Rating: 5 / 5
I have the 2007 Model of the Marmot Helium EQ, which differs from the regular Helium in two ways.
It has a full length zipper and the shell is waterproof.
Weight is listed as 2 lbs 2 oz vs. 1 lb 13 oz. for the Regular Helium.
I have modified mine by seam sealing the entire bag.
The interior lining is soft as silk, but has the minor drawback in that it is not down proof.
Each time I use mine, I do find that I have lost 1 or 2 feathers.
The hood area is closed with just one pull string and cinch. No velcro. This creates a comfortable, but firm seal to prevent heat loss.
How waterproof is the EQ version?
On one trip, we where camping on top of a ridge and the rain and winds came in.
The wind was strong enough that it crushed an REI half dome, bending the tent pole and forcing my friend to spend the night sitting on a pit toilet for shelter til morning.
Due to my inexperience using my tarptent, my shelter completely collapsed on me and the water rushed into my tent though the mesh along the bottom perimeter of my tent.
Unable to leave my tent because it would have blown away, I simply curled up into a fetal position and cinched up the opening of my bag as small as I could.
I was sleeping on a Prolite 4 pad and was laying in about 1.5 inches of water all around me with a wet and collapsed tent on top of me til morning.
In the morning, I looked like Han Solo in carbonite, but I did find that I was completely dry and warm in the morning.
The complete exterior of my bag was soaked, but I was dry and did not suffer any loss of loft.
The only other extreme test that I have with this bag was using it the Lake Tahoe area near Kirkwood ski resort sleeping under a tarp in a MLD Soul Side Zip eVent bivy overnight to temperatures that got down to 5 degrees F.
Using the BPL principles of layering my clothing, I was able to stay quite warm, with the exception of my head, which only had a light weight fleece hat.
What more can I say?
Tested, abused, and it has never let me down.