Llama Fleece Sleeping Bags: Deneb Outdoor

9:06 a.m. on May 15, 2014 (EDT)
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Has anyone come across the new start-up company Deneb Outdoors

After a recently successful Kickstarter campaign, it looks like they are now in the process of creating prototypes for "the world's first sustainable sleeping bag" by using llama fleece as an insulation. I came across them the other day and thought I would share with the TS community.

Here is the bag specs., as displayed on the company's website. 

specs.png

Other features are:

-Water resistant

-Insulated with 50-degree comfort range

-Hypoallergenic 

-Compressibility is same as a down bag

-Eco-friendly

-Fire-retardant

Check out their website for more info, which also has an informative video about the company, product, practices, etc. 

http://deneboutdoors.com/

Three questions I'd like to ask the Trailspace community:

1) Have you seen anything like this before? 

2) What do you think about it? 

3) Would you be willing to try one of these sleeping bags? 

10:13 a.m. on May 17, 2014 (EDT)
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In order:

1.) No

2.) I like it, and wish to see the product's progression

3.) Yes. Hell yes.

Cool beans. The prototype looks not-so-lofted compared to what I'm used to seeing in down-filled sleeping bags, so that'll probably have to change for the market to accept it. Looks like the fiber may not rebound well from compression?? Maybe use Karo Step baffles? Two stacked, individually quilted layers?

What I'm saying is, it seems like the fiber needs to be kept in place better; it looks like it's just tumbling around inside the prototype. Even if it keeps the user warm to the stated temperature, the impression I'm conditioned to develop does not inspire confidence. I'm interested in long-term testing, and I'd love to see Richard Nisley get his hands on a sample.

Watching the video though, those look like like some very happy Lamas...

1:33 p.m. on May 17, 2014 (EDT)
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I agree with Pillows three answers, although its nothing new to use llama or alpaca fur as insulation. In South America it's been used for centuries and just now seems to gaining some possible market share in North America.

I have a pair of gloves made from alpaca fur- warm, incredibly soft and it retains its shape (no stretching or shrinking).

A concern that does come to mind though is the smell when wet is atrocious, much like wet dog. Even properly washed, which you don't want to do too often as it will strip the natural oils, the smell lingers.

3:16 p.m. on May 17, 2014 (EDT)
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Bags are warm because of their loft. A down bag and synthetic bag with the same loft, all other things being equal, should be equally warm, based on what I have read.

A 20F Western Mountaineering Alpenlite has 19 oz. of down and weighs 1 lb. 15 oz.; their 20F Ultralite has 16 oz. of down and weighs 1 lb. 13 oz. This bag is 2 lb. 1 oz, so a bit heavier, but the site does not say how much of that is insulation. As far as the temperature claim, I would like to see an EN 13537 test done, but small companies like this one may not want to spend the money on testing, especially if they aren't going to sell in the EU, where the test is common, but not required. 

This company makes similar claims about their products in terms of the temperature range. http://www.altiplanoinsulation.com/about

The fiber is hollow, so it seems to be the natural equivalent of Polarguard or similar hollow fiber synthetic insulation.

The price certainly is reasonable.

 

10:56 p.m. on May 17, 2014 (EDT)
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From Kickstarter : We have personally tested these bags down to 20 degrees, but who knows how low it can go. This temperature rating will be officially EN13537 tested (industry-standard temperature rating) if the funds are raised.

and
Most sleeping bag statistics give you a lower limit, but they will never give you an upper limit. That's because they don't want you to know how small of a comfort range the bags actually have. Down and synthetics average 10-15 degrees of range. JakaTek™ allows the Rama Llama™ to boast a 50 degree range, the highest, by far, on the market.

3:12 a.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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Thanks Franco. I'm not sure how the concept of a temperature range works. All I know is that when I have a jacket on and I get too warm, I either open it up or take it off.

3:36 a.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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Franco...I am not sure...but I imagine most manufacturers do not give an upper-limit in regards to sleeping insulation...because an upper-limit does not seem like something that actually exist for most users. That is...the upper comfort-limit of my sleeping-insulation is based on how I have the bag arranged on me...snuggled inside the upper-limit is not so high...but covering only my legs...and I can remain comfortable in much higher temps. I guess...if I kick the bag all the way off one could argue that I have reached the absolute upper-limit of my bag...but this limit is the same regardless of the bag I bring...so in actual use the idea of an upper-limit seems slippery to me.

5:26 p.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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@Joe: Yes, but I'd personally love a bag what could "roll with the punches" so that I wouldn't have to make zipper/coverage adjustments as temperatures changed throughout the night. Too many nights spent with a bag draped over me when I go to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night to bundle up, and then reversing the process when the sun comes up...

6:15 p.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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Pillowthread...I am glad that you mentioned convenience...because though my argument above is mostly one of questioning how meaningful the concept of an upper-limit is (semantics)...and how that (lack of) meaningfulness might explain the historical lack of an upper-limit...I do not actually think this item is necessarily more convenient.

Personally I tend to think macro about my gear choices (in this case total convenience v. individual convenience). In the case of this sleeping-bag I would not prioritize the inconvenience of adjusting my sleeping-insulation (which I do at home too) over other considerations like warmth/weight + cost + durability...because these other factors are more important for increasing my "total convenience". If all things are equal (which they do not appear to be)...then sure I want sleeping-insulation that requires less adjustment...but in the end additional inconveniences regarding weight + cost + durability are considerably more disconcerting.

Don't get me wrong...I love both the idea of sustainable practices and experimental design and manufacturing in outdoor gear (I also advocate spending money on such items if you can both afford and use them...because it creates further development)...but in the end my style of backpacking is more practical...because ideology gets heavy quick when you carry it on your back.

6:43 p.m. on May 18, 2014 (EDT)
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Just to make it  clear, I was not giving my oppinion, I was quoting the Kickstarter blurb.

The EN testing is meant to happen soon (according to Daneb)

If the wide temp claim matches reality or not I don't know.

1:22 a.m. on May 19, 2014 (EDT)
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Franco, I assumed as much regarding the source. I'm still not sure how an upper temp rating is helpful. I think most of us care about how warm a bag is, not necessarily how well it performs in warmer weather. 

6:26 a.m. on May 19, 2014 (EDT)
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One of the reasons why I changed from a WM Highlite to the Summerlite was because with the half zip at times I was too warm inside it half open but cold without it.

With the Summerlite I can open it up fully quilt like so I find it easier in warmer temps as well as better in lower temps.

I know that some switch bag on a long trail so if indeed the llama wool can handle the higher temps it may work well for some.

I think that the claims are exagerated based on the experience of two  young,fit and well fed guys but I'll wait and see.

10:15 a.m. on May 19, 2014 (EDT)
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This would definitely interest me, especially for damp climates.

10:15 a.m. on May 19, 2014 (EDT)
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Jake W said:

I have a pair of gloves made from alpaca fur- warm, incredibly soft and it retains its shape (no stretching or shrinking).

A concern that does come to mind though is the smell when wet is atrocious, much like wet dog. Even properly washed, which you don't want to do too often as it will strip the natural oils, the smell lingers.

 That's interesting, Jake. I have some alpaca wool stuff and haven't had that bad smell issue you raise. I wonder if your gloves are a blend of alpaca and sheep wool. As far as I know, alpaca and llama wool does not have the lanolin and other oils that sheep (and many other animals) wool has. Generally, sheep wool has to be heavily processed to strip those oils so they don't cause the lingering smells exactly like you described. 

pillowthread said:

@Joe: Yes, but I'd personally love a bag what could "roll with the punches" so that I wouldn't have to make zipper/coverage adjustments as temperatures changed throughout the night. Too many nights spent with a bag draped over me when I go to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night to bundle up, and then reversing the process when the sun comes up...

Pillowthread, I'd have to agree. I like the sustainable practices of company, but the idea of having a sleeping bag in which I will be comfortable in whether it is 20F or 70F, is what is really appealing to me. If I'm honest with myself, I rarely sleep in a sleeping bag if it's colder than 20F and never if its hotter than 70F (although sometimes at the hunting cabin the guys will load up the fireplace to the point where I may as well be sleeping in a sauna).

I'm constantly adjusting, unzipping and re-zipping, puling arms/feet in and out, etc. If this bag proves it can solve those issues, I'd be happy to give it a go.

When I use my sleeping bag at night, that typically mean I'm doing something  during the previous and next day that requires a good night's sleep (whether it's hiking out on the trail or staying at the hunting cabin). Having one bag that allows for me to remain comfortable no matter the situation would be welcomed. 

12:15 p.m. on May 22, 2014 (EDT)
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Has anyone had the smelling issues with any llama or alpaca-wool products that Jake W. described? He says his alpaca wool gloves stink when wet. 

I own an alpaca wool hat and some alpaca and llama wool socks, and I've never had this issue, but am wondering if others have.

4:18 p.m. on May 23, 2014 (EDT)
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I have zero experience with alpaca wool.

5:55 p.m. on May 23, 2014 (EDT)
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I have an alpaca blanket and a couple of alpaca sweaters. Haven't really gotten them wet, but I don't recall any issues with them at all. I also used to have a big alpaca poncho and I know it got wet and don't recall it smelling at all either. It may have to do with the way they are treated. My stuff was made in Bolivia years ago, so no idea what if anything they may have been treated with when they were made.

 

8:53 a.m. on May 25, 2014 (EDT)
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Here's hoping they someday make a TopQuilt for hammock hangers!

November 24, 2014
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