Forum Index » GEAR » how long does it take to wear out a down sleeping bag?


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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
how long does it take to wear out a down sleeping bag? on 02/15/2014 00:02:33 MST Print View

I know down bags sort of last forever, but how long do they really last with good care, assuming you don't replace it until the loft is severely degraded or the shell material wears out... 500 nights, 1000 nights?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: how long does it take to wear out a down sleeping bag? on 02/15/2014 00:31:47 MST Print View

In my experience, a decent down bag is not limited at all by how many nights you sleep in it, but rather how you wash it and dry it.

I've seen modern down bags that went to hell after a two dozen nights and a couple of washings, and I have another one that I bought in 1977 and is still going strong.

--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: how long does it take to wear out a down sleeping bag? on 02/15/2014 00:46:54 MST Print View

How roughly do you treat it?
How often do you wash it?

Mine have lasted over 20 years.

Cheers

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: how long does it take to wear out a down sleeping bag? on 02/15/2014 00:53:27 MST Print View

I submerge my down bag in plain water every about every 7-10 nights of use and let it air dry on my porch. I figure that washing it regularly in plain water can keep some of the oils out and avoid washing it with down wash, which I'm assuming can degrade the down after many washes... i dunno if this is correct or not. I've washed it with downwash once since I've purchased it less than a year ago. I keep it laying flat on a long shelf at the top of my closet. I never use a compression sack.

Is this good?


it's a wm summerlite btw

some people get excited about new gear, i get more excited about having gear that will last for ages.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Search BPL on 02/15/2014 01:38:26 MST Print View

Somewhere there is a thread by an alias of german tourist or something like that who gave reports on the long term life of products when used continiously. I think she said two years of constant use would wear out a bag. So 700 nights.

Edit here is the link
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=59312

Edited by GregF on 02/15/2014 01:40:19 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: how long does it take to wear out a down sleeping bag? on 02/15/2014 05:36:06 MST Print View

"...I figure that washing it regularly in plain water can keep some of the oils out and avoid washing it with down wash, which I'm assuming can degrade the down after many washes... i dunno if this is correct or not. ..."

Sounds good to me. The big sack that comes with most good bags is primarily for dust control. I prefer to hang a bag from a high hanger, though. The baffles will support each bit of weight rather than having the weight of the shell on the down. I don't believe it really matters. But, I was a carpenter 40 years ago...easy to fix a closet.

The water is likely a good solvent for salt and uric acid/urea...from your sweat. These are water soluable and rinse easily. The acid will act like a detergent so oils are removed. Unfortunatly, this also removes oils from the feathers. Soo, even plain water will eventually degrade down. I would guess about 40 years, only a guess, since it depends on each person, how much you sweat, how much you wash it, how well you take care of it, how much you use it.
ANY soap or detergent will strip down of essential oils eventually.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Down sleeping bags last a long, long time on 02/15/2014 06:41:28 MST Print View

My two most-used down bags have something on the order of 500 nights each of use. If they have lost any loft at all I have yet to notice.

I think a whole lot depends on how you use and wash and store the bag. Carefully following the washing and drying instructions is vital. I am also a firm believer in washing the bag when it requires washing, but not until necessary.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: how long does it take to wear out a down sleeping bag? on 02/15/2014 07:52:42 MST Print View

I know a lot of people point to how the bags are washed and stored but, based on my experience, I think the user makes a big difference, as well.

My family's down bags are all cared for and stored the same way but my husband's bags, the least used, loses its loft most quickly. Something about his weight/metabolism, I think. The obvious factors are that he's the heaviest and sleeps the warmest. I also think that his weight stresses the seams/stitches/baffles more as he turns in his sleep.

David Olsen
(bivysack.com) - F

Locale: Channeled Scablands
Re: how long does it take to wear out a down sleeping bag? on 02/15/2014 07:57:57 MST Print View

My wifes uses an REI bag from the 50's that she was likely conceived in! The cotton thread died in the 1970's and a local place re-stitched it for her. She has used it as a raft guide and OB instructor for several seasons as well as private trips in that time.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: how long does it take to wear out a down sleeping bag? on 02/15/2014 08:02:17 MST Print View

John Abela just posted that he has over 750 nights on his MontBell U.L. SuperSpirial, and it's till going strong.

David Olsen
(bivysack.com) - F

Locale: Channeled Scablands
5 years constant use on 02/15/2014 08:06:42 MST Print View

My northface chrysalis has 5 years of full time use plus light use after. The head/shoulder portion has a little less loft and I figure has lost about 10 degrees in warmth overall. It was supposed to be good to 25 but now is cold when it approaches freezing. Layering mitigates that.

I like to hose off the dust from my pack, tarp and sleeping bag after each short trip and hang dry. (tumble the tarp for a couple of minutes on warm and the sleeping bag for a full cycle with no heat too).

Scott Smith
(mrmuddy) - M

Locale: No Cal
Bag life on 02/15/2014 14:22:19 MST Print View

I have a buddy who has been using his NF for 36 years.

I asked him if he has thought about getting a new bag. And his response was Why ?

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
What about Quilt? on 02/15/2014 14:28:18 MST Print View

Would a down quilt last longer, or less long, than a down bag? Any difference, assuming all else held equivalent?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: What about Quilt? on 02/15/2014 14:35:02 MST Print View

hmmm... I would think so because the with a sleeping bag the bottom of the bag is taking the most wear, but without a bottom there is almost no wear. But quilts are such a new thing to backpacking that I don't know if anyone can actually answer that.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: What about Quilt? on 02/16/2014 13:30:45 MST Print View

Well, since you aren't crushing the down on the bottom, I would definitely think so. But you would need to use the quilt for over 20 years imho before you could judge.

Cheers