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Thread: Alpkit Pipedream 400 vs High End Sleeping bags

  1. #1
    ‹bermensch Stephen's Avatar
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    Hi folks,

    I have been using a PD400 for the last 8 months very happily in all sorts of temperatures.

    I have only owned 2 down bagsso do not have much of a benchmark to go from. Anyone have experince of both the current PD400 and comparable high end bags, is there much of a differnce if any.

    Thanks,

    Stephen

  2. #2
    Ultra King Martin Carpenter's Avatar
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    But what's comparable?

    Is bringing stuff like a Hispar 400 or yeti passion 500/WM etc into the question really reasonable? Little doubt which you'd rather have I think but there's a massive price differential.

    So probably not really. In the end Alpkit really aren't tying to make the utterly best thing possible, but produce something good to a really good price point. Nothing at all wrong with that of course!

    The highish end high street bags perhaps rather more reasonable reference points.
    Or maybe those 3/500's that PHD do in their sales. I'd have to pass there.

  3. #3
    ‹bermensch Stephen's Avatar
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    Hi Martin,

    Cheers for the reply.

    I think the Mimin 300or ME Xero 350would be in the same ball parkas the PD400. I have a Hispar for winter and I can see the diffences in stitch quality and constrcution but its not a massive differnce either.

    Cheers,

    Stephen

    Cheers,

    Stephen

  4. #4
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    The law of diminishing returns in action.

    With Alpkit stuff (judging from my Gamma torch and Wee Airic mats) you get a very substantial proportion of the performance for a much less substantial proportion of the price.

    For a more tangible idea of how merely good performs compared to the best, check out relative ratings of, say, Rab and ME basic ranges against their premium stuff.

    If you're loaded and/or seriously anal about grammes and/or having the very best (I'm not criticising you if you are, btw, or we'd be in pots/kettlkes/black territory!) then look to changing your bag, otherwise from my personal experience of Alpkit stuff you can rest assured you have a high performing product.

    Pete.

  5. #5
    ‹bermensch Wurz's Avatar
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    Slightly off topic but why torture yourself? I (try) when I buy something to not look back. As long as I am happy with the product and the price.

    That said most pretty well respected gear, which I think the PD400 is btw, can be sold on for not far from what you pay for it on fleabay should you fancy a change.

    I actually wanted a PD400 a couple of years ago but as they were out of stock I ended up with a MH Phantom 32 instead for a not dissimilar price from the states. Probably stows slightly smaller, is slightly lighter and slightly cooler and in the UK £100 dearer. As Peter says diminishing returns.

  6. #6
    ‹bermensch FB's Avatar
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    TBH Stephen, just google up the spec of the PD vs similar weight bags from premium brands (I just did) There wasnt much in it. .

    I think what makes the difference and reallyjustifies additional expenditure, on any product, is fit and ergonomics. Another £100 for a bag that fits right is worth it IMH. But TBH you may get the ideal fit from the cheaper bag too.

  7. #7
    ‹bermensch Stephen's Avatar
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    Cheers folks,

    The specs of the PD400 do seem comparable to the offerings from the like of Rab and ME in the same weight class.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

  8. #8
    ‹bermensch Ray !!!!!'s Avatar
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    i would like a pipedream 400 but they are too narrow so bought an xl me helium 250.fits great and got for £100. i think the alpkit bags are more suited to the more girly sized person. if they would just make them a bit wider i would buy one.

  9. #9
    Initiate Nick the ex Mod's Avatar
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    I have a PD 400 so what you trying to say Pal? (girly sized person?) you saying,I have got Tit's? and a fat arse?

    must say the PD 400 is a little narrow, brilliant bag though and i think i paid around 35 quid for it from Alpkit's warehouse sale.

  10. #10
    Goon Neil Pratt.'s Avatar
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    +1 for the PDs being overly narrow.

    I bought a PD800 for winter use and ended up letting the wife use it as I couldn't quite get the bag zipped up round my shoulders.

    I've ended up using one of the SkyeHigh 800s, which is 5cm wider and that makes all the difference, although the materials used in the bag make it a fair bit heavier.

    we've also got a couple of Skyehigh 400s (which I think are discontinued now) which we use as summer bags - brilliant value for a down bag, especially as we got them for £40 each. At that price it was cheaper than buying a synthetic bag.

  11. #11
    ‹bermensch Stephen's Avatar
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    Cheers for the replies folks,

    I find the PD400width fine but I wouldn't want it any narrower.

    That Alpkit yard sale sounds like great value.

    Cheers,

    Stephen

  12. #12
    Mini Goon
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    Just as an additional bit of info. My Rab Andes 800 arrived the other day and I have to say that the quality looks top notch, there is absolutley nothing out of place. If this is indictive of the quality of the new Rab range (I will let you know about the Wifes Ascent W when it arrives) then I have to say Rab are back in a big way! Of course the proof of the pudding will be in the eating so to speak expect a big kit review for all the stuff coming with me to the Andes Next Month

    ps. One thing about the Alpkit bags......see if you can find what their policy toward the sourceing of the Down is on their site...non?

  13. #13
    Mini Goon Andy Andy Andy's Avatar
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    Not much of a challenge Chris.

    Here, Here, and here.

    I also think that it's a bit unfair to just put one manufacturer in the unethical box. *delves into can of worms* (or should that be box of geese?)I know that everyone wants their customers to believe that they are ethical and it's all fine and to be fair I think they all want their down to be ethically sourced. So when the horror stories of birds being jetwashed for their down come out I think it's just unfortunate for whichever brand buys their down. No doubt some brands are better than others for this and putting the cynic in me away; I do think that brands such as Tundra who are all about ethical down are free of blame. If they were found to be trading unethical down after the values they've based their image on their customer base would disappear very quickly.

    Rant over =)

  14. #14
    Mini Goon
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    Whoa there skipper......Not exactly easy to find on their site, certainly no link to it from their down products page! But not actually my point.

    I don't for a moment suggest any reputable UK outdoors company would intentionally profit by cruelty to animals, however the Links you sent (thank you) kind of prove the point I was trying to make. Alpkit make budget kit (not the same as bad kit). In order to keep overheads and therefore costsdown compromises on a number of areas must be made. In this case they clearly didn't have full visabilty of their supply chain (this is an extra cost) and it would appear they still don't, although they are clearly concerned about welfare, they are not concerned enough to introduce a full audit of their supply chainas this is costly and possibly impractical given the state of the agricultrual industry in China.

    This level of cost saving must be present across their entireproduction range, in exactly the same way that Rab have their Bags made in China but filled in the UK making them more than Alpkit but less than PHD who produce solely in the UK. Now Rab obviously feel that they can get the quality they want for the shell by outsourceing the production and it looks like their right (they've been wrong with some of their kit of the last couple of years!).

    You pays your money and you takes your choice.

  15. #15
    Initiate SteveD's Avatar
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    I did alot of research for my new down bag and now know more than I really need to about

    Fill Power
    Covering materials
    Differential fill/cut/baffles

    My main issues were:

    weight - if you are going for down then you may as well go for the lightest
    Size - most bags are too tight across the shoulders and around the knees for me
    cover materials - That compromise between breathability andwater resistance
    warmth range and versatility.

    I went for a cumulus bag and so far have been very happy with it,
    it is very soft (high quality down)
    It appears that the down is ethically sourced (By product of meat industry and I am a omnivore),
    is very versatile due to full length zips and differential fill,
    is roomy enough for me to feel comfortable (5cm larger than the RAB equivalent across the shoulders and less of a taper in the leg)

    Steve d

  16. #16
    Mini Goon Andy Andy Andy's Avatar
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    That's fair enough and I do actually agree with you but filling and sourcing are different. Rab may well have more ethical labour from filling in the UK (also good to encourage employment in the UK) but I'd be surprised (happily so I suppose) if they also sourced all of their down in the UK. As far as I understood it the problem was not with the physical filling of the bag but the collection of the down and I agree it's very hard for a company to know what's happening as no down producer is going to advertise unethical practice.

    I do fear this is wandering quite spectacularly from the OP's question unless animal rights are high up there on your list of requirements (I'm not saying they should or shouldn't be be; "you pays your money and you takes your choice" indeed).

  17. #17
    Mini Goon Andy Andy Andy's Avatar
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    Above post is in reply to Chris if that wasn't obvious.

  18. #18
    Mini Goon
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    I think the point I was trying to make is that of quality. I would expect the higher end manufacturers to produce kit which is consistantly of higher quality than the budget manufacturers. I was simply useing the Down as an example of the comprimises that may have to be made to hit a certain price point.

    This is not meant to put down Alpkit, I suspect their quality is high enough for the majority of outdoor users. But looking at another point how many people have stated the bags are too narrow. Is that a lack of pre-product testing or a lack of QC at the manufacture point, I don't know but it's hard to be too critical at their price point. You can bet your ass I'd be on the phone to Rab if my bag wasn't spot on, I bought that right.

    And I'll bet the guys at Alpkit would look prerry affronted if someone told them that the Tesco down bags were as good as theirs.

    What Alpkit gives you is most of the quality and a lot less price.....as some already said it's the law of diminishing returns!

    And you're quite right Rab's down comes from Europe (mostly Poland).

  19. #19
    Ultra King Martin Carpenter's Avatar
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    No one sources down from the UK - no goose production

    The issue with filling it in the UK is simply that shipping down halfway across the world before filling isn't terribly rational, or indeed good for it. Making the shells of the bags in China is rather more rational as the fabric is made in Japan anyway.

    What you can do - if either small enough (like say PHD) or prepared to put the cost/effort required in (Haglofs, Patagonia etc) - is source it from places in the EU which don't use live plucking.

    If you're sourcing down from lower cost places in China its all much harder to keep track of. Just not as well developed in stuctural sense for that sort of checking.

    Wrong to 'blame' Alpkit for this though - such issues are intrinsic to what they're doing. You can see how little leverage they actually have from how patchy their ability to keep these in stock is sometimes. I doubt they choose to do that either

    In one sense this is all a tiny bit odd, as the alternative is that the poor birds get cut up for meat. They can't be too impressed by that either! I guess the argument is that its a byproduct of something which would happen anyway (food production), which is sort of reasonable. Waiting for it to fall out naturally and then collecting it really isn't remotely fast enough.).

  20. #20
    Ultra King Martin Carpenter's Avatar
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    The sizing complaints surely just reflect the markets buying their things - relatively 'normally' sized people - vs the people often after really light sleeping bags (traditionally scarily fit mountain marathon types.).

    The best option there is to offer width and length fittings but that one of the first things that goes when you move to (comparative) mass production overseas as compared to somewhere like PHD.

    (well length fittings can be had for some bags, although not now from RAB, width very rare.).

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