M Mountain Hardwear Speed 32 Sleeping Bag Review

by Brad Groves

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Article Summary:

A sleeping bag can be one of the most influential bits of gear you carry. It can dramatically impact the volume of your pack, the weight savings can be particularly significant, and a good warm bag on the right back could save you some clothing weight. Top all that off with a great or rotten night's sleep after a long day hiking and, well, you might start looking at sleeping bags more critically.

Mountain Hardwear's Speed 32 might just be the sleeping bag that makes you laugh. There's the initial snort when you first pick it up, and find yourself glad you can see the thing… because otherwise you'd almost wonder if it's there. Then there's the realization that the Speed looks vaguely like it spends its days at all-you-can-eat buffets… but somehow has the lithe build and weight of a 12-year old gymnast. Sliding into the bag, the material feels like cool butter. The manufacturer-stated weight is 15.7 ounces for a regular; my sample weighs 16.7 ounces. The shell color reminds me of those show cars with paint jobs that look different colors from different angles, this one a sort of fiery translucent-ish orange red. Rest assured, if you laugh because of this bag, it is most likely out of delight, not derision.

I'll be honest: I haven't thought very highly of Mountain Hardwear's Phantom bags. They have historically struck me as under-filled and over-rated. When I first heard of the Speed 32, and how light it is, I might have winced a little wondering how sparse the down would be. But what if… What if they NAILED it? For the sake of science, we had to find out! In the end, the Speed 32 far exceeded most expectations.

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