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ueli just says no ...
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
ueli just says no ... on 01/10/2012 18:33:48 MST Print View

iRF: Let’s talk about gear. You’re a gear freak constantly on the search for the lightest gear that performs exactly how you want it to. You’re lucky to have Mountain Hardwear supporting your efforts. The company created a line of hyper-custom stuff for you. We’re seeing this trend in trail and ultrarunning right now, too. Some of our sport’s elite are getting custom gear made for them by their sponsors. Tell us about your gear, how saving grams but keeping perfect function gives you an extra edge.

Steck: That’s a big story about Mountain Hardwear. Topher [Gaylord, Mountain Hardwear's President,] promised to produce all the equipment I needed. This is now the Ueli Steck Project. All the products are basically reduced to the maximum. It’s all about improving upon details. For example, I didn’t want a zipper on my sleeping bag. First they told me that’s not possible. But a zipper is a weak insulation point. So we removed the zipper which saved weight and made the bag warmer. That’s the way to go.
My most-used word on this project was no! I said no to pockets, no to zippers, no to extra loops. In the end, all the products were so slim and light. Check out photos of me climbing on Everest. [Author's note: Steck attempted Everest without supplemental oxygen in 2011. He turned back about 100 meters from the summit because his feet were dangerously cold. He says he wants to try it again.] I have the same equipment as everyone else but my pack is half the size. Mountaineering is so much more fun with a small backpack than with a big one.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Just say no to zippers on 01/10/2012 18:47:15 MST Print View

On the simple point of no zippers:

Absolutely, this saves weight and makes for a more insulative bag. And it packs smaller. Is it REALLY less versatile? Do you overheat in moderate temps? I'd argue we can get used to sleeping on anything. The Chinese used to use stone blocks as pillows. I used to use sheet-blanket-comforter adjusting the combo to the temps, but my wife wanted a single, thick down quilt. I learned to deal. I toss some of it off my shoulders or feet and that works, unconsciously, for me now.

As for the OTHER reason for zippered bags: when most Everrest climbers are married (or domestic) partners, THEN let's go back to zippers.

Second point on Zippers: When working in a BP shop, we'd order equal numbers of R and L bags. When we were a little heavy on L bags, I'd point out to customers (accurately) that far more people had R bags and if they wanted to maximize the possibilities, they'd buy a L bag.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Re: Just say no to zippers on 01/10/2012 19:23:16 MST Print View

I suspect that before getting a zipperless sleeping bag, you might want to try using your current sleeping bag without undoing the zipper. I tried it and decided I definitely want that zipper! Those of us with weak bladders (old age and childbearing here) need to be able to get out of the bag in a big hurry, which the zipper facilitates.

As usual, YMMV, HYOH, different strokes for different folks!

Edited by hikinggranny on 01/10/2012 19:25:41 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
I can relate and so can you? on 01/10/2012 19:51:55 MST Print View

I tried to find the perfect pants for my PCT. Perfect meant that there were no (few) zippers, belt loops pockets etc. I ended up taking a brand new pair of REI Sahara pant and doing major surgery. Ended up loving them on my hike but they got shredded especially from glissading. So I got back and made up a new pair. I suspect that these folks are creating many of the same products that we are in the end just by different means. They are custom ordering and we are modifying.

Isn't a sleeping bag without zippers essentially a quilt?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Re: I can relate and so can you? on 01/10/2012 19:55:10 MST Print View

"Essentially a quilt" would be a sleeping bag with the zipper completely open. With a no-zipper bag, you'd have a half-width quilt twice as thick.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
I can relate and so can you? on 01/10/2012 20:03:58 MST Print View

When I can solo M9 at altitude I'll consider bags without zippers.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Just say no to zippers on 01/11/2012 14:00:56 MST Print View

The only thing I imagine would be worse than getting into a zipperless bag in a hammock would be getting out of it.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
PHD on 01/11/2012 14:14:27 MST Print View

PHD in the UK have been making ultralight zipless bags for a while now, and a fair few people using them without complaint. So long as the bag isn't super tight its not a real problem and the weight saving is genuinely non trivial, especially at the lighter end of the spectrum.

Cheaper to make too of course.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: PHD on 01/11/2012 14:18:52 MST Print View

Zipperless bags have been around for a long time. Getting into one is no worse than getting into a zipperless bivy.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: PHD on 01/12/2012 09:57:44 MST Print View

Which can still be a pain in the a**.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Zipperless sleeping bags on 01/12/2012 10:33:50 MST Print View

Especially when you're in a hurry!

Back in 2005 when I was researching lightweight gear, I saw a zipperless down bag from The North Face, called the Beehive or something similar. I believe that Vaude also had a zipperless bag at that time.

Nothing wrong with a zipperless bag if you can take your time getting in and out and aren't in a hammock or a really snug solo tent!

For those of us who can afford only one bag, which has to be warm enough for high altitude late season backpacking, a full-length zipper is worth the extra weight to ventilate on warm summer nights.

YMMV and all that!

Edited by hikinggranny on 01/12/2012 12:19:09 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Zipperless sleeping bags on 01/12/2012 13:58:49 MST Print View

So if you're getting into such a bag quickly, would that move be called a

Zipless Tuck?

(A bad 1970's Erica Jong pun)

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Ueli etc... on 01/12/2012 15:32:34 MST Print View

A climber may not worry much about campsite comfort, though if they got the weight down, a zipperless sleeping bag could be marketed as an emergency sleeping bag I guess.

Checking out the Mountain Hardware/athletes website, their sponsored tend to be extreme climbers, extreme skiers, etc... plus a dose of Euro-style techno/trance music.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: PHD on 01/12/2012 16:36:19 MST Print View

"Which can still be a pain in the a**."

Indeed. Especially if one has a larger one than normal.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: Re: Re: PHD on 01/12/2012 17:02:59 MST Print View

Me I'm more concerned with my wide shoulders and chest then trying to shimmy down inside my bag and bivy while wrestling with my pad and puffy clothing. ;)

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: PHD on 01/12/2012 23:04:10 MST Print View

Then you need one of these:

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
EF . . . . . on 01/13/2012 07:21:29 MST Print View

I've actually used an elephants foot before. Cool idea but I didn't find it very warm for the 'normal' winter months where I hike. Truth be told I'd be fine with a partial zipper bag for the winter but once I get into three season hiking and the wide range of temps I deal with I like using a quilt or a full zippered bag for their versatility and ease of venting.

To each their own though.

Nigel Healy
(nigelhealy) - F

Locale: San Francisco bay area
Zipperless bag, PHD and mat on 01/22/2012 22:06:17 MST Print View

I ordered a zipperless bag from PHD and used it and have no regrets. On the issue of potentially overheating simply put less of your body inside the bag. If your seeking a little less insulation than the bag for the exposed body parts then use some of your clothing.

The lack of zip then complements an airbed like the Neoair as one less sharp metal to puncture the mat.

My bag is tight on me around the shoulders but I didn't have issues getting in/out, is a little bit of feeling of weaving yourself into a cocoon but not difficult.

The only downside I could see was the unused bag at your feet was blocking venting on my tent.

Nate Merz
(MerzND) - F
Starting to arrive on 01/25/2012 04:47:44 MST Print View

I just stopped by the Mountain Hardwear store near my work this morning and saw that "Ueli's" new line of clothes has already started hitting the shelves here in Korea. From what I have seen so far they are indeed very nice but not necessarily anything that hasn't been done before. So far I have only seen the pants and the Nilas down jacket, but when the Dry Q pullover comes out I might consider picking one up to replace my current shell...

Considering Rab and other brands with lighter options don't sell anything directly in Korea it's nice to see a mainstream company offering simple and light gear in a market that loves heavy pro goretex jackets that seem to have more pockets than I have fingers.