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Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010 on 03/09/2010 16:07:30 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010

Robert Carver
(Rcarver) - MLife

Locale: Southeast TN
Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags on 03/09/2010 16:55:10 MST Print View

Excellent review. I do love my Western Summerlite.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Westren Mountaineering on 03/09/2010 17:14:31 MST Print View

Thanks now I have to by a summerlite.... i guess MEC gets my $330.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010 on 03/09/2010 17:24:18 MST Print View

Impressive performance from the Sierra Designs. Kicks the WM, IMHO.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010 on 03/09/2010 17:53:47 MST Print View

Thank you for publishing this report! Your review confirms my choice several years ago of Western Mountaineering (I have the Ultralite).

I'm a cold-blooded female who absolutely insists on a 20*F bag! We've had a couple of threads here recently from other women who also have trouble keeping warm. We cold folks (most of us female) need the equivalent of your insulating jacket and pants plus at least a 20* bag! I camp a lot in shoulder season and take at least one long summer trip to the high Rockies (to date, the Wind Rivers), where nighttime temps are usually below freezing and often get down in the mid-teens. I tried a 30*F bag (Marmot Hydrogen) 6 years ago and was shivering in the low 30s F even with all my insulating clothing on. Not all of us are created the same!

The reason I like a full-length zipper is that I have only one bag which I use in a variety of conditions. On many of my summer trips the evening starts out warm but it gets quite chilly by morning. On warm nights I often start out with the bag completely unzipped, zip it part way up about midnight and all the way up about 3 am. It's basically a question of weight vs. versatility. I prefer the versatility; others (like Will) prefer less weight. I suspect that if you ask other full-length zipper fans that they also want it for ventilation for warm nights. YMMV, HYOH and all that!

I suspect that if more of us demanded it, more companies would use the EN2
13757 ratings. They need, though, to be encouraged to publish all the ratings, not just the one that hopefully keeps you from dying of hypothermia! Unfortunately, once we get a sleeping bag we like, most of us usually aren't shopping for another.

I'm looking forward to the state of the market reports on down pants and jackets!

Edited by hikinggranny on 03/09/2010 17:54:54 MST.

jeffrey bennett

Locale: Near the bottom
Perfect timing on 03/09/2010 18:20:12 MST Print View

Perfect timing. I was just looking for a new bag. I know you have heard it before but your reviews is one of the many reasons I like this site. Thanks

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010" on 03/09/2010 21:51:07 MST Print View

Thanks Will, now where did I leave that spare cash? Was just looking at the WM site last night.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010 on 03/09/2010 21:55:58 MST Print View

This is a great article.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags on 03/09/2010 22:38:51 MST Print View

I want one of those jobs. Of course, having it as a job probably takes all the fun out it. Great article though. I'd love to see one on quilts.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags on 03/10/2010 02:50:51 MST Print View

Hi Joe

> I want one of those jobs. Of course, having it as a job probably takes all the fun out it.

You're learning ... But yes, we like gear.

It's always a learning exercise, partly because we usually are reviewing the leading edge gear. It would be different reviewing a dozen Boy Scout sleeping bags ...


Elizabeth Kunkee
(ElizabethK) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010 on 03/10/2010 03:44:30 MST Print View

The Montbell SuperStretch #3 has worked wonderfully for my daughter for camping and backpacking in California conditions (with nights down to 25 degrees). She was given the bag by her loving dad when she turned five and for a couple of years we cinched off the bottom draw cord (visible in the photo) and pushed the foot segment into the bag. This technique, plus the stretch, made the bag into a nice close fitting mummy for her little 50 pound body.

Now that she is seven, we simply cinch off the end; and the bag's stretch still is giving her a good fit.

Her comment is that "the bag warms up in ten seconds". She loves the bag and still remembers her aversion to her old fiber-fill bag. The Montbell sleeping bag has been one of the key pieces of equipment that has made backpacking fun and easy for her.

And one feature that I like is that this sleeping bag will continue to fit her all the way into adulthood.

In summary, we have been delighted with the Montbell SuperStretch #3. The stretch and corded foot box are significant advantages for a growing child.

Andrew Dolman
Continuous baffles on 03/10/2010 05:24:32 MST Print View

Great article thanks,

Towards the end of the section "Not All Three-Season Down Mummy Bags are Created Equal" you mention continuous baffles. I find this feature of my Marmot Helium very useful. Shaking most of the down into the front or back of the bag gives huge control over the warmth and significantly boosts it when needed - I can have nearly double the down on top of me when I want to. Unfortunately you don't mention this again in the article. Finding out whether a bag is continuously baffled is really hard, manufacturers websites don't mention it and the average retailer is baffled by the question. It would be useful if BPL articles had this information.

John H
(pastyj) - F

Locale: SE US
One vote for Megalite on 03/10/2010 06:51:20 MST Print View

I'm 6'1", 210 lbs. and got the size regular Megalite 3 years ago. There is no looking back. Best bag I ever used. I'm a down bag convert and likely a WM user for life.

William Murphy
(33972) - MLife
Nunatak arc alpinist on 03/10/2010 07:26:46 MST Print View

I have to say I've liked everything about my arc alpinist from nunatak except the price. Then again I only paid once and now have nearly 3000 miles on this bag. Since washing it looks ready for another 3k. The epic shell is nice, both for handling mist under a tarp and for preventing those desert grass seeds from puncturing their way in. I would buy again and be happy with the decision.

In my opinion, quilt is better than mummy. Trade three ounces of zipper for two of down and don't look back.


Henry Laufenberg
(hankj) - F

Locale: PNW
no Big Agnes bags made the cut? on 03/10/2010 08:38:31 MST Print View

Just curious -- do they not send along products for review?

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Big Agnes bags on 03/10/2010 09:44:33 MST Print View

Not to speak for Will and Janet, but I don't think any of the Big Agnes bags would have made the weight cut. The only bag that would seem to fit is the Zirkel, which is 4 oz heavier than any other bag in hte review.

Wesley Witt

Locale: Northwest
Sleeping System on 03/10/2010 09:46:01 MST Print View

Great article. I too use this type of sleeping system where I'll bring my Montbell untralight down upper & lower to stay warmer at night. My problem is that when the temp dips down I sleep cold. I have a WM Apache MF, which is rated at 15 degrees. My experience is that there is no way I can use the bag at that low temp -- I would be freezing. This year when sleeping in the snow I camped at nighttime temps of about 20 degress and I needed to use my additional down layers to stay warm at night.

Gabe P
(Gabe) - MLife
Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010: No Caribou on 03/10/2010 09:52:34 MST Print View

I wish the reviewer had given consideration to the Western Mountaineering Caribou as well – only because I purchased one last week and haven’t used it yet, so I would have loved to learn more about its performance before the time limit for returning the item expires.

I bought a WM Caribou because it’s lightweight – weighing only 1.4 ounces, with 10 ounces of downfill -- and because its microfiber shell is suppose to be very durable and water resistant. I intend to use it with a down jacket and pants in the fall and spring, when needed.

I didn’t purchase the Summerlight because, while it’s treated with DWR, its shell isn’t water resistant or very durable. When compared with the Caribou, it’s only 3 degrees warmer and 1 ounce lighter. And while it has some features the Caribou doesn’t have -- continuous baffle construction and insulated draft protection – I figure features like this aren’t that important on a three season bag. Although, I wonder if they become more important when using the bag with a down jacket and down pants in below freezing conditions. Does anyone happen to know if using an ultralight sleeping system requires features such as continuous baffle construction and insulated draft protection?

It really was a great article, though

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: WM Caribou on 03/10/2010 10:08:27 MST Print View

The Caribou is a great bag Gabriel, but a couple things of note. The Caribou is not a fully-baffled bag; the vertical seams are sewn-thru, so it won't loft quite like a fully baffled bag, and you might get some cold spots. It's also quite a bit wider than the Summerlite; a more appropriate comparison based on dimensions would be the Megalite. If you are comfortable in the Summerlite, my bet is the Caribou or Megalite feels huge to you. The Summerlite though, like any of WM's narrow bags (Highlite, Summerlite, Ultralite, Apache) is pretty tight; big guys usually feel pretty confined. Choose accordingly; you'll hate a bag that feels too tight, you'll sleep colder in a bag that's too wide.

Gabe P
(Gabe) - MLife
Caribou on 03/10/2010 10:29:11 MST Print View

I've had the Apache for a couple years, using it for backpacking in the winter. I tend to use it while wearing a Capilene 3 base layer -- and occasionally with a M thermawrap ul vest. It fits me fine... I'm thin.

I figured the extra room in the Caribou would provide more room for the remainder of my ultralight sleeping system to retain its loft(e.g., down jacket and pants). As I'm still fairly new to lightweight backpacking, this theory isn't based in experience. I just figured that the additional space would enable me to add additional layers, even beyond a down jacket and pants, when needed. If this is a bad idea, I'd love to know now, while I can still exchange the bag for another more appropriate one. Thanks