Down Sleeping Bag ~ Waterproof?

12:43 a.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
89 forum posts

Hey yall!

Looking to get some feedback on what down sleeping bag to get for where I like to hike! I've searched around a little bit on the forums, but was unable to find help for both of my questions. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

  • -I'm bout a 10 hour drive from the southern tip of the rockies, so I mostly go up their in the spring, summer and fall - nights will be at a minimum of 20s to high of 40s at night.
  • -I started using a tarp, so I suppose things will be a little extra chilly for me, and water may also be a factor...
  • -My sleeping pad is a Nemo Astro Air, which is 2.5" 
  • -If there is any other info I need to give you, let me know! I figure a 15* bag shall do, but, I was curious if anyone has something out there to recommend, especially with my concern for water...

Now! I'm no guru when it comes to sleeping bags, but I know down's can't or shouldn't get wet! So would it be wise to put water repellent on it before a trip? would that work? on trips longer than a week should I bring some along and reapply coatings? 

Any advice you could give me bout keeping a down bag dry I'd be happy to know! I know they're cruel for prices, and I wouldn't want to waste money if I can't handle it...

Side question for all those who have seen 70* and above nights... what do yall use for those warm nights? I'm the kind of person who can't sleep unless I have a blanket to snuggle with!! Straight up, I can't do it! So anything to recommend for that would be awesome!

3:07 a.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
REVIEW CORPS
1,195 reviewer rep
1,069 forum posts

Most down bags nowadays have a really good DWR (Durable, Water-Repellent) finish already applied to the fabric...when you do need to re-apply, usually after 50 or so nights in the bag, there are a few products out there...Though McNett and Atsko products are perhaps easiest to find, I'd recommend "303 Aerospace Protectant," as it is more economical, and may last much longer than other options. Definitely DO NOT use "Camp Dry," unless you like residual chemical smells...

And I'm the same as you when it comes to needing a cover even in the most sweltering temps. I'd recommend a quilt for such uses, as you can easily vent or stick a leg out if necessary.

I'd look at Tim's quilts: enlightenedequipment.com

Also, more economical options: jacksrbetter.com

8:48 a.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
1,237 forum posts

"-I'm bout a 10 hour drive from the southern tip of the Rockies, so I mostly go up their in the spring, summer and fall - nights will be at a minimum of 20s to high of 40s at night."

I myself would opt for a 10 deg bag as you will not have the comfort a tent to keep you warmer than the outside temps. Though the temps my be 20s to high of 40s wind chill can get might cold so if your in windy areas you might even want to go a bit lower like -10 to 0 deg. Some of that will depend on how you sleep, hot or cold.

“-If there is any other info I need to give you, let me know! I figure a 15* bag shall do, but, I was curious if anyone has something out there to recommend, especially with my concern for water..."

First there are many good sleeping bags out there with a few rising to be the cream of the crop. Most people here feel that Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends and one or two others are considered to be the top bags. I think the best bang for the buck as well as having one of the finest warranty and customer service depts. of them all is Marmot. I've been using Marmot sleeping bags for 30 year's now and love them. I believe that Marmot bags are the best high quality bang for the buck. I own three Marmots, one Stephenson-Warmlite (this is a multi purpose bag that is worth looking into), one Western Mountaineering.

Since you will be more exposed to the elements I would consider a breathable sleeping bag shell made of Gore-Tex or some other breathable material.  As Pillow says, most if not all newer high quality bags are have breathable outer shell’s but I believe that a separate shell will give you much more protection esp. if it’s alight weight bivy,  This in and of itself will not only keep you dry, it will also keep you warmer. I am going to purchase a Military camo light weight bivy of EBay. They usually run $20+$10 shipping, they have the advantage of keeping your outer shell of the bag much cleaner (much better to have to wash a separate shell then the bag it‘s self), keeping you dryer, keeping you warmer. Using a bag cover of some sort has the added advantage of keeping your pad under your bag if you move around a lot like I do when I sleep.

Examples of lightweight military bivys on EBay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200669748484?ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1436.l2649

http://www.ebay.com/itm/USMC-GORE-TEX-BIVY-SLEEPING-BAG-COVER-BIVEY-/200671320099?_trksid=p4340.m185&_trkparms=algo%3DSIC.NPJS%26its%3DI%26itu%3DUA%26otn%3D5%26pmod%3D200669748484%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D4073511399141325374

I will be bidding on this one this evening for the exact purpose we speak of now. This one has a slightly more mummy shape then the other two though the weight saving would be minimal.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/230695908676?ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1436.l2649

Further if you want to save money consider a second hand bag. One that has been lightly used or is As New form EBay or Craigslist. This is the time of year when this stuff is going a bargin prices even for used stuff. You can get some really silly deals if your willing to wait for the right bag. I just picked up a As New with tags Western Mountaineering Megalite (1 lb. 8 oz. Total Weight) for $200. The MSRP is around $375

with the lowest I've found on line being $280 on this bag. Further more, if at all possible I would go to REI or some such store and try on a few bags to see what cut you like in a bag. If you like the tight mummy cut then go with the existing temp ratings, If you like a wider bag like me then it's more space to keep warm and I'd look at a little lower rating of a bag. Remember that if you use a liner as most people do (I don't) then that will also increase the rating of the bag a bit.

 

1:26 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
910 forum posts

Sweltering?  SWELTERING!? Pillowthread, anytime that you can sleep with a quilt over you it is not sweltering. 

Temps and humidity in the 80's are the norm for summer nights in Florida.  A sheet is all you need along with a mosquito proof shelter 

4:00 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
65 reviewer rep
170 forum posts

I don't think many knows about the Crux bags. I am not saying that you need one but the idea is interesting (I do know a guy who spent a summer sleeping in one of them with no other shell in the UK).

here is some info from their web-site:

Waterproof shell

The outer shell of our Torpedo sleeping bags is made of waterproof and breathable eVent fabric. Since the eVent fabric roll is not wide enough to allow a whole bag to be cut as a single piece, the shell is made up of two pieces of fabric which are sewn together. This seam is then taped to ensure that the shell is completely waterproof.

The bag is opened and closed by means of a highly water-resistant Riri Aquazip, whose plastic teeth mesh to form a watertight seal.

In other words, there are only two parts of our Torpedo sleeping bags that are not completely impervious to water. One is the inner face of the hood, and the other is a small area at the bottom of the zip, whose end is left free so that two bags can be zipped together. Other than that, the Torpedo will give complete protection.

Down baffles

The inner of every Torpedo sleeping bag comprises a system of vertical and horizontal baffles. These compartments are designed to hold the down in place around the body of the sleeper and maximise the performance of the bag as a whole.

The baffles are made of a very lightweight mesh and are welded to the inside of the shell. We owe thanks to Exped for allowing us to use their patented method (www.exped.com). Torpedo sleeping bags are typically made up of 46–54 baffles, placing them amongst the most sophisticated designs currently available.

http://www.crux.uk.com/en/sleeping-bags.php

by the way - I know the guy that own crux (the company), we ones had a beer together...I used to sell crux, but I don't work in the industry anymore

4:32 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
REVIEW CORPS
1,846 reviewer rep
1,312 forum posts

I have something that may suit your needs pretty close to exactly. I had posted this bag for sale a while back in the classifieds but will mention it here as well.

I have a TNF Nebula 15F bag that I am looking to sell. Asking $250 plus shipping(15$?) This is pretty much as waterproof as down bags come. I have used this bag for about 6 years or so now and was my go to bag until I went to the hammock and quilt approach a year ago.

This bag is very accurately rated IMO, and with some creative layering I have used this bag down to -30F. I can use this bag down to 15-20F with just a light baselayer. Adding in a fleece liner I routinely took this bag down to 0F.

This bag is waterproof and not just DWR coated. It blocks wind excellently, and can be exposed to rain and other moisture without much ill effect. I used this bag alot when tarp camping and when using shelters and never once had an issue with the bag losing its insulating properties when it got a little rain spray etc on it. I did try to take care to avoid the bag getting wet in any case. Only 1 time did I truly get poured on, the roof of a shelter here in CT failed during a T-storm and I had alot of water coming in right on top of me. I moved to the far side of the shelter, shook off the bag and went back to sleep. IMO This is a really awesome bag.

This bag is in excellent condition with no defects, and has always been stored uncompressed layed out flat on a shelf in a controlled environment.

Large mesh storage bag included, stuff sack is not. The original stuff sack was kinda crappy and got tossed after a year or so.

If your interested feel free to get in touch by sending a PM and replying to this thread.

Here are some links at EMS where it is sold.

http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3658410

THE NORTH FACE Nebula 15° Sleeping Bag, Regular

Filled with high quality 800+ fill Eastern European goose down, the 15° Nebula is light,
warm, and everything the serious camper is looking for.

Features/Benefits:

  • 800+ fill Eastern European goose down insulation is long lasting and has an
    extremely good warmth-to-weight ratio
  • Trapezoidal baffle system holds down insulation in place and prevents cold
    spots
  • Climashield Prism insulation is placed in high-pressure areas on the bottom
    side of the bag to maximize insulating value
  • Waterproof, breathable Shadowlite™ shell fabric
  • Vaulted ergonomic foot box
  • Welded shoulder-level zipper pocket
  • Ergonomic down-filled draft collar helps keep the warm air inside the bag
  • Anti-snag zipper reinforcement
  • Single-point, hidden cord lock adjustment
  • Glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls
  • Hang loops for drying
  • Nylon mesh storage sack and compression sack included
  • This product is part of The North Face Summit Series: athlete tested,
    expedition proven

Weighs 2lbs 11oz, Fill weight is 1lbs 2oz.

 

5:02 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
171 reviewer rep
223 forum posts

Check out the exped line.

12:21 a.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts

marmot sawtooth membrane

also consider a bivy

10:40 a.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
65 reviewer rep
170 forum posts

again - both the marmot and tnf are made with waterproof shell but are not waterproof as they have seams with no tape on them - exped and crux do really make waterproof sleeping bags

9:58 a.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
89 forum posts

thank you all for the responses!

i've been really busy lately! but i'll just keep researching it, and hopefully at those prices santa will be able to help! i never knew how much downs were, just i knew they cost more than synthetic!

4:39 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,439 reviewer rep
1,293 forum posts

just to add, mountain hardwear's conduit-shell bags also aren't seam-taped.  the baffles are welded to the outer shell, which helps, and the outer shell does shed most moisture.  but, if you accidentally sleep with the head or foot of your bag up against the wall of a tent, some small dampness can seep in via the seams.  

9:08 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
REVIEW CORPS
1,846 reviewer rep
1,312 forum posts

If your really worried about the seams on your bag then seam seal them. Your not(hopefully) going to be submerging your bag so your seams not being taped or otherwise sealed means next to nothing. I have been poured on or otherwise rained on often enough in my TNF Nebula and never once had the bag wet out due to a leak from my seams. Maybe a yearly treating of a spray on dwr on the seams was my saving grace...

11:25 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
1,237 forum posts

A picture is worth a 1123 words:

Marmot Gore-tex bag.  This is either the Marmot Gopher or  Ptarmigan Gore-tex sleeping bag I believe.  The Marmot Ptarmigan Gore-tex was the first bag I ever bought.  I did not try this with my bag.  I would now however.

  slide120.jpg
 

 

Stephenson/Warmlite has the same thing in there catalog* regarding their Triple Bags.  Two pictures are of floating bags with one floating on saltwater and the other in a lake like the Marmot.  Floating bags are on page 9.

 Marmot Ptarmigan Goretex/down 20 degree bag

*BEWARE. 

You will notice naked persons demonstrating some of the equipment in Stephenson's/Warmlite's catalog.  It is much like looking at a National Geographic for gear.  "Please avoid if you don't like naked people."

5:06 p.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts

Any pics, post, here,  uuh

10:32 a.m. on November 14, 2011 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
1,237 forum posts

Callahan said:

Any pics, post, here,  uuh

As they are in there catalog that I have in hand I hesitate to scan them due to the lack of knowledge regarding copy right law. If you Google Stephenson/Warmlite yoiu will see that they have a PDF file catalog. I don't believe that the PDF files can contain picts but I'm not sure. As I'm on dial up I can't down load the file as it times out. If you get a hold of Stephenson/Warmlite they will be more than happy to send you a catalog.

11:22 a.m. on November 14, 2011 (EST)
TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,439 reviewer rep
1,293 forum posts

i wonder if those sleeping bags would float with a person inside them....

 

:)

11:07 p.m. on November 14, 2011 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
1,237 forum posts

Here's the Stephenson/warmlite catalog* in PDF form.  On page 9 you will find their floating sleeping bags.  One is in a lake and on is on saltwater.

 

*WARNING: THE STEPHENSON/WARMLIE CATALOG CONTAINS NAKED PEOPLE SHOWING REALLY COOL QUALITY GEAR.  DO NOT TREAD HERE IF YOUR ADVERSE TO SEEING NAKED PEOPLE.

4:12 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
89 forum posts

Hey so I've been looking around, and I've seen the Kelty Cosmic down which seems pretty good especially for the price. But, I'll defiantly have to do something for water...

I will defiantly see if a waterproof applicator will help at all, and also I'm looking at getting an American Medical Kit Bivvy to put around the outside of my bag and pad(just for extra protection, I'm worried it'll wear out). I'm not too sure bout this though because its meant to reflect heat and probably isn't too breathable, and I don't want to wake in a puddle of my sweat!

Anybody try this?

I think this ideal because I can get it from any backpacking store, which I prefer over ordering, especially off ebay (that site just makes me paranoid for some reason, idk.....), and if I do find myself w/o a paddle, hopefully I can get it out of my pack! 

8:34 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,329 reviewer rep
5,296 forum posts

apeman said:

Callahan said:

Any pics, post, here,  uuh

As they are in there catalog that I have in hand I hesitate to scan them due to the lack of knowledge regarding copy right law. If you Google Stephenson/Warmlite yoiu will see that they have a PDF file catalog. I don't believe that the PDF files can contain picts but I'm not sure. As I'm on dial up I can't down load the file as it times out. If you get a hold of Stephenson/Warmlite they will be more than happy to send you a catalog.

 Posting images from the Stephenson catalog on Trailspace would violate two of the site rules:

2. Keep it clean.
Trailspace is a family-friendly site and all content must adhere to that standard. Keep it clean and appropriate for all users at all times. Do not post profane, foul, lewd, or inappropriate language, images, or links.

15. Respect copyrights.
Post only your own original content. Do not post images, news articles, gear reviews, or any other published or copyrighted content without permission. Give proper credit when quoting sources.

Stephenson formerly charged for the catalog. If you are really that desperate, you can find the website for yourself. You should know there are no longer images involving unclothed people on the Stephenson site, and those that were there (and still in the catalog) are more than 40 years old. Stephenson and his family were avid naturists.

9:12 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,329 reviewer rep
5,296 forum posts

On the topic of "waterproof sleeping bags" - the big problem with waterproof sleeping bags is that the Goretex and eVent covers do not really breathe all that well. In warmer weather, the temperature gradient from body to outer surface of the outside shell is too shallow to drive the vapor through the shell. In cooler or cold weather, your body vapor (either actual sweating or "insensible" perspiration) tends to condense on the inside of the outer shell and remain in the insulation. In subfreezing weather, especially subzero (F) weather, this moisture tends to freeze, so that the bag gains weight day after day. Will Steiger and crew found on their first trek to the North Pole that they started with 6 pound bags that weighed 70-80 pounds by the time they reached the pole, with the bags completely unstuffable (your body loses about a liter of water through evaporation of perspiration overnight, plus you breathe out about the same amount - good reason to NOT breathe inside your bag!).

Current microfiber shells (such as Pertex) are very water resistant, but allow the water vapor to escape fairly readily. You may see some external condensation or frost, but less stays in the insulation. If you roll the bag tightly on first getting out of the bag in the morning, fluff it and then squeeze the moist air out of it a second time, the insulation will stay fairly dry (including down). My current FF bag has done quite well with its Pertex shell, even when I have had to spend a week inside the tent waiting out storms. When liquids like soup, tea, or cocoa have been spilled on the bag in the tent (it happens when you spend long periods inside the tent), it has always been easy to brush it off with little if any getting through the shell.

The microfiber versions of bags that allow a choice of shell also seem to stuff smaller than the gtx and eVent versions, and in my experience, are more comfortable to sleep in.

Bottom line - don't waste your time and money on Goretex or eVent outer shells on sleeping bags, even if you are sleeping in snow shelters for long periods (done that, too). If your snow cave is damp (as it can be in the Sierra, Cascades, and other "maritime" climate locations), you can use a Goretex or eVent bivy sack, like Integral Designs sacks (order direct from their website - they are still on there). But even there, I have rarely felt the need for the bivy sack cover.

10:03 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

I agree and have now owned and used an original Marmot Mountain Works GT-down bag, the -20*F model, maybe the "Ptarmigan", an original Feathered Friends GT-down bag, my current ID "Endurance" XPDII O/F and a recent Valandre Shocking Blue and WM Alpinlite. The ID bag's shell is mush better than the GT, BUT, I had no issues with extensive year-round use of the two GT shelled bags from 1978 to 2009 and it doesn't get wetter in North America, than here in BC.

I used a VBL on longer stints of bag use, don't really care for them, but, they do work. I used the Marmot for many five day snow camps in late hunting season, this time of year and it is WET here and nary a problem ever happened.

But, as usual, BillS is right and I also find the Pertex shells on my other ID bags more comfortable and as water repellent as one could ever want, plus, they are not "clammy" inside a bivy as GT shells can be. JMHO.

1:22 p.m. on November 19, 2011 (EST)
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts

More than 40 oh no keep that to yourself.  The Geico N-Man would be ashamed.

1:26 p.m. on November 19, 2011 (EST)
245 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts

Check this one  out, it is a combination between the Sleeping Bag and Bivy.

Exped Waterbloc 600 Sleeping Bag: 20 Degree Down GRE.jpgg Bag: 20 Degree Down

8:42 a.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
53 reviewer rep
135 forum posts

Dewey said:

I agree and have now owned and used an original Marmot Mountain Works GT-down bag, the -20*F model, maybe the "Ptarmigan", an original Feathered Friends GT-down bag, my current ID "Endurance" XPDII O/F and a recent Valandre Shocking Blue and WM Alpinlite. The ID bag's shell is mush better than the GT, BUT, I had no issues with extensive year-round use of the two GT shelled bags from 1978 to 2009 and it doesn't get wetter in North America, than here in BC.

I used a VBL on longer stints of bag use, don't really care for them, but, they do work. I used the Marmot for many five day snow camps in late hunting season, this time of year and it is WET here and nary a problem ever happened.

But, as usual, BillS is right and I also find the Pertex shells on my other ID bags more comfortable and as water repellent as one could ever want, plus, they are not "clammy" inside a bivy as GT shells can be. JMHO.

 Do you know the water resistance properties of the asahi kasei used on valandré's bag? It seems similar to pertex microlight. 

8:05 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
102 reviewer rep
2,295 forum posts

Dewey said:

..But, as usual, BillS is right...

 +1

I want my sleeping bag to breathe, because I too do not care for VB liners.  Use a tent or other shelter to protect your bag.

Ed 

September 23, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: 1972-73 Browning West Wind 2 person poncho tent Newer: The layering essentials - fleece and shells recommendations
All forums: Older: Shenandoah Veteransday weekend Newer: For Sale: New Balance Minimus Road Running Shoe, Mens 11