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  1. #1

    Default Synthetic or Down Bag for Single-Wall Tents?

    I've been testing the Six Moons Lunar Solo on my recent hikes and it really gets wet inside in hard rains due to condensation build up. When the rain drops are hard enough (and maybe due to wind conditions) I get "rained on" inside the tent. So I'm concerned that a down bag may become useless after a hard rain. But I am not ready to give up. Maybe I need to learn better site selection or whatever.

    What's your sleep system for this type of tent?

  2. #2

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    Coming from a duplex background and using soley down bags hopefully my ramble will be of some help.

    -You may know this, but the rained on experience in hard rain is coming from the rain drops/ whipping wind knocking the condensation off the inside of the tent. This can be frustrating for sure.

    I would say your best bet is modifying your site selection. The worst conditions are on green grass. The best in my opinion are on top of a nice leafy ground. This creates a barrier between you and the ground. It would probably be worth while to experiement with tyvek as a ground clothe. And at the least, that ground cloth could be used inside the tent as a cover up.

    I have steered away from the duplex after about 700 miles of use. The condensation and overall dimensions of the tent just never worked for me. I have gone back to my good ol standby the tarptent strato 2. It is a double wall tent at about 2.5 lbs or less.
    Trail Miles: 4,090.3 - AT Trips: 71
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 116.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
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  3. #3

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    Consider the temperature you're dealing with. If it's comfortably above freezing, there's little enough insulation involved that you don't gain significantly from down in the first place. If you're talking about 45-50 degrees and up, a well made synthetic bag can be the perfect pairing with a single wall tent.

    Once you're below freezing and the humidity starts to drop, it swings quickly back towards down again.

  4. #4

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    I'm about to drop $500 on a down quilt and wanted to make sure it's not the biggest waste of money on my part.

  5. #5

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    $500 on a down quilt can be a great investment - but that sounds like a winter quilt based on price. If you're looking for something to use in rainy conditions, it's (probably) not the best bet.

  6. #6
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Default

    We use down bags and quilts in single wall tents. Yes, they get dripped and misted on from condensation, or I brush the foot end against the wet wall at night, or whatever. The fabric of the bag can be quite wet in the morning.

    Down bags also get wet around the heads and chest area from your breathing. In the right weather conditions, this can be a lot of moisture.

    The thing is, it's not a big deal. It's hard to get the down itself wet (ask anyone who has tried to wash their down bag in a bathtub.) I just lay out the bag whenever I get a chance, like at lunch one day, and it dries out quickly.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  7. #7

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    I've used an Enlightened Equipment 40deg Prodigy (precursor to the Revelation APEX) in such conditions and it was perfect. Weighs 17.7oz with a 10D shell and works great in extremely humid conditions where you're getting misted by condensation. That's about 5oz heavier than a similarly-rated down quilt, but sometimes it's the perfect tool for the job.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  8. #8

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    I'm looking for something to get me through the CDT in a few years. I will probably narrow it down to a 20 degree bag since I can use that in the shoulder season. Then I'll just add another quilt or cacoon or whatever to get it down more later. Thanks for the advice y'all.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    We use down bags and quilts in single wall tents. Yes, they get dripped and misted on from condensation, or I brush the foot end against the wet wall at night, or whatever. The fabric of the bag can be quite wet in the morning.

    Down bags also get wet around the heads and chest area from your breathing. In the right weather conditions, this can be a lot of moisture.

    The thing is, it's not a big deal. It's hard to get the down itself wet (ask anyone who has tried to wash their down bag in a bathtub.) I just lay out the bag whenever I get a chance, like at lunch one day, and it dries out quickly.
    Even without directly being hit by rain, down can absorb humidity from the ambient air. I experienced this last year in New Hampshire with a rainstorm that lasted several hours in March. Despite having a PTFE shell on the bag and being protected from direct exposure to rain, the down absorbed quite a bit of water. If we'd been out another night and the temperature had dropped significantly, it could have been a problem.
    Down is a fantastic insulating material. But it does have drawbacks that should be carefully considered and planned for.

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