I'm just getting into backpacking seriously, and it's time for me to buy my own bag, rather than using a heavy hand-me-down synthetic REI bag from my sister. I want to buy a super lightweight quality bag that will last and is versatile enough to use on all of my trips. I know that I'm going to spend a pretty penny on this, but I'm hoping that it will be an investment that will last me some years. Most of my trips are in the Sierras in the summer and in southern California in the winter. I tend to sleep a bit on the cool side. I'm a bit over 5'6" and 160lbs with broadish shoulders (for a girl).
At first I was very drawn to the MontBell bags for their stretchy comfort. I sleep on my side a lot and tend to thrash about a bit, so I find my sister's bag (59" shoulder, I think) constricting. But after reading some reviews I'm concerned about the stretch system losing warmth when you strech it out. Do any of you have experience with this system?
Another thing that concerns me is that I haven't found a local (San Diego) shop that carries the MontBell bags, so I don't feel like I'm able to make a good comparison. I've gotten in the Hydrogen at a local REI, and loved the feel of the fabric. The fit of the regular was long enough that on my 5'6" frame I was able to sort-of use it as a quilt without stuffing my legs all the way into it.
As far as I can tell, here are some pros & cons:
2. 62" shoulder
3. nice feel
4. 850+ down
1. possible comfort from stretch
2. full zip
1. possible coldness from stretch
2. durability of stretch?
3. "only" 725 down
I guess, here are my main questions:
1. Will the half-zip on the Marmot bags be flexible enough to adapt to warmer nights?
2. Is the superstretch system just a gimmick, or does it really work well?
3. Will I be warm enough in the Sierras on frosty September nights at altitude in just the Hydrogen or the #3? If I choose the Helium or the #2, will I sweat like crazy if I use them on a 50 degree spring night in San Diego?
Please help! And thanks in advance :)