Best Sleeping Bag Fill: Down vs Synthetic

 Down Sleeping Bags

The quality of down is measured by fill power.  It is a numerical rating system that represents how lofty the down is. The higher the quality of down, the more space it will loft. A high fill power down will keep you warmer with less filling, which equals a lighter sleeping bag.

High quality down is incredibly warm and at the same time super light.  However, getting a high-quality down fill  is increasingly expensive.

Another drawback of down is that it loses nearly all of its insulating properties when it gets wet. The recent developments of hydrophobic coatings on down help to repel water. While the treated down is not waterproof, it does preserve downs loft to some extent.

There is also the ethical issues when it comes to down, for those who are concerned about animal rights. The inhumane treatment such as live plucking of ducks and geese are disconcerting. Therefore before you decide to purchase a down sleeping bag, you might want to learn about the manufacturers sources of down first.

Shop Ubon 10 Degree Down Sleeping Bag


Synthetic Sleeping Bags

The absolute advantage of buying a synthetic sleeping bag is that it much less expensive. The down side is,  synthetic insulation is generally less compressible compared to down.

The great equalizer for synthetic insulation is its ability to keep you warm even after its been soaked through with water( if the down is not water treated).

Synthetic insulation also dries out much faster than down can. This traditionally has made synthetic sleeping bags the best choice for trips that have a very high chance of becoming very moist.



ClusterLoft: the best of two worlds

ClusterLoft is a revolutionary down-like synthetic insulation with down-like performance. It can reach up to 80-90% of the warmth to weight ratios of top quality down, and works much better in cold damp conditions when untreated down tends to lose its insulation ability. On the other hand, it is hypoallergenic, and have no animal cruelty issues. Not only that, it is a much affordable solution compared to down filled sleeping bags.



Insulation: 620 Fill Power ClusterLoft      
Weight:   2lbs 8 oz (1150 g)    
Retail Price: $89.76    

Mid-end Brand 30 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
Insulation: 650 Fill Power Down
Weight: 2 lbs 4oz (1030 g)
Retail Price: $179

The Ubon ClusterLoft sleeping bag is half of the price of a regular branded down sleeping bag in the market, with the same temperature rating and similar fill power. As for the weight, the Ubon ClusterLoft sleeping bag is only 120g heavier than its down counterpart, which hardly makes a difference.  Therefore it proves the excellent warmth to ratio of ClusterLoft insluation.  

Overall, ClusterLoft is comparable to top-end down in terms of warmth to weight ratio, but has the prized advantage of being more water resistance, and comes at a much more affordable price.

There is also the option of using ClusterLoft as a base of your sleeping bag while the rest of the bag is filled with down, which combines the benefits of down and ClusterLoft: the ClusterLoft base provides excellent insulation when compressed while down top cover being lofty and lightweight.

Shop ClusterLoft Base Sleeping Bag