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Old 02-04-2016, 11:21 AM   #21
madison
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I have had a 0 degree down bag from LLBean for 11 years- it has and continues to serve me well close to it's temp rating. At temps lower than 10 or so I tend to get a little uncomfortable.

A trick I use for keeping warm on cold nights in the woods- fill a nalgene bottle with boiling water and put in in your sleeping bag with you. It will keep you toasty for 4 or 5 hours. Just make sure the bottle is sealed tight.
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Old 02-04-2016, 02:23 PM   #22
whcobbs
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Yet another 2 cents that's worked for me in the coldest months; use a 2 lb synthetic bag, next to skin a silnylon rain (vapor barrier) suit, over it elastic lycra, then your damp clothes, including Primaloft parka, insulated pants, mittens or frostbite preventers, finally the synthetic (primaloft best) bag. Works to about -20F in a sheltered bivvy sac. Time consuming to get in the layers, though, but it is light weight. This is a body heat system for multi-day travel without external heat or fully enclosed shelter. Walt
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:41 PM   #23
Justin
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You can keep the over-priced goose down.
I've never had any issues with a good synthetic down-alternative sleeping bag, other than it being a little bulky. A good compression stuff-sack along with a good length of para-cord to further compress it into the size of a football has worked out well for me over the years. Plus the length of para-cord also comes in handy as a good clothes-line, tarp guy-line, and/or bear hang, among other things.
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Old 02-05-2016, 01:15 PM   #24
Holdstrong
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Synthetic for me.

Because the production process for down is barbaric - involving a level of cruelty that makes me very uncomfortable and I simply can't support it.

That synthetic materials have some advantages (cost, wet weather performance, etc), is just a nice bonus as far as I'm concerned.

Patagonia's attempts to mitigate these issues via its traceable down program are admirable, but they don't make sleeping bags and even they admit this program is not perfect because it is very hard to track, monitor, and eliminate abuse in this industry: http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=37607
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Old 02-05-2016, 04:02 PM   #25
debmonster
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I've been using down in all 4 seasons on multi-day backpack trips (usually 3 - 10 days) for about 15 years now. I agree that a vapor barrier in winter and tent ventilation (when possible) is the key. If you want to read about an incredibly hard challenge to keep one's gear dry in winter, this article talks about the Hiking Viking (Thomas Gathman), who is currently doing a winter thru-hike of the ~2200 mile Appalachian Trail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdstrong View Post
Synthetic for me.

Because the production process for down is barbaric - involving a level of cruelty that makes me very uncomfortable and I simply can't support it.

That synthetic materials have some advantages (cost, wet weather performance, etc), is just a nice bonus as far as I'm concerned.

Patagonia's attempts to mitigate these issues via its traceable down program are admirable, but they don't make sleeping bags and even they admit this program is not perfect because it is very hard to track, monitor, and eliminate abuse in this industry: http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=37607
The point above about ethical down is good reason to go with a company like Feathered Friends. To quote from their website:

Is your goose down ethically sourced?

One of the most important aspects of our manufacturing is where our down comes from. We have critical standards for the sourcing of our down. We source down that is never live-plucked. Furthermore, we choose down from geese that are raised with rigid humane standards - including, but not limited to, geese that are never force fed nor raised in cages. In Spring 2015, we will be introducing down that is certified under the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). More info on the RDS can be found here
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Old 02-05-2016, 05:16 PM   #26
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I typically don't use tents- even in winter. I'm a 4-season tarp camper through and through.

In addition to the vapor barrier liner, I do use a bivy sack in addition to the tarp, though, to provide for protection from moisture from the outside as well as the inside of the bag.
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