Down Sleeping Bags

A quality down sleeping bag is the sleeping mode of choice for mountaineers, serious backpackers, and in particular those who partake in weight-sensitive activities like cycle touring and adventure racing. This is thanks to the phenomenal insulating properties of down, as well as its unparalleled lightness and compressibility. Most down sleeping bags are constructed from a water repellent (DWR coated) outer fabric, with warmth and weight depending upon the quantity of down within, and also on the fill power of the down. This varies from 600 to 850+ here at Webtogs - you'll only find quality bags here! A higher fill power means greater warmth per gram of down, so whether you’re looking for an ultra-light mild weather bag, or a four season bag for winter warmth; the higher the fill power the better! You can read about the different sleeping bag rating systems on our Choosing The Right Sleeping Bag Gear Guru page, to pinpoint the type of bag that’s best for your intended activity or destination.

Outer shell construction of most down sleeping bags is typically in ripstop nylon or polyester for durability (for example Pertex family and Drilite Fabrics), and will have a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment to help protect the valuable down from moisture ingress. Occasionally, fully waterproof fabrics such as Gore-Tex, eVent or Pertex Shield are used in sleeping bag outers, but usually only in bags intended for use with bivvy bags or tarps. A DWR coating will not be used in the lining of down bags, so as to enable moisture from perspiration to pass outwards through the bag, regulating moisture levels and body temperature.

Dependent upon the warmth and intended use of a down bag, it can have lots of additional features designed to enhance heat retention and minimise cold spots. A 1 or 2 season bag intended for lightweight warmth in a mild climate will have minimal features, and will probably feature stitch-through baffle construction: where down is held in place by simple stitched seams through the whole thickness of the bag. This is a lightweight method of construction, but is not suitable for temperatures below freezing, as the stitched-through seams present ‘cold spots’, through which body heat can exit the bag.

A 3 or 4 season bag for colder climates will typically be more feature-heavy, with down-filled baffles behind the zip and around the neck, and box-walled baffles, which ensure that the down maintains even loft and thickness to minimise cold spots. Very extreme down bags will employ multiple baffle constructions in different parts of the body, such as V baffles and Trapezoidal baffles, as well as highly technical tailoring to ensure that cold air cannot circulate inside the bag. They will also feature internal pockets to keep bottles, socks or even boots: anything at risk of freezing should it be left unprotected in the tent.

To summarise: think carefully about what you’re looking for in a down bag, and make your choice accordingly!