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  1. #1

    Default Too much compression?

    As I work out all the details for our HMW trip, I purchased several sizes/types of compression dry sacks. I have a Nemo Riff 30 Long sleeping bag with a listed compressed volume of 5.3L. The fill is 800 FP down. I was able to fit it, with a little effort, into an Sea to Summit E-vent, size small 10l - 3.3l and compress it well, quite amazing really. The e-vent size med 14l - 4.5l was a lot easier to get the bag into but obviously did not compress as small. I don't mind the small amount of extra work to get it into a small, but I was curious as to a 10ish day trip and repeated stuffing/compression of the bag and it possibly being slightly damp (I'm thinking about the fill) from breath/humidity/etc. Am I over thinking it? The small dry bag would definitely be nice to conserve pack volume but I don't want to do something bad out of ignorance. The compression thing is new to me, used to a bunch of cinch straps....Thx in advance

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    Garlic
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    Years ago I heard that it's possible to mechanically break the fibers in down, that one shouldn't over-compress it, or, say, use it as a seat while it's stuffed in your pack.

    Many hikers pack too much extra clothing. If there's one garment you can do without, that's a way to free up pack space to avoid compression. That's what I did.

  3. #3

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    My current winter bag is the WM Puma and now costs about $850 so I treat it with utmost care and regard. I want and need as much loft as possible from my bag and so I'll never use a compression sack and instead use a 35 liter sea to summet silnylon roll top stuff sack (and NEVER the stuff sack WM sells with this bag!). Even with the 35 liter bag it all gets stuffed into my pack's bottom compartment okay.

    If it's a question between a compression sack or a bigger pack, I'd go with a bigger pack.

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    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    I don't compress my quilts or bags. They get stuffed into the bottom of the pack and everything gets thrown on top of it. It compresses enough on it's own, enough to stuff two food bags into my pack when my GF and I did the HMW a couple years ago. Of course, I have a fairly large pack, but it still only weighed 40 pounds total.

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    Thx for the replies, with the non compression train of thought, it kind of makes my pack size dilemma of 50+10 vs. 65+10 moot.

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    Registered User ant's Avatar
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    Personally I think too much is made of compression. Maybe 15-20 years of hardcore compression, but for the normal life of a sleeping bag, technological advances, etc. You're going to have more trouble with dirt, body oils, atmospheric conditions effecting the down than compression ever will. One thing you do need to be aware of however is not ripping/breaking baffle material and seams but if you look into it, down is very resilient.

    There will always be people who are very conservative and that's fine, everyone is different but I believe the compression thing is overblown. Better safe than sorry...but..

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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    I don't compress my quilts or bags. They get stuffed into the bottom of the pack and everything gets thrown on top of it. It compresses enough on it's own, enough to stuff two food bags into my pack when my GF and I did the HMW a couple years ago. Of course, I have a fairly large pack, but it still only weighed 40 pounds total.
    Yea, this...
    When you're really tight on space, this is the best solution as it really fills up the space. When you compress a quilt or bag (or even cloths), you wind up with something that is round, and when you start packing multiple round things together, you wind up with a lot of wasted space.

    Actually, I HAD to pack this way when I did my JMT thru hike.
    At one point, I was going to go 10 days without a resupply, so my bear canister was big and it was heavy. I needed it INSIDE the pack, not lashed somewhere outside or on top of the pack. But when I put my 15 sleeping bag in its regular stuff sack, it was physically impossible to place both the sleeping bag and the bear canister in my Osprey Volt 75 pack. But the easy solution was to toss cloths and sleeping bag in the bottom of the pack, let the weight of the bear canister on top compress those items down, and had enough room left over around the bear canister for everything else.

  8. #8
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meenkya View Post
    Thx for the replies, with the non compression train of thought, it kind of makes my pack size dilemma of 50+10 vs. 65+10 moot.
    Don't be lured into buying/carrying a huge pack by the "car camping" crowd (those that don't hike very many actual miles, but camp a lot and carry huge tents, overly conservative bags, tons of extraneous clothes, axes, big knives, extensive cooking gear, etc). I betcha your 50+10 will work. I firmly believe that even for those that carry a few extra items, the "average" backpacker, for late-spring through early-fall, no long distance hiker needs more than 50-ish liters (assuming they have, say, some nice outside pockets, maybe what you're calling "+10").

    Quote Originally Posted by ant View Post
    Personally I think too much is made of compression. Maybe 15-20 years of hardcore compression, but for the normal life of a sleeping bag, technological advances, etc. You're going to have more trouble with dirt, body oils, atmospheric conditions effecting the down than compression ever will. One thing you do need to be aware of however is not ripping/breaking baffle material and seams but if you look into it, down is very resilient.

    There will always be people who are very conservative and that's fine, everyone is different but I believe the compression thing is overblown. Better safe than sorry...but..
    Agree, a bit of compression (even a lot, according to some) does nothing to hurt a down bag. STILL, I err on the side of caution as I too have several very expensive bags (including a WM $700 bag and a $500 Katabatic gear quilt, and several others), so I would never use an actual compression sack (the ones with the tightening straps). But I do choose the smallest sack that I can barely stuff my various bags into, or many times, just stuff into the bottom of the pack and let stuff on top press down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ant View Post
    Personally I think too much is made of compression. Maybe 15-20 years of hardcore compression, but for the normal life of a sleeping bag, technological advances, etc. You're going to have more trouble with dirt, body oils, atmospheric conditions effecting the down than compression ever will...
    When my son first stated hiking with me, he had a pretty small pack. So to make sure there was enough room for all his gear, I had to compress the sleeping bag down pretty good.
    I later got a second duplicate bag as the younger ones started to reach the age to join me. Even though the original bag had only gone on a half dozen trips, I could already see the major effect on the loft of the bag the compression had done to it compared to the newer duplicate bag.

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    Not trying to insult anyones intelligence here as most of you have more miles than I do, but don't forget to store your bags in a mesh bag or hung when not in use and shake it out when you pull it out to add some loft to it again. I can't remember where I read it, but constantly being compressed can eventually cause issues.

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    Registered User ant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Don't be lured into buying/carrying a huge pack by the "car camping" crowd (those that don't hike very many actual miles, but camp a lot and carry huge tents, overly conservative bags, tons of extraneous clothes, axes, big knives, extensive cooking gear, etc). I betcha your 50+10 will work. I firmly believe that even for those that carry a few extra items, the "average" backpacker, for late-spring through early-fall, no long distance hiker needs more than 50-ish liters (assuming they have, say, some nice outside pockets, maybe what you're calling "+10").

    Agree, a bit of compression (even a lot, according to some) does nothing to hurt a down bag. STILL, I err on the side of caution as I too have several very expensive bags (including a WM $700 bag and a $500 Katabatic gear quilt, and several others), so I would never use an actual compression sack (the ones with the tightening straps). But I do choose the smallest sack that I can barely stuff my various bags into, or many times, just stuff into the bottom of the pack and let stuff on top press down.
    I would err on the side of caution more if I owned your bag and quilt too. And, don't get me wrong, I store my bags loose and don't go to extremes with compression and not for long when I do compress. I just hear so much of people making mountains out of something that's been discussed and debated for so long and mostly doesn't matter, especially at the higher end. A lower quality bag with lower fill won't be as resilient to anything. Packing wise, I totally get the bottom of the pack loosely deal also.

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    Registered User ant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    When my son first stated hiking with me, he had a pretty small pack. So to make sure there was enough room for all his gear, I had to compress the sleeping bag down pretty good.
    I later got a second duplicate bag as the younger ones started to reach the age to join me. Even though the original bag had only gone on a half dozen trips, I could already see the major effect on the loft of the bag the compression had done to it compared to the newer duplicate bag.
    I imagine that wasn't the most amazing quality bag though either, right? Also, new will always look better than used. But yeah, I get it. I can see it. I'm likely to be more careful with my 900 fp gear vs my 550 fp. I go with the less and storing loose myself just to be safe, but I'm not crazy about it or sweat others that don't abide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    . . . Even though the original bag had only gone on a half dozen trips, I could already see the major effect on the loft of the bag the compression had done to it compared to the newer duplicate bag.
    How much was compression and how much was body oils and dirt? How much of the new compression could be recovered by a good washing, drying, and fluffing?
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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