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Marmot Helium
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Roberto Requena
(rrequena) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Marmot Helium on 03/30/2010 15:31:02 MDT Print View

Just curious if anyone has any experience with this bag. I've been looking at getting a Feathered Friends bag, but this one is a bit cheaper and seems to have gotten great revues. Anyone have one?

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Marmot Helium on 03/30/2010 16:02:16 MDT Print View


I have the 2008 Helium EQ version, which has a waterproof shell, and is a little heavier.

Great bag....Backpacker Mag has given the whole line of down bags from 40F to 0F their Gold Status....basically it just rates well year after year.

I have used mine down to 5F while layering up my clothing inside of it under a tarp. (I am a cold sleeper)

The cut of the bag is a bit big/wide, which seems to be a common observation.

If you are skinny like me, a narrow cut might be called for.

One advantage of the Marmot Helium is that it might be one of the newer ones with the European temperature rating system, which means it should be true to the temperature rating....see the Marmot website for more on this topic.

I really like the hood, draw string velcro and very nice feel to the face and cinches up well.

The big "negative" to the bag is that it might not use the lightest material, as it is a more mainstream for the masses sorta bag.

Mine has a full length zipper, the regular Helium for the year that I bought it was 1 lb 13 oz and had a half or 3/4 length zip.

I love mine...think it is a great bag and I would not spend any money on another bag to replace it.

It is my go to cold weather bag.

Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.

P.S. If this matters, I paid $429.00 for mine back a few years back.


Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Marmot Helium & EQ on 03/30/2010 17:45:55 MDT Print View

I'm with Tony, the EQ version is superb. My buddy also loves his Helium (not an EQ), even though he has the old 1/2 zip version. Both bags are worth the prices, and they seem to be true to their temp ratings. Sure, they're a bit heavy, but oh so warm and packable. By the way, the long versions of Marmot's 850 series have 2" more girth at shoulder, hip, and foot than the regular lengths. I'm 6' even, and I prefer that extra girth, even though the length is a couple inches longer than I need (but it's great to be able to scoot waaay into the bag and create a 2" breathing hole when it gets frigid. If you are 5' 10" or shorter, the regular length will be better. As a point of interest, last fall I picked up a Helium long at REI's 20%-off-Marmot-bags sale. I was hoping it would be 4+ ounces lighter than my EQ, but it wasn't. So I am thinking of selling it for what I paid ($335, incl shipping; it's never been used, just stored in its cotton bag for a few months), if you might be interested. Or anybody else reading this, for that matter (this should be in the gear swap, I guess...). Anyway, I feel that Marmot's 850 series bags all rock. I have a Hydrogen, the Helium, and a mega -40* CWM-EQ--they are all stellar bags, in my opinion.

James Naphas
(naphas13) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: Marmot Helium on 03/30/2010 20:12:29 MDT Print View

I've got the first generation 1/2 zip version. The fabric is very nice, it doesn't leak much down, and the hood and foot box are superb. Under 2 lbs for a roomy, legit 15F bag that you can get 20% off several times a year at REI, with their lifetime guarantee...what's not to like?

FWIW, I'm big in the shoulders and a side-sleeper, so I appreciate the roominess.

Joe L
(heyyou) - MLife

Locale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
Hydrogen experience, but not Helium on 03/30/2010 22:22:03 MDT Print View

Haven't tried the Helium, but my Hydrogen had the best hood of any bag I've owned. I'm a cold sleeper and the Hydrogen seemed very underfilled for its temp rating. The current European rating may resolve that problem. I sold the bag and bought a used Nunatak quilt.

David Stapleton
(KamperDave) - F

Locale: VA, DC, MD
Re: Helium on 03/31/2010 06:01:00 MDT Print View

I used my Helium for a week in the Beartooths last year around the middle of September. Temps were down as low as 20* at night and I was plenty toasty with no extra layers on. I'd say the temp rating it pretty spot on.

john griffith

Locale: Southeast U.S.
Helium on 03/31/2010 06:44:41 MDT Print View

I used mine (old half zip version) a few weeks ago in the low teens in the smoky mtns. As soon as I pull it out of the stuff sack it lofts so quickly and fully that it looks like I pumped it up. I sleep well in this bag because of that girth that others have mentioned. I have had mine for about 4-5 years and it is still my favorite bag I have owned. Marmot should be commended for not shaving weight by shaving interior space. All of the materials are top-notch and it has lasted well.

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Marmot Helium on 03/31/2010 07:05:29 MDT Print View

I will add to the endorsements. I have an older version of the bag with the half zip. The temp rating is accurate, it is quality and fluffs quickly. Good bag for cold weather and mine weighs 28 oz.

Justin McMinn
(akajut) - F

Locale: Central Oklahoma
Re: Marmot Helium on 03/31/2010 08:03:05 MDT Print View

+1 on Marmot bags. I have a Helium and an Atom.

Roberto Requena
(rrequena) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Buying one ASAP on 03/31/2010 08:28:24 MDT Print View

Well, it looks like I've been convinced. The difference between the two bags (FF and Marmot) is negligible. The main difference for me looks to be that I can get the Marmot bag from moosejaw for cheaper because they offer free shipping over $200 to Canada and I found a 15% off coupon. So for $330 including shipping I think I'm gold. Someone mentioned about the Marmot bag being a bit heavy. Am I missing 2lbs or less for the regular and 2lbs 5oz for the EQ, that seems pretty light. I'm new to bags so maybe that's considered heavy for a $300+ bag.

Jason Picard
(jasonpicard) - F
excellent bag on 03/31/2010 08:35:12 MDT Print View

I also have the 1st gen. 1/2 zip style. It's excellent, and compares very well with the competition from WM and FF. I think Marmot saves some $$ having their bag shells sewn offshore, but the filling and final finishing of the bag is all done in USA. I don't think you can go wrong for the suggested retail price, and especially for free shipping and your 15% coupon.

Dick Beamish

Locale: Tennessee
Helium vs Swallow on 03/31/2010 09:13:43 MDT Print View

I'm in the same situation. I am looking at the Helium and FF Swallow. With my REI 20% discount and $25 dividend check I could get the Helium for about $270 vs $360 for the Swallow.

Roberto Requena
(rrequena) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Dividend on 03/31/2010 09:35:52 MDT Print View

What's this dividend check I keep hearing about?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Dividend on 03/31/2010 09:39:00 MDT Print View

If you are a member of REI's co-op, you get 10% back on all full price purchases. The co-op is a one time fee of $20. If you shop at REI regularly, then it's well worth it.

All your purchases for the year are added up, and sometime in March-April, you get basically an REI credit in the mail. If you want, you can even wait until June, and you can "cash out" your REI check for regular money.

Edited by T.L. on 03/31/2010 09:40:53 MDT.

Gabe P
(Gabe) - MLife
Helium EQ on 03/31/2010 09:44:28 MDT Print View

I had the Helium EQ, but I sold it because it didn't breath well. I recommend Western Mountaineering bags -- and if you need a water resistant bag I recommended their microfiber series. They breath well and are also remarkably water resistant. And if low weight is a priority, WM's ultralight series is phenomenal. Feathered Friends makes excellent sleeping bags as well.

Edited by Gabe on 03/31/2010 09:45:21 MDT.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Helium weight on 03/31/2010 09:55:14 MDT Print View

Rob, I'm the one that mentioned the weight thing. What I meant was that when sleeping during a 35*F night, my 2# 6 oz. Helium EQ is overkill, and unnecessary weight. That's where the Hydrogen comes in, saving maybe 9 oz. (a quilt can save even more weight). But if you have just one bag, the Helium will cover all the bases, down to perhaps 0*F (with additional clothing layers). If it's a warm night, just unzip it and let the air flow in. The Helium EQ will be a bit warmer than the Helium, with only a 2-3 oz. weight penalty. That's due to the Membrain fabric, which is more wind resistant, and also essentially waterproof (the seams can leak though). I think you'll be quite happy with the Helium, all in all.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Have you considered the WM Ultralite? on 03/31/2010 17:53:11 MDT Print View

Weighs 1# 12 oz, rated at 20 degrees conservatively, top notch quality.

James Naphas
(naphas13) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: Have you considered the WM Ultralite? on 03/31/2010 19:58:37 MDT Print View

"Weighs 1# 12 oz, rated at 20 degrees conservatively, top notch quality."

But much narrower. At 59" girth my shoulders barely fit in. If you're built like an ectomorph it would be preferable, but I'm mesomorphic, so it's constricting.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Have you considered the WM Ultralite? on 03/31/2010 21:00:09 MDT Print View

"If you're built like an ectomorph it would be preferable, but I'm mesomorphic, so it's constricting."

I've seen lots of mesomorphs in WM mummy bags. Mesomorphs come in all sizes, from a 110' woman I know who found an Apache quite roomy to a 210 pounder who would barely fit into a Megalite. I guess you're somewhere in the middle. And, yup, you guessed it; I'm an ectomorph. In any case, I just thought it would be good for OP to have an other option to consider. I hope he knows what ecto and meso morphs are. ;)

Adam Criswell
(macrophyllum) - F

Locale: Northern California
WM ultralite or Alpinelite vs Marmot Helium on 05/19/2010 12:05:35 MDT Print View

I am reviving this thread because I am helping a friend buy a sleeping bag and I hadn't been thinking Marmot until I stumbled upon this discussion.

I am looking at the specs for ultralite and the helium and the helium is looking very good.

WM ultralite Price = $380
Size Rating Loft Inside Girth Fill Wt. Total Wt.
6'0" 20° F 5" 59"/51"(knees)/38" 16 oz 1 lb 13 oz

Marmot Helium Price = $370
Size Rating Loft Inside Girth Fill Wt. Total Wt.
6'0" 15° F ? 62"/58"(hip)/40" 19 oz 2 lb 2 oz

Perhaps a better comparison is with the WM Alpinlite
Price = $425
Size Rating Loft Inside Girth Fill Wt. Total Wt.
6'0" 20° F 5" 64"/55"(knees)/39" 19 oz 1 lb 15 oz

The ultralite and alpinelite have a down collar and I think the helium doesn't.

So the helium is 3 oz heavier than the alpinelite and does not have a draft collar. But you can get it on sale somewhere just about any time of the year, not so with WM. I think you can get a helium for around $280-300 without much trouble. So is a WM bag really worth ~100$ more?

I have a summerlite and I love it but if I was making this decision I would strongly consider the Helium.

Any thoughts?