best synthetic sleeping bag fill?

8:26 p.m. on March 27, 2017 (EDT)
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Can anyone point me to an article or website where they compare, on some truly discerning level, the top handful or so synthetic fills?

9:56 p.m. on March 27, 2017 (EDT)
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I can only point you in the general direction of Richard Nisley over at Backpackinglight.com. Mr. Nisley is a materials scientist, conducting standardized testing of various insulations and fabrics for both laboratories and fun.

The website's imbedded search function is terrible though, so just do Google searches with his name, BPL, and whatever keywords you like.

The bottom line as I understand it is that Climashield Apex is the "best" synthetic out there right now, followed by Primaloft One. Apex seems to gain the upper hand through increased longevity/durability which equates to retaining a given insulative value for quite a bit longer than PL1.

12:57 p.m. on March 28, 2017 (EDT)
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branding being what it is, i think primaloft one is now primaloft gold.  

i found some relevant blog posts.  can't vouch for the authors or their sources, but it's interesting reading.  

http://www.adventurepoet.com/adventure/gear-tips/outdoor-gear-insulation-ratings-explained/

Her blog post suggests Primaloft One/Gold has a slightly higher Clo value (measure of warmth, similar to the R value for sleeping pads and home insulation) than Climashield Apex, but that these two are better insulators than the alternatives.  no commentary about durability.  

I'm also including a blog post from Coldthistle about this subject - it's a guy who uses gear a lot outside, so he has a perspective i find interesting.  doesn't discuss climashield products, does discuss some others.  http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-shell-game-but-in-this-case-we-are.html

Finally, observations from a few years ago on Backpacking Light from people who make their own synthetic quilts.  At least some users echoed Pillowthread's comment that Primaloft tends to be fragile, hence more likely to lose loft if squashed into a stuff sack.     https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/96702/

3:36 p.m. on March 28, 2017 (EDT)
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Great stuff, Andrew...that's what I've gathered, too. PL1 edges out Climashield in initial CLO, but after just a few stuffings the balance shifts to Climashield.

On a side note, I love Dane's general attitude in his blog. Lots of knowledge to be gleaned there, and entertaining to boot.

11:24 a.m. on March 29, 2017 (EDT)
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thanks, folks.  I appreciate it.  Isn't coldthistle the fella who, from time to time, makes ice axe heads and metal accessories?  I remember his blog being helpful and well done.

12:24 p.m. on March 29, 2017 (EDT)
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Yes! My favorite was when he drilled & sawed into his perfectly good LaSportiva Spantiks to mount a tech binding in the toe...

11:14 a.m. on March 31, 2017 (EDT)
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Does anyone include air dry time in their testing?  I was reminded of how long Lite Loft takes to air dry.

11:46 a.m. on April 7, 2017 (EDT)
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Andrew and Pillow probably answered most of your questions...I have both in purchased gear and gear I made myself...I haven't noticed much of a difference between the two (but I do not compress my gear much at all in transit and none beyond the force of gravity while in storage). Personally I find PL 1/Gold more comfortable for moving around in (elbows and knees)...so I like it as a choice for jackets and pants...but if you're big on stuffing your gear into a little bag you might want to go with Climashield Apex as it does seem somewhat superior in that regard (in non-field testing at least). I would add that if you're planning to use these materials in DIY projects Climashield is infinitely easier to work with and requires a good deal less sewing. The difficulty of working with PL1/Gold makes any cost savings from DIY gear marginal as your labor increases quite a bit...but then again...the big advantage of making gear (for me) is that I get to build it to my own specs...the cash savings is mostly bonus.

February 18, 2020
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