Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)

Noteworthy new bags from Golite, Big Agnes, The North Face, and Rab.

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by Mike Martin | 2007-08-13 01:10:00-06

Golite

The big news in bags from Golite is their use of waterproof/breathable Pertex Endurance panels at the head and foot of all of their sleeping bags this year. Waterproof/breathable shells have been available for years on sleeping bags, but except for short trips in very damp conditions, they have a major problem: while they provide substantial protection from external moisture such as dew, wet tent walls, and rain spray, the wp/b shells are simply not breathable enough to disperse the moisture generated inside the bag over prolonged periods from the user’s respiration, perspiration and/or damp clothing. Unless the bag can be turned inside-out and air-dried periodically (preferably in warm, breezy sunshine), its loft will degrade over several days or weeks as moisture accumulates in the insulation. On the other hand, highly breathable shells that minimize this accumulated moisture offer limited protection from wet tent walls and rain spray through the ends of a tarp. Golite’s selective use of Pertex Endurance on the parts of the bag most likely to encounter external moisture potentially offers the best of both worlds - highly breathable fabric over most of the shell surface and water resistance where it is needed most. (It should be noted that while Golite markets the end panels as waterproof/breathable, the exposed stitching and lack of seam taping make the finished bag ends only water-resistant.) It’s a very clever idea, and one whose merit was not lost on Backpackinglight staff members who nearly tripped over each other lining up to test some of the new bags.

In addition to the Ultra 20 quilt, the “Adrenaline” series of down bags with torso-length center zips appear compelling for tarp campers whose bags are subject to spray entering the ends of the tarp. They’re available Spring 2008 in four sizes (2 men’s, 2 women’s) with 0° F, 20° F and 40° F ratings.

Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) - 1
The 20 ounce Golite Adrenaline 40. An 800 fill-power down bag with 20d ripstop main body and Pertex Endurance panels at the hood and foot. Judging by its loft, it appears very conservatively rated at 40° F. $250 MSRP.

The North Face

The North Face has developed two new proprietary insulations in partnership with Climashield. Their lightest bags now feature Climasheld Neo while mainstream bags feature Climashield Prism. Neo is touted as the first-ever “commercially available” dual-density fill. (However, dual-denier Exceloft has been used by Montbell for several years.) Small-diameter insulation fibers offer better radiation resistance (AKA heat reflection) than larger fibers, while large-diameter fibers better maintain loft and compaction resiliency. Prior single-diameter insulations were always a tradeoff between these characteristics. The dual-density, hydrophobically-coated Neo insulation is claimed to have better compaction resistance and wet performance than any previous insulation used by The North Face, with 27% more compressibility than Polarguard Delta.

Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) - 2
The updated TNF Orion bag. 2 lb 8 oz, rated at 20° F, $189 MSRP, available Jan., 2008.

Big Agnes

Big Agnes announced a new bag that caught our attention. But unfortunately, they did not have one at ORSM to photograph. So, here’s just a teaser of what is to come. The 800 fill down, hoodless, 40° F rated Pitchpine SL is a top-bag with uninsulated bottom pad-sleeve in the typical Big Agnes tradition. The kicker? A claimed 15 ounce weight. $279.95 MSRP. Available Spring, 2008.

Rab

Rab has updated their venerable top-bag, now on its third generation. The revised Quantum Top Bag AR (available March 2008) features 850 fill down, a hood with drawcord, and Primaloft insulation on the bottom of the footbox to better deal with compression in that area. The beautifully constructed bag continues to feature a sleeping pad sleeve, box-wall baffle construction, and Pertex Quantum inner and outer shells. Specifications are impressive with a 30° F temperature rating, 18 ounce weight, and $200 MSRP. We have an in-depth review in the works.

Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) - 3
Top view of the Rab Quantum Top Bag AR. Note the new hood.

Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) - 4
Bottom view of the Rab Quantum Top Bag AR showing the pad sleeve that will accommodate both ¾ and full-length pads.


Citation

"Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)," by Mike Martin. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/sleeping_bag_roundup_orsm07.html, 2007-08-13 01:10:00-06.

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Forum Index » Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007 » Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)


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Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) on 08/13/2007 01:29:15 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) on 08/13/2007 08:16:36 MDT Print View

Golite bags: In my experience most footbox moisture is coming from inside and most moisture around a hood opening is coming from breathing. The footbox panels seems a waste of material. I'd rather it be more breathable to dry faster in that area. I saw the argument of the foot of the bag touching the wall issue. We shall see what the buyers think after testing.

RAB top bag: Dang. I'm glad I bought mine when I did. That color reeks. That hood looks lame since it serves no insulation purpose from the looks of it. When your head is inside that "hood" you can see those gaps on the side of the persons face letting all your warm air out. With that hood design there seems no way to close up those gaps that would be comfortable.

Jim Colten
(jcolten)

Locale: MN
Re: Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) on 08/13/2007 08:53:55 MDT Print View

RAB top bag: ... That hood looks lame since it serves no insulation purpose from the looks of it. When your head is inside that "hood" you can see those gaps on the side of the persons face letting all your warm air out. With that hood design there seems no way to close up those gaps that would be comfortable.

It appears that the "model" in the photo is somewhat too tall for the bag (it is clearly stretched tight lengthwise) ... I wonder if it would close up better on a shorter person.

Edited by jcolten on 08/13/2007 08:56:01 MDT.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Sleeping Bag Roundup (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) on 08/13/2007 09:59:35 MDT Print View

John-

You have a very good point about footbox moisture. We'll have to wait until our test results are in before we can tell if the design lives up to its potential. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

"The difference between theory and practice is greater in practice than in theory."

John, Jim-

Re: Rab, I don't think the photos do the bag justice. Everyone who saw it was really impressed with its quality. I do have one concern with the hooded design, though. A hooded top bag with a secured pad forces you to breathe into the hood unless you sleep on your back.

-Mike

Edited by MikeMartin on 08/13/2007 10:00:48 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Big Agnes on 08/13/2007 16:20:55 MDT Print View

About time Big Agnes got the weight proportional to the amount of insulation they have.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Rab Top Bag Hood, sythetic vs down when compressed on 08/18/2007 01:08:34 MDT Print View

I would be interested to know what the loft is like on that Rab top bag. 18.5oz is pretty impressive for a bag with so many features and rated at 30F.

With regards to the hood, I reckon it would cinch up better than that-I agree that that photo wouldnt do it much justice.

I think having a bit of synthetic fill in the hood is a great idea. Also, having it where compression occurs of the down is a fantastic idea-ive been thinking about that for a while, particularly with regards to loft clothing in extreme cold conditions and sitting in chairs and such-the down on your back is always compressed but you still need the insulation.

Maybe BPL can run a reasonable scientific test comparing down and sythetic insulations when they are both compressed? That would be great, esp if they can work out which sythetic fills are better and how much of compressed sythetic fill is equivalent to uncompressed down loft inches

Adam

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Rab Top Bag Hood on 08/20/2007 10:25:30 MDT Print View

Mike's answers are right on, the photo does not do the Rab bag justice. It is in fact an elegant bag. It's beautifully constructed, and the color is actually very appealing.

However, the hood misses the mark. Basically, I question whether a top bag should have a hood at all, and if it does, it's only useful for a back sleeper. A side sleeper is breathing into the hood. Also note in the photo below that the hood does not wrap around the head very well.

Note that the hood does not wrap around the top of the head very well.

Edited by WilliWabbit on 08/20/2007 10:37:11 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Multi fill material bags on 08/20/2007 14:03:17 MDT Print View

The idea, especially in winter bags, of having the hood fill of synthetic is a good idea. It would add negligible weight and keep loft higher when dampened by breath moisture.

AS for making the foot areas of bags "water proof" my own solution is to stick the foot of my bag into my Gore-Tex rain parka when using my more condensation-prone TT Contrail tent in times of heavy condensation. Also I use my Gore-Tex mountain parka in winter, which, in addition to keeping the bag from melting tent frost, gives the foot more warmth. I sew a button on the top of the bag where the parka hem is to loop waist drawcords over so it keeps the parkas from slipping down in the night as I toss and turn.
Both parkas work well in this function and keep the foot of the bags dry in the worst of conditions. You need to tighten the hood drawstrings all the way when using the parkas in this manner.

Eric

Edited by Danepacker on 08/20/2007 14:06:49 MDT.

eric levine
(ericl) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado
Rab Bag on 08/26/2007 20:49:23 MDT Print View

I've been wanting a 25-30deg. bag for my lightweight non shoulder season trips. Max. weight 1.25 lbs. At the price, this looks pretty good.

I really like hoods since the only "hat" I've used that even comes close is an old detachable parka hood. I'm a side/stomach sleeper, but will adjust to my back when it's cold. I suspect many people can also make this adjustment when needed.

robert fry
(robertfry) - F
Synthetic fill clarification on 09/04/2007 18:50:19 MDT Print View

I just wanted to clarify The North Face's assertion to Mike about 'the first commercially available dual denier fill'. I'm not sure if it was me who lobbed this statement out there but I am relatively certain that the MontBell product is not continuous filament fill (please see their website and the photo accompanying the dual denier fill description). Our product, Climashield Neo, is as far as extensive research has shown, the first (and so far only) continuous filament dual denier fill. As we all know, comparing continuous filament to cut staple is apples to oranges. That said, those MontBell sleeping bags sure looked nice! Of course ours looked better....!
Thanks to all at Backpacking Light - waht a great forum!
Robert Fry > Product Manager > TNF Equipment

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Rab Top Bag Hood on 09/04/2007 21:40:01 MDT Print View

Hi Will

> I question whether a top bag should have a hood at all,
Sure it should. Mine does. It's a top bag, so it goes over the top of me - and the hood goes over my head. Ever pulled the blankets over your head at home? Just the same, and yummy warm.

Cheers

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Rab Top Bag Hood on 09/06/2007 07:27:02 MDT Print View

Hi Roger. Now you have me confused. If you have the hood over your head, like a blanket, that means that the bag is upside down, right? A sleeping pad in the sleeve basically anchors the bag in the face up position, so the hood seems to be most useful for a back sleeper.

I have been using the bag in temps down into the mid 30's F, and simply don't use the hood, since I am a side sleeper. The elastic drawcord does draw the bag around my neck, which seals it up well.

Will

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
GoLite's Sleeping Bag line... on 09/06/2007 07:59:18 MDT Print View

Am I right in assuming that GoLite is only releasing that 20 degree quilt - and not revamping their entire sleeping bag line? Would they have shown off more products if they had them coming?

In other words - if I am in the market for a summer quilt, should I go ahead and order a Jacks-R-Better, or wait and see if GoLite has anything spiffy on the way?

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: GoLite's Sleeping Bag line... on 09/06/2007 11:01:30 MDT Print View

If you mean, is that the only quilt they're offering, it appears so. However, realize the article specifically states 'The big news in bags from Golite is their use of waterproof/breathable Pertex Endurance panels at the head and foot of all of their sleeping bags this year.'

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Rab Top Bag Hood on 09/06/2007 15:17:04 MDT Print View

Hi Will

> If you have the hood over your head, like a blanket, that means that the bag is upside down, right?
Right. It's a quilt with a foot box.

> A sleeping pad in the sleeve basically anchors the bag in the face up position, so the hood seems to be most useful for a back sleeper.
No sleeve. I put my air mat down, I lie on the mat, and I drag my SB over the top of me, tucking my feet into the footbox. Its that simple. Does the SB slide off me- ie do I need the mat in a sleeve? Nope. I think the footbox helps.

I have also done this with an extra quilt in winter. That is, Sue and I each have our light summer SBs over the top of us, as indicated, then I put a winter quilt over the top of the two of us. Alternately, Sue might use hers as a conventional SB, depending on the occasion. The winter quilt has a footbox too: a full-width single-layer panel of UL nylon across the bottom end. That tucks under our feet. Having both of us under the same quilt boost the warmth of course. :-)

Cheers

Andrew :-)
(terra) - F

Locale: Sydney, Australia.
Confused about the hype? on 09/08/2007 23:20:36 MDT Print View

RE: Golite bags.
What is new about using a waterproof/breathable material for only the foot and chin areas af a sleeping bag?
This has been happening for at least 15 years that I know of. Or is it because its a very light pertex that is being used?