Aug 21, 2014 at 10:12 pm #1320185
What are the current favorite (lighter weight or is that impossible?) synthetic sleeping bags rated from zero degrees to twenty degrees? The most recent info I could find on our search engines here are dated 2012. I'm a cold sleeper. Advice mucho appreciated.Aug 21, 2014 at 10:18 pm #2129399Bob GrossBPL Member
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"Lightweight" and "synthetic" are not commonly used together in the same sentence when we are talking about sleeping bags of a temperature range at Zero.
As you go colder in temperature, synthetic carries more of a weight penalty as compared to goose down.
–B.G.–Aug 21, 2014 at 10:22 pm #2129400Max DiltheySpectator
To answer the actual question, MountaiN hardwear's Ultralamina 15º is pretty competitive at under 3lbs. I have one and it's definitely warm to temp, I've taken it to the "extreme" and slept fine. With a jacket and down booties and a wool baselayer, I've been to -18F in it.
The quality on the 2014 run is also much better than previous iterations. New zipper, no more double-opening for your arms nonsense, etc. Great hood.Aug 21, 2014 at 10:25 pm #2129401
Thank you!Aug 22, 2014 at 5:11 am #2129418Jonathon SelfBPL Member
I haven't slept in one for a while, but I've been on the same search. The MW Lamina bags seem competitively weighed, but there's also the Cloudbreak series from Marmot. The 20 degree bag from them claims a 36oz weight.
MW will be releasing the Hyperlamina bags next year, and they are about the lightest I've seen yet. There are nowhere near as affordable as the cloudbreak bags, but they are really light!Aug 22, 2014 at 6:45 am #2129433
Thanks, the lighter one looks to be just a hair shy of one pound ten ounces……too bad they aren't out for sale yet. I like the design.Aug 22, 2014 at 3:40 pm #2129544Paul KellyBPL Member
Kifaru sleeping bags, woobies,doobies.
Climashield Insulation used.Aug 22, 2014 at 5:11 pm #2129571Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Climashield would be my preferred fill by far.. But since the advent of DWR down treatments i'm no longer interested in synthetic bags.
New DWR treatments for down like Dri-Down and Down-Tec have made me realize that synthetic bags aren't really necessary anymore, except for budgetary reasons. See Backpacker magazine's recent comparison article on DWR down bags.
Max, according to the Backpacker article DWR treated down dried FASTER than synthetic bags. I know, sounds too good to be true, but I'm hoping it is.
^Aug 25, 2014 at 7:07 am #2130086Max DiltheySpectator
Synthetic is still useful beyond being on a budget. For truly wet trips, it really can't be beat. I agree wholeheartedly that down is better for MOST backpacking applications, but if you're using a bivy in repeated humid nights in a wet environment, it wins. If you're carrying a sleeping bag without a shelter as an emergency option, synthetic still wins. A wet synthetic bag keeps you alive, even the DWR down bags can still wet out and kill you.
I like that synthetic is budget. I love that there's never a situation where it isn't appropriate. I think I'm one of the few synthetic die-hards on here, so take my opinion for what it's worth. I could have spent my $300 on a WM bag but I chose synthetic instead.
MaxAug 25, 2014 at 7:14 am #2130090Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
For a lightweight bag, like 2.5 ounce/yd2 synthetic, down has little advantage over synthetic. Synthetic bag compresses to small size in pack. Down bag has extra baffles which weighs more and cancels out some of the weight advantage of down.Aug 25, 2014 at 8:38 am #2130115Peter BoysenBPL Member
If you're interested in a quilt (I know a lot of folks don't use them for very cold trips, but I still prefer them even then) we do a 20° Climashield Apex quilt at Enlightened Equipment, called the Prodigy. Unfortunately we don't do any synthetics for lower temps than that because the insulation is just really hard to press under the sewing machine foot when it's getting that thick. Anyway, not sure if quilts work for you, but I figured I'd throw it out there.Aug 25, 2014 at 9:33 am #2130134kevperro .BPL Member
@kevperroLocale: Washington State
I didn't say anything because the OP wanted 0-20 Deg.
I've always used down bags (since 1992). The last synthetic bag I bought 12-years ago I swore would be my last. Last month I bought a 30 deg. Prodigy (eating crow) and I have to say I'm very impressed at this point of the game. Synthetic has come a long way and there isn't much of a weight difference at this temp. range. I traded a 27 ounce down sleeping bag (Marmot) for a 27 ounce synthetic quilt, both the same temp rating. I also use a down puffy with hood and down booties to supplement the system.
But… I don't have the long-term prognosis on how it will hold up yet. I hear nothing but good things from people with 1-2 seasons on them. I wouldn't expect the same longevity as down (mine have never lost a step with use) but if it goes 4-5 years I'd call that a success due to the lower price of entry.Aug 25, 2014 at 1:28 pm #2130199John McBPL Member
If you do get one of their bags I'd like to hear about it. They have an Apex 200 good to around 30 degree F. I know you're looking for a colder bag…..Aug 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm #2130206Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Perhaps for light summer bags synthetic comes close to down in weight but for RETAINED loft over the years down is the clear winner, even if the synthetic is Climashield, so far the best synthetic at retaining loft. So by year 3 or 4 of regular use a synthetic bag won't keep you as warm.Aug 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm #2130211Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
it is cheaper so you can afford to replace it
if you're on a budget and don't know how much you'll do this in future and you have no plans for really cold, synthetic could make sense
it makes sense to just do down also
it makes little sense to have a thick synthetic for really cold weatherAug 25, 2014 at 1:57 pm #2130216Katherine .BPL Member
Would it make sense for you to layer two bags and/or quilts, one down and one synthetic?
it might allow for a cheaper purchase, if you can pair it with something you already have, and offer some practical advantages w/condensation.
(note – I'm just basing this on past threads I've read, not real life experience. and you'd want to calculate the weight penalty from the extra fabric)Aug 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm #2130239David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Max, "I think I'm one of the few synthetic die-hards on here, so take my opinion for what it's worth."
Me, too. Summer backpacking in California – sure, down lets you save weight and volume. Also, at -20F when there won't be any liquid water for another 3 months, down is great. But when I'm backpacking with kids at 10F to 40F in Alaska with its changeable weather, I hesitate to use down for more than a night or two. A dump in a stream, 30 hours of steady rain (like Saturday-Sunday for us backpacking out of Seward), a kid leaning against the side of the tent all night or the dog goes for a swim at 10 pm and suddenly the one pound weight savings is wasted by the added weight of wet down for the rest of the trip, much less the more important loss of insulation.
I know, I know, like Spiderman's uncle said, "With great weight savings come great responsibilities." (or something like that). But as we get the kids to those higher skill levels, it is important to us that we're all safe (yeah, we could almost always bail if needed) and HAVING FUN. Having fun with kids adds weight – food they like, ensuring everyone is always warm enough, and having dsome distractions along. And UL techniques and gear let us take the family out earlier and further than trad gear would albeit not AS far as the totally UL approach I lean towards when solo.
>"Would it make sense for you to layer two bags and/or quilts, one down and one synthetic?"
Katherine, four decades ago, REI offered a sleeping bag with down on the top and synthetic on the bottom. It was promoted as partial weight-saving, partial cost-saving, and using each material to it's advantage – synthetic compresses less under your body weight, down lofts more with no weight on it, and synthetic in contact with a moist tent floor doesn't suck up as much water. I had one and it worked well.
I'd propose a very low-fill-weight synthetic bag with a zippered/velcro'ed down quilt on top to make it warmer while relying on high R-value pads in colder temps. You'd have three possible combinations for different temp ratings and always be assured of having at least the synthetic portion keeping you somewhat warm regardless of any mishaps.Aug 25, 2014 at 5:29 pm #2130286Daniel DSpectator
@dandruLocale: Down Under
I've got a 30 Enigma Pro which will do me for the three seasons but for winter use, I'll be using a 50 Prodigy layered on top of the Enigma.
Not sure what temp that will give me, I tried to work it out through the various threads on this site but I'm sure I'll get -10C, maybe more.
I'll also use the synthetic for when it gets hot and for cycling trips abroad.
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