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Sleeping Bags

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Do you prefer down or synthetic sleeping bags ?

Do you prefer rectangular or tapered sleeping bags?

Down rectangular sleeping bags have become my personal favorite. They best meet my requirements for pack size, pack weight, versatility and comfort.
 
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Ditto Alan's reply.

I currently use a 20F+ 2 oz overfill 900 fill down top quilt by Nunatak with a sewn foot box; weighs only 24 oz. I have also used an Enlightened Equipment Revelation quilt which I gave to my son. Quilts cover a wide range of temperatures since one can keep one's feet outside if its too warm for the temperatures outside- same for the upper body; there's no need to have it cinched around your torso if you choose not to.

For the dead of winter I use a full mummy -20F down bag I sewed myself from a Frostline kit in the 1980's. If taken care of, down will last for decades. I also have an Eddie Bauer -20F down bag, known as the Kara Korum bag, which I bought in 1967! Still in good shape although -20 might be a stretch.
 
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My two down bags are from the early seventies and are still in service and they're mummy bags. Otherwise the new bags I recently bought are oversized rectangular synthetics for warmer weather.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I prefer down because it is the most compressible. I prefer a full rectangular shape because they are roomier for movement and can be unzipped to form a flat, removable quilt blanket in warmer weather.

I've had two sleeping bags in the last 40+ years of canoe and car camping, both L.L.Bean 20° rectangular down bags. I've used them in all spring-summer-fall canoe camping conditions and have never gotten them wet. I bought a silk liner for extra warmth about 10 years ago but don't recall using it more than a couple of times.
 
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I got a SCREAMING hot deal on a -10c Woods down bag (mummy) about 20 years ago so that is what I use. I think I might prefer a rectangular bag but one comparable to the mummy would probably cost $500+ which is much more than I want to spend.
 
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I prefer down bags. One is sixty years old. In its youth it was a 30 degree bag. It has lost feathers like some of us lose hair , with age. Its a good summer bag now. The shells have improved and such a feather loss is probably not as prevalent now.

Keep it in a holy dry bag that regularly gets inspected for holes and put that dry bag in another. Water is like cancer a little can spread if unnoticed.
 
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My greatest concern with down is getting it wet. The superior insulating properties of synthetics when wet is in my opinion the only significant advantage. Once I became confident in my ability to keep my sleeping bag dry I stopped using synthetics.

Tapered bags are the most efficient in terms of size, weight and warmth. I own several tapered down bags. My favorite tapered bags have open horizontal baffles that allow me to move the down fill from the top of the bag to the bottom as I prefer. This allows me to adjust the warmth rating. I have these bags with both left and right hand zippers so that they can be paired together for sleeping double. They can also be used similar to a quilt.

Rectangular down bags comprise the best attributes for my requirements and are therefore what I use most often.
 
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I'm almost 70, been camping since I was 9 or 10, and my sleeping bag has never gotten wet.

Down. And a mummy style with a nice slippery liner.
 
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When I first started tripping, sans famille avec mes amis Quebecois, I slept incredibly comfy in a down mummy bag. I slept wrapped in goosey clouds thru zero temps without a problem. Then when I got into family tripping we borrowed whatever bags we could until better bags became affordable. The kids slept mostly in wool blankets and such while my wife and I "upgraded" to syn recto bags. We were warm, especially the kids. She has always been a cold sleeper while I'm a furnace so naturally she insisted on rectos so we could zip the 2 bags together. Made perfect sense but I missed the down, so when a deal came our way I sprang for a pair of down tapered bags. They do zip together but not perfectly well, being tapered. On warm trips we used them as top blankets. I doubt I'll ever go back to syn bags. It's easy enough to methodically keep down bags clean and dry. Clean up personally before donning dry sleep wear, a dedicated dry bag for the down bags, an airing on the clothesline when we get home. Stored uncompressed. I should invest in liners.
Times change and so do I. While she's still a cold sleeper my furnace has been damped down in recent years to the point where I can feel chilled at night, and for that reason we rely on wool to boost our 0C bags below that temp. Socks, toque, base layers and blankets. Wool blankets are not for gram weenies, as they do not compress and are rather heavy, but they work well for us. They're just one more item to keep clean and dry.
 
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30° 800 fill down mummy style bag. Mostly used like a quilt. If it gets colder, count me out. On the trip it travels in a compression bag inside a waterproof bag. At home loosely in a web bag.
 
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Always down, not treated with a hydrophobic coating. I’ve been on many paddling trips, muggy, frosty, rainy and never had my bag get wet. I have a 20° Alpinlite (mummy) that I wash at least once a year to maintain its loft and properties. For summer months I use a down quilt, or a down quilt that can zip into a rectangular bag. At home, they all hang in full length in the gear room.
 

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I have an older North Face down bag, tag says 2001. I always bring a fleece liner which works well to keep me extra warm during the shoulder seasons and keeps the bag clean. I also hang it when not in use.
 
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I have an older North Face down bag, tag says 2001. I always bring a fleece liner which works well to keep me extra warm during the shoulder seasons and keeps the bag clean. I also hang it when not in use.
Gotta have some extra warmth when it’s too cold for just your bag. Durning the middle of winter when it’s really cold out, I’ll boil water and put it in a Maltese near my feet. It’ll last until the next day. But I have worn my jacket and sweatpants inside before
 
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What the heck is a Maltese other than a kind of dog breed? Putting boiling water in a dog to keep your feet warm at night is pretty hard on the dog. Might even get you in trouble with some animal cruelty laws.
 
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With regard to increasing the warmth of sleeping bags, other than adding a liner I rely on the insulation and try to take the appropriately ratted bag.

When I was about 13 I had my sleeping bag zipped all the way up to my neck and when I woke up I felt something by my feet at the bottom of the bag. It was my aunts' dog. She said that during hunting trips the dog started doing that. The dog must have crawled in while I was asleep because I don't remember it being around. I couldn't understand how it could breath or not be claustrophobic.

I see no reason why a hot water bottle would not work well. I would use caution because I know of an occasion when someone wrapped a water bottle in their sleeping bag while winter camping in order to keep it from freezing in his pack during the trek in. The water bottle leaked and saturated the sleeping bag making for a cold miserable night.
 
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What the heck is a Maltese other than a kind of dog breed? Putting boiling water in a dog to keep your feet warm at night is pretty hard on the dog. Might even get you in trouble with some animal cruelty laws.
Haha. Sarah McLachlan might even sign about it.

One of these days my phone will understand that Nalgene is a real word and it’ll stop this nonsense
 
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How do you keep your bags dry? January and Febuary, I'm stopping every few days to hang bags up to sun dry, if there's sun. The outer bag is soaked and frozen every morning. Is there a trick? And I use synthetic, one zero degree, one 30 degree, and wearable "woobie" bag with sleeves and hood as a liner.

I like down, but it doesn't work in the winter, doesn't even last the night. At least for me.
 
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