Synthetic Sleeping Bag - advice please


Full Member
Sep 19, 2008
Scotland, looking at mountains
Hello all

I am normally a devotee of down bags but these can be a bit hard to keep dry on an extended wet trip so I want to add a synthetic bag to my equipment. We have some old synthetic bags but the loft has long gone through age and inappropriate storage (I don't make that mistake these days) and they can best now be described as one season...

I am looking for a three season bag with the rating down to about freezing to -5c. Needs to be back-packable but will mostly be carried in a canoe. I sleep on an Exped down mat so that boosts the rating, but on the other hand I am quite a cold sleeper.

The Mountain Equipment and Snugpak ranges look good. I'm not looking for a military-style bag.

Many thanks in advance for any views. I tried search and couldn't see an obvious answer.
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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
... I tried search and couldn't see an obvious answer.
If you tried to search using the forum's search facilities then you'd have poor results because the facilities suck.

The big search engines work a lot better and you can ask them to search just one site by adding the name of the site you wish to search (such as "") to your search text.

Here's exactly what I'd type in the search box if I wanted to use Bing or Google to search for items about sleeping bags:

"sleeping bag"

Note that I'd put the phrase "sleeping bag" in quotes, but I wouldn't quote the site: part.

Give it a try and see how you get on. There have been plenty of threads about sleeping bags. That seach gave me 1,810 results just now.

Having said that I don't think that there is one obvious answer, and the tendency of suppliers to be, er, optimistic in the way they describe their products doesn't help at all.

A vapour-permeable (breathable) bivvy bag is very useful in helping to dry things out, it adds some insulation value and it's cheaper than a good sleeping bag. If during the day you put your sleeping bag inside the bivvy bag, with a hot water bottle or two inside the bag, you'll find that most of the moisture will be driven out. You can refill the bottles during the day to keep them nice and warm, and use the warm water from the bottles for washing up or whatever. Unfortunately if the bag filling is down, if it stays warm and wet for very long you might also find that it smells a bit like a wet dog too. Better to hang it up to air if you can but you don't always get the weather -- like the last couple of weeks in most of the UK.

When you're sleeping in a sleeping bag and bivvy, most of the moisture that would normally collect on the shell of the sleeping bag and make it soggy transfers to the outside of the bivvy bag instead. It's your body heat that drives it out, and you can supplement that with a hot water bottle too. Don't overdo it though, or you might find yourself sweating a lot more than you would normally and that defeats the object of course.

For a given amount of insulation, a bag filled with man-made fibres will generally be bulkier and heavier than a down-filled one.

You might want to consider using more than one sleeping bag, one inside the other, and only take them both when you think you'll need them. Two thin bags will air a lot quicker than one thick one.

A sleeping bag liner might be worth a try too, they're very light and they air very quickly indeed. I would recommend silk rather than man-made fibres.
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Old Bones

Oct 14, 2009
East Anglia
This topic comes up a lot on this site, and Outdoor Magic. If you are a cold sleeper, then go for a 4 season bag, since that -5 c guide temp. on many bags is very much in the eye of the beholder. It will be a bit bulkier that a 3 season , but since your not carrying it, its not a huge problem. ME bags have a very good reputation, as does Snugpak, but from personal experience, I know that Snugpak are often optimistic with their temp. ratings, so I'd go to minus 10c, and that way your covered.

Perhaps the Chrysalis 4 might be suitable , or there are the well regarded Mountain Hardware range

OM has a review of synthetic bags here
Feb 15, 2011
I use a snugpak sleeper xtreme & I've no complaints....Ticks all my boxes regarding Quality, price & efficacity .....comes in green for the military look & in civvie colours.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 15, 2010
I absolutlety love my Wiggys synthetic bag. Cant say anything bad about it and it living up to the massive hype so far.

Lifetime guarantee which includes storing it compacted ( I dont though, it still lives in the wardrobe with my down bags and quilts)

The quick release zip is a big boon for those 'I need to pee now!' moments :) They do nesting bags too.

If you order, get a quote for shipping, not an estimate. ;)


M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
So far I'm having good results with my USGI Modular. It's heavy and bulky IF!! you carry the whole system, but the ability to taylor just which pieces you need for a given trip are awesome.


Jul 15, 2007
Just get a Snugpac Elite 3 or 4 and you'll be sorted. They are rugged, stuff down fairly small and have plenty of room inside with their expandable panels if you like to stretch out. And they're reasonably priced.


Full Member
Feb 4, 2011
Heaton, Newcastle
Snugpak softie 12 enough said
just a word of advice the elite range of snugpak is all made in china but the softie range is handmade in silsden yorkshire . My family are from silsden and know a few people from the factory. They say the qualilty is brilliant. I got my softie 12 from the factory seconds room for £50 with no apparant damage on it... they really are the best you can buy..

on a side note i may have a snugpak sleeper extreme for sale in the future if your interesed