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Rab Top Bag AR Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Rab Top Bag AR Review on 06/03/2008 17:30:14 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Rab Top Bag AR Review

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Rab Top Bag on 06/03/2008 20:00:38 MDT Print View

Re: "One way to reduce weight in a sleeping system is to use a top bag or quilt." Really? Why then does the SummerLite weigh 1 and 1/2 ounces less?

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Rab Top Bag AR Review on 06/03/2008 20:16:05 MDT Print View

Good question, Robert! While I've tried to like the idea of a bottomless bag with a pad pocket, as Big Agnes and others have offered, they are not for me. I think if one sleeps like King Tut on a slab, they may be ideal.

But, I'm a side sleeping snuggler who likes to scrunch up my legs, etc. Therefore, my Western Mountaineering traditional mummy bags are the lap of comfort for me.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Re: Re: Top Bag on 06/03/2008 20:43:22 MDT Print View

Preach it, brother Michael! To me, when I cram a pad into a top bag, it's like stringing a bow. Very un-natural feel.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Rab Top Bag AR Review on 06/03/2008 22:08:38 MDT Print View

Very important question - what is the maximum pad THICKNESS this bag will accept?

For example, the Big Agnes Insulated Air core is 2.5 inches thick. If a Thermorest Prolite 4 fits snugly, I have trouble envisioning how the BA could fit in there.

I'm a side sleeper so the previous comments are dead-on for me and makes this a no-go item. Back sleepers might like it, but all that air space with no decent neck seal means this thing is for really warm weather only.

Edited by wandering_bob on 06/03/2008 22:10:58 MDT.

Brian Macari

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Rab top quilt on 06/04/2008 05:56:54 MDT Print View

Assateague Island

The top bag concept works fine for side sleepers, which I am. You just have to shelf your fear of trying new stuff and figure out a methodology that works for you! I use a Backpacking Light UL 180 Quilt and I love it. It does cinch around the neck sealing up for heat retention.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Rab top quilt on 06/04/2008 07:39:27 MDT Print View

Pretty disappointing stats/specs on the new bag. Price is not everything. I guess the golite adrenaline would be a better bet (though warmer).

Brian Macari

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
quilt on 06/04/2008 07:44:50 MDT Print View

How about the Golite Ultra quilt? Anyone used it? It seems to be out of stock constantly, so someone must be buying/using it out there!

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: quilt on 06/04/2008 08:00:37 MDT Print View

I stand corrected - I meant the Ultra.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Rab Top Bag AR Review on 06/04/2008 08:26:10 MDT Print View

I have not read this cuz I can't I like the last version Quantum top bag (15 oz by my scale) alot. It's been my fav bag for several years now. I guess the bottom fabric could be a little more narrow, but it doesn't bother me. I put my pad outside my bivy since it is ccf. I don't really want a hood or the gross color of the new bag...or even a sleeve on the bottom. What's up with all these Heck, I even bought a second RAB right before they changed to this new one. If colder than 32 degrees my go to bag now will be the golite ultra. It worked well enough for me into the lower 20s.

Edited by jshann on 06/04/2008 12:15:39 MDT.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Rab Top Bag AR Review on 06/04/2008 10:34:21 MDT Print View

Maybe I'm a little jaded as a VERY satisfied Marmot Hydrogen owner, but I think you have overrated the Rab based upon the descriptions in this review... Recommended?!?

Seriously... not useful for anyone over 6 feet? Not for side sleepers? And only a half ounce savings over a full mummy bag from multiple manufacturers?

If I were to switch to a top bag, I would expect a half pound savings over my full mummy - not a half ounce!!

Please revisit your rating descriptions:

Above Average
Products that should meet consumer expectations, but against which other products in its class should also be considered.
[Sounds like what you said about the Rab to me.]

Products in categories where better performance:weight and performance:value can be realized in several other competing products.
[I could definitely make a case here too if you want.]

You aren't seriously putting this in a class of it's own because it has a pad sleeve are you?

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
GoLite Ultra Quilt on 06/04/2008 20:23:36 MDT Print View

I have used a long GoLite Ultra Quilt for 3 weekend trips on the AT in GA with temps ranging from 26 to 50 F. The bag was purchased for $250 in January 2008 & it weighs approx. 20 oz on my Taylor scale. I'm a back & side sleeper & am 6'1" tall & weigh 215 lbs.
The Ultra is plenty long enough for me & has enough girth to keep me covered when on my side. It has an enclosed foot box which comes up to the level of my knees. A Gossamer Gear torso length closed cell foam pad & Thin light pad are also my preferred accompaniments.
I was warm at 26 degrees in lightweight 2 piece polyester "long johns", thick Smartwool socks, & a fleece balaclava while in a tarptent. The Ultra's pad retention straps require correct positioning to keep you covered while needing to be loose enough to alow freedom of movement. This takes a little practice & to be honest, I wish the Ultra had the pad sleeve like the Rab AR as it would eliminate this learning curve & the inevitable air gaps with cold backside that come with it.
I would consider buying the Rab if it was longer & perhaps if it had a lower temp. rating. However, proper incorporation of clothing into the sleep system would solve this shortcoming. I hope this answers some of your questions & makes your decision a little easier.

Brian Macari

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
golite ultra on 06/05/2008 05:04:10 MDT Print View

James, you should be doing reviews here! Outstanding. Thank you for the articulate overview. I am indeed closer, but they seem to be out of stock everwhere. Especially when they are ever available for a slight discount (typical 20% off deals). I have one of Golites old (like 5 or 6 years)20 deg top bags with velcro patches and it never quite felt comfortable, then i tried it with an insul-mat max-lite inflatable and the world got quiet at night. I have to say, I just upgraded from a Golite Gust to GL Pinnacle and with these tiny quilts, I am thinking of trying a Gossamer bag!

Brian Macari

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
tarptent on 06/05/2008 05:10:59 MDT Print View

James, which model tarptent do you use? I use a cloudburst, and some friends complain about the breeze always coming through. Well heck, that is what i love most about the tent!

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 06/05/2008 09:57:46 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 11/20/2014 20:38:32 MST.

René Enguehard
(ahugenerd) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland
not worth it on 06/21/2008 14:47:51 MDT Print View

The main idea behind this bag is to remove all the insulation from the bottom since its not being used to save weight. However, somehow, it does great at the whole 'removing the insulation' thing and fails miserably at the whole 'saving weight' thing. I mean, the Summerlite is significantly lighter than this bag. What is on the go?

Moreover the amount of people turned off by this product since it mainly appeals to back sleepers is a big issue which is not at all mitigated by its low price-point. How can this be recommended? Maybe recommended under a very specific set of conditions, but even at that...

Peter Macfarlane
(ptc) - F

Locale: The Scottish Highlands
Rab AR on 08/17/2008 17:56:42 MDT Print View

I've got a preproduction Rab AR back in March of this year and on one trip using it in a bivy bag I woke up to find myself under snow cover and I was still warm in the bag, still fully clothed of course.
I use either Big Agnes or Exped 2.5" mats and they work fine, but in my sample it does pinch them in a little.
I don't think any coldness is due to the bag itself being deficient, it's more likely that the inherent cold spots you get in any top bag system are sucking the heat away.
It does have its limits, that's for sure. I won't be planning to sleep under snow in it again any time soon.

Frank Steele
(knarfster) - F

Locale: Arizona
Not for Side Sleepers? on 02/18/2010 08:06:36 MST Print View

I am not sure how this system, just like BA isn't for you side sleepers. I am a side and stomach sleeper and i love the top bag systems. When I roll over, the bag stays put, it doesn't roll with me, which drives me crazy. When I roll over or toss and turn in bed at home, the blanket stays put (I hate getting tangled up in a traditional bag). When I roll over in a top bag with a sleeve the bag stays put, just like at home. For me as a side/stomach sleeper a top bag with sleeve is the only way to go.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Rab AR on 02/18/2010 13:09:59 MST Print View

I think it looks like a piece of doodoo! Recommended? We have been happily using the WM POD top bags for several years. With a minor adaptation to the sleeping pad attachment, the WM PODs blow the Rab away in all categories POD 30 weighs in at 430 grams and is conseravtively rated to 30F). Oh, and my partner is a satisfied side sleeper...

Here's a pic of the pad attachment. Just plain old velcro to mate with velcro glued to the bottom of the pads. Means it fits any size or thickness of pad. Shown here is 4oz torso-length RidgeRest:

POD bottom

Edited by retropump on 02/18/2010 13:11:22 MST.

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: The Palouse
Rab AR - Any new feedback? on 08/09/2011 13:36:48 MDT Print View

I know this is a pretty old bag, but that's why it's on sale right now for $80. I'm wondering if there is any new feedback on this product, lots of negative vibes here which is fine if that's true consensus, just feeling it out again.

For me, price is huge. The argument that WM makes way better stuff doesn't really fly for me because I don't have anywhere near $300 to spend on a bag in the next 5-10 years. My next priority is weight, followed by warmth. Looking for a summer bag that can be extended with a down jacket, prolite and clothes.

Given that, and the fact that I sleep on my stomach, are there any new opinions on this?