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  1. #1
    Registered User THE DANGLER's Avatar
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    :banana Found and older Fairydown sleeping bag, help with specs?

    Hello all, so here the story goes...
    I've always been into tinkering with thing(motors, bikes, models and the like) I have made a few camping things as well with marginal to pretty good results. I recently got into hanging in a hammock and joined the hammock forum. I had been looking into purchasing an underquilt but the cost was more than I could afford. So, I had been frequenting the local thrift stores in hopes of finding some down filled articles that I could use to make my own underquilt. I came across a down sleeping bag. It felt rather heavy and definitely older but clean, I figured, what the heck and brought it up to the counter anyways. No price tag, cashier looks at me and asks what do I think? I suggest $5, she says cool. When I got it home and unrolled it I found that it was actually 2 bags zipped together. I'll try my best to describe it here, and I'll also try to post a couple pics if I can manage.
    it is, semi-rectangular, light blue in color
    In case I can't get the photo to upload here's what the label reads

    'Fairy'
    DOWN SLEEPING BAG
    Model:EVEREST
    Manufactured in New Zealand by
    ARTHER ELLIS & CO.LTD
    DUNEDIN~CHRISTCHURCH~INVERCARGILL
    imag1055-1.jpgIMAG1062.jpg


    What I'm wondering is this; mainly, temperature rating, weight(I don't have a scale), and possibly its age.
    I asked around the hammock forum and wasn't able to get much of a response other than jealousy for finding such a great deal. Also, another user directed my to MacPac, an Australian outfit that has since bought the fairydown company. I tried to contact the company via e-mail but alas, I have received no response. The zippers, to me, look like these were made in the 70's. Maybe somebody here has some experience with this brand or even better yet, this particular model.
    Ultimately, I'm wondering if in your opinion it would be a good or bad idea to cut one of them up to make an underquilt out of.

    dancing banana? why not

    Thanks in advance for any responses

  2. #2
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    Looks like a bargain.
    No experience with this brand/model, but a rough way to check temperature rating:
    wash one of the bags (carefully, check REI, etc. for instructions for cleaning down);
    dry;
    lay out zipped up as in your pictures;
    measure the height (loft of top and bottom in inches);
    compare loft to a reputable brand like feathered friends http://www.featheredfriends.com/pica.../30Degree.html or western mountaineering
    4" (top + bottom, 2 layers) = 30F.

    No idea how this applies to an underquilt or how to make it an underquilt.

  3. #3
    Registered User THE DANGLER's Avatar
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    Default thanks for the loft/rating idea

    Thanks snowleopard for that idea. I hadn't considered that. I was wondering if I could pretty much split it in half and make both an underquilt and topquilt out of a single bag or if topquilt+underquilt=more than a sleeping bag (down, fabric wise). But that is definitely a question for a diy thread.
    I am still going to hold off for the moment on cutting it open for about a week or so to see if I get any more replies.
    Thanks again

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    I found an ad from the 70's listing two Everest bags.The Everest Mummy and the Everest.
    It came in 4 sizes, one has a 100" long zip, 79" long and a weight of 4lbs 6 oz.
    The others have a 96" or 30" zip.
    Described as an expedition bag , one of the warmest yet made. (2 1/4 lbs of down)
    BTW, Macpac is also a New Zealand brand.

  5. #5
    Registered User THE DANGLER's Avatar
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    Default sweet

    Thanks Franco, you rock! How would I ever have found that? I was thinking about offering one of them up for sale but I wasn't sure if 1, there would be much of any interest because of how old.they are and 2, had no idea what would be a fair price to ask. I may even post it in the pay it forward thread overeat hammock forums. At any rate, didn't really want to do anything with them until I found out some info about them. So thanks again

  6. #6

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    Very nice find! I'm almost jealous!! Hope you can make use of them and that they are good bags as of yet. They should be if they were taken care of.

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    You might want to be careful cutting them open or you'll have a down blizzard in your house.
    2.25 lb of down!! If they were stored with some care and were kept clean, they might be close to the original rating. They might make a very nice winter bag. I'm sure if you sent one to RJ in N. Dakota he could test it out in some pretty cold temps

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    I agree with the author's point of view! I learned a lot. Thank you!


  9. #9

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    Okay, this thread is a bit old, but just for the record, Fairydown were a trademark for Arthur Ellis & Co, a New Zealand company that made absolutely outstanding outdoor equipment for many years before being bought out. They made a really wide range of sleeping bags from "just warm enough for the tropics" to "sleeping outside at the South Pole in the middle of an Antarctic Winter." Ed Hillary used a Fairydown sleeping bag when he first climbed Mount Everest. I've got 4 different Fairydown bags I bought back in the mid-1980's that I'm still using with no degradation in performance (but I do store them fluffed up, not in a stuff sac).

    There absolute top of the line sleeping bag was the Fairydown Polar, which I've used in the Himalaya's, sleeping out in a tent at minus forty Celsius - with a down jacket, trousers and down boots on as well, but I was toasty). Brilliant mummy bag, one of the best ever made. I used mine for winter camping in Canada last winter and they're just fine (I have two of the Polar bags). The "Everest" was the next one down, the version I have is good to -15 / -20 Celsius - good for New Zealand winters (the Polar was a wee bit warm for a NZ winter, even with snow and blizzards). The rectangular Everest bags were an older model - they moved to a Mummy bag design in the 80's, and the rectangular bags weren't quite as warm but they were still really good. Should be good for 3 season camping in North America even now.

    And if you got two for $5 you got yourself one heck of a bargain. Fairydown made some of the best outdoor and expedition bags ever. Like I said, I'm still using mine 30 years after I bought them and they're doing fine. Never had a problem with them, not even loose stitching or broken zips and I've used them pretty heavily over the years - four months of trekking and climbing in the Himalaya being just one trip. If you ever see an Everest or a Polar, grab it!


  10. #10

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    I don't think there's a collectors market for these bags and I doubt they're financially valuable - I've never run across any for sale except the odd one on NZ websites where they go pretty cheap. They were good, but I think anyone buying them would do it more because they're good and they're cheap. Bag technology keeps on improving ....

    I think with those Fairydown bags it was more that they were absolutely top quality - they were the best you could get in NZ then, they used a lot of down (my Polar, fluffed up, is about 18 inches high) and really really good for use in extreme conditions. I've used my Polar outside in a tent at minus forty Celsius and been warm and comfortable - they were made for those high altitude Himalayan climbing expeditions and use in the Antarctic and that kind of thing. Everest bags weren't quite as extreme as the Polar bags, but still very good. And like I said, bought mine in the 80's and 30 years on, they're still as good as new.

    They were popular in New Zealand and they exported to Australia but as far as I know, nowhere else - so the numbers manufactured were probably fairly small as compared to say North American bag makers - New Zealand's just not that big a market. If you find one in North America its probably from someone who got one in NZ at some stage.

  11. #11
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Educated Guess:
    The down is better than what you can buy today.
    If the down can be repurposed into a couple of quilts, go for it.
    Otherwise, find a way to use the bag as is.
    Wayne


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    Default How much would a Fairydown Polar sell for on a forum such as WhiteBlaze.net or eBay?

    Quote Originally Posted by CanKiwi View Post
    I don't think there's a collectors market for these bags and I doubt they're financially valuable - I've never run across any for sale except the odd one on NZ websites where they go pretty cheap. They were good, but I think anyone buying them would do it more because they're good and they're cheap. Bag technology keeps on improving ....

    I think with those Fairydown bags it was more that they were absolutely top quality - they were the best you could get in NZ then, they used a lot of down (my Polar, fluffed up, is about 18 inches high) and really really good for use in extreme conditions. I've used my Polar outside in a tent at minus forty Celsius and been warm and comfortable - they were made for those high altitude Himalayan climbing expeditions and use in the Antarctic and that kind of thing. Everest bags weren't quite as extreme as the Polar bags, but still very good. And like I said, bought mine in the 80's and 30 years on, they're still as good as new.

    They were popular in New Zealand and they exported to Australia but as far as I know, nowhere else - so the numbers manufactured were probably fairly small as compared to say North American bag makers - New Zealand's just not that big a market. If you find one in North America its probably from someone who got one in NZ at some stage.
    Thanks for the reply. How much do you think a Fairydown Polar would sell for on a forum such as WhiteBlaze.net or eBay? (I've checked, by the way, for any past "sells" w/in 90 days and found none). Might there be a better forum (or market) to offer a Fairydown bag for sale? Maybe you know of one in Australia or NZ?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Educated Guess:
    The down is better than what you can buy today.
    Why would the down be better? As far as I know people aren't raising inferior geese, or eider ducks, nowadays.

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    Because everything was better way back then.
    In fact wayback when we said the same about wayback when when , those were good times.

  15. #15
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    Why would the down be better? As far as I know people aren't raising inferior geese, or eider ducks, nowadays.
    Because the testing changed sometime in the late 90s or early 2000s. Because the so called 800-900-1000 fill power down today is a hoax by the time it gets to the consumer. Because I own down products from the 70s and early 90s that exhibit superior loft to current down of similar quality. In one case 2 sleeping bags from Western Mountaineering.
    Wayne


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