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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

Sleeping bags for four seasons of camping

By Nick
01, May, 2015

There are no shortage of sleeping bag manufacturers so why might you consider an Alpkit bag over the others? Well one good reason is that we design our own bags, work closely with a factory to get them made and then sell them directly to you from this website.

Fourseasonbag

We design and source performance sleeping bags.  Our bags are comparable to the best however as we do not have any wholesale margins or retail overheads to pay the price tag is competitive.

Common barriers to down sleeping bags are they are expensive, fear of getting the sleeping bag wet and washing your sleeping bag. Now you could go out and get a syntheticous fibourous pileous bag but then you need a Yak to carry it and you would lose out on all the advantages of a down bag, so keeping an open mind let's explore the three main concerns people have when considering a down sleeping bag..

Cost of ownership
Well we have probably already addressed this, the best way to save money is to buy direct from your favourite brand. Why not try giving Rab a ring and asking if you can buy your bag at trade price? Failing this just click through to the Alpkit shop and buy a sleeping bag direct from our website!

Keeping your bag dry
Ok so you have heard nightmare stories of people getting their bags wet and ending up with a sodden ball of feathers. Down acts like a sponge and readily soaks up water, unlike a sponge when you wring it out it does not spring back to life. There is no doubt you have to be more carefull than with a synthetic or fibre pile bag, but the same goes for the rest of your kit. In 20 years of camping none of the Alpkit team has got their bag so wet it has been unusable. Again common sense camp craft can prevent disasters, air your bag when the weather is nice, don't bivvy without a bivvy cover (such as the Hunka), don't stuff your sleeping bag inside your kayak unless it is in a dry bag, perhaps an Airlok. Another common misconception or should we say exageration is that a synthetic bag will keep you warm when wet. Make no mistake, synthetic fibres are not miracle fibres, if your bag is totally sodden you will have a very uncomfortable, cold and sleepless night. Synthetic or down.. do everything you can to keep your bag dry!

Cleaning
Man has yet to surpass mother nature and when looked after a down bag will perform longer than a synthetic bag. It's kind of like buying a Mac over a PC, initial outlay may be higher but it is more enjoyable to use and has a longer effective working life. Surprisingly a down bag can be washed in a washing machine, or in your bath but you do have to be carefull. Professional cleaning services do exist, but you can limit the number of times you send your bag in for a service by utilising a silk/cotton liner or wear your socks when you kip. We have published our own sleeping bag care guide.

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