Looking for new sleeping bag

11:11 p.m. on October 22, 2009 (EDT)
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4 forum posts

Ok, to make a long story longer...

I few years ago I got a REI polar pod 0 degree sleeping bag. From the get go I have not be happy with it. I took it on a family camping trip in the spring time in Colorado Mountains. It got close to 32 degrees. I got cold that night. Even with my fleece liner.

The last two trips I took with this bag it was 22 Degrees and the other was above 32 degrees best guess . To stay warm on the 22 degree night. I used my fleece liner and wore my long underware, close, and my down vest and put my gore tex jacket over my feet.

After my last trip hunting I couldn't take it any more and I return the polar pod bag to REI.

So I have start to hunt for a new sleeping bag. I have decided to get down this time. As I have been looking at down sleeping bags. I have noticed something that does not add up. I was looking a three different Kelty down bags and others. All three had the same fill of 750 but they all where rated at three differant ratings -15, 0, and 15. How can this be? What are they forgetting to say? Loft?

Please Help.

3:49 a.m. on October 23, 2009 (EDT)
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98 forum posts

My understanding is that the "fill" number (i.e., the "750") describes the volume of space taken up by a given weight of down. In other words, it relates to how much air that weight of down traps, and therefore is a measure of the quality of the down. The higher the number, the better the quality, insofar as down that traps more air for a given weight will insulate better and be warmer. Bill S. or one of the other experts can probably describe this even better.

However, the fill number has nothing to do with either the construction of a particular bag or the amount of down that the bag contains. Obviously, a bag containing only one ounce of down will not be particularly warm, even if that one ounce of down is "800 fill".

So check construction details (continuous, overlapping tubes, etc.) and amount of fill. Also, take note of the fact that so-called "comfort ratings" are not based on standardized measurements, and they differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Integral Designs, Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering are famous for giving pretty accurate comfort ratings, and they are also generally known as the highest quality and most expensive of the North American manufacturers. Volandre (sp?) is also highly thought of, but mostly a Euro brand, and Montbell (Japanese) has fans as well.

I have an Integral Designs down bag and a Western Mountaineering down bag, and they are both great, and true to their comfort ranges.

3:17 p.m. on October 23, 2009 (EDT)
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311 forum posts

With sleeping bags you get what you pay for,i guess that is true with anything.The "best" bags are the Western Mountaineering or Feathered Friends.On down the food chain are some of the Sierra Designs and Marmots.On down are the REI and Keltys.There are other manufacturers in Europe and Canada such as Montbell wich are also pretty good.Do the research and read the reviews and my advice is buy the best you can afford.

4:04 p.m. on October 23, 2009 (EDT)
MODERATOR
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1,757 forum posts

Tokyo Bill is correct about fill. The rating is based on a standardized testing protocol using an ounce of down in a plastic tube and a weight to compress it, then it is measured. There are explanations and pictures of the test on the net.

Go to the WM website and compare the temp ratings and weights of their bags. This will show you differences among a single manufacturer in terms of how much down they put into their bags for different ratings.

Overrating bags is unfortunately, fairly common. My bag is a MacPac Chrysalis down bag rated at -5C (+23). That rating is very accurate for me, a thin, cold sleeper; might be lower for someone with more body fat. I've used that bag in colder weather, wearing my base layer, a fleece beanie, socks and tossing my big parka over it. Slept just fine. I also have an overbag that adds a few degrees.

A synthetic bag can be just as warm as a down bag, but it won't be as light or compact. As the saying goes, "Light, warm, cheap-pick two."

5:55 p.m. on October 23, 2009 (EDT)
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4 forum posts

Thanks for all the good info.

After looking at all the info. I am looking at getting the Kelty Foraker 0F Bag.

Marmot Never Summer: +0 Fill 600-fill goose down fill weight 30 ounces

Kelty Foraker 0F: Fill 750-fill goose down Fill weight 29 ounces

6:45 p.m. on October 23, 2009 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

I have owned and used a LOT of bags in cold, wet country for more years than I should admit. I just gave my FF bag to a friend for his new wife to use and am going to sell my wM bag that I bought in July, 2007. These are GOOD bags, better than most available and worth the price charged for them.

I have two BETTER down bags, a custom Integral Designs XPDII "Himalayan" and, the single best sleeping bag I have EVER had or used or seen, the Valandre Shocking Blue. These plus my synthetic bags will do everything I am capable of doing for the rest of my life.

For ONE down bag, for most conditions, but, tending to northern climates, the Shocking Blue is just beyond compare and I simply never use any of my other down bags, since I got it.

November 23, 2014
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