Water Resistant Down Sleeping Bags?

Miya

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Does anyone use a water resistant down sleeping bag?

I am a cold sleeper and I really want to go ahead and purchase down for the warmth and to shed weight off my pack.

I have a trip planned in May, the Lost Coast Trail (full), and I just went camping this week at Point Reyes. Both locations are next to the ocean and have a lot of moisture in the air. The trip a couple days ago, I woke up with moisture trapped under my sleeping bag. Will small pools like this soak through my bag?

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
 

LarryBoy

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Does anyone use a water resistant down sleeping bag?

I am a cold sleeper and I really want to go ahead and purchase down for the warmth and to shed weight off my pack.

I have a trip planned in May, the Lost Coast Trail (full), and I just went camping this week at Point Reyes. Both locations are next to the ocean and have a lot of moisture in the air. The trip a couple days ago, I woke up with moisture trapped under my sleeping bag. Will small pools like this soak through my bag?

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
I don't have any experience with dri-down or the like, sorry.

What I will say is that campsite selection is a big thing. Try to camp in sheltered location, say underneath a nice pine. Rather than camping right next to a stream, find a little bench type area a hundred feet above that stream. I'll reckon that even in a humid environment like the lost coast, you'll find that careful campsite selection will go a long way toward reducing dampness and condensation.

More tips from a really experienced hiker here: https://www.thehikinglife.com/skills/choosing-a-campsite/
 

Miya

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I don't have any experience with dri-down or the like, sorry.

What I will say is that campsite selection is a big thing. Try to camp in sheltered location, say underneath a nice pine. Rather than camping right next to a stream, find a little bench type area a hundred feet above that stream. I'll reckon that even in a humid environment like the lost coast, you'll find that careful campsite selection will go a long way toward reducing dampness and condensation.

More tips from a really experienced hiker here: https://www.thehikinglife.com/skills/choosing-a-campsite/

Thanks for that!
I have never had an issue with moisture in my tent before, even next to water (got lucky I guess). But knowing these tips makes me feel better that I could get away with a down bag. :)
 

LarryBoy

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I'd feel comfortable taking a down bag even into humid conditions. Perhaps maybe if I was only ever planning on backpacking one coastal area and that's it, I'd think about a synthetic bag. But if you're looking at making an investment for the long term or for multifarious conditions, I'd recommend down all the way.
 

Wanderlust073

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Like LarryBoy said, lightweight down would be a good investment if you plan to venture off to colder destinations. But if you're focusing on the coast out there, synthetic is cheaper and less hassle and for those temps it's not going to weigh much anyway. I see all retailers dumping the Northface Cat Meow 20F synthetics for less than $125 recently, and that's around a 2 1/2lb bag.
 

Miya

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Yeah, I will be going with down. I actually don't like the beach, but this is a hike that my friend was willing to do with me. I tend to run very cold at night and like to backpack up at Kennedy Lake, which drops into the low 20s. So I think it will help me from shivering all night.
Thanks!
 

Outdoor_Fool

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I bought a dri-down bag about 18 months ago. So far I love it. I have used it 20-25 nights in all kinds of weather and the down has remained lofted and warm. The bag manufacturers seem to be a bit optimistic in their temperature ratings so buy one rated for colder temps than you think you will need. I am still a warm sleeper so bags are usually warmer for me than their temperature ratings. I bought one for my wife (she's a cold sleeper) last spring and she loves her also. I am in the market for a winter version sometime in the near future.
 

Miya

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I bought a dri-down bag about 18 months ago. So far I love it. I have used it 20-25 nights in all kinds of weather and the down has remained lofted and warm. The bag manufacturers seem to be a bit optimistic in their temperature ratings so buy one rated for colder temps than you think you will need. I am still a warm sleeper so bags are usually warmer for me than their temperature ratings. I bought one for my wife (she's a cold sleeper) last spring and she loves her also. I am in the market for a winter version sometime in the near future.

Great to hear!
I am now definitely set in purchasing a down bag. But the more I look, the more confused I get. I was originally wanting a particular Marmot bag, but it is only 650 fill. Then I saw Outdoor Vitals has bags with 800 fill for much less, but then I hear mixed reviews because the bags are made in China? I see a lot of people on this site go for Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering, but I am not sure I want to spend so much because I am getting a new tent and a Bearkicade canister. Buuut...I do get so cold.

So I babbled there, what brand did you buy for yourself or your wife??

Thanks!
 

Jackson

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I got a Big Agnes 650 fill 15°F dry down bag. I got it mostly because I was trying to save money and get something that would pack small. Being 650 fill, it weighs a little more than the fancier bags, but I'm not too worried about carrying an extra 8-16 oz. It has served me well for a few years now.
 

Scott Chandler

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Kelty makes a good down bag for good price and weight. I've had my 20 degree bag since I started backpacking six years ago and it is still going strong, if maybe more of a 30 degree bag now. :roflmao:
 

LarryBoy

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Yeah it really comes down to weight vs cost. I did a thru hike with a 650 fill down bag and was just fine. That said, after said thru-hike, I bought a nice Feathered Friends bag and it's been worth every penny. Sleeping bags are the one thing for which the "you get what you pay for" maxim holds true. Oftentimes the most expensive tent, stove, or pack isn't the best... but that's not true for sleeping bags and quilts.

So really, you can kind of go either way. Just depends how often you plan to use it, and if the increased cost of a nice bag is worth it to you. I'm blessed that I get out there enough (40-60 nights for the past five years) that the incremental cost of the nice bag vs the cheap bag is negligible on a per-night basis.

Also, I just bought a new Western Mountaineering bag a couple days ago and it looks like a poofy green caterpillar. Irrelevant but strangely entertaining.
 

Miya

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Yeah it really comes down to weight vs cost. I did a thru hike with a 650 fill down bag and was just fine. That said, after said thru-hike, I bought a nice Feathered Friends bag and it's been worth every penny. Sleeping bags are the one thing for which the "you get what you pay for" maxim holds true. Oftentimes the most expensive tent, stove, or pack isn't the best... but that's not true for sleeping bags and quilts.

So really, you can kind of go either way. Just depends how often you plan to use it, and if the increased cost of a nice bag is worth it to you. I'm blessed that I get out there enough (40-60 nights for the past five years) that the incremental cost of the nice bag vs the cheap bag is negligible on a per-night basis.

Also, I just bought a new Western Mountaineering bag a couple days ago and it looks like a poofy green caterpillar. Irrelevant but strangely entertaining.

Bleh...I know I just need to buckle down and get one of those brands. It will really help me enjoy my overnight trips if I could just get warm!
I just tend to be impatient, but the bags I have will be fine for a little while longer.
The one I did in Nov and Dec, I just stayed at a lower elevation and warmer temperature areas of CA, so I can continue with that until summer.
 

Miya

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Kelty makes a good down bag for good price and weight. I've had my 20 degree bag since I started backpacking six years ago and it is still going strong, if maybe more of a 30 degree bag now. :roflmao:

Oh, interesting!
I didn't notice that Kelty made down bags.
 

Miya

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I got a Big Agnes 650 fill 15°F dry down bag. I got it mostly because I was trying to save money and get something that would pack small. Being 650 fill, it weighs a little more than the fancier bags, but I'm not too worried about carrying an extra 8-16 oz. It has served me well for a few years now.

Good to know. It all started because I was perusing the overpriced bags at REI and I came across a 650 Marmot and I couldn't stop hugging it. Now I am determined to have something soft and squishy to sleep in. The added warmth and lighter weight is just a big bonus!
 

LarryBoy

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Good to know. It all started because I was perusing the overpriced bags at REI and I came across a 650 Marmot and I couldn't stop hugging it. Now I am determined to have something soft and squishy to sleep in. The added warmth and lighter weight is just a big bonus!
It's all about dat caterpillar life.

upload_2018-1-2_21-58-39.png
 

WasatchWill

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Lots of good comments and discussion here already. My down bag(s) do have the treatment that allows them to still loft a bit and retain some warmth when wet, but I don't ever want to be in a position to test that feature out and take care to treat the bags as if it was conventional down. Seems like a majority of new down bags being sold now come standard with the treatment anyway though. That said, it could be beneficial if you were using it night after night on say, a long thru-hike, especially if you were encountering very humid conditions for a long stretch, because that's what a down bag would most likely start to retain some moisture between your own body and the humid conditions, but even then, it's generally not enough moisture to be that big of a concern, or so I've read, as plenty of people over many years have carried conventional down bags with them with no major issues...It especially won't be a concern, if you're just doing the weekend warrior stuff though. As others have said, choosing a good campsite that allows for good drainage, plus having a good ground sheet and/or waterproof bathtub floor under you, and carrying your bag in a waterproof liner (like a trash compactor bag) inside your pack while on the trail will go a long way in keeping your bag nice and dry in most any condition.

Teton Sports has some nice 'beginner' down bags to consider if you are looking to enjoy the benefits of down (with water treatment) but also save some money for other gear. I actually own both the 20 degree bag and their 0 bag. Being made to appeal to those on a more limited budget, they are of the 650 fill variety, but they are EN rated at those temps which means they are indeed comfortable warm at those temps for the average sleeper (other bags out there are often branded and marketed with a survival rating rather than EN comfort rating). I can vouch for how warm they are as I usually sleep in a lightweight fleece base layer and had to unzip my 20 degree bag because it got too warm in freezing temperatures. If you are on the shorter side, you can always stuff the bottom with extra clothing, puffy jacket, etc. Otherwise, consider some of the other options mentioned. If you can find a specific women's version, they are usually made with more insulation (down) added to areas like the hips and other areas more prone to becoming cold spots for women.
 

Outdoor_Fool

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Great to hear!
I am now definitely set in purchasing a down bag. But the more I look, the more confused I get. I was originally wanting a particular Marmot bag, but it is only 650 fill. Then I saw Outdoor Vitals has bags with 800 fill for much less, but then I hear mixed reviews because the bags are made in China? I see a lot of people on this site go for Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering, but I am not sure I want to spend so much because I am getting a new tent and a Bearkicade canister. Buuut...I do get so cold.

So I babbled there, what brand did you buy for yourself or your wife??

Thanks!
Miya,
I bought a Mountain Hardwear Ratio 15 and my wife a Sierra Designs Eleanor 19. As you have read further up, there's a wide variety of brands and models to choose from. Have fun with the search!
 
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