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Old 10-19-2015   #11
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
For most of the season (late spring to early fall) I use a top quilt. Top quilts have a foot box that extends up to about your knees, but the rest of it is open. It has a snap and draw cord at the neck to snug it up around your head and shoulders. Love my TQ! Packs smaller, easy to get in and out of, no zipper to mess with, and still keeps me warm. Once the temps hit the low 40s - 30s though I switch to a regular down bag.

"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
Australian Aboriginal Proverb
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Old 10-19-2015   #12
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: .3
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 845
Originally Posted by restrac2000 View Post
The behavior of wet down vs wet synthetic fill is a myth that needs to die. Neither will keep you warm as all of your body heat will be absorbed by the water due to basic chemistry and physics (specific heat capacity). The only real difference will be between post-dryng behavior of lower quality down, as it doesn't loft as well once its wetted out then been dried without work at home, versus synthetic which doesn't rely upon loft for warmth.

Hate to disagree with you but I would like to add my two cents. When I was younger and had more energy I purposefully experimented with this topic thinking I could get an article in Backpacker magazine. I took a good quality down and synthetic bag and soaked them both in water then I shook as much of the water out of the bags as possible and tried to sleep in them.

The down bag is pretty much useless. even when it dried the down was flat or "balled up" with little to no insulation factor. In order to use it again I needed to get it to a tumble dryer with soft balls to dry/pound the loft back into it.

The synthetic bag was much more useful. because of the tinsel strength of the fibers, I was able to "ring" much of the water out of it. It was still wet, but not dripping and as the insulation dried it expanded and restored some of it's loft. yes I was damp but I was able to stay warm on a fairly cool night.

When I backpack I need the weight saving properties of down and I'm rarely near water so down is perfect. There are some very good quality synthetic bags out there that are only slightly heavier and larger than down bags.

I could swim at any time so I raft with synthetic bags. Plus since the raft is doing the work I can get a larger, more comfortable bag.

My two cents.

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Old 10-19-2015   #13
Evereywhere, State of Bliss
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 169
For those great starry nights sleeping on the boat, dew happens. Sometimes heavy. I have a mtn hardware bivy sack that I keep my synthetic in. Helps in a splashy eddie too. Watershed kept my sleep kit dry in my flip.
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Old 10-19-2015   #14
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
We also have fuzzy fleece blankets with water resistant nylon backing. They form a fleece-topped Paco sleeve, a water and wind resistant blanket, and a backup to the down bags. Backpacking in Hawaii we used them instead of sleeping bags. Not sure where you would buy something like this, we made ours from scraps.
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Old 10-19-2015   #15
Coastal, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 258
Duck down stinks when it gets moist,goose not so much. Just got off the river with a new Sierra designs backcountry bed,looked like an awesome concept but was a terrible bag for me, very restrictive and stunk after a little morning dew.
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Old 10-20-2015   #16
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 211
Dry Down
Many manufacturers as utilizing this technology. Hydrophobic polymers treated to down. Stays fluffy and dry when wet. I went to Russia and did back to back 10-day kayak self supports with a Mtn Hardwear DryDown bag. It rained almost everyday. We slept under tarps. Bag stayed dry.
To air is human, to get big air divine.
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Old 10-20-2015   #17
gypsy, Colorado
Paddling Since: 02
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 176
Down Tec

Check out some of the dry down or down tec options out there, was on a Grand Canyon of the Colorado trip a few years back set up my tent tossed the sleeping bag in and a big breeze rolled threw tent went flying, by the time I got to it, it had swirled in a foot ball sized eddy for 10-20 minutes, I just assumed I was going to have a cold night and fight to get it dry again on the 28 day trip. Well the wind stayed strong I re-anchored the tent and 3-4 hours latter I went to bed in a bone dry sleeping bag, that hydrophobic shit is real! Check out Big Agnes bags out of steam boat!
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Old 10-20-2015   #18
Groveland, California
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 201
I go with cheap(er) synthetic bags for river/family camping mainly because the shell is made from thicker fabric and can survive the abuse we put them through. We all have high end down backpacking bags as well, but they would be trashed after a year of river/car camping.

If you are going with down(or higher end synthetic), check out the Montbell Down Hugger bags, I bought the 900 #2 Long this year, it is the most comfortable mummy bag I have slept in in my life.
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Old 10-20-2015   #19
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 390
I used to bring my down bags on river trips, and constantly worry about keeping them dry. I then found a screaming deal on some synthetic bags, $30 each, hard to pass up. In general I prefer the compact down over he bulky synthetic. But on river trips the bulk isn't a problem like water is.

Pro, synthetic
- feels 'heavy' after 4 or 5 nights in a row just like down, but dries out much quicker. Feels warm even if a little damp, does not spread and clump like down.
- if it gets fully dunked you can dry it out while on the trip, down may not really fluff out until it sees an electric dryer.
- cheap, so I don't cry if it gets a little beat up

Con, synthetic
- still very bulky compared to down of equal warmth, 2x-3x bigger when compressed.
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Old 10-21-2015   #20
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
Sleeping bag?
The hell.
Why back in the day we'd just roll up in a tarp.........

But seriously, as has been pointed out, if its wet its gonna be cold.
You need to be more concerned with how fast it will dry; a nylon shell cannot get close enough to a fire to ever hope it will be dry by bed time.
I found a canvas bag at a surplus store and it served me well for 15 years, until it went missing after a move (dammit)

It was heavy, bulky, ugly, warm as sin and bullet proof.

Incredibly, they are available
Butler Home | Butler Bags- canvas sleeping bags built for comfort and durability
Don't know how good these are, but for what they cost..........

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