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New with some gear questions


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Hey all,

Brand new to the forum and starting to get into backpacking. I have a couple gear questions that I hope to get answered, the first being about sleeping bag compression size. I'm looking to pick up a North Face Cats Meow 20 degree bag, I'm buying used because I'm in college and am on a budget. Anyway, I read that it compresses to around 8x17, is that good for a synthetic bag? If anyone has any recommendations for a cheap great starter bag let me know.

Also, does anyone have any experience strapping bows to their packs? If so what did you use? I'm not trying to use bungies because its too much movement and I don't want to mess up my sight. I have an Osprey Aether 70 pack. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

It will compress to a smaller size.  8 x 17 is just an uncompressed stuff sack.  Depending on which compression sack you pick, that bag should compress down easily to something like 8 x 10 or thereabout.  That's a pretty good/average size for a quality synthetic bag - lower quality bags will be considerably heavier and bulkier.  If you aren't opposed to down, the Kelty Cosmic is very popular as a good starter bag and of course down has some nice qualities over synthetic.  You want to keep any sleeping bag dry so don't buy too much into the always-said advice that synthetic will keep you warm when wet - technically true but any wet bag is absolutely miserable and can be dangerous.  Synthetic is sometimes a better choice for very humid environments where it doesn't dry out for days.  In extended conditions like that it's hard to keep down dry and the synthetic will keep more of its loft.  Otherwise, down is the way to go.  Keep in mind that with synthetic insulation, compressing them should be done minimally and they should never be stored that way.  Down will recover from compression and suffer less damage over time but synthetics all will lose loft and warmth over the long haul from compression damage - nothing wrong with it but it's a fact and for that reason they will have a shorter lifespan than a down bag. 

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