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How useful is waterproof down in a sleeping bag?
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John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: 900 for life? on 03/17/2014 21:41:21 MDT Print View

Michael L: I would rather have 900!


I would rather NOT have 900fp down!

Myself and MANY others have been saying for the last few years that 900fp down wets out WAY to easily. In raining regions 900fp down is just hell at trying to keep from getting damp and starting to cluster up on you. Even in the desert during the cold seasons when you get frost at night a 900fp down bag can become saturated and start to clump.

This is not a comment against Michael, but rather against 900fp down being used.

Sure, it might be ok for weekenders but for long distance hikes 900fp down is just not the way to go IMVHO/FWIW. Stick with 800fp or 850fp. For whatever reason the difference between 850fp and 900fp is rather drastic when it comes to the down becoming saturated and clumping up on you. Got no "scientific" proof of this... just a whole lot of nights out on the trail... and as I said, I am far from the only person saying this over the last few years.

Stuart .
(lotuseater)

Locale: Mountains
WM on 03/17/2014 22:26:37 MDT Print View

"seen new bags from WM lately ?"

"No innovation from them, I havent even seen a quilt from them."

How about the Terralite? It's the first bag in the Extremelite range that unzips all the way around the foot to allow it to be opened fully, quilt style. It's also cut wide at the hip to better accommodate side sleepers.

It may not be your idea of an innovation, but it is an extension of their product line.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: WM Innovation on 03/18/2014 01:17:43 MDT Print View

In case everyone didn't get the email, quilts are a niche market. If I was WM, I wouldn't enter that market either.

What innovations are to be had for sleeping bags/quilts? First would be insulation, which is what this thread is about. I find it interesting that some companies have jumped on the waterproof down and are now selling it in their offerings with no proven track record.

Perhaps they just want your money any way they can get it.

I don't know if WM has an official position regarding waterproof down, but if they are taking a "wait and see" stance, I view that as a responsible way to approach it instead of jumping on the bandwagon and ending up with dissatisfied customers.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re: Re: 900 for life? on 03/18/2014 01:25:12 MDT Print View

"Stick with 800fp or 850fp."

John Aleba, I went with 900 with my Zpacks quilt. I see what your saying and agree with you, but with my 30deg rating I'm not in cold, or damp and humid conditions that much.

With a bag that costs that much saving weight and keeping it ultralight is important me. it's only an ounce saved but still.

Mark S
(gixer) - F
Terralite not new on 03/18/2014 03:38:11 MDT Print View

"How about the Terralite? It's the first bag in the Extremelite range that unzips all the way around the foot to allow it to be opened fully, quilt style. It's also cut wide at the hip to better accommodate side sleepers.

It may not be your idea of an innovation, but it is an extension of their product line."

Stuart the Terralight has been sold here in Europe under the "Lets move" brand for around 15 years

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: WM Innovation on 03/18/2014 06:47:27 MDT Print View

I agree with Nick. I would not expect WM to immediatly jump into any fairly new market. They are slow to innovate. That was never their interest. Their focus was to produce high quality sleeping bags. They did not innovate anything.

Nanatak is more innovative. I think they were one of the first companies to embrace quilts and half bags, more popular in mountaineering/climbing circles. They are much more innovative, but quilts/half bags were popular before they started manufacturing. Again, they don't really innovate, invent, test and market beta models.

Feathered Friends is about the same. They never liked to innovate. They took some tried and true products and simply made high quality varients. Again, walking bags, couples bags, etc have been around a while.

Z packs, EE, et al are even newer companies who use newer technologies as THEIR selling point. But is this ever really new? Yeah, DriDown is new enough, we still have 8 years to go before anything can be said about it as far as durability. Cuben is not the best for bags, anyway. Again, they don't have much to offer, so DriDown or 900FP is about it. But, Even Nunatak admits that 900FP down degrades more than lower fill 750 or 800FP down. The initial weight *might* be an ounce less, with more degradion over the course of a night.

DiDown and ilk are still too new for any to say, good or bad. Yes, the feathers resist water takeup for an hour or two. Tested and proven. Question: Why would this help? I try NOT to get my bag wet. Indeed, I choose fair to good ground to sleep on. I use a tarp. I try NOT to get stuff wet. Even if I dump my canoe, my sleeping gear is in dry bags. Most of my planning, and about a pound of my carry weight, is dedicated to staying dry through three days of torrential rains. Even with DriDown, this would not change. I try to sleep for 7 hours at a time, not for <2. The effect of DriDown on my gear is to pay extra for the treatment, since, I would buy a base 800fp down anyway.

The believe the increased loft associated with DriDown is due to changes in the surface nature of the static charges of the plumes, forcing the down to loft higher. Easy to test for with the current standards, since it is dried pretty thuroughly. But this fails in any sort of real world damp conditions because the charges can dispate before doing any usefull work, ie, seperating fibers in the plume. Down does this naturally, of course. Down bags in general will loft higher if clean and freshly dried. I have dried my bags maybe 50-75 times, they ALWAYS loft higher than when I got them new for the first night. Are they any warmer? Well, no, not really, since this effect disipates with contact, especially with my body. I believe DriDown, and ilk, is a gimmick, and not a true, real world improvement in down. It just tests at a higher loft. I think WM, FF, Nunatak, and others that DON'T use DriDown are using better knowledge and ignoring the marketing hype.

"Perhaps they just want your money any way they can get it." Ha, ha, I believe that is called wally world marketing.

Drew .
(43ten) - F - M

Locale: Sierras
Waterproof-ing a sleeping bag or quilt on 08/14/2015 17:48:06 MDT Print View

I am posting this question here rather than starting a new thread:

What is the best way to waterproof the shell of a sleeping bag or quilt? Has anyone tried a DWR or silicone based spray?

From what I've read here, you shouldn't use silicone sprays (like some Atsko products) on DWR treated fabric. I have a zpacks sleeping bag with pertex quantum/ventum with DWR, it'd like to make sure that it is very resistant to condensation or external moisture. On a recent trip there were a couple nights where the shell got pretty damp from cold temps + warm breath and condensation.

Jake S
(spags)
Who cares what Manufacturers say? on 08/14/2015 19:48:53 MDT Print View

They don't look out for your best interest, they look out for their own. What one or the other says doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

What's nice, though, is that here at BPL we have an editorial staff that has a history of actually testing gear manufacturer claims rather than just xxxx them (*cough*Backpacker*cough*). So maybe at some point we'll get a glimpse as to whether these water "proofing" treatments for down work, or at least roughly how well they work.
-----
Children reading us, remember?
Cheers
Roger
(I am not disagreeing, mind you!)

Edited by rcaffin on 08/15/2015 00:51:23 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: How useful is waterproof down in a sleeping bag? on 08/14/2015 20:01:41 MDT Print View

I have a Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 bag with dwr down. I have found a noticeable difference in it's loft retention when damp over my WM summerlite. I've gotten it damp from dripping rain and I have crawled into it with wet clothes. I think it's worth it if you have the option, but I wouldn't limit yourself on options just for the sake of getting DWR down.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Waterproof-ing a sleeping bag or quilt on 08/15/2015 00:49:59 MDT Print View

> From what I've read here, you shouldn't use silicone sprays (like some Atsko
> products) on DWR treated fabric.
Correct.

The problem is that silicone spray and fluorocarbon DWR treatments are totally incompatible. They will not stick to each other. Once you have mixed them up, you might as well kiss the garment goodby (imho).

I have used silicone spray on a silnylon tent. Just a light spray over. I like to think the spray did adhere a bit and smarten up the surface of the silnylon.

If you want to do anything to a quilt or SB, you will have to use a fluorocarbon DWR. They do not use silcone for DWR treatment: it does not last.

Cheers

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Waterproof-ing a sleeping bag or quilt on 08/15/2015 07:42:21 MDT Print View

"it'd like to make sure that it is very resistant to condensation or external moisture"

Certainly talk with your bag manufacturer to see if they'd recommend anything.

Personally speaking, I would do absolutely NOTHING to decrease the permeability of my sleeping bags. If I think I'm going to be in a cold/humid environment, I always have a small towell to soak up condensation.

I've also put my bag under a lightweight silk liner or blanket, which in turn, takes on all the condensation. I've found this "extra weight" to be well worth it for many reasons.

Edward Jursek
(nedjursek@gmail.com) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Waterproof Down on 08/15/2015 23:44:16 MDT Print View

I have hiked for almost 20 years in the PNW with FF down bags, often in wet humid conditions and never had an issue. I have had FF bags with Epic or Pertex Quantum UL Endurance shells that will handle any overspray, sidewall condensation, or spindrift with ease. I don't even bother with bivys. Beyond a bag with a good performance shell, a proper shelter and proper site selection means no worries. I think people are irrationally afraid of their down getting wet and marketers are preying on that.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Waterproof Down on 08/19/2015 17:52:02 MDT Print View

> I think people are irrationally afraid of their down getting wet and marketers are
> preying on that.
Well, they need an edge, don't they?
Yep.

Cheers

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re: Waterproof Down on 08/19/2015 20:02:16 MDT Print View

I had plenty of condensation in my old Golite quilt this summer in B.C. No problem in Wyoming. Probably going back to synthetic for wetter trips. Yeah site selection would have helped but my options for sites were pretty limited. Bivys make this worse of course. I don't think the bivy/tarp combo is a good idea really wet climates. In B.C my friend had better luck with no bivy and a WM mummy bag under a Seek Outside BT2.

Rich K.
(scrabbler) - M
By the pound on 08/19/2015 20:11:07 MDT Print View

Just as an fyi - when you buy down by the pound from my supplier, it's only a $5 extra to add the WP.

Edited by scrabbler on 08/19/2015 20:13:03 MDT.