Rating: 4 / 5
V BAG by LuxuryLite:
A center zipper 3-season down mummy sleeping bag at less than two pounds.
The LuxuryLite V Bag is so different than anything else out there on the market it is hard to know where to begin.
1. I will start with the zipper that gives the V Bag its name. There are a few sleeping bags available with short center half zips but this one runs all the way down to the foot box. The zipper stays centered over your chest and never gets down into all that nasty stuff lurking just off the edge of your sleeping pad/ground sheet. It is easy to find and adjust during the night if you become too warm or too cold. The zipper is backed on both sides with anti-snag webbing. And the 5 inch wide and up to two inch thick fiberfill draft tube never gets crushed under a side sleeper’s shoulder.
2. I just sent hard earned Yankee dollars all the way to Texas for this bag and I don’t know the fill power of the down. And Bruce Warren, the proprietor at LuxuryLite can’t tell me because he doesn’t know either. What we both know is that this particular bag was individually weighed by LuxuryLite at 1 pound 14.2 ounces and it two layer lofts a full four inches. Only very lightweight downproof fabrics and a very good goose down will meet this tough performance standard. The down does have a 90/10 ratio of down plumules to feathers. Bruce considers this the optimum ratio to quickly expand and fill those four inches. When you roll over on a cold night you want that compressed down you were lying on to decompress in a hurry.
3. The downproof Ripstop nylon fabric has to been the best and lightest available or again, it will not meet the performance criteria. 5.5-inch baffles control the down and there are two side baffles. Back sleepers can easily shift the bottom layer of down to the sides where it will do more good. You should be able to achieve 2 to 3 inches of single layer loft on the top of you and 1 to 2 inches at your sides.
4. The V-bag packs extra down into the lower half of the back to help keep your legs and feet warmer. In colder weather, most ultra light backpackers wear a jacket and/or a vest inside their bag for their upper torso. Bruce recommends that you do this with his bag when the temperatures drop into the 30s or lower. He then rates the V-Bag down to 20 degrees in a tent on a good pad and 45 degrees on an air mattress and no shelter.
5. On my first overnight with this bag I slept under a diamond fly with no wind and 25 degrees of damp Ozark humidity. I started out using the bag as a quilt over two foam sleeping pads. I was wearing two pair of wool socks, thin fleece long johns, sweat pants, and a hooded sweat jacket over a down vest and wool watch cap. I was too warm at first but about 2 am, I pulled another bag over me. I slept just fine until almost daybreak when out of curiosity, I zipped up the V Bag and went right back to sleep until the sun reached the open front of my East facing tarp. As they say, individual results can vary-a lot.
6. A snug fit and a good hood will go a long ways in keeping you warm on a cold night. The external width is 30 inches at the shoulders. Wearing a 2XL down vest and fleece long johns, I am right at the limit. Any thing more I would find too tight for comfort and probably have some insulation compression issues. My grandson wears a size-large shirt and could wear the fluffiest of parkas inside the bag with no problem. The external length is 85 inches and will accommodate up to a six-foot, five-inch sleeper with the hood closed. My grandson is six foot and I am an inch shorter and we both thought the length was just fine. The hood cinches up just right around my ugly head and there is plenty of room for my size eleven feet at the other end.
7. I don’t mind a warm and cozy fitting sleeping bag on a cold night at all, but I really bought this bag to use as a sleeping quilt. Except for a few very cold nights, I haven’t zipped up a sleeping bag in years, but I like the idea of having that option when I want it. Opened up as a quilt, the center zipper puts the hood in the middle, and as a side sleeper, I can tuck it in around my neck and over my ear. It works great. My feet fit sideways in the foot box of the V Bag just fine with enough room for a hot water bottle if I ever find one that I completely trust not to leak.
8. The very different design and performance criteria of the LuxuryLite V-bag caused a great deal of interest and more than a little consternation amongst the ultralight bloggers when it first appeared. Some ultralights can’t sleep at night without knowing the fill power of their sleeping bag and a few of them seem to be concerned about the size of their draft tubes. Bruce Warren imports these bags from China and he was looking for a simple and easy way to get exactly what he wanted. No need to tear up good sleeping bags and run fill tests and other super sophisticated quality control checks if you have the right performance specs to begin with. Lets see how it has worked out.
LuxuryLite specifications: My bag’s specs:
· Total weight=maximum 32 ounces 30.2 ounces
· Loft minimum 8cm or 3 inches 4 inches
· Dimensions=appox. WM Megalite long 85 inches long
30 inches wide at shoulders
(60 inches max including the zipper baffle when opened as a quilt)
18 inches wide at bottom of zipper
· MSRP $259 $125 Sale price
· Two V Bags will zip together if you both can handle face to face all night long
· Zipper will not jam and catch in the fabric
· Stuff bag included
· Outer shell is a bright red with bright yellow side stripes if you like bright colors
· Only one loft/temperature range available
· Only one size available-long and slim-a little tighter than a WM Megalite
· Zipper will not lock and can creep open
· Outer shell is a bright red with bright yellow side stripes if you don’t like bright colors
· Change the zipper or add Velcro flaps so I don’t have to use a safety pin stopper to keep it from opening up-used as a quilt I like to zip up to the back of my knees. This is the only reason I did not give this bag a five rating.
· Offer more sizes and temperature ratings-I really, really want an extra wide center zip winter bag
· I suppose some of the newer, even lighter and more exotic fabrics could be used but probably only at a higher cost. There are some top rated bags that have slightly better warmth to weight ratios, but the ones I have found cost a bunch more than the V Bag.
· In case you are wondering what happens to the bags that are out of spec, Bruce will sell you the V-48 Bag for $75.00. It is the same bag but weighs a pound over spec at 48 ounces due to heavier fabric and lower quality but higher quantity (denser) down. I may need to buy one to get my bag back from my grandson.