light, I believe they range from 11oz-20oz. They have the PRO60 and 90 availalable right now. Pair your quilt with and lightweight insulated jacket like the MOntbell UL Down Inner(crowd plessure, check the reviews)and you have a great combo that you can customize according your needs. IMO the having a UL Quilt/Bag/Top Bag gives more options when it comes to your sleep system. Obviously its great to have a choice for every season, but for most that is just out of the question.With Quilts you can easily adjust your sleepware to meet your sleeping needs.I have both the PRO 60 Quilt+Montbell UL Down Inner and can usually enjoy most threee season trips with this combo.In the winter I can pair these items with an additional UL Bag/Quilt and still be right around the 2 lb mark, and more importantly WARM! I dont really have any experience with lightweight synthetic bags, but I know for sure their generally heavier,dont compress near as well as down, and not as warm as down. IMO you would achieve your desired temperature level and save weight, money, and space if you went with the Quilt+Insulated Jacket duo.Much more freedom to improvise when the weather changes.

Edited by gliden2 on 04/08/2009 12:09:29 MDT.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
Re: Help with a synthetic sleeping bag selection on 04/08/2009 10:28:02 MDT Print View

"I've given up on synthetics. If they're rated 15-25 new, they'll deloft rapidly until they're a 40d bag. IMHO. Beyond that, how about a Marmot Pounder Plus, and a UL bivy?"

I've got a pounder plus. It's "rated" to 25 degrees, but I seem to see a lot of owners say they find the bag cold at significantly higher temps. I have one and have used it at 30 degrees comfortably, with torsolite pad below and wearing polypro leggings/top. The point being, if you're a warm sleeper like me, it's fine. But if you're a cold sleeper, you may want to avoid it.

The pounder plus is generously cut, so there's room to move in it. There are certainly more contenders others can speak to though.

Edited by roguenode on 04/08/2009 10:34:06 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Synthetic Sleeping Bag on 04/08/2009 10:31:14 MDT Print View

I've owned a Cat's Meow for years and I've been happy with it. The bag was made with Polarguard Delta, which was one of the more durable synthetics. I believe they have changed to Climashield Prism, now, and I don't know how durable that synthetic is. Even though I don't know about the new fill, I would definitely consider it if you can find one at a good price (you can often find them on sale).

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Synthetic Sleeping Bag on 04/08/2009 11:34:58 MDT Print View

Synthetics have never worked out for me. But if I was in the market for one, I would look at the BPL quilts with some insulating clothes.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Re: Synthetic Sleeping Bag on 04/08/2009 14:33:31 MDT Print View

Good suggestions.

If I was out west, I would definately be buying another down bag, as I like down better, but my next extended hike will be in the Appalachians. Although down is fine at times on the AT, I have had some rather soggy experiences up there.

My original intention was to have a light overbag/quilt and a 15-25 degree bag. Now I think I might reverse that and go with a UL inner down bag or a pounder with a heavier synthetic quilt. I will probably make the quilt.

I tried the lightest BPL quilt. It was nice, a bit tight, but to me I saw a few things that needed to be different.

The lightest quilt needs to be open almost to the footbox with a short zipper. Cant remember exactly but it seems like it was closed about half way up. That would probably be okay with the heavy bag since it was designed for very cold conditions.

They also need a bigger footbox and leg area if you are going to use them as an overbag.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Help with a synthetic sleeping bag selection on 04/08/2009 15:44:40 MDT Print View

Although I haven't given up on synthetic sleeping bags, I have given up on gram counting with synthetic bags. The bottom line is that synthetics are bulky and heavy and there's no getting around that. They also have fairly short lifespans. I buy a new one every 3-8 years depending on how much use they see. So I look for a good price on one, make sure it's made by a decent company with decent lightweight materials and just go with it. I don't need a synthetic bag on all the trips I take, but I need one sometimes--typically I bring them for the wet, cold weather that I just don't want to deal with using down in.

My current synthetic sleeping bag is a North Face Snowshoe, which is a 0*F bag that uses a version of Climashiel (though not XP). I don't know its exact weight because I have not weighed it. I think TNF quotes its weight at about 3.5 pounds? I don't really care how much it weighs, though, because that's not the point. The point is, when I'm going on a trip where it's going to be wet, cold, and wet, I want EXTRA insurance against the cold. If that means an extra two pounds so I can have a sound night's sleep, then I'll go with the extra weight. It's not nearly as compressible as down, of course, but it fits in a Sea to Summit XL compression sack pretty well, if that's any kind of reference.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Re: Help with a synthetic sleeping bag selection on 04/08/2009 16:46:22 MDT Print View

Yeah, I guess its about the same as when I bought my snowlion bags, but there are some newer and better insulations out now.

Back then Polarguard was the latest thing.

A seriously warm polarguard bag back then weighed in at about 6-7 pounds compared to a down bag at 4# or less.

What really gets me now is how most of the companies are over inflating the warmth ratings of these bags.

I just dont get it.

Pounder for example. How in the heck is a 1# synthetic bag with maybe 1/2" of loft supposed to keep you warm to 35dF when its more like a 50dF bag.

I just dont know how they can exadurate claims to such a degree.

At least back then most of the ratings, weights etc were real honest numbers.

Edited by tammons on 04/08/2009 16:47:25 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Help with a synthetic sleeping bag selection on 04/08/2009 17:19:54 MDT Print View

I would consider a light down bag with synthetic clothing (like the Cocoon stuff). The advantage of that combination is that the synthetic gear gets used when you are sweating the most (hiking). If it's 40 degrees and raining, just wear the cocoon with a poncho (or rain jacket). I would guess (although I don't know for sure) that the inner clothing (or inner sleeping bag if you had two bags) would absorb more moisture as well.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Help with a synthetic sleeping bag selection on 04/08/2009 17:44:05 MDT Print View

Troy, the new TNF Cats Meow with Climashield Prism will meet your specifications. It was subjected to standardized testing (the European 13537 standard) and given a lower limit rating of -7C which translates to 19.4F. The weight for the long size is 2 lb.14 oz.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Re: Help with a synthetic sleeping bag selection on 04/08/2009 18:12:19 MDT Print View

I have considered that bag, but its supposed to be a narrow bag, IE the low weight. Probably about the same as my Casper, and I dont care for it. I would have to climb in one to see if it would work for me.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
How about this combo. on 04/08/2009 18:24:54 MDT Print View

A bit Expensive but the #7 UL is on sale.

Montbell UL Super Stretch Down Hugger #7 as a winter inner bag with a home made overquilt outer, and use either in the summer depending on what the conditions.

I was going to build a quilt anyway.

The Montbell UL #7 weighs 19oz.

The quilt I am thinking of would be made of .9 oz momentum, with 2 layers of 3.2 oz .9" loft combat climasheild xp, for a loft of 1.8" alone.
Sewn in footbox, with an 12-18" zip almost to the foot.

Total weight of the quilt would be 26 oz for a total combined weight of about 2.9#.

I could also add a tyvek bivy and a silk liner and still be under 4# total.

Not sure what the rating would be, but I think toasty and the montbell bag or the quilt would not be so confining..

Dewey Riesterer
(Kutenay) - F
Suggest ID North Twin on 04/08/2009 20:05:40 MDT Print View

I have used both down and synthetic bags in western and northern Canada since 1964, some 45 years of intensive wilderness use. There are sound reasons for using each type and I still do, but, tend to prefer the finest down bags for MOST recreational uses.

After using a number of synthetics, I now use an Integral Designs North Twin and Andromeda Overbag combo that allows me to be dry and comfortable from 70*F down to below 0*F and gives me two bags or one for maximum versatility. The combo weighs about 5.75 lbs and it WORKS in the worst conditions as three years of use has shown me.

ID gear is NOT "cheap", but, NOBODY makes better gear and it lasts, I would suggest you buy an ID Renaissance in "long-broad" and I am certain that you WILL be very happy with it. Combine it with an ID eVent Unishelter and Silwing and you have an aboslutely superb, bombproof shelter and "wet" is something we know about here in BC. HTH.

Edited by Kutenay on 04/08/2009 20:08:22 MDT.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Suggest ID North Twin on 04/08/2009 20:21:46 MDT Print View

Hi Kutenay, nice to see you posting here. Not to hijack this thread, but what is your experience with Primaloft Sport as to loft degradation? Based on your posts at TLB, I know that you use your gear extensively and am curious to know what kind of shape your ID bags are in after three years use. Thanks.

Edited by Dondo on 04/08/2009 22:15:31 MDT.

Dewey Riesterer
(Kutenay) - F
Pl on 04/09/2009 07:33:49 MDT Print View

I currently have the ID combo, an Exped Wallcreeper Large and a Wildthings "Elephant's Foot" insulated with Pl. I have not been as active recently as usual with various home situations taking my time, but, given my usual level of use, I am pretty pleased with these and the Pl. insulation.

I also have an ID Dolomitti and two ID Rundle jackets insulated with Pl Sport and am VERY impressed, to the point where I still keep, but, never use my superb, old Richard Egge double "duvet" parka, which I have had for nearly 35 years. The Pl. just compresses SO well and resists damp like nothing else I have used, that I am happy with it and strongly recommend it for "shoulder season" use and in my emerg. packs, both for hiking and backpack hunting.

I seem to have lost the "url" for TLB, would you mind posting it, thanks.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Pl on 04/09/2009 17:55:45 MDT Print View

Thanks for that, Kutenay. Here's the url: