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Thread: What type of sleeping bag should I get?

  1. #1

    Default What type of sleeping bag should I get?

    I have read through most of the posts here on bags. I got a lot of good suggestions on bags but I couldn't find anything on a bag that was the most waterproof/resistant and warm. It appears to me that the down bags are warm but not real good with water resistance and the poly/synthetic bags are more water resistant but not quite as warm as down. I am not real sure why a bag couldn't be both since the water resistance should be in the shell and the warmth in the fill. Although, they have to be breathable... I tried to find some sites for Marmot, Wiggly's etc were I could read reviews in addition to the threads here but no luck really.

    I am no sleeping bag connoisseur so if some of you could give me knowledge on good bags (ones that repel water and are warm) I would appreciate it! In this case, money is not really an option considering the importance of staying warm and dry on a hunt. There is nothing worse than waking up in shaking like a dog crapping razor blades in the middle of nowhere.

  2. #2

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    Forget down sleeping bags, once wet they are worthless. It's not that the synthetics repel water, it's that they wick water. Meaning they draw water away from you. I give two thumbs up for Wiggy's. Try looking again at his site, he goes WAY indepth on the, for a lack of better words, "science" behind sleeping bag construction and material selection.



    Ryan
    "If you are not working to protect hunting, then you are working to destroy it." ......Fred Bear

  3. #3
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    Synthetic bags can be just as warm as down bags, but they wont pack down as small, and will usually weigh more for an equal temperature rating. Synthetic fill will provide most of their warmth even if wet. They also dry faster. Down is worthless when wet, and takes forever to dry.

    They do make quite a few down bags now with a breathable Durable Water Repellent finish (DWR). It works pretty well, but it is still possible to get them wet inside. Down works best for backpackers, where you need small light weight, but you do have to take precautions to keep them dry. A waterproof drybag works when packing, and a good tent and good setup choices work when camping. Down also costs more. If you are not backpacking, there are few reasons to use down.

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    It depends on if you're traveling on foot, ATV, flying in, float trip? I use Marmot (Hydrogen and Helium) down bags. There is a Helium version that comes with a more water resistant shell. If you pack your sleeping bag in a dry bag/garbage bag, etc, getting it wet shouldn't be an issue. If you're going to be traveling by foot, I don't seen anything wrong with a down bag. It has served me well for some time.

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    I pack all of my bags in sea to summit event dry bags and they flat out work. For all non winter camping I have gone to the Wiggys glacier hunter. Contact Marc Taylor via PM for the info on them as you will not find them on the wiggys website. I don't wear my gear in the bag but I do stuff my pants and other clothing in there with me. W/ the wiggys bags I wake up warm and dry and unless wadded up generally so is my previously wet gear. It isn't as compact as down but if it gets wet it will still keep me warm which is important!

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    I personally use a Marmott Sawtooth 20 degree down bag, long and wide. Packs down to the size of a loaf of bread and weighs about 3.5 pounds. I went that route because most times my gear is on my back and I was wanting to cut size and weight.

    If size, weight and cost are not a factor, opens up a whole world.

    I spent months looking at bags and if I were going to ID one as the best all around bag, it would be the North Face Goliath, 0 degree bag. Still under 5 pounds, with a compression sack, packs down a bit small then a basketball, under 200 dollars, Synthetic and water resistant.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I finally broke down and got a Wiggy's bag recently... hands down the best bag I've used to date.

    If I were thinking about being anywhere near water I would avoid down bags. For a general purpose bag I think the synthetic is a far better choice.

    The only reason I would use down is a backpacking trip and I'm counting grams. That said I would be willing to shave weight other places before a bag.

  8. #8

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    I have a down bag that I keep in a sea to summit bag and have had no problems for backpacking trips. For float trips and such I use a synethic bag. Synethic like others have said will keep you warm when wet down will not.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russp17 View Post
    I have a down bag that I keep in a sea to summit bag and have had no problems for backpacking trips. For float trips and such I use a synethic bag. Synethic like others have said will keep you warm when wet down will not.
    I love the mountains and there is a real risk of getting your tent flattened with gale force wind driven rain. With my wiggys bag and an e-bivy I am sure it would be a miserable time but I would almost certainly survive it. Could you say the same about your down bag? In the summer going light and fastlike doing a thru-hike of crows pass with good weather in the forecast I would love to have a down bag but mid aug to sep or later no way for me.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I love the mountains and there is a real risk of getting your tent flattened with gale force wind driven rain. With my wiggys bag and an e-bivy I am sure it would be a miserable time but I would almost certainly survive it. Could you say the same about your down bag? In the summer going light and fastlike doing a thru-hike of crows pass with good weather in the forecast I would love to have a down bag but mid aug to sep or later no way for me.

    You took my post out of context. I was saying if you want a light bag for quick backpacking trips I use my down. If the weather is bad I use my non-down bag. This includes all my hunting since the weather is more likely to not be nice.

  11. #11
    Premium Member AZinAK's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Wiggy's...

    I had a Wiggy's Antarctica bag and loved it...kept me nice and warm in extreme negatives...this will be my next bag...4 lbs and a 0 bag...

    http://wiggys.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=64

    AZinAK

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    Wink not this again

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost_By_Choice View Post
    Forget down sleeping bags, once wet they are worthless. It's not that the synthetics repel water, it's that they wick water. Meaning they draw water away from you. I give two thumbs up for Wiggy's. Try looking again at his site, he goes WAY indepth on the, for a lack of better words, "science" behind sleeping bag construction and material selection.



    Ryan
    Believe me, any soaking wet sleeping bag is going to make for a cold night.
    I've been using down bags for about 30 years and have never gotten cold because of a wet sleeping bag, so maybe the key is don't let your sleeping bag get wet??
    Down is lighter, compresses better for packing and will outlast a synthetic bag by ten times. But to each their own.
    Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.
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  13. #13

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    This is exactly what I was looking for so thanks to all. I was looking at the Wiggy's super light with the FRTSS and was wondering if anyone here has this combo and if so how do they like it? Have you used it in extreme cold weather?

    Also, I came across a thread that had comments about Nikwax and using it for sleeping bags. There were some comments about it being "waxy" and not lasting long. Others thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Has anyone used this stuff on a bag? How did it work? How long did it last? Would like actually damage the bag's ability to wick moisture away?

    One last comment on the down bags. I never slept in one. Mainly because I never had hunted in an environment as rough as here. Are the down bags really that much warmer than the poly/synthetic bags? I like the idea of compact and light but as far as I know now most of my hunting will be from a boat, wheeler, snowmachine etc.. So, I won't be hoofing it much.

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    yes, down is warmer than synthetics.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by hre814 View Post
    yes, down is warmer than synthetics.
    To put it more correctly. Down is warmer PER OUNCE of fill than synthetic. Any synthetic bag can be made as warm as any down bag it will likely just weigh more and be bulkier when packed.

    I have both down and synthetic bags. My down bags are 40 degree bags that only weight 1.4 pounds apiece. That are about the size of a large burrito when compressed in a stuff sack and work well all summer.

    That said I also have a couple synthetic bags as well. One is a Wiggy's Glacier hunter (15 degrees) and it also has the FTRSS overbag as well which when combined takes the rating down the -15 or so. The Glacier hunter is 3.5 pounds to attain the 15 degree rating. In order to compare a Western Mountaineering (one of the best down bag makes in the biz) rated at 15 degrees is nearly half the weight at 1 pound 10 oz. Granted it isn't cut nearly as generous, but you get the idea. However when its October on Kodiak ask me which bag I'd rather lug up the mountain. You bet it'd be the Wiggy's. Why?? Because its a multi-day hunt with the same pick up and drop off. Meaning I only gotta hump the extra 1.5 pounds for two days of a total week long hunt. The added security of the extra 1.5 pounds of bag the wiggy's affords me to enable me to warm up and dry out much better than a down is worth it in those instances.

    However, on my 150 mile thru-hike I have planned the end of June beginning of July I'll be taking my down bag. Since that bag will be on my back everyday and the risk of a wet bag in the middle of summer is lessened (not gone) compared to October coastal hunt.

    In all honesty though I feel you DO NOT want a waterproof bag. A sleeping bag is supposed to be able to breath to allow the moisture your body creates as well as if you crawl in with damp clothes move to the outside of your bag rather than be trapped inside your bag making it clammy and reducing the loft of your insulation, regardless of if its down or synthetic fill.

    My wife and I have and will continue to rock a set of these bags for a lot of our backpacking trips as well. They are cut small though. However, I am only 155 at 5'9 and she is small as well (thought I was dumb enough to posts my wife's weight online didn't ya ) and the bag by itself fits me snugly yes but I don't compress the insulation. Granted their 0 degree rating I imagine is optimistic at best, but I've been warm down to 15 degrees a couple times in these bags when zipped together with my wife.

    Might be a cheap alternative until you figure out what exactly you are looking for. At $70 for a 0 degree rated bag (though I'd put it at around 15 if you do your part on going to bed with a full stomach, dry base layer, and cinch the hold correctly) that only weighs 3 lbs is hard to beat to get ya started. That said though my buddy who is 5'11 and 250ish can't fit in the bag. These bags pack SUPER small as well.

    http://www.amazon.com/High-Peak-Extr.../dp/B001B8IGT2

    They also have an XL version as well that might be better for the larger folks:

    http://www.overstock.com/Sports-Toys...i_sku=12000954

    Everyone has their way of doing things and what they feel is comfortable for them so there will never be one right answer to the great down vs. synthetic bag debate. Heck I still argue with myself on which bag to bring at times.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alasken View Post
    Believe me, any soaking wet sleeping bag is going to make for a cold night.
    I've been using down bags for about 30 years and have never gotten cold because of a wet sleeping bag, so maybe the key is don't let your sleeping bag get wet??
    Down is lighter, compresses better for packing and will outlast a synthetic bag by ten times. But to each their own.


    I don't know about that, I have crawled into a wet synthetic bag and been plenty warm. Valid point about not letting the sleeping bag get wet, same could be said about only bringing one bullet and just not missing, not bringing a first aid kit and just don't get hurt, don't tell anyone where I am going and just not getting lost. Second thought, I will just be prepared instead



    Ryan
    "If you are not working to protect hunting, then you are working to destroy it." ......Fred Bear

  17. #17

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    Well, I think I am going to go for the Wiggy's Super Lite with the FRTSS system. That is a good point about bags being breathable and since nobody has posted anything about adding water resistance using products like Nikwax I think I will toss that idea all together. The bags were made the way they were for a reason and with the materials they use now it would probably ruin some properties of the bag by adding water resistant products like Nikwax.

    I did see some folks mention sleeping pads. I have no idea what to get! I can tell you that I sleep on my side and stomach and do NOT like the idea of rolling off a pad all night. Is there some way to attach the pad to the bag so it's not slipping out from underneath my bag?

    Oh, I found this review for those of you reading this thread for the same reasons I started it:

    http://www.trailspace.com/gear/wiggy...t/review/5039/

  18. #18
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    "Is there some way to attach the pad to the bag so it's not slipping out from underneath my bag?"

    There are options for doing this, but Big Agnes bags use a sleeve on the bottom of the bag that holds the bag and pad together. They also don't insulate the bottoms of their bags, and use the pad as the insulation. It's a pretty good system.

    Also Big Agnes and Exped sell insulated air mattresses that, for side sleepers, are more comfortable (and smaller when packed) than the usual self inflating or foam pads. Nice products.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvarmit View Post
    I have read through most of the posts here on bags. I got a lot of good suggestions on bags but I couldn't find anything on a bag that was the most waterproof/resistant and warm. It appears to me that the down bags are warm but not real good with water resistance and the poly/synthetic bags are more water resistant but not quite as warm as down. I am not real sure why a bag couldn't be both since the water resistance should be in the shell and the warmth in the fill. Although, they have to be breathable... I tried to find some sites for Marmot, Wiggly's etc were I could read reviews in addition to the threads here but no luck really.

    I am no sleeping bag connoisseur so if some of you could give me knowledge on good bags (ones that repel water and are warm) I would appreciate it! In this case, money is not really an option considering the importance of staying warm and dry on a hunt. There is nothing worse than waking up in shaking like a dog crapping razor blades in the middle of nowhere.
    I'm not a sleeping bag connoisseur either. I have a three layer army sleeping bag and it does it all. It has a thin layer, a thick layer, and a gor-tex bivvy. The thin layer works ok in warm weather, and the thick layer works good for the fall. when combined (with the bivvy) I've slept in 0 degree weather and was plenty warm. These can be found online for a decent price. I've also slept in the pouring rain with this system too (completely dry). I dont see a need to change as I've slept in this system for 8 yrs (in the Army) and it's still with me(now that im out). You can purchase the older-style woodland bag (same as the new ACU one) for a fraction of the price of some of these sleepin bags recommended on the thread. I'd be interested to hear criticism on this bag......because I've yet to hear anything negative to date.

  20. #20
    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I'm not a sleeping bag connoisseur either. I have a three layer army sleeping bag and it does it all. It has a thin layer, a thick layer, and a gor-tex bivvy. The thin layer works ok in warm weather, and the thick layer works good for the fall. when combined (with the bivvy) I've slept in 0 degree weather and was plenty warm. These can be found online for a decent price. I've also slept in the pouring rain with this system too (completely dry). I dont see a need to change as I've slept in this system for 8 yrs (in the Army) and it's still with me(now that im out). You can purchase the older-style woodland bag (same as the new ACU one) for a fraction of the price of some of these sleepin bags recommended on the thread. I'd be interested to hear criticism on this bag......because I've yet to hear anything negative to date.
    Very effective bags indeed, although most folks on this site would say 'too heavy.'
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

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