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Reader Reviews

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Nunatak Arc Alpinist

in Sleeping Bags - Quilts & Top Bags

Average Rating
4.63 / 5 (8 reviews)

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Ryan Jordan
( ryan - BPL STAFF - M )

Greater Yellowstone
Nunatak Arc Alpinist on 08/02/2005 01:58:58 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Specifically, this review is related to the standard 20-degree rated Arc Alpinist model offered by Nunatak, weighing 18 oz in the lightest fabric. Any other configurations of this particular model are appropriate here as well.

Pros: Well-made, good proportions, decent configuration of a killer concept - the variable girth bag.

Cons: Standard fill is a little thin considering the baffle height. I'd ask for overfill if you order this bag, which will provide insurance for multi-day trips in cold weather where you can't dry condensation from your bag. Wait time is long and costs are excessive - you can buy a lot of light gear for what you pay for one of these. Wished the standard model had a third strap and at 20 degrees, a little longer footbox would be a welcome weight addition!

Still, the design is my go-to for dang near all four seasons. Kudos to Don Johnston who put the basic design concept in the public domain, worked with Nunatak on the first Arc Alpinist, and made it available to the rest of us.

Shop ARC products at GearBuyer
Richard Matthews
( food )

Colorado Rockies
Suggestion for improvement on 08/02/2005 15:55:04 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Well said Ryan.

I suggest that the straps on bottom have snaps on both sides. I seldom use the straps and they just get in the way. I could stow the straps and only use them on cold nights.

Kevin Sawchuk
( ksawchuk - M )

Northern California
Pretty *BEEP* good--just a few tweaks on 08/02/2005 20:15:45 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I have two of these bags (25-30F and 10F which mate to get me well below 0F for 2#4oz) and love them both. The warmth to weight ratio is awesome and the flexibility in warm temps great. I can never get the snaps to open easily and they are expensive. To travel confidently in the Sierras in the summer with a 13 oz bag I could stuff in my pocket opens some neat possibilities. My bags are custom and both have three straps and overfill.

Edited by ksawchuk on 08/02/2005 20:16:29 MDT.

Charles Maguire
( hikelite )

Worth the price on 08/04/2005 05:40:16 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Although initially expensive and a very long wait I think in the long run it really is not that expensive due to the wide range of temp's it can be used over.

I have used mine in higher teen's as well as a quilt in 60's, all under tarp. Under freezing I team up with a Bibler Winter Bivy to add warmth and make sure no breeze finds it's way in.

(I also use the Nunatak bacalava to keep head warm and this is piece of gear is another 5 star from Nunatak)

I have used this bag as an over bag on a 32* WM and was very comfortable down to 0* (under a tarp with Bibler Bivy and Nunatak Bacalava).

When I bought the Arc, I had 1 baffle removed to fit me better. After first year, I sent back to Nunatak for further customization in order to take the bag into colder temps. I had 2 oz of down added. I believe 1/2 - 3/4 went into footbox and the remainder spread around. Tom at Nunatak didn't charge me for changes.

Overall, I love my Arc-Alpinist. The wait was extremely long especially since I am like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for gear to arrive. Although the upfront cost is expensive, I think it is a good deal considering the range of temps you can use, it's weight, and quality of construction.

My Arc-Alpinist with 1 baffle removed, and two ounces extra down weighs about 18 oz.


Price comparison from GearBuyer: Bibler Winter Bivy priced at: $76.95
Peter Horan
( PCHoran )

Arc Alpinist--Tough to leave home on 11/09/2005 20:28:44 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I have slept in my Arc Alpinist on about 20 nights this year in conditions ranging from about 27 degrees to 50 degrees. It is warm, comfortable and light. It adapts well to different conditions and is beautifully made. If the temps really got down to the 20 degree rating, I'd want at least a MicroPuff jacket and a watch cap. It takes a while (as others have said) to get used to the straps. I can't disagree with the comment tht it's pricey, but it was made exactly to my specs and is the bag I can't leave home.

Shop ARC products at GearBuyer
Craig Shelley
( craig_shelley )

Rocky Mountains
Excellent Bag on 11/21/2006 15:28:25 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I've had one for about 15 months now. It is my favorite bag when temperatures are about 20-35 degrees at night. If I'm expecting warmer temperatures, my Western Mountaineering Highlite is my favorite sleeping bag. If I'm expecting colder temperatures, a Marmot Lithium is my choice right now. The price is high because these are not mass produced. I, like many of the other reviewers, asked for specific features. It isn't possible to do this with most other companies. I suspect we were all willing to pay for that service. I was and I haven't been disappointed.

David Stenberg
( dstenberg1 )

Best of the Best for me on 02/21/2008 09:51:15 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The Nunatak Arc Alpinist is the only sleeping bag I need. I have tried countless other designs and the Arc design is the best! I love using the quilt and will not go back to regular mummy bags. The quilt is more versatile and more comfortable to use. I used the Arc Alpinist on my JMT hike this past summer and loved sleeping in it 17 nights straight. I slept with it loose on hot nights, and completely cinched down when it was cold. I did not have problems with drafts when I used it without a bivy sack. I say if you are thinking about getting one...stop thinking about it and just get one. I am so glad I did. I even sold the Arc Alpinist for an Arc Specialist, but I got the Arc Alpinist back. It seems more versatile to me than the Arc Specialist with not much weight penalty.

James Loy
( jimbluz - M )

Pacific NW
The Best Choice For Me on 02/24/2008 16:56:11 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I wholly agree with all the accolades above. I just received my second Arc Alpinist (wife gets the prior one). I ordered the latest in Epic, 3 oz down overfill, and a length averaged between a regular and XL, and it is still lighter than my Moonstone Lucid XL. The new one featured 3 straps. I highly recommend seriously considering the Arc Alpinist and when comparing it to other sleeping bags, look carefully at the girth, as many of the other light bags such as the Moonstone Lucid achieve their weight-savings at the expense of room. I have absolutely no problem covering both myself and my dog with my Arc Alpinist, but do not have enough room to suit me when zipped into the Lucid. Also, when comparing to other bags, look at the shell fabrics as they are not all created equal, and you do have a choice with Nunatak. I personally do not think Nunatak's prices differ all that much when you compare them to similar temperature-rated and comparable weight mass-produced bags. If you do intend to get one, be prepared for a 2-3 month wait as there is usually a work backlog. Well worth the wait, though!

Edited by jimbluz on 02/24/2008 16:57:46 MST.

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