Down Sleeping Bag - Advice Sought

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Reece

Full Member
Oct 27, 2011
25
0
Preston
Hi I'm looking to buy a down sleeping bag at the end of June and was wondering if anyone had any personal recommendations, I'm looking to spend around £250 preferably something that I can use in winter, I don't know of any brands that are good quality so some pointers in that direction would be good.
I've also heard that silk liners can increase the life span of down bags and add extra warmth any recommendations there?, I'm 6'1 and fairly thin so I don't run hot unless I'm moving, so I think a lower comfort rating would be better, but then again I don't know much :p.

So any suggestions?

Thanks, Reece.
 

baggins

Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
1,428
180
45
Coventry (and up trees)
Hi Reece,
there are loads out there. Alpkit, Rab, Mountain Equipment seem to be some of the most respected brands off the top of my head. before you buy though, have think of the sort of temps you're likely be using it in. A -30 bag is great in the winter but heavy, bulky and way too much for the summer. a bag rated for -5 to -10 should be more than enough for anything this country has to offer and, by using a liner, it can be uprated.
other things to look for; Shoulder baffles, these are a tube of filled fabric that extend around the neck of the bag, trapping air in the main bag. Zip baffles, same tube arrangement running along the zip. check this doesn't snag on the zip. What side do you generally sleep, weird i know, but i've always had left handed bags. used a right handed one a while ago and really didn't like it.
Finally, don't be shy in getting into a few in the shop, find one that you like, some folks like a snug fitting bag, others, loose fitting.
Good luck

baggins
 

Inky

Full Member
Nov 4, 2012
172
7
Cambridge
I've got a nanok -10 comfort down and I like it very much, but they have a number of down bags that are worth a look. I know a lot of people like alpkit, mostly because of the price I think. If you have the cash you could look at the down Carinthia bags. Other than that, The usual brands, Rab, north face etc.
 
I use a Rab "mummy" silk liner to protect my Rab bag and maybe add a bit of warmth. Big improvement on an old meraklon one I got from Survival Aids a hundred years ago, and used until 3/4 years ago: light, doesn't cling and stuffs down to a tiny bundle. I use the liner with the bag (more or less) over me as a duvet in warmer conditions. Also have some Rab down bootees which I wear in colder conditions until I kick them off when my feet have warmed up.

For my "jarmies" I wear a merino T (sometimes a long-sleeved one) and merino long johns. In warmer conditions can go "au naturel" in the silk liner. I find if I wear too much in the bag I don't get so warm.

Anyway, works for me...
 

Reece

Full Member
Oct 27, 2011
25
0
Preston
Hi Reece,
there are loads out there. Alpkit, Rab, Mountain Equipment seem to be some of the most respected brands off the top of my head. before you buy though, have think of the sort of temps you're likely be using it in. A -30 bag is great in the winter but heavy, bulky and way too much for the summer. a bag rated for -5 to -10 should be more than enough for anything this country has to offer and, by using a liner, it can be uprated.
other things to look for; Shoulder baffles, these are a tube of filled fabric that extend around the neck of the bag, trapping air in the main bag. Zip baffles, same tube arrangement running along the zip. check this doesn't snag on the zip. What side do you generally sleep, weird i know, but i've always had left handed bags. used a right handed one a while ago and really didn't like it.
Finally, don't be shy in getting into a few in the shop, find one that you like, some folks like a snug fitting bag, others, loose fitting.
Good luck

baggins
Yes I'm looking around -10, I think the shoulder baffle is a good shout. I sleep on my side for the most part I've always had right sided zips, never tried any different. Yeah I intend to get into a few in the shops, got a full month before my pay rise and back pay kicks in so plenty of time to look (best thing is my girlfriend doesn't know about the back pay haha :) )
 

Reece

Full Member
Oct 27, 2011
25
0
Preston
Have you used a down bag before? Just checking as I can't use them - I'm allergic to the down.

You wouldn't want to find out that you were too after you'd just spent two hundred and fifty quid on one.
Yes I've tried a down bag recently, it's what convinced me, not allergic or anything but thanks for the concern :)
 

Dogoak

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 24, 2009
2,100
138
Cairngorms
Stated temperature range on bags should be viewed cautiously. What temperature is 'comfort' is not the same for everybody, fitness level, age, metabolic rate etc. all have an important part to play.

I have a different view to Baggins, sorry mate, but IMHO I'd rather be carrying a -30 down bag in winter than a synthetic one, less weight and bulk (using a compression bag).
 
Dec 5, 2011
4,461
2
United Kingdom
Thanks for all the feedback everyone I've got a lot of Googling to do, also with regards to loft is there anything I should look out for? I've read that more fill will keeper you warmer but does it make it much bulkier?

And finally is this a good bag? http://www.tauntonleisure.com/mount...-reg-sleeping-bag-smu-true-red/p11896#tdesc_1

Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
Fill in terms of weight is not a good indicator. Top quality down lofts more for less fill so the important number is the fill power and not always the weight of fill. USA companies measure fill power differently to Europe too

[video=youtube;zrOvedSyvl8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrOvedSyvl8[/video]
 

Reece

Full Member
Oct 27, 2011
25
0
Preston
Fill in terms of weight is not a good indicator. Top quality down lofts more for less fill so the important number is the fill power and not always the weight of fill. USA companies measure fill power differently to Europe too

[video=youtube;zrOvedSyvl8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrOvedSyvl8[/video]
Oh thanks for that :) was just checking out the Western Mountaineering bags and yes you were quite right well out of my budget haha :) just out of curiosity where would I buy one from since its a US company
 

Teepee

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 15, 2010
4,116
4
Northamptonshire
Silk liners are very effective at boosting warmth, you can add around 3-5c to the rating for each liner IME.

Personally, I prefer to use a lighter bag or quilt and sleep in most of my clothes but that's just me and it can create problems if your not careful with moisture in a heavier weight down bag.
 

baggins

Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
1,428
180
45
Coventry (and up trees)
go for the highest dil power you can, 850+. as already mentioned, the better the fill power, the higher quality the down. although check out a previous thread on here re where down comes from, it may colour your choice as to your manufacturer.
Its ok Dogoak, i'm the worst for carrying a super warm bag (got a -35 north face bag that i love) in all conditions, was just trying to put out sensible advice for folks that aren't snow junkies, lol!
 
Dec 5, 2011
4,461
2
United Kingdom
Oh thanks for that :) was just checking out the Western Mountaineering bags and yes you were quite right well out of my budget haha :) just out of curiosity where would I buy one from since its a US company
ultralightoutdoorgear stock their bags. I have a megalite and a kodiak. The bags are superb quality

http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/equipment-c3/sleeping-bags-c21/sleeping-bags-c88#m50

im always wary of using an over gunned down bag. I used my kodiak in estonia and it was great at -15C but as the weather warmed up it was just too much. By the end of the week i was wetting it out with sweat from the inside lol.
 

rg598

Native
Unfortunately, good down bags cost money. The advantage of down over synthetic fill comes in at the higher fill ratings. A bag filled with 600 fill down will be comparable to a synthetic fill bag. I say, if you are going to invest in a down sleeping bag, especially a winter bag, spend the money on it. It will make a difference.

PHD, Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends, make top of the line bags. Look for something with 850 fill rating in the appropriate temperature range. Don't overdo the temperature ratings. There is a temptation to go with the warmest bag on the market, but if you are not realistically going to encounter such conditions, then it is just dead weight. Don't waste the money on a -30 bag, if you are not likely to encounter temperatures below -10. You can use the money you save to get a better -10 bag.
 

Reece

Full Member
Oct 27, 2011
25
0
Preston
ultralightoutdoorgear stock their bags. I have a megalite and a kodiak. The bags are superb quality

http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/equipment-c3/sleeping-bags-c21/sleeping-bags-c88#m50

im always wary of using an over gunned down bag. I used my kodiak in estonia and it was great at -15C but as the weather warmed up it was just too much. By the end of the week i was wetting it out with sweat from the inside lol.
Lol I'm guessing by the descriptions on the website of the kodiak and megalite that you are a big bloke, I'm currently looking at the highlite, I like how light it is and it's not that far out of my budget. How do the ranges work on the bags? I'm 6 ' 1 would the 6 ft bag fit or would I have to go up to 6'6? Just looked at the temperature rating though and it's only 2°
 
Last edited:

Reece

Full Member
Oct 27, 2011
25
0
Preston
Unfortunately, good down bags cost money. The advantage of down over synthetic fill comes in at the higher fill ratings. A bag filled with 600 fill down will be comparable to a synthetic fill bag. I say, if you are going to invest in a down sleeping bag, especially a winter bag, spend the money on it. It will make a difference.

PHD, Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends, make top of the line bags. Look for something with 850 fill rating in the appropriate temperature range. Don't overdo the temperature ratings. There is a temptation to go with the warmest bag on the market, but if you are not realistically going to encounter such conditions, then it is just dead weight. Don't waste the money on a -30 bag, if you are not likely to encounter temperatures below -10. You can use the money you save to get a better -10 bag.
I suppose you get what you pay for, I can use my current bag for most of the year but it's bulky and couldn't do winter conditions, I do intend to go for a -10 bag as I only intend to use it in the UK whilst I get my skills up before I try any true winter conditions lol
 

cranmere

Settler
Mar 7, 2014
992
1
Somerset, England
I sleep cold so I always use quilts or sleeping bags that are rated far colder than the conditions I'm likely to meet. That's very personal of course, my partner sleeps much warmer than I do and can be comfortable in a much lighter sleeping bag.

I love the feel of really good down, it settles around you like thistledown. If I couldn't afford top quality down I would go for a really good man made fibre however, I reckon modern ones now compare to lower quality down and are a lot cheaper. I've now gone over pretty much completely to using a quilt rather than a sleeping bag, I've never liked the restrictions of a bag and frequently wake up in a panic because I've twisted it around in my sleep.