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down sleeping bags
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Gregory Love
(gwl2225) - F
down sleeping bags on 09/13/2013 22:08:09 MDT Print View

Been thinking of getting a new bag. I spend most of my time in the Cascades so it is wet. I have never had much issue with getting wet but I am very careful. In researching bags I see may are offering treated down

My question is has anyone got there treated down bag wet and how well did it work? Would a synthetic bag have worked any better? Could anyone provide me a link to a posting tread on this issue? Thanks Greg

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: down sleeping bags on 09/14/2013 00:27:36 MDT Print View


From reading a couple of reviews of both dwr down clothing and bags it is not a direct replacement for synthetic items as it can still wet out and takes longer to dry than synthetics.

Definitley a good question, I myself will keep an eye for replies.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: down sleeping bags on 09/14/2013 07:56:15 MDT Print View

The question I had is more along the lines of continued condensation inside the bag from outside humidity as opposed to an actual dunking of the bag. Spending a lot of time in very humid, wet environments has to translate to less loft and warmth throughout a trip, doesn't it?

I remember during my 11-day Patagonia trip, at about the halfway point, I just could NOT get warm in my bag at night, and it wasn't really that cold out. It was humid as heck tho - my e reader was constantly covered in condensation trying to read at night.

I'm assuming these are the conditions where synthetics, or possibly water resistant down, would shine?

John Hillyer
(TrNameLucky) - MLife
Water Resistant Down on 09/14/2013 10:02:29 MDT Print View

I have a sleeping bag from Zpacks stuffed with 850 fill water resistant down. It has had more than its share of exposure to condensation and spray and it still manages to retain its loft and insulating ability. When I washed it for the first time, putting it in a bathtub full of hot water, I got to see how amazingly water resistant it really is.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
treated down not as good as synthetic when wet on 09/14/2013 11:39:05 MDT Print View

There was a recent thread in which someone related their experience with treated down in a very wet climate. Their conclusion, as I recall, was that if you're going to be in a very wet climate like the Pacific NW, then synthetic is the way to go... still. I believe I recall he said that the treated down lost loft in the humid climate even without direct exposure to water, just not as fast as regular down.

Maybe you could do a search and find that thread... it was not too long ago.

Bill D.

Gregory Love
(gwl2225) - F
thanks on 09/14/2013 22:51:52 MDT Print View

thanks for the information. I guess to be more clear I am referring to humid climate camping rather than soaking bag in something like a creek crossing. I like the feeling of packing a down bag and more the sleeping in a down bag is hard to beat.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
down hasn't been a problem--yet on 09/15/2013 18:05:53 MDT Print View

I live in Washington State, and backpack in the Cascades and Olympics. I have only down sleeping bags, and I really haven't seen a problem. I will say that with the exception of 1 10 day trip, mostly I'm going out for 3-4 days max. I suppose that if I went out for an extended 3 week trip, I might have a different opinion. Good ventilation in the tent is a must.

I think that the quality of your down makes a big difference. I have an EE Rev X quilt, and my boyfriend a WM Megalite. Never had an issue. This next week-end, we're going to Mt. Rainier and hiking for 3 nights, 4 days, going in at the Carbon River and heading up to Windy Gap. Could be wet, at least showers, so I may sing a different tune!

Steven Davis

Locale: SF Bay Area
gear on 09/23/2013 00:19:13 MDT Print View

this should probably be in the gear sub-forum, but i don't really care.

anyways, they make water-resistant down. check the zpacks one the other guy mentioned. i love my zpacks bag. it has regular 900 fill down, but i dont really camp in wet areas.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: down sleeping bags on 09/23/2013 00:43:37 MDT Print View

You could consider getting an extra warm down bag. Even if it gets wet, the extra down should act as a buffer to keep you warm enough.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: down sleeping bags on 09/23/2013 06:02:45 MDT Print View

I agree. The drytec or other water proofing for down will not help that much with condensation.A good example of something that is waterproof is your car windshield. Condensation happens under the right conditions regardless of the material.

Down coatings are good in short term imersion and with extreme dampness. The coating will protect the down from the water. But a 6 hour sleep is enough to cause them to wet out. Synthetics are usually waterproof, too. They still condense inside. As I was saying, under the right conditions, anything will condense water on it.

Because synthetic fibers are stiffer, they will loft better. But, down is still the best choice on a per weight basis. Only when saturated with water, I mean soaked, are synthetics better. How often do you sleep in the rain? Or in a mud puddle? I am sure you choose better campsites.

Both synthetics and down loose some insulating value when damp. If you expect damp conditions where you hike, get more down, as Justin says. It will be roughly the same to carry a WM Antelope at 2#7, 5F Down bag vs. a Kelty Cosmic 35F Synthetic at 2#6. A 30F temp difference is a LOT. It will last longer and keep you warmer under every other condition. Just an example, of course.

One of the great misconceptions with condensation is that it will build up in a bag at night. This is NOT absolute and changes with humidity/heat or dew the temperature where a saturated air will condense. Generally, from about 25f and up, your body heat will change the condensation conditions in the down, lowering the dew point. Heat, along with condensation moisture, is usually forced out of a bag. Thick layers of down will allow it to condense inside, of course. Thin layers just vent it allowing the bag to stay dry. Thick bags are warmer because they hold it all in, but too warm will lead to wetter bags as the dew point moves towards your body and into the down. There was a couple articals written here that mention this, but I don't remember where...sorry. Of course, this assumes a good roof over you and no additional water added (except insensible perspiration.) You mentioned you were carefull, so, I think you can just use down.

Dampness comes in degrees. Between wet and dry there is a wide range. Sometimes, this is a disadvantage. Sometimes it is better. Down will generally vent better. You might try a lighter bag, suplimenting as needed with carried clothing. Damp down is not a problem. It will usually dry out over night making it warmer at 0200 than at 2200, when you went to bed. It will dry pretty well over the course of a night. Generally, if you are too warm, it will collapes a bit, making it cooler (from perspiration/insensible stuff causing dampness in the fill.) If it is cool, your body heat will dry it making it more lofty, hence warmer. So, it has a better comfort range than synthetics, or, even treated down. This is, perhaps, the biggest objection I have to drytec on down. It has a narrower comfort range than would otherwise be possible by artifically enhancing loft, even when damp.

Anyway, being carefull with down is always of some concern. You seem fine there. So, just get a down bag with a somewhat lower temp rating if it is always damp where you hike. Easy enough to stick a leg out, though, if you get too warm...

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
My next down bag on 09/27/2013 16:58:19 MDT Print View

I have a nice WM Megalite.

But my next down bag will be for winter (-20 F.) and have DWR treated down. No question treated down is superior (to non-DWR treated down) for handling body vapor.

Edited by Danepacker on 09/27/2013 16:59:44 MDT.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: My next down bag on 09/27/2013 17:06:11 MDT Print View

I've had really good luck with not much condensation at all in my -20* Marmot Col MemBrain.