Not content with making award-winning clothing and rucksacks, Montane has released a range of sleeping bags. Having gained a reputation for selling products designed to take the user to the top of the hill and back again in practical comfort, the brand has a lot to live up to – and a lot to lose if this new range falls short of expectations.
There are six models in the collection, from down-filled bags for polar expeditions to lightweight summer bags such as the Prism featured here. With a temperature rating of 0 deg C, this should be ideal for UK summer conditions. While the other five bags in the range use down insulation, the Prism harnesses the heat-retaining power of Primaloft Eco, a synthetic fibre that maintains performance when wet better than down, is lower in price than down, and is made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles so it’s great for the planet. So while you could choose a Montane Minimus down-filled bag with a -2 deg C temperature rating for £375, you can walk away with plenty of change if you instead go for the Prism at just £175.
The drawback of course is the packed size and weight, as the Prism weighs in at 1216g, while the Minimus is just 867g. But compared to other synthetic bags the Prism is very respectable in terms of its price, although you can get lighter synthetic bags. However, check the detail and Montane’s Prism is well worth a closer look.
Firstly the Prism uses Pertex Microlight outer fabric, which is very breathable so it won’t feel clammy, and it’s also fast-drying for when the bag gets damp. Meanwhile you get a comfortable synthetic lining inside.
Lightweight bags often skimp on the side zip, but on the Prism there is a long zip to the calf area and this has an exceptionally good anti-snag design; in fact I would say it is probably one of the best and least snaggable zips that I’ve ever seen on a sleeping bag. There is a decent baffle behind it as well, to prevent cold spots.
There is extra attention to detail at the foot, as you get a ‘flipper’ shape to allow a little more space for your toes. The hood is equally impressive and it’s easily adjusted to form a wonderful cocoon around the head.
If you don’t like having the hood fully battened down, then the most important feature of a sleeping bag is a good shoulder baffle to trap air around the body. Again this is a feature many lighter weight bags skimp on, but on the Montane Prism you get a well-insulated wide baffle that’s ideal for keeping all that warm air inside the bag.
There are some ‘nice-to-have’ details too, which include an internal zip pocket and an internal mesh pocket for a water bottle. Plus you get silicone anti-slip patches on the base of the bag to reduce slippage on a sleeping mat or bivvy bag, and this did appear to be effective in my tests.
Outer fabric Pertex Microlight
Inner fabric PEAQ synthetic
Insulation Primaloft Eco
Packed size 23x30cm
Weight 1216g (with stuffsack)
Lower comfort limit 0 deg C
Montane has done it again! The Prism is packed with practical features to make a night on the hills comfortable. Its weight and packed size are drawbacks, but at this price the Prism is a great summer bag.
Review by Graham Thompson
Published in Trail magazine July 2014