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Sleeping Bags: Do I Need a Waterproof Laminate?

I need a new winter sleeping bag. Should I choose a sleeping bag with or without a waterproof laminate? Can you explain the difference?

Question:

I need a new winter sleeping bag. Should I choose a sleeping bag with or without a waterproof laminate? Can you explain the difference?

Submitted by - Bjorn A.

Answer:

Right off the bat, the most apparent difference will be the price. The typical uptick on a bag with a waterproof shell is around 100 bucks. You have to decide if your style of camping really merits the investment. If you often often throw down—bivy-style—or sleep under a tarp, the extra weather protection is a huge plus, and well worth the investment. Likewise, if you’re from a rainy region or if you’ve historically had problems with your bag getting wet, a waterproof shell fabric will give you some peace of mind.

Another option: Buy a bottle of DWR for about $10 and do it yourself. Two good options: Revivex Spray-On Water Repellent, or Nikwax TX Direct Spray-On It’s super easy, and though it won’t render your bag totally waterproof, it will create a decent barrier to moisture that will shed tent condensation, no problem.—KRISTIN

1 Comment

  1. Patrick Stoneking

    I use a vapor barrier inside my old down Gore Tex bag for longer trips in really cold (-40 or below) trip. It keeps the moisture out of the down and actually feels quite a bit warmer. The increased humidity in the vapor barrier also helps with with moisturizing the dry skin on my hands – a big plus on a long winter trip.

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