Prima Loft & climashield

2:04 p.m. on June 21, 2014 (EDT)
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2 forum posts

I bought a sleeping bag from northern outfitters several months ago. I returned it because it was advertised as Prima Loft One. When I received the bag it did not have the loft I thought it should have so I called the company that made the bag and bypassed northern outfitter who sold the bag. The company told me they had switched from Prima loft one  to clima shield  a few months before. No explanation given I assumed it was a money saving decision. Northern outfitters is still selling this bag as Prima Loft One.  I wrote them an Email telling them this was not correct. ??? My question  is this what is the best synthetic for sub zero weather in any climate??   Thanks to all Timothy

4:56 p.m. on June 21, 2014 (EDT)
1,679 reviewer rep
707 forum posts is difficult to answer your question...because what counts as the best is determined by the context in which it is used.

I believe that the general consensus on synthetics is this:

If you look here: you will find an informative discussion on synthetic insulation here at TS...look particularly at TS member Bill's account of his experience with multiple types of synthetic and natural insulation over a long period of time [I believe time to be the best litmus of truth...and it (time) usually proves that we didn't have a lot of it (truth)].

As far is me personally...I am in general agreement with Bill (most others?)...I believe short fibers (Primaloft) to be better in regards to weight/warmth + compressibility + longevity....these are also some of the most important criteria for determining what is best for me.

I also believe that from a large manufacturer's perspective using continuous fibers could equate to significant savings (because it does not require as much sewing and is easier to work with) you might be right to suspect the change was financially motivated. However...on the small scale...particularly the DIY/MYOG scale...I can say that without a doubt short fibers (Primaloft One) are nearly as easy to work with...and that outside of large-scale production..the extra sewing required with short fibers is more than balanced out by the better (defined as I define it) performance of the material.

9:25 a.m. on June 23, 2014 (EDT)
625 reviewer rep
1,178 forum posts

what is the best synthetic for sub zero weather in any climate

I don't think there is one best fiber for all conditions. For cold, dry weather where weight is the primary consideration, down is great. Short-staple fibers like primalofts are more moisture tolerant than down, but water resistant downs are beginning to change that. Between the available fill materials (short-staple fiber, continuous fibers, "regular down" and "water resistant down) and the available shell materials, there are many permutations that each work "best" in particular conditions. If you can let us know more about what is important to you - weight, price, compressibility, versatility, and more about the applications of the product, I'm sure the community can chime in with good advice!

11:32 a.m. on June 23, 2014 (EDT)
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Thanks Joseph and Seth I appreciate your knowledge. You have answered my Thoughts.!!  Timothy

10:38 a.m. on June 27, 2014 (EDT)
5,601 reviewer rep
2,036 forum posts

i have never been able to distinguish the various synthetic fibers to any great degree.  a lot of what I have read about the distinctions between primaloft and climashield, for example, seem to me to be distinctions without a difference.  by that, i mean the distinctions are more a function of marketing than performance.  that's based on significant experience sleeping in bags insulated with polarguard, quallofil, primaloft, and climashield, inlcuding a -40 f bag i used for several years.  (which was very warm but didn't feel like it would really keep me happy at -40; i considered -25 to be its usable limit). 

a couple of thoughts about synthetic fill generally:

1.  i think the quality has improved over time.  the current versions of primaloft, climashield retain loft better than they did 20 years ago after repeatedly being stuffed into and extricated from stuff sacks.

2.  any manufacturer that says these synthetic fills resist compression and maintain full loft for years is just trying to sell you more product.  over time, every synthetic fill i have ever used gradually loses some of its loft.  the best way you can prolong the life of these products is to store them in a larger back that allows the fill to fully loft while in storage.  also, make sure the fill is clean and dry before you store it. 

3.  sleeping bags are more than the sum of their filling.  intelligent baffling is important, and cleaning sleeping bags in a way that protects the integrity of the fill and the baffles is really important. 

May 22, 2018
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