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Montbell U.L.AlpineBurrow Bag #3 Long

in Sleeping Bags - Mummy & Other

Average Rating
4.00 / 5 (2 reviews)

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Mitchell Keil
( mitchellkeil )

Deep in the OC
Montbell U.L.AlpineBurrow Bag #3 Long on 06/29/2007 13:23:28 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Personal stats:
age: 58.
Weight: 175 pounds
Height: 6'3"
backpacking experience: 30 years plus.
Fitness level: athletic.

This is a review of the Mont Bell, Alpine burrow bag number #3 Long. I purchased this bag from Montbell approximately 2 months ago. Listed below is the feature set that Montbell posts on their website for this bag:

*Gathered Quilt™ System
*Neck Adjuster: a drawstring adjusts fit around neck
*Draft Tube: a single draft tube prevents air from circulating through the zipper
*Foot Adjuster: a drawstring has been added to the last baffle, allowing the user increased adjustability.
*Auto Locking Zipper: a locking mechanism has been integrated to limit zipper “slip” during the night.

And the basic Technical facts:
Temperature Rating: 30 F / -1 C
EXCELOFT® synthetic insulation
15-denier Ballistic™ Airlight fiber nylon
POLKATEX™ DWR treatment
Max User Height: 6 ft. 4 in.
Inside Shoulder Girth: 57.8” – 64.2”
Inside Knee Girth: 45.2” – 50.2”
Stuffed Size: 7” x 13.8”
Size: R/ZIP/ L/ZIP
Color: BASM(Balsam)

Weight: 2 lbs. 2 oz.

I own several Montbell bags, including the super stretch U.L.#4 and the super stretch U.L. #2. I have to say that I'm a dedicated Montbell gear Nut. So, purchasing a new Montbell bag was a no-brainer. But I wanted to own a synthetic bag, which would work well in damp and humid weather. I also own a Henry Shires rainbow tent and as most of us know single wall tents tend to drip condensation on down bags and are not good for them. So, I decided to purchase a Montbell #3 burrow bag.

I have used this bag now for five nights. The temperatures ranged from 20° to 50° during the night. I have to say that this is an excellent bag. The stitching is even, uniform and tight. The weight of the bag is spot on and it does stuff down remarkably small. I use a XS Granite Gear Air Stuff Sack and can crank this baby down to about the size of a large cantalope. The Excelon insulation drapes well and rebounds quickly after stuffing. The DWR treatment is excellent as well. I ran a cup of water down the bag from top to bottom and it all ran off with not a drop premeating the fabric.

However, the bag is a tight fit. I am a slender person and still found that the bag is surprisingly athletically cut. I suppose I was thinking that it would be as roomy as the super stretch bags. But even though it has what they call a gathered quilt system, which is stretchy on the inside of the bag, it has the standard non-stretchy exterior stitching found on most bags. This makes for a bag that does gather close to your body when you sleep but also limits the amount of give that the bag will tolerate. The shoulder girth measurements are accurate and do make this bag at least comparable to most generously cut bags on the market, but it tapers very quickly through the hips and lower legs. The one measurement that seems inaccurate is the length. In both of the super stretch bags that I own, I do not touch the bottom of the bag when I sleep, but this bag seems short. I feel snug in both the hood and the foot. The hood is a closer cut and less roomy than the super stretch models. I have commented before about the lack of a locking zipper on the MB bags. This one has a true locking zipper. It stayed put all night. But MB still has not found a way to make a good velcro patch to secure the top of the bag. It consistently fails to stay "velcroed." And a usual, I have removed the useless "Foot Adjuster" drawstring.

I want to comment on the use of this bag as a quilt. I have been thinking of buying a synthetic quilt like those offered here on BPL. So, when I purchased this synth bag I wanted to try it out as a quilt, and it works extraordinarily well in this configuration. I spread it out over me while I sleep on my Exped Downmat #7. The Excelon drapes beautifully around me (about as well as I could expect down to do)and combined with the Exped makes for a very warm and adjustable sleep system.
I have used it in this configuration from 50 down to about 30° and found that it kept me quite comfortable with only my silks on. Below 30 I have used it as a regular bag and found that it has kept me comfortable with only a change to my Ibex Woolies. I would estimate that the average sleeper in a tent would be comfortable down to 25 with only long underwear. I did put on my MB UL down pants and inner jacket when the temp hit 20 and stayed warm but it was a tight fit in the bag -- not uncomfortably so but still tighter than I like because I am a toss-n-turner. I am sure that because I can use this as a quilt and a bag with combinations of long underwear and UL down jacket and pants that I will be able to use this in a wide range of temps and weather situations.

Overall Comment: A well made bag with accurate temperature rating and a slender fit that stuffs small and rebounds well. Down-rated to a 4 because of the slender cut and short fit in a long. If you are 6'1" or 6'2" and very slender it would not bother you. Functions as an excellent quilt substitute!

Edited by mitchellkeil on 06/29/2007 13:27:03 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Exped DownMat priced at: $129.00 - $219.00
Montbell Down Pant - Men's priced at: $150.00 - $159.95
Montbell UL Down Pants - Women's priced at: $160.00
Shop Alpine, Granite Gear, Henry, Ibex, Max products at GearBuyer
Dondo .
( Dondo )

Colorado Rockies
Montbell U.L.AlpineBurrow Bag #3 Long on 06/29/2007 20:38:27 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Nice review, Mitchell. After our discussion here about this bag back in April, I had a serious hankering after this bag. I really had no need of another bag and managed to resist until the Memorial Day sale at After trying this bag in the field, I think I'll be donating some of my older bags to the Boy Scouts.

I agree with pretty much everything you wrote in your review. However, I'm 5'9" and 150 lbs., so the sizing of the bag, even while wearing an insulated jacket, was not a problem. As an active sleeper, I found that I had plenty of room to toss and turn to my heart's delight. The elastic bands keep the outside air from infiltrating the bag.

One morning I woke up and was surprised to find that the outside temperature was 23F. I was inside a tent, wearing a lightweight base layer, insulated jacket,socks and a hat. So I think I've found a lightweight synthetic bag that will take a cool sleeper down to 20F.

My bag weighs 33 oz. even on my scale, one ounce below spec.

Like you, I downgraded the bag because I think some of the specs are a bit misleading. According to the charts, I should be able to fit into a regular size bag. When I tried on a regular, it was too snug for my taste, especially while wearing an insulated jacket. The long size fit me well, with a few inches left at the foot. But I question whether a 6'4" person could even fit into this bag.

In summary, I think this bag is an excellent choice if you are looking for a lightweight synthetic. Ideally, look for one locally that you can try on. If you go mail order, be aware of the sizing issues.

Shop Montbell, Nice products at GearBuyer

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