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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

A Sleeping Bag for Every Season

By Nick
01, May, 2015

There is no shortage of different sleeping bags out there, with a variety of fillings. Why would you consider spending more on a down sleeping bag over all the others?

Fourseasonbag

We design and source sleeping bags, we work closely with the factories to get them just right, then we sell them directly to you. Our bags are up there with the best when it comes to performance, but we cut out the middle man and his associated costs, which means our price tags is very competitive. 

Down sleeping bags can be a scary investment. Not only can they be more expensive, but they come with a fear of getting the sleeping bag wet and the difficulties that come with washing it. The solution? Well, you could go out and get a syntheticous fibourous pileous bag, but then you'd need a Yak to carry it and you'd would lose out on all the advantages of a down bag. So although synthetic bags definitely have their place in the gear room, let's keep an open mind and address these common concerns about down sleeping bags.

Cost of ownership

That's why we're here! The best way to save money is to buy direct from your favourite brand instead of buying through middle men, who ramp up the prices. You could try giving brands a call direct to ask for trade price, but if you're feeling a little less bold, just click through to the Alpkit Sleeping Bag page to buy direct from us!

Keeping your bag dry

Maybe 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, but unlike a sponge, wringing it out does not bring it back to life: there is no doubt you have to be more careful than with a synthetic or fibre pile bag, but what's wrong with being a bit careful with your kit? That said, we understand that sometimes you can't help knocking over that morning cup of tea, so we apply Nikwax Hydrophobic treatment to all our down. Nikwax Hydrophobic is a water repellent treatment that makes down less susceptible to humid conditions, staying lofted for longer and prolonging the overall lifespan of your down.

Nikwax Hydrophobic does not make your down waterproof, so a bit of common sense camp craft is useful to help 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?). These measures should also be applied to your synthetic sleeping bag: as much as they retain thermal properties when wet, nothing says comfortable less than a sodden sleeping bag - no matter the filling!

Cleaning

Man has yet to surpass mother nature; when well looked-after, a down bag will perform longer than a synthetic bag. A down bag can be washed in a washing machine or in your bath, although diligence is necessary. Professional cleaning services do exist, but you can limit the number of times you send your bag in for a service by using a silk/cotton liner or wearing your socks when you kip. If you do need to clean your bag, why not take a look at our sleeping bag care guide first?

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