I'm allergic to down, but I like its compressibility. I’ve been trying to find a synthetic bag that packs as well as a down one. But do you know anyone who makes a hypoallergenic down sleeping bag or am I stuck with synthetics?
Submitted by - Greg
Guess what? You are probably not allergic to down. You are likely allergic to the dust particles that remain in down that is not cleaned and processed properly. Or dust mites. Or mold that can grow in an I'm properly stored down bag. Some tips: Forget about buying a bag that's labeled 750-fill power or under. Those are lesser quality downs that might have you sneezing and wheezing all night. If you opt for an 850-fill power or higher bag, you're getting only the fluffiest down plumules that have been thoroughly cleaned. There is an industry standard test called the Oxygen Test, which measures the dust/residue content in processed down. A number of 4.8 or less is considered hypo-allergenic, whereas anything under 10 is considered "clean".
Here is some more info on Oxygen Testing: http://idfl.com/media/pdfs/news/IDFL%20News%208.pdf. It will take some digging to find out if certain bags have this level of clean down, but most good bag makers can answer the question if pressed on it. And most will also accept a return if you find yourself unsatisfied. An added bonus: the higher the fill power, the more compressible the down is. It's no surprise that you'll spend more money for these premium products-be prepared to spend $50 to $150 more for 850-fill bags, depending on the other features you select.
Of course, you can also opt for a synthetic bag. They're a bit heavier and bulkier, but if your allergy truly is to down itself, a synthetic bag should so the trick. Dust and dust mites also live in synthetic materials, but if you're not allergic to them, it shouldn't be a problem.