MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger Sleeping Bag Review
Display Avatars Sort By:
Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger Sleeping Bag Review on 12/08/2009 17:15:37 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger Sleeping Bag Review

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Very Informative Article on 12/08/2009 18:20:10 MST Print View

Thanks for a great article! Very informative. I had already decided to get a Montbell Super Stretch bag anyway. I am a restless side sleeper who sleeps in a fetal position and tosses and turns a lot through the night, so I came to hate mummy bags. I always felt like the bag was holding me hostage, and gave me nightmares of someone coming upon my rigid body, figuring I'd expired, and stuffing me in the ground - or a pyramid! Mont Bell has developed a sleeping bag I can actually sleep in. I've been looking at their bags on their website and liked what I saw. Nice to have my suspicions confirmed!

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
What pad and sleep position is used for your sleeping bag tests? on 12/08/2009 19:32:52 MST Print View

Will,

Good job on the review as usual!

Do you use the same sleeping pad to test all of the 30F rated sleeping bags? If so, what is it? What is your primary sleeping position?

Others will experience a significantly different thermal comfort experience if they use a different pad or primary sleep position.

Randy G
(rando3369) - MLife

Locale: Western NY
Great Review, but... on 12/09/2009 04:47:42 MST Print View

I have been checking these out recently also due to the reasonable price. I was all pumped up to by one after reading the great review, but they don't appear to make a 40F rated version like the UL SS Hugger. Maybe in 2010?

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: What pad and sleep position is used for your sleeping bag tests? on 12/09/2009 08:31:43 MST Print View

Richard wrote "Others will experience a significantly different thermal comfort experience if they use a different pad or primary sleep position."

Could you elaborate? Do you know something about this bag not mentioned in the article?

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: What pad and sleep position is used for your sleeping bag tests? on 12/09/2009 09:10:25 MST Print View

It has nothing to do with this particular bag, it is that the pad also plays a large part in keeping you warm and what pad he used can provide additional insight into the warmth of the bag (for example did he use a Thermarest Z-lite with a R value of 2.2 or a Exped Downmat 7 with a R value of 5.9 - big difference) Also sleeping on your side or stomach/back will allow different ratios of body surface contact with the pad (meaning it will have a greater or lesser effect of warmth).

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: What pad and sleep position is used for your sleeping bag tests? on 12/09/2009 11:11:26 MST Print View

Casey,

I don't know anything about this bag other than what Will discussed. I do know that Will's impression of any sleeping system's lower limit comfort rating will vary significantly based on the sleep position and pad insulation.

If Will slept on his back, then ~35% of the warmth of the MB sleeping bag's sleep system was determined by the pad he used in the test. If the insulation value of the pad was higher than the standard's, then it would bias Will's evaluation towards the bag being warmer than an EN 13537 LLimit comfort rating. If the insulation value of the pad was lower than the standards, then it would bias Will's evaluation towards the MB bag being colder. If Will slept primarily on his side then ~ 18% of the warmth of the sleep system was primarily determined by the pad.

In order for Will's field test LLimit comfort rating to correlate with an accurate EN 13537 LLimit rating of a bag, Will would have to have slept on his side and used a pad with an R Value of 4.85.

Loft vs warmth

Two of the bags, used in Will’s 30F rated bags comparison table, (MH Phantom & Marmot Hydrogen) have been EN 13537 laboratory tested using the standard side sleep position and 4.85 pad insulation value.

Edited by richard295 on 12/10/2009 17:20:56 MST.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger Sleeping Bag Review on 12/09/2009 13:55:46 MST Print View

Will
I have owned several of the MBSS bags and have also been impressed with their comfort and true temp ratings. I note that you have two pictures of yourself in the bag: one, sans tent and the other inside the tent. WHen you comment on a bag are you commenting from the perspective of being exposed to the elements or not. Convection can rob a bag of a lot of warmth, so I was just wondering how you tested the bag's warmth. I wish all of you who test bags would let us know this kind of info when reviewing. It does make a difference. thanks and a great review as always.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger Sleeping Bag Review on 12/09/2009 15:47:46 MST Print View

Mitchell,

Great point about the benefit of also defining the shelter(s) used for an evaluation!

In addition to the convection variable there can be a significant IR variable. When sleeping under the stars, on a clear night, the IR exchange will reduce the surface of a sleeping bag significantly below the ambient air temperature. Tree cover is also an important IR related variables.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger Sleeping Bag Review on 12/09/2009 15:49:02 MST Print View

Thanks Will! That was really great! Your reviews are very informative and thorough and I look forward to each one. Thanks again.

Edited by socalpacker on 12/09/2009 15:49:44 MST.

Patricia Combee
(Trailfrog) - F

Locale: Northeast/Southeast your call
RE: Montbell spiral down hugger on 12/09/2009 17:42:05 MST Print View

I bought one of these bags this spring. Very nice bag. Warm enough, nice fit.
Thanks for the nice review. I always wondered about the water repellancy of the bag but was too chicken to intentionally get it wet. It was nice of you to test that part out.

Larry Risch
(dayhiker) - F
Typo? on 12/09/2009 20:36:50 MST Print View

Corrected!

No reason to make people read it anymore.

Edited by dayhiker on 12/09/2009 21:26:49 MST.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Typo? on 12/09/2009 20:56:20 MST Print View

Larry,

You are right, it was a typo that is now corrected. Thank you for diplomatically pointing it out.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Loft Correlation with Laboratory Measured Insulation Values on 12/10/2009 17:34:45 MST Print View

Marmot Customer Service measured the loft of their two 30F synthetic bags for me. I added the data for these two 30F marketed synthetic bags to Will's table in my original post to this thread.

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Re: What pad and sleep position is used for your sleeping bag tests? on 12/10/2009 18:16:42 MST Print View

Hi Everyone,

I used a Big Agnes Clearview pad for testing the Spiral Down Hugger. Most of my testing was done in the summer and early fall, so the Clearview was warm enough underneath. I'm a side sleeper. I slept in either a solo single wall tent (BSI Mirage 1P) or under the stars.

Best,
Will

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger Sleeping Bag Review on 12/10/2009 20:28:20 MST Print View

I owned both the MB Spiral Down #3 and the WM Summerlite at the same time while trying to find a 3 season Sierra area sleeping bag.

I concur with Will's finding regarding the MB bag, and felt the Summerlite was warmer. I was able to use both bags on consecutive nights in Little Yosemite Valley in 40 degree temps. The 1st night, I used the summerlite under a tarp, inside a Tigoat bivy, on a GG 1/8" thinlite under a short NeoAir. I woke up and had to fully unzip and quilt the summerlite to regulate my temperature.

2nd night I used the MB in a Tarptent Rainbow, on the same pad system, minus the Bivy(I was testing new stuff) I was just comfortable. Not too warm, not too cold.

I also used the MB on Mt Shasta, on snow in June, in temps that touched freezing. I slept both exposed in just a bivy, on the thinlite plus NeoAir, and also in a the TT Rainbow, in the bivy + pads. My feet got cold, and I added my MB UL Down Inner parka, but I believe I was cold mainly due to my inadequate pad combination, only R-value 3 on frozen ground.

While the Summerlite was definitely the warmer of the two, I would have chosen the MB due to the spacious interior. I'm a 3/4 stomach/side sleeper that moves around a bit in my sleep. The Summerlite had just enough room, but the MB was perfect.

I also prefered the feel of the MB fabric, which has a bit of texture, vs the slick microlight WM fabric.

I got a Nunatak Arc Specialist on gear swap, which superceded both those bags.

alice fogel
(alicebfogel) - M
Re: Great Review, but... on 12/23/2009 08:16:46 MST Print View

Also, what about a smaller (women's) size? Is there any plan to have this in 2010?

Dave Master
(dave_master_edu) - M
MontBell SuperStretch Bag on 01/01/2010 20:21:40 MST Print View

I bought a MontBell SuperStretch bag this year and used late summer in Mineral King (Sequoia-Kings Canyon). It's the best bag I've ever owned! I've had other bags that kept me just as warm, but I toss and turn a lot in my sleep. Every other bag I've owned felt like I was in a straitjacket. This is the first bag I've owned that allowed be to sleep through the night just as comfortably as if I were in my own bed!

Frank Steele
(knarfster) - F

Locale: Arizona
Mont-Bell #3 sent back on 03/14/2010 23:31:46 MDT Print View

I purchased a Mont-Bell Spiral Down Hugger #3 for myself and a Sierra Designs Nitro 30 for my Son (12 year old boy scout only 3 inches shorter than, he is 5' 4"). The Nitro was on sale at Moontrail for only $189 (should have bought 2!)

I love the stretch of the #3, but I sleep cold so on a night at 38-40 Degrees I was cold even in my old Poly pros. My Son said he was toasty warm in his bag. I tried the Nitro 30 and it was indeed warm, but too tight for me, if I had to wear my Mont-Bell thermawrap I would be squeezed.

I sent the Spiral DH #3 bag and I am getting a UL Super Stretch #2, which weighs 28 oz, but has 14 oz of Down. I am hoping it is much warmer, as I do not want to spend the money on a Nunutak Alpinist just yet> I have invested in Ibex tops and botttoms too. I can live with the heavier bag (9 oz more than a Spiral DH and 3 oz more than the Nitro 30). I wish they made a Spiral DH #2 with 14 oz of Down, it would still only weigh 23 oz! Oh well.

If you sleep warm, the Spiral Down Hugger #3 may be for you. I think I need a #2, if that doesn't work, I will try a Spiral Down Hugger #1, which has 20 oz of Down and weighs 2 lbs., that should be plenty warm.

Edited by knarfster on 03/14/2010 23:34:01 MDT.

jimmy benson
(biggyshorty) - F
pack weight? on 07/11/2010 15:13:25 MDT Print View

hi, long time lurker and new poster -

does anyone know how far down the #3 will pack? i'm thinking an outdoor research silnyl 10L bag, but is that too small?

thanks!

Marc Clarke
(marcclarke) - F

Locale: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains
Re: pack weight? on 07/12/2010 02:04:08 MDT Print View

Montbell Ultra Light Spiral #3 Long in factory stuff sack
Ultra Light Spiral #3 Long in factory stuff sack (using the smaller of the two draw cords) and Montbell inflatable pillow in its sack.

Edited by marcclarke on 07/12/2010 02:05:56 MDT.

Marc Clarke
(marcclarke) - F

Locale: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains
Re: pack weight? on 07/12/2010 02:12:05 MDT Print View

The stuffed size is given in the review. Please RTFM. :-(

Stuffed Size
5.3 x 10 in (13.5 x 25 cm)

jimmy benson
(biggyshorty) - F
dimensions to liters on 07/12/2010 08:10:38 MDT Print View

Hi Marc,
I did RTFM but what i'm curious about is a conversion of dimensions to liters - i've always been confused about that. i am debating between getting the super stretch #3 and the UL super stretch; i guess the only difference is a few oz of weight and maybe the packing size, that's why I was asking. thanks for your help.

Marc Clarke
(marcclarke) - F

Locale: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains
Volume of a Cylinder on 07/12/2010 11:41:50 MDT Print View

Google is your friend, as always. (Who knew?)

First, you Google "volume of a cylinder" to learn what the formula for a cylinder is, where the first page I see is:

http://www.mathsteacher.com.au/year9/ch14_measurement/18_cylinder/cylinder.htm

and the formula for a cylinder is
Volume = pi * radius * radius * height

Since we may have all slept through high school geometry, we'll Google "radius", and Wikipedia helpfully reminds us that the radius is one half of the diameter (and gives us pictures, even).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radius

radius = 13.5cm / 2

And, since we are assuming we all slept through high school geometry, we'll Google "pi" to find out what the value of pi is. We find:

http://math2.org/math/geometry/circles.htm

which tells us that pi is 3.141592

but we'll just use 3.14 to save ourselves some typing. Besides, the measurements in the review aren't all that precise. (For a calculation this crude, we could just use 3 as the value of pi and be plenty close.)


Then you plug in the numbers from the review, using
radius = 13.5cm / 2
height = 25 cm

and

Volume = 3.14 * 13.5cm/2 * 13.5cm/2 * 25cm

We'll use Google to do the calculation for us (no scientific calculator needed), typing in

3.14 * 13.5cm/2 * 13.5cm/2 * 25cm =

and sure enough, Google does the math, figures out that you are using cm for dimensions, and gives you the answer in liters (kinda cool, huh?). Google says:


((((3.14 * (13.5 cm)) / 2) * (13.5 cm)) / 2) * (25 cm) = 3.57665625 liters


No text books, no calculator, no nothing. Just Google all the way.

If you have had your coffee today, you could do the same calculation in inches:

3.14 * 5.3in/2 * 5.3in/2 * 10in

which Google calculates and returns as liters:

((((3.14 * (5.3 in)) / 2) * (5.3 in)) / 2) * (10 in) = 3.61345413 liters

Presto! (Again.)

Since the stuff sack is not a perfect cylinder, but has rounded ends, you can assume that the actual volume of the stuffed MB Spiral is a little less than the full 3.6 liters, probably 3.5 or 3.4 liters.

Edited by marcclarke on 07/12/2010 12:23:47 MDT.

Marc Clarke
(marcclarke) - F

Locale: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains
Re: dimensions to liters on 07/12/2010 11:45:27 MDT Print View

Now that we have had our daily lesson Google-Fu, it is left to the reader to plug in the approximate dimensions from the picture I posted of my UL Spiral #3 long earlier in this thread to calculate the approximate volume of the long version of the sleeping bag in its stuff sack. :-)

Marc Clarke
(marcclarke) - F

Locale: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains
Montbell U.L. Spiral #3 Long and Compression on 07/12/2010 11:59:22 MDT Print View

For what it is worth, I think the Montbell-supplied stuff sack is WAY TOO SMALL (as does the original reviewer). I carry my #3 Long in a 20 liter dry bag loosely fit into the bottom of my pack rather than in the tiny factory-supplied stuff sack.

Similarly, the Montbell factory-supplied cotton storage bag that came with my U.L. Spiral #3 Long is also WAY TOO SMALL, as I literally have to stuff the sleeping bag into the cotton storage bag. I'm out shopping for a MUCH larger non-Montbell cotton storage bag.

Edited by marcclarke on 07/13/2010 00:26:08 MDT.

jimmy benson
(biggyshorty) - F
lessons learn-ed on 07/12/2010 23:39:37 MDT Print View

marc,
great breakdown. thanks again. for what its worth to you, rei has great large "natural cotton" non-stuff storage sacks for sleeping bags. i've gotten 2 in past sales for $1 each...

Marc Clarke
(marcclarke) - F

Locale: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains
Re: lessons learn-ed on 07/13/2010 00:19:10 MDT Print View

I picked up an aftermarket "natural cotton" non-stuff storage bag today. Thanks for your tip. :-)

M Stein
(a.k.a.) - F

Locale: Northern California
Inferring an EN Rating for the MontBell UL SS bag from the WM Summerlite rating on 07/15/2010 17:09:22 MDT Print View

Hello, all,

I myself recently asked MontBell customer service to provide EN ratings, and in my case, they wouldn't give it out.

But by poking around the sites linked to on Western Mountaineering's "international dealers" page, I was able to turn up the super-secret EN Rating for the WM Summerlite.

The Summerlite is +6 C/+2 C/-14 C, or for us retrogrades who use the Neandertal scale...

WM Summerlite
COMFORT: 43 F
LOWER LIMIT: 36 F
EXTREME: 7 F

Treating James' experience as a baseline (where the WM bag proved warmer than the MB), we might consider the MontBell bag to be a 40 F bag, rather than a 30 F.

For what it's worth....

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Re: Inferring an EN Rating for the MontBell UL SS bag from the WM Summerlite rating on 11/30/2010 14:17:53 MST Print View

"The Summerlite is +6 C/+2 C/-14 C, or for us retrogrades who use the Neandertal scale...

WM Summerlite
COMFORT: 43 F
LOWER LIMIT: 36 F
EXTREME: 7 F
"


Thanks for this info. However, based on everything I have read here on the Summerlite (which is quite a few threads) most people say the summerlite has a pretty conservative rating. Why would WM put out a 32 degree bag that has a lower limit of 36? Or are you saying these tests were done independently of WM?

Either way, most here agree the Summerlite is true to rating, or maybe even conservative. I agree that the UL Super Spiral wouldnt be quite as warm, but 40 seems too high for the bag.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger Sleeping Bag Review on 11/30/2010 14:23:31 MST Print View

"Why would WM put out a 32 degree bag that has a lower limit of 36? Or are you saying these tests were done independently of WM?"

Yes - EN testing is done by an Independent body. For all intents and purposes, this WM is a 36 degree bag.

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Stand Corrected on 11/30/2010 15:31:42 MST Print View

I stand corrected then. So 40 degrees for the UL Super Spiral, I was about to puchase but that makes me hesitate.

I find the Summerlite too confining.

Jerry Getz
(jerzyshore) - F - M

Locale: Southeastern, PA
The BAG of my dreams on 06/01/2011 18:08:45 MDT Print View

I am a very fidgety side sleeper, and the room afforded by this bag is truly second to none. In my opinion the best thing is the way the bag sort of sucks itself down close regardless of position, minimizing open airspace between the bag and your body. For me, that is what makes all the difference.

JSG