View Full Version : Tipis and sleeping bags in WET climates?

03-19-2003, 07:55 AM
On another board, there is the discussion of tents and one poster's experience in AK. Just wondering if you guys think the floored, dome style tents offer anything over the Tipi's? I'm still lusting /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif after a 4-man with stove. My wife LOVES the idea of being warm!

I'm needing to make a bag purchase and am weighing the difference between down and synthetics. I love the packability and feel of down, but worry about it getting wet. Beings that I live in UT I'm not too worried about getting wet here, but what about other places? I've decided to tailor my equipment by getting one set of GOOD stuff even if it costs more so as to not have to have as much stuff. Thanks for any and all replies.

03-19-2003, 08:42 AM
For a synthetic bag, consider Wiggys. They're in Grand Junction, and if you go to the factory store, the prices are 40% off retail. I don't know where in Utah you are, but maybe you havea friend in Junction. Even at full price, they're competitive. I have two of their coats and the insulation is fantastic. He's got a massive ego, but his patented insulation really works. The Antartic Parka I own was soaked on Monday, and it didn't matter. I've used it to 5 below with a good wind, and it just shuts down the cold as well as anything I've owned.

I'm not fond of down because I'm the guy who seems to find ways for mishaps to occur. Like one September west of Craig when the wind and rain came up so hard it blew my tent 50 yards and left it upside down. The only dry thing in my tent was a bottle of whiskey, which became quite necessary after that. The synthetic bag I had was soaked, but kept me warm that night. Down would have been useless. I'll carry the extra weight for a bag that always works. Patrick, on the other hand, is more of an optimist, and carries a 2lb down bag for use in the tipi.

Wiggys outfits the special forces with bags. Like Patrick's mil packs, if the service doesn't supply them, a lot of guys spend their own money on Wiggys bags.

<a href="http://www.wiggys.com" target="_blank">http://www.wiggys.com (http://www.wiggys.com)</a>

03-19-2003, 08:46 AM
Pointer, I live in probably the wettest place in the U.S. Here is Southeast Alaska we use synthetic bags. Down is nice, but when it gets wet it is useless. You notice I say when, not if. We hunt in the interior of Alaska too and still use the synthetics. The newer bags have really improved. Take a look at Backpacker Magazine and check out the different bags. REI is a good place to start. We too are looking at the Tipi. We have been using dome tents for the past 10 years of so and have good results, however they are heavier. A guide here had one of the Tipis but because it is so wet here, Muskegs never dry out, the inside of the tent never would dry out even with the stove. Just something to think about. We will probably buy one before this hunting season but will have to have the liner also. Jim

03-19-2003, 09:48 AM

Actually, I use a synthetic bag the vast majority of the time. I used a down bag for the BC goat hunt because my old company--Mountaismith--is making excellent down bags now and I wanted to test one. Worked great too, but for all-around anywhere use the synthetics are far more reliable.

The tipi liners most assuredly eliminate inside-the-tent moisture (when and if it occurs--which it sounds like it does in SE AK) if the moisture bothers you. As I've said many times, the tents are so big intimacy with their inside walls can be easily avoided.


03-19-2003, 11:04 AM
Yep, that is the reason we plan on buying one. Keep up the good work Patrick.

03-19-2003, 11:47 AM
Pointer, I am active duty army and have used the Wiggy's bag and have been very pleased with it,it is a far cry from the chicken feather bags I started out with. but whenever I go out here in UTAH,with a pack, I take my 2 lb Marmot unless in winter, then a 3 lb Marmot. I grew up on Eddie Bauer down products and have always been partial to down. Down needs to breathe. Long term use in a gore tex bivy without getting aired out is asking for trouble. I love down's qualities and always go prepared to keep my down dry. You may not be willing to do that. There are times and places that synthetics will be far superior to down. If I lived in the Pacific NW I would own synthetics. In the Rockies, I don't think they are needed. You must decide, after study, what best fills your needs. I'm a poor working stiff and hunt Utah. My dream hunt is in Africa not Alaska. Are you going to buy a bag for the twenty times a year you use it in Utah or the one time in your life you hunt Chugach AK? Good luck with your dilemma.

03-19-2003, 12:09 PM
Ill second the wiggys bags... were it not for the sheer luck of borrowing one, Id probably be dead of hypothermia right about now as a couple years ago I had an unsealed seam in a bivy sack that left me literally 2 inches in water. The wiggys kept me warm, down would have killed me.

03-19-2003, 02:19 PM
Sgathak, I am glad to see the Wiggys bag kept you around. Anyone who camps in the back of the Taj gets my vote for a class act.

I love down. Just don't like the failure when wet problems. And if you get to junction, or have a friend there, Wiggys bags are cheap, too.

03-19-2003, 04:19 PM
I have bounced back and forth on the down verses synthetic issue, but I finaly decided on down. For me it was a weight and space issue. My 20 degree down bag and bivy combined, weigh less, keep me warmer, and take up less space than the synthetics that I used. With all of the new shell materials that are being used on the down bags they have my vote.

03-19-2003, 04:30 PM
BTW, I have used the old chicken feather bags with nylon/cotton shells that elmbow referred to, And even these ancient relics do well in wet conditions if used wisely. Keep off the wet ground more than anything. most modern bags can shed water to a point, But if you lay down in a puddle it wont matter what your sleeping in.

03-19-2003, 04:45 PM
Pointer, here's link you might find interesting if you haven't seen it yet. Deals with 3 season bags and has a section on water resistence.


03-20-2003, 12:11 PM
Thanks all for the replies. The bags that I've found to like (though haven't tried) are the Big Agnes. web page (http://www.bigagnes.com) I'm kind of a thrasher when I sleep.

Mike- Thanks for the link I'll check it out.

03-20-2003, 03:50 PM
Ed - (sorry it may have been Ed C.)
Ed I recall that last fall you were selling off several quality bags. If you catch this would you mind sharing your new strategy with us? What did you upgrade to and how did it work out - thought from a later post it might have been a Big Agnes?