Hill People Gear Forums
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralDoes a Down Bag need more R-value in the pad? Does a Down Bag need more R-value in the pad?
Previous
 
Next
New Post
10/13/2016 10:23 AM
 

It may well be a sign of the apocalypse, but a couple of months ago I bought a Montbell Downhugger in attempt to cut both pack volume and weight.  Evan kept telling me the new shell materials are the schiznit.  It packs into a size about 1/3 smaller than my NF synthetic and cuts about 2lbs so both are a pretty big deal.  That being said I have noticed that while my upper and sides are plenty warm, maybe even hot the bottom side can be a bit cool.  My theory is that I am crushing the down flat and thus there is no loft for warmth.  It seems to me that I might need to go a higher r-value sleeping pad to account for that, but maybe I am just imagining things.  I haven't used it enough yet to determine if I think it is a true 20 degree back or not.

So those of you using a down bag did you notice a difference in bottom warmth, and did you find you wanted a higher r-value pad?  


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
10/13/2016 2:22 PM
 
Scot, take this with a grain of salt because we are all different, and all sleep different. But, I had a 0 degree super spiral Montbell and was not impressed with it. I felt that the temp rating was way off. I was just cold in it all the way around. I always felt that shell material did not breath well enough and the down was holding in moisture as I slept throughout the night. Ultimately in the end I gave the bag to my brother.

With that said, the warmest pad i have slept on has been an exped downmat 7, I am fairly small and can fit on a smaller pad. However, after a couple of years of using it the valves seem to be breaking down as the pad will no longer hold air all night. I am planning on sending it to exped and see if they can repair, replace or whatever to it. I love the pad, just wish it would have held up better.
 
New Post
10/13/2016 2:38 PM
 
If you go with a higher R value pad, you might consider going with a quilt, to save more weight and space.
 
New Post
10/13/2016 2:51 PM
 
So far I has slept in it on a Thermarest and an old school Thermarest Camprest. In the case of the camprest I was in the back of my jeep and temps outside got to 25 or there abouts. Unless I ended up with my feet pushed against the metal tailgate I had no issues in shorts, longie top, and lightweight socks and no beanie. One night on the NeoAir I was in a tent and it got below freezing, but how fair below I am not sure. I used my serape as an over bag and had my feet and lower legs in my Mt Hardware jacket as a 1/4 bivy. I was warm, but noticed that the bottom side was a bit colder. The next night I was in the back of the landie and towards morning I pulled my serape over me as just a quilt as I was getting a tiny bit cold. Without temps this is all theoretical, but still of interest. I didn't have any issues with moisture accumulation except when my breathing hole got a bit small and was getting condensation on either side. It might just also be that my jeep stayed a lot warmer than the landie did, and was definitely warmer than the tent.

At this point, my plan is to carry my Bivanorak instead of the MT Hardware and try that as an over bag and of course the serape will be along. If I have to start adding in heavier pads and quilts over and above what I would carry when I use my NF synthetic there might be no point in the down bag as the extra weight and bulk of those items cancel out the bulk and weight savings of the down bag, and I know synthetic works for me.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
10/13/2016 3:13 PM
 
Scot:

Have you tried the Thermarest Xtherm? They are no bulkier than a NeoAir (or not much) and are awesomely warm.

Jay
 
New Post
10/14/2016 9:37 AM
 
Thin Man wrote:
Scot:

Have you tried the Thermarest Xtherm? They are no bulkier than a NeoAir (or not much) and are awesomely warm.

Jay

I've got the NeoAir XTherm, and you are absolutely right.  That's a great sleeping pad.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
10/14/2016 10:05 AM
 
I haven't just using what I have for now. I have to many as it is to go out and start buying new at this point. However, I am a huge fan of the NeoAirs and if I do I will definitely be looking at their offerings.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
10/15/2016 6:20 PM
 
I have always counted on the pad to insulate my downside regardless of fill. Synthetic fill gets pretty crushed as well. My Neoair All Season has ben the most comfortable/warmest yet. But dude, you are screwed if your bush plane crashes in the water with a down bag. ;)
 
New Post
10/16/2016 2:43 AM
 
My opinion is, down must make volume. But 340 g (12 oz) cant make enough volume. You mean the Down Hugger 900, right?
I have a Exped Waterbloc 600 i feel the same problem, 510g (18 oz) filling. The Space is too high for the down. You can see when you the Downbag hold for the sun.
Also i have a Exped Waterbloc 1000 there haven't this problem.

I think the Synthetic Material on the Bottom you can't so flat press like the down.
Many Years i have Exped Down Mat UL, now i have a Therm a Rest Neo Air. I feel better with the Therm a Rest. The same Insulation but lightweight

Sorry for my badly english
 
New Post
10/16/2016 7:28 PM
 
A syn bag does, IMO, not compress as well and therefore insulates better on the downside than a down bag does.  I believe that from my own experience and from many others at hammockforums who've used them in hammocks back before we obtained proper underquilts.
 
New Post
11/17/2016 3:56 PM
 
It is the downhugger 900, and Realtree you may be onto something.

I spent another couple of nights in the bag, and I am just convinced there is no way that it is a 20 degree bag, more like 40-50 degree. The first night it got down to the mid 20s. I was wearing socks, boxers, a can't cheat the mountain longsleeve with a heavier weight pullover. I was on a NeoAir, had my bivanorak over the bag, and my serape over that top of that. My legs never fully warmed up, unless I balled up hard. They weren't full on cold, but more chilled a bit. The second night I added an elephant foot, and it was a bit warmer (mid30s I think) and slept warm. In theory that setup the first night should have taken me to about 0 degrees, and certainly I should have been warm. I am pretty damn disappointed, but I am at the point it is a lightweight summer bag at best for me. Given the money I spent definitely not a satisfied customer.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
11/18/2016 8:34 AM
 
A pad can only compensate so much for a bag that's lacking. In a Regular sized bag, I think you'll find it takes between 19 and 25 oz of down to make a 20 Deg rating realistic. If down is going to be your choice of insulation, save yourself a bunch of aggravation and expense and just make the move to Western Mountaineering, Nunatak or Feathered Friends. There are a few others but they don't do it any better or cheaper.
 
New Post
11/18/2016 3:45 PM
 
I guess I should have asked some questions. My issue is always girth on a bag, and none of the ones you mentioned have girth similar to the NF Synthetic I use. The Montbell and one other did, and in fact due to the stretch factor the Montbell actually had more girth. It was also lighter for the same temperature rating. Finally, it was the Backpacking Magazine bag of the year or some such a couple of different years, and all the reviews I could find rated it highly. Hindsight being what it is, what you are saying makes sense, but I figured since it was 900 fill and had good reviews....

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
11/18/2016 4:43 PM
 
scothill wrote:
I guess I should have asked some questions. My issue is always girth on a bag, and none of the ones you mentioned have girth similar to the NF Synthetic I use. .

 

Western Mountaineering has a few wider bags, in case you missed them.
 
New Post
11/18/2016 4:48 PM
 
41magfan wrote:
. In a Regular sized bag, I think you'll find it takes between 19 and 25 oz of down to make a 20 Deg rating realistic. If down is going to be your choice of insulation, save yourself a bunch of aggravation and expense and just make the move to Western Mountaineering, Nunatak or Feathered Friends. There are a few others but they don't do it any better or cheaper.

 Ditto on the WM, FF and Nunatak advice.  I've personal knowledge of the last two.  IME two-inch thick baffles, with a tad of overstuff, so about 2.5in thickness, will take a lightly clothed male to 25F or so.  A really hot-blooded dude to 20ish.  If you are reading the specs on a down bag and they don't list the baffle height, keep shopping.

 
New Post
11/18/2016 7:44 PM
 
The industry standard for a REG length bag is about 62" wide with most LONG versions coming in at 64".

As mentioned, check out the WM Badger, Ponderosa and Alpinlite. All three are between 64" and 67" wide in the 6' length with the 6'6" version an inch wider.

If you think a quilt would work, check out Katabatic Gear. The 15 Deg quilt I had was impeccable in quality and design as were the three WM bags I've owned.

It's worth noting that the temp ratings on any of these bags/quilts is conservative. The industry standard for most of the lesser brands I've used has trended from optimistic to outright deception.
 
New Post
11/19/2016 10:02 AM
 
Those are all to small assuming you mean shoulder girth. I need 70 at least and 66 in the hips.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
11/27/2016 6:26 PM
 
I had a Montbell bag. One of the 35F bags. I really liked it because of the stretchyness of it. But it definitely wasn't as warm as it should have been. It was more like a 45F bag at best.

I remember one night backpacking on the AT, it dipped down into the 20's. Frost on the tarp. Using just that bag and all my clothing at the same time. Woke up spooning my cousin who was hiking with me....started to roll away, realized how cold it was, and decided hey, it's way too cold out to care at this point. Ended up switching to another bag after that trip.
 
New Post
2/10/2018 5:32 PM
 

The temperature rating of newer sleeping bags are using the EN13537rating system and that test uses a 5.0 r-value pad. If you don’t match the pad r-value, the bag won’t meet its rating.

Also, since you maybe pushing the girth of the bag, (even though it’s designed to stretch) there probably isn’t enough down in it to meet the rating as well. Testing is done on an average sized manikin, whatever that means. 

 
Previous
 
Next
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralDoes a Down Bag need more R-value in the pad? Does a Down Bag need more R-value in the pad?