If you spend a lot of time sleeping outdoors like we do you need to make sure you have a sleeping bag that is comfortable and warm. Sleeping bag insulation are basically made from either down or synthetic materials and each come with a temperature rating. There are many variations of those two types of materials that can effect your sleeping comfort. Down sleeping bags come in in different fill weights and types of down. Synthetic bags insulation materials vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Both types of bags work on the idea of having the materials trap the warm air your body produces. Another thing to consider is if you like to sleep in a tent, use a tarp or sleep under the stars. Another factor is whether you hike in wet of dry climates.
Down Sleeping Bags
Down bags generally come in fill weight ranging from 500 to 900 fill weight. Down ratings work like this: The higher the fill weight the the more resilient to compression, the better loft the down will achieve and the more air it can trap. Because of it’s better quality it also take less down to achieve better performance. Thus the higher the fill the better weight to warmth ratio. This very important to the fast and light gang.
Advantages of Down
- Down give always will hold the edge in warmth to weight over synthetics
- The natural material breathes better and with proper care can last a lifetime
- They also compress better to help save room in your pack for important things like camera gear and your backpacker guitar
We have the best prices on Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags, made with pride in Northern California!
Disadvantages of Down
- When wet it loses it’s insulation properties and it takes a long time to dry
- Requires delicate care when washing
- More expensive then synthetic bags
Synthetic Sleeping Bags
Synthetic material for sleeping bags are basically hollow strands of polyester materials. The hollowness helps the material trap air. Fibers can either be continuous and long or continuous and short. Most synthetic insulation fibers used in sleeping bags have a hollow core, to help them better trap air. Silicon is used sometimes to improve the loft capacity. Some of the types of synthetic insulation include Polargard, Primaloft, and Climashield. Some manufacterers make their own proprietary synthetic insulation, these include Marmaloft by Marmot and Heatseeker North Face. Synthetic sleeping bags are getting better and better with weight to warmth ratio’s now very close to down sleeping bags
Advantages of Synthetic
- Water Resistant and retains insulating properties even when wet
- Drys quickly
- Less Expensive
Disadvantages of Synthetic
- Bulky and less compact
- Takes up more pack space
- Not as durable as the material will breakdown over time
Choosing the right bag is important. There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing a bag. The material is important along with your body size and shape, metabolism, how you sleep and the type of climate you will be sleeping in. We are here to help, I f you have a question about one our bags please feel free to contact us.