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Old 25 Jan 2006
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softie snugpack sleeping bag?

Has anyone had any experience with any softie bags? I'm looking for a bag for warmer parts of year(spring-early fall), I've read some reviews on down and synthetics but still undecided. I've come across these at www.brigadequartermasters.com, they pack small and light and seem warm. Will be using it in a tent, looking for something packable for touring Canada this summer.
thanks in advance
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Old 25 Jan 2006
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A large number of HM forces buy softie sleepingbags, in particular the softie 9 as it is smaller than the issue bag we are provided with.

I have had some of the most miserable nights of my life in my softie 9 but that is probably because of the circumstances.

Just be sure that it is going to be warm and do not believe the manufacturers minimum temp ratings.
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Old 25 Jan 2006
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We used to sell Snugpack Softies in the outdoor shop I worked in. Good all round bags. Not top of the range perhaps but as good as most stuff on the market. The sleeping bag thing is highly personal but I'd say the following:
If you can afford it go for down. It packs much smaller, is lighter, feels much nicer and if looked after properly, lasts longer than synthetic.
However, a synthetic bag will put up with rough treatment better, and is a lot cheaper.
Regarding the often brought up argument that synthetic bags hold warmth better when wet, this is true to a certain extent, but nothing is warm when it's wet and in 20 years of hiking, climbing, touring, drunken camping etc. I've always managed to keep my bag largely moisture free!
PS: 38thfoot is dead right, temp. ratings are only a guide at the best of times, personal metabolism, the tent you're in , body fat, what you had for dinner, how much of a ma's boy (or not!) you are all vary the ideal temps. for a sleeping bag enourmously!

[This message has been edited by Matt Cartney (edited 25 January 2006).]


*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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Old 25 Jan 2006
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38th and Matt, thanks for advice. I've been looking at down bags, wanted to stay around/under $200. This would be first bag I've ever owned, and really don't know how much time I'll spend sleeping in it until I'm on the road. I figure water shouldn't be a problem if I'm in a tent right? Yeah, I know, best laid plans.....: )
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Old 25 Jan 2006
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Down is the lightest, warmest and most compact packing insulater out there, nothing can compare, but is utterly useless when wet and it dries out really slow. In adition they are in general more expensive. In adition to being cold and uncomfortable when wet, the down can soak up massive ammounbts of water, making it heavy to carry around. And, it doesn't need to get in direct touch with rain or snow to get wet. Air humidity, dripping condensation from the tent ceiling, sweat, etc, will do its job. When accumulated over days or weeks of travveling it can get quite bad. When you pack down the sleeping bag each morning to move on to your next camp site the sleeping bag never gets a chance to dry out.

I'd say, if you are not certain you can keep it dry, then go for synthetics. Down may have many superior qualities over synthetics, including comfort, but in the end, the "insulating when wet" properties and ruggedness of synthetics outweigh down in many cases.

I allways try to keep my sleeping bag dry, as I bet everyone else does as well. It is remarkable however how often it does get even though one has made so many precautionary steps to prevent it from happening. The "water proof things you packed it in leeks water after all, 90% air humidity every night in the tropics soaking into the down, condensation, sweat, the floor of the tent being wet from rain or snow, etc.

I'd say that synthetics are in general more versatile. In my opinion, the only reason to go for down is if you are to sleep in extreme cold temperatures where synthetics can't cope as well, if you are certain that it will stay dry,(bag kept inside a car, you will allways sleep inside, sleeping in arid regions, etc), the tiny bit of extra weight and volume is critical, and when money is no object.

Although synthetics loose their insulating properties when wet also, they will get you through the night. I know this for a fact having spendt nights in a wet sleeping bag in arctic reagions with temperatures way below sub zero.I didn't sleep much, but I stayed alive. I've tried the same thing with down in much warmer temperatures and I really concidered pissing myself just to get a bit of warmth.

My suggestion: Warmer climate = synthetics. Around the world versatility needs = synthetics. Arctic = Down (but not a must in most cases).
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Old 26 Jan 2006
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I use a Snugpack Softie 9 and really rate it. Small enough for bike use but warm enough for a softie!


Reggie AKA The Cameraman
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Old 26 Jan 2006
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Thanks for all replies. Off to do more planning and really figure out what sort of temp. range and weight I'm looking for.
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Old 26 Jan 2006
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Hey Zinger,

We've used down for ages (the current bags are about 10 years old) and love 'em. Toured a year in Europe, camping almost all the time, during a record year for rain. No problems with damp sleeping bags. I suggest popping into your nearest REI and checking the bags out for yourself. The staff has always been helpful when I've gone. Looks like you can get a down bag for less than $200.

Here is a link to the REI site on how to pick a bag:


Ekke Kok
Redwood Meadows, AB
'89 R100GS
'03 R1150GS Adventure
Ekke Kok

'84 R100RT 141,000 km (Dad's!)
'89 R100GS 250,000 km (and ready for another continent)
'07 R1200GS Adventure 100,000 km (just finished Circumnavigating Asia)

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Old 27 Jan 2006
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FWIW I use and highly rate a 2 season down sleeping bag made by Rab. I use a compression sack and to pack it down and it's always comfortable and never seems to get too hot, but I've never used it in really cold (i.e. below freezing) weather.

I also carry a silk sleeping bag that packs to about the size of a tennis ball and this doubles as a bag on its own for when it's really hot, or as a liner for the down bag for when it's cold. I suppose I can always wear some clothes inside the bag if it gets really cold but I wouldn't like to travel on a bike except in temperate climates - too many miserable memories of riding in British winters.
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Old 26 Feb 2006
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I'm with those who say that down is great, especially for those really cold nights. But I use synthetic for temperate and warm climates. Cheaper, easier to clean without damage, and better if you are unfortunate enough to dump the bike in a river and soak the bag. Sleeping in a wet synthetic bag is not fun, but much more comfortable than a wet down bag.
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