Kathmandu Sleeping Bags - Duck Down or Insulite?

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:06
ThreadID: 101227 Views:9713 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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Hello all,
As previously mentioned in my last post... I hate and have NO tolerance for the cold.
Looking a buying a better sleeping bag than I have to use in my swag. The two I've narrowed my search down to are these.... (both in the current Kathmandu catalogue, both "Mummy" style, weight not important)

Seeker - Duck Down
Ratings -3, -10, -29 (Comfort, Transition, Risk)
$279.99 (Reg $699.98)....or

Anakiwa - Insulite
Ratings -6, -13, -34 (Comfort, Transition, Risk)
$174.99 (Reg $349.98)

Do I go for the 2nd one based on the better temp rating, or do I make the assumption that the first one must be better because it costs more?

Please help!!!!
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:16

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:16
Down bags are great, until they get wet. If weight is not a problem go the 2nd one.
AnswerID: 507298

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:19

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:19
Thanks. The website tech specs state that insulite will retain it's insulation properties even when wet. That was a good selling point.

FollowupID: 784532

Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:19

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:19
You pay a lot for the low weight and compactness that Down provides.

So if you are using this in a swag where an extra 1kg and extra size is not a issue you would be mad to buy a more expensive Down one.
I have a Kathmandu Down bag similar to above and a old heavy one which I use for car camping. The old heavy one is much warmer and what we use when we are travelling by vehicle in winter.
When I go backpacking on multiday bushwalks I use my Down bag.

Down bags apparently are a nightmare if they get wet.

In general don't use Temperature ratings across different manufacturers.
AnswerID: 507299

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:24

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 20:24
Cheers Mark,
Two votes for the insulite.
FollowupID: 784534

Follow Up By: edwin - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 21:39

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 21:39
Just a thought, do you really need a sleeping bag??, I was a tour guide for many years and spent around 8 months a year in a swag, I had a fitted single sheet on the mattress with a down doona in a doona cover. the fitted sheet and cover were easily removed for washing. It was just like being in a cozy bed at home, no restrictions like a sleeping bag. Woke up many a morning with a white swag from freezing desert winter nights. Still got the same set up now, in the warmer months I just use an unzipped lightweight sleeping bag or good blanket.
Like I said just a thought and my personal preference.
FollowupID: 784541

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 21:58

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 21:58
Appreciate your feedback.... I sleep with a down doona on the bed as soon as the mecury in the house drops below about 20C. I don't think it will cut it in the -8C deserts.

I have got to be the world's most cold blooded person (besides the missus who's worse than I am).

FollowupID: 784543

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:02

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:02
BTW.... I usually wear thermals under my fleecy trackies, slip into the sleeping bag with usually a doona underneath, another on top, pop all of that into the swag which is set up in a dome tent that is positioned under the vehicle's awning.

I HATE the cold!!! (But I'm also the one paving or digging up the garden in 48 degree heat.) I must have a sticky thermostat.

FollowupID: 784544

Follow Up By: edwin - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:20

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:20
Fab, you might need a generator with a heater and an electric blanket.
The doonas work well in the desert winters, have had -5 deg in the flinders and many below zero nights in simpson and central australian deserts. dont even know its cold outside until you get that middle of the night call of nature, then you cant get back in quick enough,never slept in a tent or under a canopy either, just a big woollen jumper ,beanie and trackies and many a centipede and scorpion, but never ever been bitten/stung.
anyway good luck with your shopping
FollowupID: 784549

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:25

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:25
Fab - your body should be making its own heat but if you're a "cold sleeper" or go to bed already cold it can be a battle. Get yourself a silk balaclava and silk bag liner when they come on special - expensive, but they have incredible heat retention properties.
FollowupID: 784550

Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Mar 22, 2013 at 06:47

Friday, Mar 22, 2013 at 06:47
Have a google about 'overheating' bodies in sleeping bags. If you're going to get a high performance bag you'll need to understand how they work and to trust them, or first night out you'll sweat in it then freeze. You shouldnt need thermals on in either bag. For the record I have a 1000g -10 deg down bag. It has been so wet that ice has formed on the outside of the bag but I was still toasty warm inside. Going by those prices though, I'd find it hard to part with the extras - ratings are ratings.
Like you, I wear jumpers to the cricket, and bitch at the first sign of being cold.
FollowupID: 784562

Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:16

Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 at 22:16
There is a big difference between duck down and superdown. Superdown is a much superior product, lighter and warmer. Then there is the issue others have raised re down (of all kinds) when it is wet. Quite useless and further it takes a long time to dry. The hollowfill synthetics are much better, in my opinion, for anything except situations where you must have the absolute lightest, smallest load. Like mountaineering or snow trekking.
For use in a 4wd I go along with using a doona. There are plenty of warm, cheap, synthetic ones around. We got one from Target that has two doonas that clip together to make a double layer so it can be used for hotter or really cold weather.
AnswerID: 507309

Reply By: Member - silkwood - Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 00:08

Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 00:08
First, take the "original" pricing of Kathmandu gear with an extra large grain of salt (not to say their gear isn't okay, simply they have a great and well practised marketing strategy).

It is true that down is a poor insulator when wet, but that doesn't mean artificial fill is perfect. You'd be bloody miserable in a wet artificial bag for a night! Best option is... don't get your bag wet (I've used down bags for over forty years, from deserts to snow caves to rainforests and never had more than a little dampness).

Having said that, for 4WDing you don't usually have a problem with a little extra bulk & weight, so an less expensive artificial bag should be a better option than a similar rated more expensive down bag. By the way, ratings aren't all they are held up to be, at best they are a general way to compare (ask me about the International Down Feather Laboratory versus the EN rating system versus the Japanese standards versus the US [lack of] standards- I'll be happy to bore you).

For a swag I'd seriously consider the suggestion of one or more quilts. You can get budget single down quilts for a song at Target (or similar). Grab two lightweight or one lightweight and one medium (or heavy if you are a very cold sleeper) and you will have far more flexibility. These quilts stuff down (excuse the pun) fairly well in a compression sack.


AnswerID: 507389

Reply By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 17:21

Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 17:21
Hello everyone,
Thanks so much for the feedback. I had to laugh at the generator and electric blanket idea, because I did ask that question in my previous post.

For the record, I bought the Anakiwa - Insulite bag yesterday. I was taken back when asked if I wanted the zip on the LH or RH side???? The salesperson suggested matching the zip to the hand you preference, however I went against that advice because I sleep on the left hand side of the bed and am used to throwing a leg out on that side IF and when I get too hot. That was my logic anyway.

In addition, I splurged out and bought a new swag with a ribbed 70mm foam matress and thicker canvas. The excellent feedback I got from you guys on this thread and the other one I posted earlier suggested that alot of the cold is felt by what comes up from below, most of you suggesting to improve the matress.

I must admit.... I did by some top shelf thermals too. The old ones weren't cutting it I figured this was a good and cheap investment which would help extend the Harley riding season too...hehe.

Thanks again....will post some pics of me without chattering teeth on my next trip (Oodnadatta track 2nd week of April).

AnswerID: 507425

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