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Climashield vs primaloft

1:15 a.m. on December 25, 2011 (EST)
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"Moderator's Note: mschrant is the Chief Operating Officer of Climashield"

_________________________

wow ! I just got back from China for the XX th time and finally decided to reply to all of the experts on this site.  I have read it for many years just trying to see how everyone views insulation and how it works versus the marketing push that is applied.  In general, there is a lot of mis-information and playing with the test that occurs.   I have worked with different insulations for over 20 years testing both sleeping bags and insulation.  When I say testing, I have monitored testing data by location  in the sleeping bag as we changed the properties of the insulation from fine dienier cut staple to continuous filament high denier.   I have watch field tests for the military and I have traveled to plants all over asia and the US and seen the following.

Above all the loft, loft recovery, and resistance to compression are what drive the thermal efficiency of a sleeping bag.  All of the marketing info that says we are warmer because we have smaller fibers is simply not true unless you have the same loft.  In the case of Primaloft, it has very little loft, even smaller resistance to compression, and cannot  compare to Climashield in a sleeping bag.   Why do you think Climashield it is in TNF's high end bags?  If you like TNF of not you need to understand that they do the most lab and field testing of any sleeping bag manufacturer in the US.  

On the other hand, Climashield is not as "packable" as primaloft.  This is for the same reason that I just stated.  It can't be, it has a higher loft and higher resistance to compression.  At the same time Climashield can meet the same loft and thermal efficiency as primaloft, it will just be much lighter when it does it.

When it comes to jackets, Primaloft is thinner (not warmer) at the same weight and is more uniform to look at,  It is also softer.   

Though many people think Climashield is a new company, They are the same people that made Polarguard for 20 years.  They are also the same people that have supplied the US army in the Modular sleep system using various insulation for  30 years .   The recent Marine 3 season bag which was designed to improve the thermal efficiency while dropping the weight 20% and the size 20% also has their insulation in it. This was not because primaloft was not working to get into this business.    Please note that Primaloft was developed for this business. Primaloft was developed as a down replacement by the US Army and Albany International (Primaloft parent) for sleeping bags.  If you read their literature, they are very proud of this.   In order to verify their success they compared other cut staple fibers and a Polarguard variant to their new invention.  They then dropped the fine denier cut staple and began to purchase bags with first Polarguard and now Climashield.   This has been the same story for thirty years. Primaloft has never had this business.

 The military constantly tests the insulation.  First, in the lab and then in the field.  In sleeping bags, Climashield always wins.  Why do you think Primaloft has tried to introduce a continuous filament version into the market for sleeping bags.  It is because, if you test Climashield versus Primaloft, at the same weight , Climashield will always be a better product.

This may seem extremely biased toward Climashield and anti-primaloft but I'm just stating the facts.   Additionally, Thinsulate has even worse problems.  That's why they are not in sleeping bags at all.  If we discuss jackets a lot of this story changes (sort of)

3:12 a.m. on December 25, 2011 (EST)
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mschrant said:

Why do you think Climashield it is in TNF's high end bags?

Hey mschrant, welcome to Trailspace.  

TNF's current top end synthetic bags are insulated with Primaloft Infinity(continuous filament) not Climashield as you state above.

I own both of their coldest rated synthetic Summit Series bags. These are their warmest and most costly synthetic bags. 

The Tundra -20 and the Darkstar -40.

The reason I purchased both is that I have had the Darkstar for awhile and honestly, it is overkill. I recently(within the past 2 weeks) purchased the Tundra -20 from TNF direct and it is also filled with Primaloft Infinity as well.

I am hoping that the -20 rating will be my sweetspot for deepwinter travels.

I have yet to get the Darkstar out of storage and if the Tundra performs the way that I believe it will I doubt I will have too. 

I received the Darkstar from a buddy who used it once and it was too much bag for him temp wise and I liked the bag so I basically got it for half price with only 1, 3 day trip on it. 

Anywho... the Tundra is also a light bag(4lbs) being it weighs 8oz less than Mountain Hardwear's 800 fill down Wraith SL -20(4lbs/8oz.)

TNF Tundra -20: 

TNF-Tundra--20-004.jpg

Primaloft marked on bag:

TNF-Tundra--20-003.jpg

On storage sack:

TNF--20-Storage-Sack-002.jpg

As you can see in the above photos as well as on the retailers descriptions(below) of both bags they are insulated with Primaloft Infinity.

Tundra:

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/the-north-face/tundra/

Darkstar:

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/the-north-face/dark-star/

If you like TNF of not you need to understand that they do the most lab and field testing of any sleeping bag manufacturer in the US.  

First thought on this one is that the highest end TNF synthetic bags are manufactured in China. So you really cannot compare it to the testing of other truly American made bags because TNF doesn't manufacture their bags in the US. 

I do believe there to be high end sleeping bag companies that manufacture their products in the US that have just as high of a testing routine if not higher.

2 come to mind, Western Mountaineering, and Feathered Friends. You did say sleeping bag manufacturer not "synthetic" sleeping bag manufacturer. :)

Primaloft has tried to introduce a continuous filament version into the market for sleeping bags. 

They do have a continuous filament synthetic insulation. Primaloft Infinity. Its in the 2 TNF bags I mentioned above. 

Here is a little more info on Primaloft's continuous insulating filament:

http://www.trailspace.com/articles/synthetic-insulation-explained.html

This may seem extremely biased toward Climashield and anti-primaloft but I'm just stating the facts.

I am wondering due to some small inaccuracies I see above if your findings or "facts" as you refer to them are up to date.

Do you have any links so I could actually take a look at the lab test results. I am very curious when one makes claims to actually see the sources of said claims.

Hope you have a Happy Holiday season. I appreciate your input on this matter and look forward to any info you could possibly offer.

Thanks in advance-Rick 

Oh by the way... The "experts" here base their findings on very extensive use in the field; not in a lab. 

I (as well as others)have also notice that a link to Climashield is posted on your bio page. 

...maybe your "bias" could be related to some other underlying agenda? It could be potentially taken that way based on the link on your page.

This most certainly questions the credibility of your post and the "facts" contained within. 

10:35 a.m. on December 25, 2011 (EST)
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just throwing a couple of facts out there to pepper the gumbo.

sleeping bag manufacturers use a variety of synthetic fills.  north face uses a few - primaloft in some, climashield in others.  north face's darkstar has used both at various times, and previously used polarguard....i'm not sure what the flavor of the day is, but the various synthetic fills all work about the same in my experience.  my old darkstar was not insulated with climashield but worked fine in cold weather, for what that's worth.  if you look at north face's website, you will note that they do not even identify the type of synthetic insulation they currently use in the darkstar or the tundra - the highest-end synthetic fill bags for four season use.  that illustrates the insignificance of the particular brand of synthetic fill used.  not identifying the brand of synthetic fill also means north face can decide to use whoever gives the best price, in case that isn't obvious.  

The US Military uses climashield in its sleep systems.  worth noting that gear for the US military must be manufactured and sourced, whenever possible, in North America, it is a contractual requirement.  (the US military doesn't use down bags for winter).  

Wiggys, a company that makes sleeping bags and other outdoor gear, uses a synthetic fill they call lamilite, a 'continuous filament fiber.'  (primaloft infinity and climashield neo are both continuous filament fibers too).  wiggy's makes some rather manifest exaggerations in its marketing materials, which leads me to question their claims about their products generally.  for example, they claim to manufacture the only -60 sleeping bag in the world.  that just isn't true.  they claim to be the only sleeping bag manufacturer in the united states, also false.  

According to climashield's website, Matt Schrantz is the chief operating officer of harvest CI, climashield's parent company.  there is a rather obvious similarity between that person's name and "mschrant."

if mschrant is someone pretending to be Matt Schrantz, that's a shame, and they should stop.  if mschrant is indeed Matt Schrantz, executive with direct financial ties and incentives to the company that makes and sells climashield....well, i don't run this website but do use it and therefore live within its rules and guidelines.  those community rules and guidelines, among other things, ask that you do the following:

"If you have any personal or professional relationship with an outdoor company or its competitors, say so in your member profile and in all relevant posts or reviews."  also,

"If you have any personal, professional, or commercial affiliation or relationship with an outdoor company, its products, or its competitors, you must fully disclose that relationship in your member profile and in any relevant posts or reviews."

merry christmas, mschrant, and thanks for your point of view.  until i know more about you, i'm going to have some doubts about your motives.

10:39 a.m. on December 25, 2011 (EST)
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I find the reference to ...all the experts on this site... to be both offensive and telling, however, in view of the season, I shall refrain from the comments that come to mind.

However, and I am a longtime user, with total satisfaction of Primaloft products and in REAL wilderness, often alone, I must ask this learned person a simple question. With all of your avowed ...testing..., can you also give we humble peons of Trailspace, some idea of your actual field experience in COLD regions, USING all of these bags/jackets you mention?

WHY, as one example, does the best synthetic bag maker in the current market, Integral Designs of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who supply the bags used by the Canadian Forces Arctic Rangers, other CanForce personnel and the British Special Forces, whose squaddies are world famous and train here in Canada, use Primloft?  Have you ever worked with any of these people, I have and after 47+ years of using bags in COLD western Canada, I disagree with your comments.

Polarguard was the worst synthetic insulation in both bags and jackets that I ever used and Primaloft has been the best in ACTUAL FIELD usage over the past decade.

Good post, Rick, Merry Christmas to you and all of the other ...experts... here!

10:45 a.m. on December 25, 2011 (EST)
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Excellent post, Leadbelly, as usual, keep up the good work!

10:46 a.m. on December 25, 2011 (EST)
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Welcome mschrant,

A very interesting post, I would encourage you to tell us more about yourself and your testing of Climashield.

Mike G.

5:33 p.m. on December 25, 2011 (EST)
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Dewey said:

Merry Christmas to you and all of the other ...experts... here!

 Merry Christmas to you as well Dewey, I hope your holiday season is the best ever with them only getting even better as time rolls on. :)

1:23 p.m. on December 26, 2011 (EST)
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There has been a bit of discussion among the moderators concerning the post by mschrant and communication with mschrant. Matt Schrantz is the COO of the manufacturer of Climashield and Polarguard. He has agreed to post his affiliation in line with Trailspace Community Rules and Guidelines. His overlooking the details of the guidelines was, he says, inadvertent.

The purpose of the rules and guidelines is, among other things, (1) to assure that members and other readers of Trailspace are aware of exactly who posters are and any biases and special interests they might have, especially people in the industry who might have a special connection to products they are discussing or as competitors to the products and (2) to assure that discussions are conducted in a civil manner.

2:14 p.m. on December 26, 2011 (EST)
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Having posted the above, I will have to agree with Dewey. I have used a wide variety of products used in sleeping bags and clothing over the years (including kapok sleeping bags - how many here besides Dewey remember kapok?). Based on my experience with a wide variety of synthetics, including Polargard in jackets and sleeping bags (TNF mostly), Climashield in sleeping bags, and Primaloft in jackets, overpants, and sleeping bags (4 different companies), my personal feeling is that Primaloft has in its line of several varieties of product the best currently available synthetic fill in terms of warmth to weight, compressability, and longevity. Down, I find, is superior in those three areas to any synthetic I have tried. Down does come in a wide range of fills, and some down has lots of feathers. Down also has the weakness that when it gets wet, it tends to clump and lose all its loft. Wet conditions are where synthetics have a big advantage over down. Many of the synthetics can be squeezed out when thoroughly doused to the point of regaining most or all their loft, plus Primaloft, Polargard, and Climashield (among others) tend to not hold the water, hence get back to much of their insulating capability fairly quickly - again in my personal experience - YMMV. On the other hand, if you are careful (something that takes a few years of experience and a couple incidents), down garments and sleeping bags with microfiber covers (e.g. Pertex) or wp/b covers (e.g., eVent or Goretex) can be kept dry in the fill. In the courses I teach, I do not permit first-timers and participants with limited experience with the conditions to bring down sleeping bags or jackets. When taking youth on outings where the conditions might include rain or wet snow (the primary kind of snow we get in the Sierra), the youth in particular are not permitted to bring any down garments or sleeping bags (no matter how much their 1-percenter parents might plead). 

I have found Primaloft to have longer use life than Polargard. I have not used any Climashield products long enough to make the same statement, although the indications are that Climashield, though better than the old Polargard, is not going to last as long as the Primaloft (down outlasts all of these, as witness my 48-year old Bauer Karakoram bag and Terray down duvet). The TNF Polargard bags in my family have long since been donated to GoodWill, having lost 1/3 to 1/2 their loft in the 10-15 years of use. My oldest Primaloft jacket (Marmot) still has almost full loft, despite extensive wearings, washings, and spending time in the stuff sack at 25 years, while my Integral Designs Primaloft jackets and bags are going strong at 15+ years.

In the past 10 years, my expedition and backcountry ski usage has been primarily my Feathered Friends down sleeping bag for Denali, Sentinel Range (Antarctica), the Cordillera Blanca (Peruvian Andes), Kilimanjaro (way too warm, should have taken my ID Primaloft bag), and backcountry ski tours in the Tetons and Sierra. My main jacket for the Andes, Kilimanjaro, Sierra, Colorado Rockies, Bugaboos, has been my ID Dolomiti (Primaloft). At this point, I have no Climashield or Polargard gear, having gotten rid of all of it due to dissatisfaction with its performance.

My experience and "testing" is out in the real world of the woods and hills - actually not much "woods", since much of my outdoor time is spent above timberline or in parts of the world that have no woods (see my avatar next to this post).

That's my 15-yo Integral Designs Dolomiti (Primaloft) jacket I am wearing at 16,000 ft on Vallanaraju (Cordillera Blanca, Andes) - the guides and porters that Huascaran NP sent with us on the Cordillera Blanca Environmental Expedition made sure we were fed well. That's Cesar, the guide for the team I led beyond me.
IMG_0962.jpg



4:35 p.m. on December 27, 2011 (EST)
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Rick:

Fist let me begin by saying, I am the COO of Climashield.  I was also with WNI and Celanese when these products were branded as Polarguard.

Now

As we go into the OR show in January, look for TNF to replace the insulation in these two bags.  There will be other changes in the "summit series", if they still call it that.  My information is not old and there is a long story as to why infinity is in this bag.  I stand by my information and cannot post it online.  

As far as US retailers that test bags, you may be correct with the down bags.  I do not know about this.

I simply replied to the old posting to try to bring some information to your post.

5:37 p.m. on December 27, 2011 (EST)
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One further note from mschrant.  Please look for disclaimer on I work for Climashield etc.  I do apologize for not posting that I was the COO for Climashield.  It is in my user profile and I made a mistake in not posting it in my response.

As far as the other responses, first of all I did not try to insult everyone by saying "experts".  I was really saying experts.  

I am also very interested in your comments about the insulation/products.  I am not trying to sell you Climashield.  I would just like to hear why you think competitive insulations are better.  

11:31 p.m. on December 27, 2011 (EST)
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Sorry mschrant, but your initial post reminded me of Wiggy...

Just sayin'...

11:12 a.m. on December 28, 2011 (EST)
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Matt,

As I have not used any of your products, I cannot speak to whether your products live up to the claims your company makes, nor attest to how well it performs in application compared to other insulations, . However, I can definitively state that Primaloft has far outperformed every other synthetic I have ever used. I would be impressed indeed if your product exceeds the performance of Primaloft in all aspects.

How you talk about the products and how the company is presented on the website tends to come across as hyperbolic, which does not recommend your company or product in a positive way. I do not presently hold the opinion that the claims are false or inflated, only that without testing details, parameters, and documentation, the claims are unsubstantiated and appear hyperbolic. In your initial posts you make statements that, from a purely logical sense, create dificulties:

On the other hand, Climashield is not as "packable" as primaloft.[...] It can't be, it has a higher loft and higher resistance to compression. At the same time Climashield can meet the same loft and thermal efficiency as primaloft, it will just be much lighter when it does it.

Merely having higher loft and resistance to compression does not mean that a product cannot be compressed to the same size. The level of Loft is determined by the degree to which a substance of a given mass is capable of expanding. If your product has a higher loft to mass ratio, as claimed in the second sentence above, then it presents a logical contradiction for it to be less packable. Of course, foam can provide incredible loft, yet its structure cannot compress and subsequently reloft, making it useless in this application. Without an explanation of the structure of your product that makes it incapable of the same compression, the statement above is problematic.  

Your website also claims your company is:

 "the only major manufacturer of lightweight continuous filament insulation in the world.

I do not understand how primaloft is not a major manufacturer of CS insulation. 

It is necessary to convince the technical and end users, without that you will not acquire a solid market reputation and subsequent sustained market share. The manner your post and website represent your product are not very effective in serving that goal.  If your product does indeed achieve higher loft using less mass, and is effectively compressible, you will need to provide documented substantiation and information of how this is accomplished to effectively convince your potential end user. Otherwise, it comes across as a pitch for snake oil. 

11:44 a.m. on December 28, 2011 (EST)
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Matt,

As I have not used any of your products, I cannot speak to whether your products live up to the claims your company makes, nor attest to how well it performs in application compared to other insulations, . However, I can definitively state that Primaloft has far outperformed every other synthetic I have ever used. I would be impressed indeed if your product exceeds the performance of Primaloft in all aspects.

How you talk about the products and how the company is presented on the website tends to come across as hyperbolic, which does not recommend your company or product in a positive way. I do not presently hold the opinion that the claims are false or inflated, only that without testing details, parameters, and documentation, the claims are unsubstantiated and appear hyperbolic. In your initial posts you make statements that, from a purely logical sense, create dificulties:

On the other hand, Climashield is not as "packable" as primaloft.[...] It can't be, it has a higher loft and higher resistance to compression. At the same time Climashield can meet the same loft and thermal efficiency as primaloft, it will just be much lighter when it does it.

Merely having higher loft and resistance to compression does not mean that a product cannot be compressed to the same size. The level of Loft is determined by the degree to which a substance of a given mass is capable of expanding. If your product has a higher loft to mass ratio, as claimed in the second sentence above, then it presents a logical contradiction for it to be less packable. Of course, foam can provide incredible loft, yet its structure cannot compress and subsequently reloft, making it useless in this application. Without an explanation of the structure of your product that makes it incapable of the same compression, the statement above is problematic.  

Your website also claims your company is:

 "the only major manufacturer of lightweight continuous filament insulation in the world.

I do not understand how primaloft is not a major manufacturer of CS insulation. 

It is necessary to convince the technical and end users, without that will not acquire a solid market reputation and subsequent sustained market share. The manner your post and website represent your product are not very effective in serving that goal.  If your product does indeed achieve higher loft using less mass, and is effectively compressible, you will need to provide documented substantiation and information of how this is accomplished to effectively convince your potential end user. Otherwise, it comes across as a pitch for snake oil. 

 

+1 Caleb. Very good points.

4:30 p.m. on January 13, 2012 (EST)
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I am so proud to be a Trailspace member right now - protecting our community as always, but still welcoming all who have opinions.

Matt,

Some of our members here could be titled "Doctors" based on their in-field wisdom, education, and experience. Doctors, in my experience, require peer-reviewed empirical data or significant personal experience with a concept, practice, or product before they will consider it as a reliable part of their paradigm or routine behavior. I recommend that you provide both to the Trailspace Review Corps for long-term testing and consideration. The Corps includes many of the fine contributors above.

I can tell you that they represent a very fair testing and review process. Perhaps Rick should test the new Climashield Tundra -20 from NF against the Primaloft Tundra -20?

 

9:25 p.m. on January 13, 2012 (EST)
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I've been at this hiking, backpacking, climbing, camping thing, since about (+\- ?) 1955. Maybe earler ... I wasn't really keeping a diary.

I have owned and used a LOT of mostly high-end gear, which I paid for myself. Not provided to me by a government agency.

I remember Kapok; mostly in water oriented flotation gear.

I have two Kara Koram (Eddie Bauer) down sleeping bags. Used one this past week at sub-zero nights in The Badlands and The Black Hills of South Dakota. Supreme warmth and sleeping comfprt.

I have been using Primaloft insulated jackets, vests, sweaters, anoraks, booties, and sleeping bags, for about 10 years, and have touted my positive impressions.

I have owned and used Climashield insulated gear, as well.

I prefer the Primashield insulated gear.

I have an older Wiggy's Lamilite insulated overbag, and have mentioned (here) my positive experiences and recommendation. Used iit a couple weeks ago. Have probably spent over 100 nights in / with it.

I am not an "expert". Just a VERY experienced user. I am presently about to.conclude an "odyssey" of about 5000 miles driving ... visiting National and State Parks and Forests in thirteen (13) States, where I have hiked, backpacked, climbed and camped in each and every one. Almost 2 months "on the road" and on the trails. Solo. Temperatures from about 70 degrees (F)' down to about minus (-) ten degrees.

I can vouch for myriad outdoor products, mostly tried and true, vintage gear ... As well as the very latest high-tech gear.

NO real gear failures ... Probaby because I "shook it down" in field trials before the trip. Did not want to take any chances.

BTW, leadbelly, I have a USA made -60 degree bag. Don't have it with me, as i am in Missouri and the bag is in Maryland. Don't recall the manufacturer, and it is new and unused. I seriously doubt I'll ever need it. It weighs over TEN POUNDS, I think.

Pax vobiscum

~~ r2 ~~

1:24 p.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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I do not see a correlation between the source of the gear one uses and it's performance in field conditions. I have bought every item of the highend gear I have and have had and this was due to various factors, usually because the BC government provided such junky gear to us. So, I base my posts on longterm use in some of the world's most isolated and coldest regions over some decades and am not concerned with the provision of every poster's gear.

I do recall kapok, but, in the "life preservers" we had in the '50s and '60s and not really in sleeping bags. The first bag I used was from California and it was "Terylene" which was some kind of synthetic and I was colder than a witch's bleep in it in early June in thr mountains of the West Kootenays.

Eddie Bauer made some nice bags, but, they do not equal what is available now from ID, WM, FF and Valandre, because the fabrics are nowhere near as water resistant or down proof. I gave away my bags with the older fabrics because the latest ones work so much better and are lighter.

It's much like the Ventile, Gore-Tex, eVent situation, the "best" item for anyone is very much influenced by your uses, climate, region and experience level-ability to adapt in emergencies. I tend to try stuff and only buy what I find much superior to what I have as I am not into competing for the title of "ultimate gearhead" on this or any such forum.

If, someone can show me superior performance in cold, wet conditions than a Valandre Shocking Blue or ID Combo Pl. bag(s), I would appreciate seeing it, however, I doubt that is currently possible.

9:26 a.m. on January 15, 2012 (EST)
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Just as a note -- NikWax now has a product for cotton, or poly-cotton blend fabrics ... called "Cotton Proof".

Can be used as a "wash in", or, 'spritzed' on. Supposedly works on cottons like their DWR renewer for technical fabrics.

Hard to find thoiugh. I checked in at two different Cabela stores in my recent travels. No dice. A knowledgable sales person went into their computer data-base, and it is only stocked at a couple of their stores ... One being in West Virginia, and I am going through that area (Wheeling) in a couple days ... if the snow abates, and the roads are good. I drove 200 miles in snow and sleet through Indiana and Kentucky yesterday. White-knuckle driving at 35 MPH. Not fun.

~ r2 ~

10:19 a.m. on January 17, 2012 (EST)
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Robert Rowe said:

Hard to find thoiugh. I checked in at two different Cabela stores in my recent travels. No dice. A knowledgable sales person went into their computer data-base, and it is only stocked at a couple of their stores ... One being in West Virginia, and I am going through that area (Wheeling) in a couple days ... if the snow abates, and the roads are good. I drove 200 miles in snow and sleet through Indiana and Kentucky yesterday. White-knuckle driving at 35 MPH. Not fun.

~ r2 ~

That is my go to Cabelas store. If you get lost in there shoot me a message. I could guide you to anywhere from my desktop/mobile lol. 

For packs, bags, tents, etc you are going to want to take the steps to the 2nd floor and make a left. Go as far as you can and you will see camping, hiking, backpacking gear.

Also check out the aquarium of the areas native species of aquatic wildlife.

When ya walk in the store make a right and you will run right into it. 

10:22 a.m. on January 17, 2012 (EST)
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mschrant said:

There will be other changes in the "summit series", if they still call it that.

Summit Series is still going strong. If ya look closely at the bag that TNF is previewing at the OR show you will see that the Summit Series tag is on the pack. 

Notice the 1st TNF ABS pack.

http://www.trailspace.com/articles/2012/01/12/or-snow-gear-preview.html

Of course there will be changes. I would be more worried if there wasn't. This is the whole reasoning behind r & d and new tech development. 

11:04 a.m. on January 17, 2012 (EST)
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Robert Rowe said:

Hard to find thoiugh. I checked in at two different Cabela stores in my recent travels. No dice. A knowledgable sales person went into their computer data-base, and it is only stocked at a couple of their stores ... One being in West Virginia, and I am going through that area (Wheeling) in a couple days ... if the snow abates, and the roads are good. I drove 200 miles in snow and sleet through Indiana and Kentucky yesterday. White-knuckle driving at 35 MPH. Not fun.

~ r2 ~

That is my go to Cabelas store. If you get lost in there shoot me a message. I could guide you to anywhere from my desktop/mobile lol. 

For packs, bags, tents, etc you are going to want to take the steps to the 2nd floor and make a left. Go as far as you can and you will see camping, hiking, backpacking gear.

Also check out the aquarium of the areas native species of aquatic wildlife.

When ya walk in the store make a right and you will run right into it. 

 

I may NOT pass through Wheeling, after-all, unfortunately. I am near Lexington, KY now ... and taking a route along Huntington and Charleston, going Eastbound.

I was told the Wheeling Cabela's store is their largest, so you are in a good location, to take advantage.

~ r2 ~

11:23 a.m. on January 17, 2012 (EST)
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Oh its definitely a big store. Many hours could be spent there racking up a tremendous amount of debt lol.

Anytime I am in transit and I pass the store my wallet shudders in anticipation of my exiting onto 1 Cabela Drive.

Also if ya do get a chance to stop there check out the "Bargain Cave." They have some pretty good deals in this section of the store. 

Its about a 40 minute drive from my home.

12:41 p.m. on January 17, 2012 (EST)
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I ALWAYS hit the "Bargain Caves". Scored a great technical hardshell parka for a girlfriend, and a kit of insect-repelling treatment (wash-in) for myself, at the Rapid City, SD store. Pretty small store.

Would love to visit the Wheeling store. Have you visited the Harrisburg region store? It is a "biggie", too.

~r2~

12:45 p.m. on January 17, 2012 (EST)
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I actually haven't made it out that way. I am sure I will in time though. I heard its a pretty nice store. 

I am thinking about hitting the Pa section of the AT in the not so distant future so maybe when I am in-route I may stop and check it out along the way. 

6:16 p.m. on January 17, 2012 (EST)
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My experience with polarguard is that is is heavy and bulky, but the products did keep me warm.  Not the worst trade off given the prices I paid for those items though they were a bugger to stuff each morning.

1:52 p.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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Ok, so after some searching I have come to the conclusion mscrant was somewhat right.

TNF has 86d the Tundra from their line-up and released 3 different Dark Stars in their line. A -40F, a -20F, and a 0F(different color liners dependent on temp rating.) All of which are black and now filled with Climashield Prism/Apex.

So the whole Climashield thing he was making reference too was in their up-coming bags not the ones currently available.

http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/sc-gear/equipment-sleeping-bags.html#1327862857507

They did keep the Summit Series moniker though. 

Time will tell how these bags do when subjected to harsh conditions and how they will hold their loft over time. 

I am still satisfied personally with my Primaloft(Infinity) bags but nevertheless I think these new models may deserve a look. 

Maybe they're better, maybe they're not... As I stated above; time will tell. 

I would have thought that being the Tundra was on its way out the door that I would have saved some change off msrp but nooooo lol. I am satisfied with the bag so no biggie.

I do have to say I personally would be interested to see how these new models stack up against the Primaloft(Infinity) bags of comparable ratings in an uncontrolled environment for a pro-longed period. Then again being that some people sleep warm, some sleep cold this may very well be a hard test to conduct in regards to accuracy. 

I will say, the new Dark Star -20 which is comparable to the Tundra -20 rating wise is well over a pound heavier per manufacturers ratings. Then again the Tundra also weighs in at less than Mountain Hardwear's 800 down fill Wraith SL -20(4lbs 8oz reg/ 4lbs 12oz long.) 

Dark Star -20 : reg 5lbs 3oz/ long 5lbs 9oz

Tundra -20 : reg 4lbs/ long 4lbs 3 oz

...thats a pretty substantial weight difference. Oh and the new model is about $50 more. 

...then again the stuff sack does double as a summit pack. :)



1:23 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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I just wanted to chime in and say that, as a backpacker, I really appreciate this dialogue. I especially appreciate the distillation that can happen in places like this. I've been trying to start a business, and have been trying to build sleeping bags, but there is so much to know and learn. I don't have much to add to this conversation much more than that.

The little I do have to add is this: In trying to engineer sleeping systems in my woefully naive way, I have not been able to find an existing reasonable way to test my gear. Or any sleeping gear, really. So, I came up with something that I had not come across yet and will reluctantly start a new thread about it and see what you guys think.

-Jason of Ardeth backpacking gear.

Which, for more full disclosure, is hardly a real company. May I go off on a rant here, in this dark corner of the internet? I'm suppose to have a title like president or CEO or founder, but I'm not any of those things. I'm a dude in the spare bedroom that can't construct sleeping bags 'cause I can barely even sew. Then, I start sewing and keep sewing and people ask me questions like, "awesome, you're making sleeping bags. Why don't you use a hemming foot?" Well, I had to watch a YouTube video to see what a hemming foot is. Crap. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'd tell my wife this, but she thinks that I do know what I'm doing and that we'll be able to pay the mortgage next year. Ha!

That's the end of my rant, I needed to let this stuff out somewhere. Please keep an eye out for my next post about testing sleeping bags or selling sewing machines.

2:17 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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Jason, 

I hope your experiments and venture go well. Some of the makers of the best outdoor gear started out with a someone experimenting in their basement. I for one am interested to hear more about your ideas. 

3:26 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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Sincerely, thank you, gonzan. I put up a new post on the testing stuff.

7:08 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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Jason,

I also wish you nothing but success on your endeavors. I find it quite admirable that you are giving this a shot. 

10:58 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks, guys. This stuff has been way more challenging than I could have anticipated. Would you check out the other thread about the test process that I've been working on? If you can, read the ASSP pages on my website - I could use the feedback. Thanx!

April 17, 2014
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