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Down or Synthetic?

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Down or Synthetic?

Postby JB99 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:27 pm

I am looking for a sleeping bag to get my older brother for Christmas, it will be for 3 season backpacking use mostly in Colorado. Looking at the REI Downtime +20 but was curious about if it is worth the extra $ for down. Thanks in advance for everyones feedback.

CG_old

Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby CG_old » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:32 pm

In my opinion, it's *definitely* worth the extra money. You'll recoup the cost just in the longevity of down vs synthetic... not to mention the lower weight and higher compressibility.

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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby JayMiller » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:40 pm

Just make sure your brother is not allergic to down. I have a slight allergy to feathers and down. I don't get terribly sick, but I will wake up with a stuffed up head and bad headache. Otherwise,down is the way to go.
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby stevevets689 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:41 pm

But just to play the devil's advocate...

I own a synthetic +20 degree sleeping bag and have used it for three years. I like it a lot. It's ultra light and compacts pretty small. I payed $80 or $90 for it from Cabella's.
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby jtdudley » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:46 pm

I have REI Sub-kilo +20 bag and love it. The light weight and compressability (down to about the size of a loaf of bread) is worth every penny. When going out for a light 2 night trip my packs are almost always lighter and smaller than those of my friends with synthetic bags. I have used my back in conditions as warm as 60 degrees and as cold as 4 degrees. I would definetly recommend down.

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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby JB99 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:48 pm

Thanks for all the feedback, what about the ability of down to hold warmth when wet? Anybody have any experience with the REI Downtime specifically?
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby CO Native » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:49 pm

Chris Gerber wrote:In my opinion, it's *definitely* worth the extra money. You'll recoup the cost just in the longevity of down vs synthetic... not to mention the lower weight and higher compressibility.


I totally agree with Chris.
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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby CG_old » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:09 pm

JB99 wrote:Thanks for all the feedback, what about the ability of down to hold warmth when wet? Anybody have any experience with the REI Downtime specifically?


It's pretty easy to keep your bag from getting wet in a climate like Colorado, so it shouldn't be an issue. Basically it comes down to: Wet down is completely worthless. Wet synthetic is very nearly worthless. Either way, you're going to have a miserable night if you soak your bag. :-)

I own a synthetic +20 degree sleeping bag and have used it for three years. I like it a lot. It's ultra light and compacts pretty small. I payed $80 or $90 for it from Cabella's.


I've been using the same Marmot 25F bag for 12 years now. I probably have somewhere around 400 nights in it (maybe more... I had 85 nights in one year back in the late 90s)... it's still going strong.

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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby thebeave7 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:14 pm

Here's my take, though put simply I'm with Gerber.

I own an REI subkilo,kilo expedition, and TNF cats meow. I have quite a bit of exp with the downtime and received a lot of feedback from users. The downtown is a nice entry level down bag. Here is the difference down v synthetic. Down is lighter, compresses better, usually has a lifetime of 10-20 years, and tends to cost a little more. Synthetics are cheaper, don't compress as well, are a little heavier, and insulate better(not well) when wet.

In my experience the wet issue isn't a big deal out here, it doesn't rain for long enough, and if you are vigilant you can keep the bag dry. The biggest advantages to down come with higher quality fill, low end 500fill->highest 900fill. Something like the subkilo is 700 fill, thus lighter and more compressable than a 600fill bag(Downtime). The synthetics are nice if it's an occasional use thing and price is an issue, weight with the high end synthetics aren't a whole lot more than low end down bags. That being said, the Downtime at $120 is a great deal for a down bag. So if you are looking for something in that range(not the $200-300 range), I'd say go for it.

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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby CG_old » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:22 pm

This is probably common knowledge, but figured i'd throw it out just in case.

How you store a bag will determine how long it lasts more than anything else (well, unless you glissade in it or something like that). Regardless of whether you go down or synthetic, be sure to have your brother store it unstuffed. I used to hang mine from the sleeping bag hangers (like they have in outdoor stores) which worked really really well but took up way too much room (8 bags hanging in the basement didn't make the wife very happy). Now I store them in really large rubbermaid bins (really large so they can loft all the way up... like 2'x2'x3' bins). The bins keep the spiders and dust off them too :-)

I know people that keep them under their bed too... laid out flat so it can loft.

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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby Two Headed Boy » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:26 pm

I bought a 0 degree down Marmot bag in 1997 and have to say it has lost no warming value. On the other hand I bought a 15 degree Kelty bag a year later and I would have to say that bag might keep me warm in the Summer, might being the key word. Down compacts better, lasts longer, is lighter, is warmer, and there is a reason down costs more than synthetic.

As far as the synthetic bags keeping heat better when wet than down, it's true but seriously, if you let your bag get wet (synthetic or down) you are bummin. How much does a heftybag cost to put your bag in?

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Re: Down or Synthetic?

Postby JB99 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:56 pm

Sounds fun, I'm pretty sure I have an old bag that could be used for this... hmmm... :idea:
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