sleeping bag allergy

11:21 a.m. on March 28, 2009 (EDT)
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After many hours of reading, I settled on The North Face Fission sleeping bag. Mainly because I am allergic to down. This bag claims to be 100% nylon shell, 100% polyester fill, neither of which have I ever had any sort of reaction to.

I tried to test it last night in the back yard, only to wake up after two hours, somewhat delirious and short of breath.

The only thing I can conclude at this point is that I am allergic to some treatment that has been applied to the fabric (water repellent, fire retardant?). Can these be washed out? if so, with what type of detergent would be best?

Any other thoughts/insight would be greatly appreciated.

2:29 p.m. on March 28, 2009 (EDT)
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I know I am allergic to down too but you are saying you are allergic to an bag with synthetic fill? That is truly odd.

Thanks for the heads up...I will never purchase an The North Face Bag. I will get bags from The Backside. I never had the type of allergic reactions from my X-fibre bags as you are experiencing with your TNF Fission bag.

Thanks for the warning.

4:23 p.m. on March 28, 2009 (EDT)
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mtlizzrd, by any chance were you sleeping with your head burried down in the bag?

5:53 p.m. on March 28, 2009 (EDT)
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I had the hood barely over my eyes, but my nose and mouth were in no way burried in the bag.

Again I do not believe that the fabrics themselves are the culprit for my reaction, but possibly something applied to the fabric.

Judging from your responses this must not be very common. I am just wondering at this point weather I should try to return the bag or if maybe simply washing it would resolve the problem. If so with what should I launder it?

I have other products from TNF made of the same materials and have had no problems with them. Although this is my first sleeping bag from them.

8:54 p.m. on March 28, 2009 (EDT)
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It is really hard to tell what triggers allergic reactions. You said you were sleeping in your backyard, as many people do to test out new gear. It is officially springtime, after all, and trees, flowers, molds, and so on are on the rise, as happens every spring. You could be reacting to one of those things. Your profile says you are in Montana. I might suspect dust as an allergen as well. Some years ago, my wife had a severe allergic reaction to something that ended her in intensive care for several days. The med-types were not able to tie the trigger down for certain, but suspect an anaphylactic reaction to NSAIDs, despite her having no known allergies previously to anything.

Check with your doctor and maybe get a sensitivity test from an allergist. One other possibility, though it seems too early in the spring in that part of the Rockies, is some sort of insect or spider that bit you during the night. I would have doubts about it being anything connected directly with the sleeping bag inner or outer shells or the fill material.

10:08 p.m. on March 28, 2009 (EDT)
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The first thing that came to my mind was overheating as this has happened to me before. The TNF Fission is a 20 deg. bag I believe, is that correct?

It takes a couple hours for a sleeping bag to get fully heated up, this is mostly true if the bag has been outside all day in cold weather. You can get in the bag and at first feel comfortable, then a while later, depending on the variables, get overheated requiring you to open up the bag and ventilate a little more. Are you sure you did not get overheated, or is this how your allergic reactions manifest themselves?

I am allergic to several types of pollen, bee stings and a couple meds. I carry an Epi-pen, Steroids, and other medications with me when in the back country. When stung by bees, depending on the location of the sting, I start itching all over and my hands, face, and bottoms of my feet swell up rapidly (15 min.) which is typical of anaphylactic shock.

Our allergy symtoms may be different of course, but I understand your concerns. I would agree with Bill S, you should consult with your doctor. Were your symptoms the same this time as with allergic reations you have had in the past?

Like Bill pointed out it could be any number of allergens that were present in your backyard. Or it could be something entirely different. Other than sleeping in the bag in your back yard did you do anything else out of the ordinary that day?

9:43 a.m. on March 29, 2009 (EDT)
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Thank you guys for your responses.


I have been thoroughly tested for the native pollens of this area and as my back yard just thawed last week I think I can rule out most, if not all grasses, pollens, and the like.

It struck me when reading through your list that it just may be mold as I am very sensitive to most all molds and with the yard still being quite saturated you may have hit the nail right on the head. The symptoms that I was having were the same as those I would normally have when exposed to mold.

I have tested gear in my yard many times before without any problems, but I don't think I've done it this early in the year.

I will need to find a more suitable location to try the sleeping bag out again before ruling it out.

Thanks again,


April 26, 2018
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