Guide to Sleeping Bags Part 3: Synthetic Material
Synthetic material tries to capture the insulating properties of down at a lower cost without the need to use animal feathers. There are endless debates out there as to whether or not they are the better option to consider. Let's take a closer look at synthetic sleeping bags as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
The vast majority of synthetic material used to stuff sleeping bags are made from variations of polyester. Polyester has developed a bad reputation over the years as being uncomfortable or not breathing properly. However, technology and innovation has dispelled this perception, and polyester products today can be just as comfortable as their down counterparts. The key is to focus on quality and being willing to pay a little more for higher-grade material.
Synthetic material is considered to be non-allergenic, which means the most people will be able to tolerate the filling well. Synthetics also dry faster than down, and they can even provide substantial insulation when wet. This is why these make the best sleeping bags for those who will be in wet conditions. You can also find different degrees of thermal protection as well as levels of softness or firmness. Prices also tend to be far lower than down sleeping bags.
Synthetic sleeping bags tend to be less-efficient than down, and they can lose their insulating power over time as they are compressed and stored. The ability for the material to rebound diminishes over time as well, and this can cause a reduction in comfort as well as raising the temperature in which it stops providing insulation. Consequently, you may end up spending more money in replacements over time when compared to down sleeping bags.
There are some hybrid options out there that combine down and synthetic material as well. These are considered to represent the best of both worlds, but they also come with some of the drawbacks associated with both kinds of filler. Make sure to compare the characteristics of hybrids with the other two options in order to make sure they can fulfill your requirements.
Now that you know what to look for in a sleeping bag, start to shop around and explore your options. Investing in the right sleeping bags for the conditions that you will face can pay big dividends when it comes to enjoying restful sleep out in the field. However, it's also important to remember to look for sleeping bags that are comfortable, just the right size, and can be as compact or as bulky as you need. While looking for the right material is important, so is making sure that the sleeping bag will be conducive to your comfort as well.