In my last post Sleeping Bags Whats the difference Part 1 Down Bags I talked about Down sleeping bags and the pros and cons for them. Now I would like to take a look at Synthetic bags.
Over the years the synthetic bag technology has come quite along way. Synthetic fibers are typically made from polyester threading that companies create to mimic the fill of down bags. Unlike the down bags Synthetic has many branded synthetic variations that could be used in your bags as filler.
That is a not a complete list there are more out there and more are being created. Many of those branded products have variations to be used in different applications. Some of the differences include lofting differences, warmth, weight reduction, high temps, low temps, humid vs dry conditions, and many more. With so many different types of synthetic fillers what makes these great or not?
The Pros of synthetic sleeping bags.
- Synthetic is always cheaper than down.
- Easier to take care of. Many of the bags are machine washable and can be dried in your home dryer.
- Dries very quickly
- Is water resistant and provides insulation when wet.
- Because synthetics are man-made, they are hypoallergenic for the most part.
- Many more options for folks who are on a budget.
The Cons of synthetic sleeping bags
- Breaks down over time. No matter how well you care for them the synthetic fibers gradually break down. You may have to replace synthetic quicker than you would down bags.
- Typically heavier than down bags. In order go get the right warmth and fill requirements they have to pump more fill in.
- Can be less compact and bulkier than down. They will take up more space in your pack while on your trek.
- Some cheaper synthetic fills can be stiffer and may not drape as well as down. Also they may cause fit problems. Some of the higher end synthetic fills can be compared to down and no major difference can been seen in terms of fit and drape.
What is Fit? Fit is exactly what it sounds like. How does the sleeping bag fit you.
What is Drape? Drape is how the sleeping bag lays on top of you. Just like a sheet would be draped over you when sleeping.
So the overall key points about synthetic bags is that they are much less expensive than down bags, they insulate even if wet, but can be heavier and take up more room.