- Jan 10, 2018 at 6:06 pm #3511654
Tim PBPL Member
I’m asking a poll question. Should I steer boys away from down sleeping bags and quilts for Philmont?
I have never owned a down sleeping bag, so I’m ignorant regarding keeping it dry and maintenance. I certainly like the lower weight of the down bags. I like the lower cost of the synthetic bags.Jan 10, 2018 at 6:13 pm #3511658
TAG in AZBPL Member
We were there in 2017 (crew 715-C). Our entire crew had down bags and we didn’t have a single problem. The key is to keep the bag dry — regardless of fill.Jan 10, 2018 at 7:41 pm #3511694
Phillip MBPL Member
It comes down to personal choice. I purchased my first ever down bag (REI Ingeo) for Philmont in 2016 and have used it for most of our campouts since with a few exceptions for campsites/weather forecasts known to be especially soggy or below it’s rating.
Ask yourself and the scouts are you responsible enough to keep a down sleeping bag dry on camps, not just Philmont but future campouts? Are you willing to suffer the disadvantages for not doing that?Jan 10, 2018 at 8:17 pm #3511697
Matt DirksenBPL Member
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
“I’m asking a poll question. Should I steer boys away from down sleeping bags and quilts for Philmont?”
As an adviser for a couple treks now, I’ve advocated the opposite, since down is so much lighter, more compressible, and is arguably much more durable over the long term.
In 2014, my son used the exact same 15d down sleeping bag at Philmont that I used back in both my 1988 and 1997 treks. He’s almost an Eagle now, and still uses it as his primary bag. If I had purchased a synthetic bag 30 years ago, it would be a glorified throw rug by now.
(Admittedly, North Face used to have a $25 cleaning service where I would mail them the bag, the would remove the down, clean everything, then re-loft the bag it to it’s original specs. I used that service at least once or twice, if I recall.)
Regarding quilts: while they certainly require a little more finesse to use, I assume there are many 14 year old scouts that are perfectly content with them. Besides, they don’t have any zippers to break!
Of course, you could always ask Ryan Jordan what he recommends to the kids in his Venturing CrewJan 11, 2018 at 6:06 pm #3511854
Brad PBPL Member
I’m the adult leader organizing our troop’s 2019 Philmont trip. I’ll work with a scout (likely my son) to help the crew build their packing list.
I will highly recommend down bags, but also put a high emphasis in our training trips in how to care for and protect the bad from getting wet.
I’d probably require them to have a dedicated waterproof stuff sack for their bag and sleep clothes in addition to a waterproof pack liner. Those liners like the ones Gossamer Gear sells (or trash compactor bags) are cheap and light.
Most of these scouts won’t have gear that is as compact and light as adults on this board use. Synthetic bags take up a lot of space. I wouldn’t reject a synthetic bag, but the recommendation would be down. For some, the expense would be an issue.Jan 11, 2018 at 11:12 pm #3511925
Jeffrey PetersBPL Member
Last year on our trip to Philmont several of the boys had down bags. It comes down to skill level. Do they have the skill to keep it dry. My son had a 20 degree Kelty Cosmic and I used a 20 degree Enlightened Equipment Enigma.Jan 13, 2018 at 12:24 pm #3512174
Nate WardBPL Member
@tdawardLocale: The woods of the South
I agree with Mr Peters….”Do they have the skill to keep it dry” I will not tell them they can not have down but emphasize how critical it is to keep it dry. My son and I both carry down, he’s very experienced in the woods and knows what to do to keep a bag dry.
I usually explain to parents about the down falls and let them make the decision.
two things I do is when I’m on a side hike or away and know it’s going to rain, I stuff the bag and hang it from the gear loft…..second is I never put my bag in the bottom of a pack, gravity will take any liquids to that point so why put a bag there?Jan 17, 2018 at 8:25 pm #3512933
TAG in AZBPL Member
Thinking more about this… we might need to rethink the assumption behind the down versus synthetic question. Based on comments so far, it seems that the assumption is the age old “synthetic will still keep you warm when wet.” But, with dry down taking over much of the market is that still the case?
Maybe the discussion should be more around cost. Not every Scout that goes to Philmont will continue to backpack afterward. We had a Scout on our crew last year that was fairly certain that the trip was his last backpacking trip for as far as he could see into the future. Of course that might change, but, he just didn’t love backpacking. For a Scout like that, I would definitely recommend a synthetic bag.Jan 18, 2018 at 8:22 pm #3513111
Brad PBPL Member
Treated down is water resistant. If it gets soaked, that will be a problem.
You’re right about the price. The Kelty Cosmic is a good deal for scouts, but not if it’s the one and only time it will be used.
It looks to be a case where there isn’t a definitive answer for all scouts.
We did a bag check last Tuesday for our Klondike Derby campout this month. Scouts brought their cold weather gear so we knew they had appropriate gear. Some of the 0 degree synthetic bags are HUGE and heavy (I have one). They would never work for backpacking. If that’s all a scout has, then a new one would be needed.
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