Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Down Sleeping Bag or Quilt

Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Down Sleeping Bag or Quilt

If you're considering a new sleeping bag or quilt, here are five reasons to choose down over synthetic.

1. Warm

Down bags offer the best size-to-heat ratio, much better than synthetic insulation. They also tend to warm up quicker and conform better to your body. This leads to less cold spots and a more comfortable night at camp.


Paria Outdoor Products Thermodown 30 Sleeping Quilt

If you want to maximize weight savings, a backpacking quilt may be the perfect option. Since it's only designed to insulate at the sides and top, it optimizes the weight-to-warmth ratio even further by eliminating unneeded insulation.

2. Breathable

Just as athletic apparel is designed to wick away moisture, down fill also allows moisture to escape from your body while you sleep. This will help keep you warm and dry during cold nights on the trail.

3. Compressible

Down insulation is significantly more compressible than synthetic fill, which saves space in your pack.

4. Lightweight

Because of its natural lofting properties, down insulation is very light. For a given temperature rating, the amount of down insulation needed will be significantly less than synthetic fill. This is a great advantage for backpackers since every ounce can add up.

5. Durable

Down is extremely durable: it's able to withstand hundreds of compressions, wide swings in temperatures, and proper washing restores twenty and even thirty-year-old down close to its original performance. Synthetic insulation tends to lose its ability to loft over time.


Paria Outdoor Products Thermodown 15 Sleeping Bag

With a bit of care, a down sleeping bag will maintain its loft for decades.

One thing to be aware of ...

The main downside to down sleeping bags is that they must be kept dry as much as possible. If down gets wet, it loses much of its lofting ability and therefore warmth rating.

However, this one downside can be mitigated fairly easily. Always keep your down bag stored in a waterproof area of your pack. When at camp, minimize the amount of tent condensation that can come in contact with your bag. After each night, it's a great idea to set out or hang your bag up while you eat breakfast to let the down filling dry out before you hike out for the day.

If you intend to backpack in a very wet environment, you can also apply a waterproofing treatment to the shell material. This will ensure that the down filling will be protected from moisture. We recommend ReviveX by Gear Aid.

Investing in a quality down sleeping bag or quilt will provide you with decades of comfortable nights on the trail. If you think that you might want to upgrade to a down sleeping bag, check out our line of Thermodown down-filled sleeping bags and quilts.

Paria Outdoor Products Thermodown 15 Backpacking Quilt


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  • MArk Switek

    Bought my first down bag in 1977. I now have four different weights and never have I had a wet bag issue. I do a fair amount of kayak camping and feel it is a non issue to keep gear dry. Yes the insulation value diminishes when wet, but the attributes of down far outweigh the fear of a wet bag.

  • Eben

    I wish that I could use down, but it stuffs my nose and sinuses up something awful.

  • Frazier Douglass

    I enjoyed reading your arguments and appreciate your position. But I’d like to offer a counter argument.
    I am 72 years old and have been an avid tent camper for over 50 years. I have learned that I may be able to keep my bedding dry most of the time but it will get wet at least once a year from an unexpected summer storm, a rain fly inadvertently left off, driving through a sudden shower with the bag packed on a rooftop carrier, condensation, spilled water bottle, wet clothing or bathing suit left on top, and many other events i never expect. Consequently, I am a big fan of synthetic quilts and wool blankets. While backpackers need the weight savings of down, I would argue that car campers should buy more economical and practical synthetic-filled bedding.

  • Nori Conner

    I have a pair of your hiking poles that I keep on hand for Company and they get rave reviews. When one of my Black diamond poles failed recently after several hundred miles of hiking I started hiking with the Paria pair. I like them every bit as much as my Black Diamond Pair. They did not support the weight of my husband 6’6” 225 (one collapses on itself under his weight) but for me 5’4” 120 they are awesome. So this is a long way of telling you I like your products and wish you would design a 30 degree quilt. I’d be first in line to order one.keep me posted.

  • Karen E. Hamshar

    I have my old Eddie Bauer Heavy Duty goose down sleeping bag brought for me for Christmas of 1973. Still use it. Plus I’ve got a Back packing back too. Great bags for camping. This is back when the bags were made in Seattle, Washington. I also have my big snow mobile Eddie Bauer goose down gloves that cover the entire forearm.

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