Kristin Hostetter from BackPacker magazine addressed the question “Should I choose a sleeping bag with or without a waterproof laminate? Can you explain the difference?”
The most apparent difference will be the price. The additional cost of a waterproof shell is around 100 bucks. You have to decide if your style of camping really merits the investment.
If you camp bivy-style or sleep under a tarp, the extra weather protection is a huge plus, and worth the investment.
If you’re from a rainy region or if you’ve had problems with your bag getting wet, a waterproof shell fabric will give you some peace of mind.
A DIY solution is to buy a bottle of DWR for about $10 and apply it yourself. Two good options are Revivex Spray-On Water Repellent or Nikwax TX Direct Spray-On. They are easy to apply and although the DIY approach won’t render your bag totally waterproof it will create a decent barrier to moisture that will shed tent condensation.
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