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[at-l] Down vs Synthetics

I bought down years ago and continue to do so. A down bag must be kept dry, but
in order to be comfortable, any bag must be kept dry. Sleeping in a wet
synthetic bag is no fun either, and if I really do get wet then I'll build a
fire and sleep by it wearing whatever clothing I manage to have kept dry...

Down has a wider range of comfortable temperatures so a 20 degree bag can
easily be used when it's very warm out, and extends well into colder
temperatures with either a fleece liner or simply a vapor barrier.

I've been carrying down backpacking since the 1970s and canoeing for the last
10 years and have only gotten my bag wet once. I'm very careful, packing inside
two stuff bags - one nylon and one waterproof - and always keeping my tent dry.
The only time I've been wet is when a scree dam gave way and flooded camp with
a foot of "raging stream" in the middle of the night. We spent the remainder of
the night huddled around a campfire about 500 feet down from where we were. The
"synth" guys were huddled around the fire for just as long as the down guys,
and it took just as long the next day to dry everything out.

Down will also outlast synthetics by all accounts.  It's a personal choice
though, and I don't slam anyone who chooses down. I do take extra precautions
to see that I'm always dry - and this means I don't sleep under the stars when
there is a chance of rain or heavy dew, my bag gets packed any time I'm not
sleeping in it - no chance of getting wet by accident that way.

-Tim (Paddler GA>ME 99)

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