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Camping Equipment and all Clothing Tents, sleeping bags, stoves etc. Riding clothing, boots, helmets, what to wear when not riding, etc.
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  #16  
Old 27 May 2005
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Hi Everyone,
I think people torture themselves with sleeping bags and pads. They really go together dont they?. I sleep cold and hate it, do you? I always camp with a zero down bag sold under the Campmor label and the best full length mattress Thermorest sells. The down bag is Chinese and was under $200. It packs small and I put it in a compression sack. It is always dry, if it gets wet in the tent it will dry the next day or maybe you go to the laundrymat or motel. Lots of motels have a dryer. My tent is waterproof and since it is a Bibler I don't suffer from condensation in the tent. I stay dry. Everything works together, right? The Thermorest mattress is important to me for warmth first and then comfort. An old style air mattress is comfortable but cold. You need good insulation under you to stay warm or cool. The zero bag will be too warm in some situations so use the zipper or sleep on it or just sleep on the mattress on your towel. A little common sense is needed to adjust to ambient. When it gets cold and there is ice on the bike in the morning I sleep all night in comfort. Usually my campmates wake me up at three AM when they get up to take a shower to warm up or pee or bitch. I just roll over and use the urine bottle. Why get up and go out in the rain? But that's another subject. If you don't have a good night you won't be safe the next day on the bike. Now, if only someone made a good travel pillow. Bill.
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  #17  
Old 31 May 2005
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Hi there,

Who say,s down does last a long time?
It does NOT when yopu are continuously traveling.
The problem is that down packs really small... but if it is packed day in day out, it starts to stick together and becomes "lumpy".
Ofcouse it is posible to have it "regenerated" but this is usually just as expensive as a new sleepingbag.
As far as I know only "the north face" does this as a free service (only TNF bags).
My sleepingbag (joutsen, 95% arctic goose down, good for -24 to + 25 celcius) is now... after a few years of continuous travel... only good if the temperature is above 0 (celcius)... and even then still has "cold spots".

So... unless you get a lifelong-reconditioning-service with your down bag... it will last no more then about 2 to 3 years (mine is now 3,5 years).

I do not know (from experiance) how long syntetic bags last... but they are cheaper to replace!.

Maarten (who now sleeps with his socks and tshirt on) when it freezes


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  #18  
Old 31 May 2005
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Hi Maarten,
The local dry cleaner washes my bag once a year and it comes back like new every time. He sends it to a professional and as far as I know he does not do the work in house. Most dry cleaners that take pillows, do reticking, etc. will take a down bag. My bag is 7 years old. It was just packed for one year of continuous travel. When I slept in the Blue Ridge Mtns a couple of weeks ago there was ice on the bike in the AM. I was warm in my long underware and fleece.
My bad is a "cheap" Chinese zero down mummy bag made for Campmor. I always use a Granite Gear compression sack to make it as small as possible. My son wore out his German made Gold ECK synthetic bag speeping in it continuously for one year. He retired it and bought a down bag.
Campmor Goose Dowm zero degree mummy sleeping bag long #40068 $149.00usd. Bill.

[This message has been edited by Bill Shockley (edited 31 May 2005).]
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  #19  
Old 1 Jun 2005
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Hi Bill,

I am not in the habit of sleeping in my long underwear and fleece

Drycleaning or washing is not the same as regenerating down. To do this the bag needs to be opend, the down taken out and put in a special machine... and then ofcourse filled again in the right way and sewed up.
If this is not properly done you can through away the bag.

OK, maybe I have high standards, but I sleep, without my clothes, in cold places (minus 10 celcius is no exception) and I like to be nice and warm.

Maarten

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  #20  
Old 3 Jun 2005
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I now have a dilemma. I was all set to replace my extra-bulky synth bag with a down bag. Trotted to the local specialist. They even have the Valandre Miracle bag that Vincent recommended. And what a beaut bag it is. Packs down to almost nothing and when you pull it out it almost self-inflates. 290 Eur. But that's not the problem.

There are barely any zips, you need to wriggle in from the top. All the bags they had in the shop were of the mummy type.

Now, we are going to Scandinavia (wouldn't hesitate to buy it for that), then to SE Asia. We'll be camping in moderate to hot conditions, possibly humid, but probably hardly ever really cold. Don't think we'll be doing too much camping in Asia, somehow, but even summer in Europe can be hot and then there is OZ towards the end.

The shop told me that for hot and possibly damp climates they recommend synthetic, cause it handles huimidity better.

So far I have found that in my synth bag when it's cold, I'm somewhat cold. When it warms up I soon start cooking. My feet seem to get hot first and then I get "restless feet" and I can't sleep. If I open the bag at the top I get too cold. So the second zipper at the bottom end of the bag is a god's end, as I can cool down my feet. When it gets really warm we just open the bag up and lie on top of it.

In the shop they don't have any of the rectangular type bags and at best they have a synth bag where the side zip goes most of the way down.

So, I feel I'm back to square one, still can't decide on down or synth. Any bright ideas? Gotta make a quick decision.

9 days to go!

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Salut from Southern France, the bikers' paradise,

Peter.

[This message has been edited by beddhist (edited 03 June 2005).]
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  #21  
Old 3 Jun 2005
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I've been using a Coleman bag that has a raw silk filling. It's light, packs small and has been comfortable down to about 3-4 degrees outside the tent, and is probably good for 0 degrees. I don't know what it is like wet and I don't really want to, but since no one else has mentioned this type of bag I thought I'd give it a plug.
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  #22  
Old 7 Jun 2005
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Bought a synthetic bag today. I wanted down, but all the down bags are the mummy type with very short zips, so you either sleep IN them or ON them, you can't partially open them.

It packs surprisingly small, so maybe it's not that warm. I'll find out in July/August in Norway...

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  #23  
Old 7 Jun 2005
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Down every time. even when mountaineering/hiking you can keep them dry in a drybag. I have a Mountain Equipment Dragon 500 which i use for general travel and 3 season outdoor stuff. Its 10 years old and pretty smelly and worn now but I reckon another 2/3 years out of it. This includes nearly 2 years of constant use. The 500 refers to its fill weight, I'd say this was comfy to about 0c but no lower. Everyones different though.
matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #24  
Old 9 Jun 2005
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To make matters more confusing:

A good down-bag has a wider temperature range then syntetic (if the zippers open al the way). As an example my bag has a range from -24 to + 25 degree,s celcius.
You can never get this from a syntetic bag.

Still, no matter what other people say, down wears down. I won,t explane how or why, if you want to know it exactly there is enaugh material in outdoor-guide,s or at the factory,s, but fact of the matter is, down needs to be "regenerated" every few years (depening on the time it is compressed)... and this is a very expensive process. Syntetic does not have this problem...

So, I would advise that if you do not need this wide temperature-range, you are better of with syntetic (in the long run).

Now I know many people will say: "I have a down bag for years and it is still good"... but... they forget to mention (like the post a while back) that they need to wear a fleece and pants in bed to keep warm.... If you think this is how ma sleepingbag should funtion... OK, no problem.
If you want to be realy comfortable (I take it you do not sleep in your clothes at home) then you need to be more critical and honest with your choice.

Which means for me, my (very high quality) down bag is not good enaugh anymore after 3 years of being compressed and uses every day.
It has lost about 20 degree,s of it,s temperature range (it,s comfy until - 5), which means: it,s worn down.

My conclusion: if you need the temperature range of down, there is no substitute.
But if you do not need it, your syntetic bag will last longer.

Maarten

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  #25  
Old 9 Jun 2005
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Even more confusing: the shops tell me that sunthetic breaks down more quickly than down, i.e. doesn't last as long.

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  #26  
Old 10 Jun 2005
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I worked for a long time in outdoor shops and the general line was always that synthetic bags do not last as long as down bags. Some synthetic materials come close, like Polargaurd, but not quite. HOWEVER, the thing with down is it has to be treated with respect. It should be stuffed into its stuff sac only once in a while and at other times be kept either in its storage bag or an old pillow case. Down bags are really designed for hikers, cyclists, mountaineers etc who use their bags short term then store them properly for reletively long periods before using them again, allowing the down to fluff up nicely.
For this reason they are less suited to overlanders who stuff their bags every day for long periods of time, sometimes years. Synthetic bags are tougher in this respect but they do 'die' reasonably quickly in that they lose their loft. A down bag treated properly will last longer, but as I have said, you may not have the opportunity to treat it how you may like.
Personally I would always choose down because it is warmer, lighter, FEELS nicer (quite important!). I'd suggest if you are planning to use down on a long trip go out and buy a stuff sack 50% bigger than the one supplied with the bag and use that as this will stop your bag getting so crushed. Even then it will only be about the size of an equivalent synthetic.
matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #27  
Old 10 Jun 2005
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I agree with Matt.

Maarten

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  #28  
Old 11 Jun 2005
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I use a Western Mountaineering Ponderosa
http://www.westernmountaineering.com/
down bag and have for 6 years of homeless travel.
It packs down small, is light and comes in a long length if you are tall.
It is roomy because of it's design and can be opened up fully to use as a blanket when it is warm.

Also forget Thermarest and get yorself a Sevylor CMR20 camping mattress.
http://www.sevylor.com/camping.html
It is rubberized cotton and is much more comfortable than any Thermarest. It is very durable, although it is heavy. It packs down pretty small and has a built in pillow. I've also used this for 6 years and am extremely happy with it. It is cheap compared to a Thermarest at about $30 US.
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  #29  
Old 11 Jun 2005
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A wise person one told me..."Mr.Ron, if ever you cannot decide one from the other, endevor to obtain both..."
Or something like that anyways For those of you who, like me, suffer from indecisiveness, check out this link:http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_i...=1118459760881
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  #30  
Old 30 Jun 2005
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I Use a North Face Snowshoe. Has sythetic filling and is quite warm, But in case I am in warmer areas i have a smal silk sliping bag. What type you use depends on the area and time of the year. In rainforrest down i would not recommend, since it will not last for long with such a high humidity. We have been in Bolivian (highest sleeping place 5100meters in April) and it was comfortable. In Brasil in May we used the small silky one.
Have a nice ride
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