Skip to Content

Goose Down or Synthetic Sleeping Bag – What’s Better?

Sleeping bag in tent (photo: Unsplash)

You’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade your camping equipment.

Educate yourself on the high-quality gear that companies offer so that you can have the best camping experience possible. It’s never too late to make the clear-sky nights memorable. 

This article will compare synthetic sleeping bags and goose down bags, specifically the common durable type that comes as a lightweight down sleeping bag.

We’ll mention the pros and cons of each, and by the end, we hope it’ll be easier for you to make the right decision!

Essential Gear for Outdoor Adventures

When it comes to camping, there are certain things that you learn along the way. The importance of great equipment being one of them.

Speaking of equipment, you’ll need to invest in several things that can impact your overall experience. 

First and foremost, you need to make sure that the gear is safe and high-quality so that it can last at least several years.

High-quality gear can be quite expensive, so you'll want to invest wisely.

You’ll need a tent, sleeping bag, a comfortable and spacious backpack, and of course, the right clothes and shoes since there can be a lot of walking.

Battle of the Sleeping Bags

There are several noteworthy differences when it comes to sleeping bags. Here, we'll compare goose-down and synthetic sleeping bags.

Price 

Your budget will likely play a role in determining what kind of sleeping bag you can purchase. Down-filled sleeping bags are somewhat more expensive than synthetic ones.

Lately, goose and duck-filled sleeping bags and jackets are in high demand because they provide a warm feeling. 

Since the demand is high, so are the prices. They can go for around $300. 

Synthetic sleeping bags are cheaper, but they aren’t as warm as the goose-down filled ones. They run for about $200.

Duck-down filled bags are cheaper than the goose ones, but they cannot be compared to one another. 

Warmth to weight ratio 

Goose-down sleeping bags are light and give enough warmth for you not to feel how cold it is outside. This is really important if you’re camping without fire, or it’s winter.

The light weight of the down sleeping bags is also important, especially if you’re walking a lot or climbing uphill. 

Synthetic sleeping bags don’t provide that much warmth. They certainly can, but more synthetic material is needed.

For example, a synthetic sleeping bag that gives out the same warmth as a goose-down sleeping bag is twice its size.

That means carrying extra weight with you all day, which is not ideal.

Water resistance 

When it comes to water resistance, synthetic bags are your go-to. Or at least they were.

Synthetic bags are great for the outdoors, rain, snow, camping next to rivers. Even if they get wet, they dry out easily. The same cannot be said for the down-filled sleeping bags. 

But, recently, a hydrophobic material was introduced into sleeping bags. With this new technology, down-filled sleeping bags came one step closer to synthetic ones.

What’s even better is the material adds zero pounds of extra to the weight to the sleeping bag.

Sleeping bag

Talking about ethics 

Down-filled sleeping bags are a product of the food industry.

That means, when meat companies produce certain products, they don’t need the feathers, so they sell them to companies that will use them.

That’s how the goose and duck-down filled bags are made. They are closer to nature because of this approach.

If this represents an ethical issue for you, you can always opt for a synthetic sleeping bag. They can do the same job as the down-filled, with some minor differences.

You need to check for allergies with both down-filled and synthetic sleeping bags since some people can have bad reactions to those materials. 

Durability and ability to compress

A high-quality down sleeping bag can last up to a decade if treated well without losing its fluffiness. The ability to compress a down-filled sleeping bag is also impressive.

Many sleeping bags can be compressed into a size that would easily fit into your backpack. 

Synthetic sleeping bags can also be resistant and durable, depending on the other materials, besides the synthetic fibers.

The ability to compress them would be much lower, but you can always pack them atop your backpack and secure them.

Either way, this is a win-win situation, and it mostly depends on the rest of the materials used in the sleeping bags. 

Summary

Regardless of whether you choose a down-filled or a synthetic sleeping bag, you won’t have to give up much in the way of performance.

They can both be highly durable and made with high-quality materials.

Having the right clothes and skills for setting up a fire, finding a great place for camping, and bringing enough food and drinkable water are also essential for a successful camping trip.

_____

This story is brought to you in partnership with Hyke & Byke.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking uses and recommends: