Controversy about what is best — down or synthetic insulation, is not the first and is still far from being resolved. Here, for example, the opinion of the famous Russian explorer Vladimir Chukov expressed during his expedition to the North Pole. "More trouble with sleeping gear, warm jacket, gloves. They accumulated condensate and turns to ice. Group sleeping like an ice box, however, we can not sleep, without suffering from the cold. The main thing, of course, is that it is a synthetic insulation, which works in any condition. If we had a sleeping bag and down jackets, fur or wool, would give the signal «SOS», and while we still hold onto hope that soon will become warmer and we can vymorozit and dried in the sun all the warm gear. Do it with a feather or fur without a hot stove just not possible. "
Indeed, synthetic fillers, warm and moist, but not so on the fluff that can even regedit into chunks of ice. In addition, synthetic easier than rule cheaper, does not rot from moisture, dries quickly, is easy to operate and maintain. But there is one very important fact, which does not speak in favor of synthetics — even at temperatures below minus 30 ° C in its heat-insulating properties, it falls behind fluff. Recently, some companies began to process down repellent type Nikwax, that perpetuate its insulating properties. And most importantly, all well-known manufacturers "Extreme" clothes continue to use fluff as filler not only by tradition, but by the use of such materials puhoderzhaschih (upper cloth and fabric lining), which completely eliminate wetting insulation.
Upper materials and lining — another important sign of quality puff. In models of clothing intended for extreme weather conditions, as puhoderzhaschih materials use durable and lightweight membrane fabrics that have windproof and water-resistant, well "breathe", do not let down, keep elasticity in the cold.
Among membrane fabrics used in the manufacture of materials the top, the best indicators have: Gore-Tex, Syper Bertex, AWT, Cyclon, Ultrex. Of all the currently known membrane fabrics indisputable leadership keeps Gore-Tex. This material is waterproof, even under pressure (withstands 30,000 mm water column — the highest rate), better than other carries condensate, avoiding hypothermia, it is not cleaned, it is very durable, can maintain a sense of comfort even with heavy use, rain or sleet . In special cases apply Gore-Tex Islay (DL). Similar properties have all of these membrane tissue, but their water-repellent, strength properties, the ability to carry out condensation lower. The materials are lining membrane fabrics easier — lightweight and "breathable" Pertex, Sofinat Nylon Taffeta.
Besides the above indicators puffs suitability for use in the high latitudes, the importance of its design. Sometimes in polar expeditions use three-and four-even heavy down jacket. They are usually sewn to order and designed for the most severe climatic conditions. Increasingly used jackets combined with two independent layers of down jackets or "jumpers." Heat provides only through design without seams.
Among other requirements for a down jacket, reinforcing the lining of the denser material on the shoulders and elbows (in the best models for these purposes Kevlar) ties at the waist and at the bottom, protecting against wind and cold, "anatomical", volume hood protects the face and head from the wind and at the same time providing a complete overview, internal and external valve windproof zip, comfortable location of pockets, which are accessible, even carrying a backpack on his shoulders, elasticated cuffs.
Storm jacket for extreme travel also sewn mainly of the above materials. As the storm jacket is designed to protect against similar adverse climate impacts, as puff (except heavy frost), then the requirements for these types of clothes are similar. Between outerwear and underwear as a second warming layer wear wool or fleece clothing. Fleece — is a synthetic analogue of wool, which combine the best properties of natural and synthetic fabrics. Most fleece products are made from proven materials Polartec, combines such advantages as the ability to store heat at low weight due to the hollow structure of the pile, good ventilation, easy to use. Some models combine fleece garments with membranes Windefender, Windblok, Windstopper and Pertex, which increases the wind-and water-repellent products. Clothing fleece is perfect insulating layer under jackets or sponge.
When sewing thermal underwear is also mostly used synthetic materials. Cotton, so often used in lingerie for everyday wear, absorbs moisture, does not pass condensate, long dry, contributing supercooling. These disadvantages are not as significant in urban areas, are able to deliver a lot of trouble the traveler at high latitudes. The current generation of synthetic fabrics, used by all the leading manufacturers of thermal underwear, well the condensate drain to the next layer of clothing. In addition, these fabrics are lighter, durable, soft, flexible, easy on the body, dry quickly. For the most suitable of the high travel underwear is made from a material such as: Termoceram, Ufa Arctica, Polar Power Strech, Rhovyl. Often to make fabric adds a certain amount of elasticity Lycra. Some manufacturers use a cloth Ulfrotte. This combination of a specially treated wool and polyamide. This fabric retains all the remarkable properties of wool, and the special treatment allows wear woolen underwear directly to the skin, without causing itching and irritation of the skin, as is usually the case with woolen goods. Underwear fabric Ulfrotte weighing not less than 400 g / sq. m is designed for very cold weather.
Of the various types of clothing for use in extreme conditions, noteworthy products from companies such as: VauDe, Eider, North Face, Tatonka, Killy-Sport, Bask, Red Fox. Product of the last two firms are different optimum ratio of "price-quality".
As a rule, high latitude trips lasting more than one day to be associated with high physical activity borne by the participants. Therefore, the normal sleep, allowing for night to restore power, is very important. And, therefore, the success or failure of an attempted trip because largely depend on how correctly selected sleeping bag and whether the holder can have rest before the new marching day.
It has already been briefly discussed about the challenges facing travelers of the past, on what tricks they were going to make sleeping bags that can provide more or less tolerable conditions overnight. In Soviet times, when the field equipment was mostly improvised, tourists also often excelled in inventing new styles of sleeping bags. Absolutely unique "model" is the author had the opportunity to see in one of the expeditions, learned geologist thrust sleeping bag bottom, sewed for him … boots, that night, coming out of the tent on the physiological need, you can not get out of the bag. To such structural features are not smart enough, no company that manufactures equipment for extreme travel, although the choice of sleeping bags in modern stores can satisfy any taste.
Most often found sleeping two types — a blanket or a cocoon. The blanket is hardly suitable for polar travel — it's too lightweight design. Cocoon good hugs the body is compact and retains heat better. There is a so-called "elephant foot" — short sleeping bag, waist-high, where it is tacked on to a down jacket. Of course, this option compared to the traditional sleeping bag is lighter and takes up less space, but, in the author's view, it is better not to be confused with the clothing bedding.
As a filling material is used as a feather, and synthetics. Their advantages and disadvantages were discussed above in the description of down jackets. Providing the same protection from the cold, as synthetics, products down occupy less space when stored in a compressed state quickly restore thermal insulation properties. Better if soaked down water repellent Nikwax. However, synthetic sleeping bags just as good, they almost do not absorb moisture, easy to dry in the wind, even at low temperatures and is easier to wash. It is only necessary to give up so popular we syntepon.
Creation of new synthetic materials that meet the requirements of the high travel. One of the best filler is Thermolite Extream firm Du Pont, which is due to the increased lightness and wrinkle resistance for its thermal insulation properties similar to natural down. This material as it envelops the human body, due to which a sleeping bag is very comfortable. Thermolite Extream does not get wet, and to enhance its water resistance often impregnated Nikwax Polar Proof. Very good qualities also have fillers such as Polarguard 3d, 3m Thinsulate, Arctic TM. Hollow fibers of this material are filled with air, which keeps the heat. To improve the insulating properties of sleeping bags sewn by attaching insulation tape technology. Material exterior and interior should be sleeping "breathing", otherwise the frozen night in a sleeping bag provided. In a good model to use a light, durable, water-repellent fabric — Polyamide, Nylon Taffeta, Sofinal.
Also, you need to pay attention to the zipper — it must be equipped with self-locking excluding spontaneous undoing, but within the entire length of the valve cover. Well, if the option is provided with a zipper on both the left and the right, which allows two sleeping bag. Reducing heat provides a sleeping bag design, which provides an additional package around your neck, strap with a stopper on the hood, as well as form a sleeping bag, body contours. Temperature range, which is designed for comfort and extreme operating sleeping bag — one of the most vivid evidence of the suitability of a polar route.
Some models are equipped with a compression sack, with which you can reduce the amount of sleeping bag for transport. Excellent quality sleeping bags are different firms VauDe — one of Europe's leading tourist equipment. However, to assess this quality can not all due to the high cost of products offered. Constant praise participants are awarded a variety of extreme travel sleeping bags firms Lafuma and Bask.