Baffled with "Continuous baffles?"

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Jul 25, 2012
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I admire much about Robin, not the least is how small is his canoeing kit. Mine however, is something else again. And again. Now, my Wiggy's sleeping bag setup has never left me cold, and that's not a small thing. But it's pretty large even packed up. (one blue barrel's worth)
I was over on the Western Mountaineering site looking at their sleeping bags. Expensive but recognized as top of the line bags. The bag that caught my eye is the "Sequoia MF" , in the description they talk about "The continuous baffle allows you to adjust the down fill to suit changes in the weather."
So I'd guess you are supposed to pat the down around to adjust to......what, how much, where? Warmth equals sleep, cold results in no sleep, stiffness and joint pain.
Now, maybe I'm just being geriatric cranky this morning but that sounds awfully loosey-goosey for such a spendy bag.
Does anyone have any experience with this kind of adjustment?

It's as clear as mud,

Rob
 
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I hate to say it but I think that is just a fancy way of saying we are saving weight by eliminating baffles... adjust before you sleep! I could, of course, be wrong... but it seems in the lightweight craze that some manufacturers are taking some liberties in exploiting features that are nothing more than giving you less for more.

Off topic to what your looking at but check these guys out:

http://www.enlightenedequipment.com/

Handmade by an avid outdoorsman. I love mine. My quilt is synthetic with no baffles, and I have no complaints with it although the synthetic fill doesn't seem to shift at all.
 
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Jul 31, 2011
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Ditto. That is exactly what they mean by the term "continuous baffles." They omit the crosswise baffles which would prevent down from shifting between the underside and the top of the bag. It is generally meant to save construction labor costs, and sometimes intentionally to save a tiny, tiny amount of weight.

Regarding small packing size, newer synthetic fills such as Primaloft, commonly known as the "down alternative," and even slightly older stuff such as Polarguard 3 delta or 3D compress to very small bundles.

For example, my summer bag, made by MEC, which is filled with the older Polarguard 3D, weighs 26 oz and packs in a compression stuff sack to the size of a small loaf of bread. My three season bag, made by Mountain Hardwear, which weighs 2 lb 4 oz, filled with the same stuff, fits into its 9"x18" non-compression stuff sack ALONG WITH a 78"x20"x2.5" Primaloft-insulated sleeping pad, an inflatable foam pillow, and a silk sleeping bag liner, with lots of room to spare. My winter bag, made by Sierra Designs and filled with the much older LiteLoft, weighs 4 lb 10 oz. It will also fit into that same 9"x18" stuff sack, though not with all the other things I mentioned.

The first two bags are nearing 10 years old, and the last is nearing 20 years, and none have lost any noticeable amount of loft or warmth, even though I have certainly aged and lost a noticeable amount of tolerance to cold. None have shifting fill, and all will stay reasonably warm if wet, and all will dry fairly quickly.

For the sake of full disclosure, I am allergic to down and feathers, even when the stuff is in supposedly down-proof fabrics.
 
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Ahh, the double speak of advertising. Isn’t it great? Like everyone else, I have various bags for different seasons. An extra wool blanket is great for frosty nights. Baffles, tubes, chambers and all that jazz, just means to me that I won’t suffer any cold spots during the night. As far as controlling warmth, well, that’s easy: Put toque on; remove toque …
 
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Aberdeen, MD
I admire much about Robin, not the least is how small is his canoeing kit. Mine however, is something else again. And again. Now, my Wiggy's sleeping bag setup has never left me cold, and that's not a small thing. But it's pretty large even packed up. (one blue barrel's worth)
I was over on the Western Mountaineering site looking at their sleeping bags. Expensive but recognized as top of the line bags. The bag that caught my eye is the "Sequoia MF" , in the description they talk about "The continuous baffle allows you to adjust the down fill to suit changes in the weather."
So I'd guess you are supposed to pat the down around to adjust to......what, how much, where? Warmth equals sleep, cold results in no sleep, stiffness and joint pain.
Now, maybe I'm just being geriatric cranky this morning but that sounds awfully loosey-goosey for such a spendy bag.
Does anyone have any experience with this kind of adjustment?

It's as clear as mud,

Rob

OM,

I'm going to take a slightly different tack on this... and assume it's not a lightweight "weight-shaving" trick... The bag you're looking at is 3lbs, 4oz, rated to 5*F, and is a semi-rectangular bag (vs the smaller/lighter mummy style). There is a "lightweight" WM bag listed (in their "EXtremelite" series) called a Versalite that is 2lbs even and rated to 10*F. IF WM was trying to play a weight game, THAT'S the bag and line in which I think they'd be doing it.

The issue with down (and lord knows I love it. I have a WM Caribou 35* bag) is that when you lay on it, it squishes down and is pretty worthless for insulation... Most people sleep on an air mattress, self-inflator, foam pad, or in a hammock with an underquilt... regardless, it's pointless to baffle the down under you when it might be of more use over top of you. The continuous tube in the Sequoia will allow you to move down from one side of the bag to the other. I'd take that at face value, and not as some nefarious scheme to squeeze an ounce worth of weight off a bag that isn't being marketed or designed to be "light".

Anyway, both my Caribou and my non-WM underquilt are continuous-baffle items, and I have made use of this feature in trying to squeeze a few more degrees out of my gear on a cool September evening on Low's Lake in 2011.

Just my 2 cents...
 
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Hmm... Seeker, that makes sense. I was a bit tongue-in-cheek with my response, but I see the point kinda...

And I say 'kinda' because why not just buy a quilt if you are going to shift the insulation. Then it really does save some weight.
 
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Continuous baffle makes perfect sense in really cold weather. Wiggy's are the go to bags for winter campers below zero to minus forty. You don't want the potential gaps of a quilt and underquilt at those temps.

I saw a demo of such a bag some years back at SnowWalkers Rendezvous.

When its changeable weather being able to shift down is useful. The last thing you want in cold weather is to overheat, then freeze because you have to essentially unzip the bag. By cold I don't mean Sept like this last week where it was just frosty..I mean cold!
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Thanks everyone for your time and input. I think I've finally got the idea of how that continuous baffle is supposed to work. Just about the opposite of the bats of synthetic insulation in my Wiggy's bags.
Hmmm.....I guess I'll stick with my bags; I've got three configurations to work with, what with zipping them together or apart. Somewhere in all that ought to be a combination for all conditions. Light and compact would be nice but I'm pretty sure I'm not up for this migratory insulation.

Best Wishes,

Rob
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
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Aberdeen, MD
Hmm... Seeker, that makes sense. I was a bit tongue-in-cheek with my response, but I see the point kinda...

And I say 'kinda' because why not just buy a quilt if you are going to shift the insulation. Then it really does save some weight.

Exactly. Folks are slowly catching onto this, and the cottage industry for them is growing among the hammock community (JacksRBetter, KickAssQuilts, and a few others)... but you don't see it in the mainstream makers. I bought mine before I discovered hammocks, and most nights I'm warm enough that I just drape it over top of me, like a quilt.
 
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That new Sierra Designs bag looks comfy, but it puts most of the down under the sleeper, where it would be compressed to zero loft by the weight of the sleeper. Ironically, it is the exact opposite of the design popularized in the US by Big Agnes and in the UK by RAB, in which the underside of the sleeping bag has no fill, but instead has just a full length sleeve in which to insert a sleeping pad.

Another way to increase the comfort range is to include a sleeping bag liner. In very warm weather, one could sleep in the liner only, using the sleeping bag underneath. In extra cold weather, one could insert the liner into the sleeping bag and snuggle inside both.

I have 2 liners, one made of silk, the other of polyester microfleece. In all but the coldest weather, I pack the silk liner with my tripping or backpacking gear. The microfleece is reserved for seasonably cold midwinter nights for use with my winter sleeping bag, ie, almost never used anymore, now that I am old and decrepit.

Speaking of zipperless sleeping bags, there have been quite a few examples, including a superlight synthetic for wall-climbing by MontBell some years back, quite a few insulated bag liners, and I recall having a Canadian military surplus sleeping bag in the late '60s, down-filled [I was in denial about my down and feather allergy then - a mistake!] and topped with a skirt of lightweight wool, which could be either tucked into the main part of the bag to increase torso insulation or to leave fully extended and sleeping only partway in the bag in warm weather.
 
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My first bags were borrowed, and made of cotton with who knows what for insulation. The next were down mummy bags, but were claustephobic. My wife always has frigid feet at night, so we’ve been using two barrel type bags zipped together for years. Her feet are nuzzled warm and toasty against me while my teeth chatter. I would do anything for her. An extra wool blanket for October trips also is appreciated, old fashioned but effective. The blanket I mean. I toss and turn all night, so not having to fumble for a zipper in the middle of the night would be nice. I still have a lot to learn about sleeping bags.
 
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Actually, seriously, that’s a very good idea, thanks YC.
My goosebumps thank you. She really does love the feel of an old woolen blanket. We keep our eyes peeled for old Eaton’s (old nationwide Cdn store, now long gone) blankets in flea markets. Practical memorabilia we call it. After today, I’ll already be that much closer to having my Christmas shopping done! How many days left?
 
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