5 of the best... summer sleeping bags reviewed (2019)

Lighten the load and sleep in more comfort by camping out in a sleeping bag designed for the warmest months.

 
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WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Temperature rating

The bags here are designed to be warm enough (for men) around +1°C to -3°C, which is ideal for summer use in the UK hills. Research shows that women tend to feel the cold more, so may prefer a bag rated up to 5°C warmer. Manufacturer’s temperature ratings provide a good estimate of how warm a bag will feel, but as health, fit of the bag and even what you’ve had to eat all play a part in keeping you warm, these ratings are only a rough guide. 

Packed size & weight

Sizes stated are those obtained when the bag is stuffed into its stuffsack. If a compression bag is provided the bag is measured at its compressed level. Weights stated included the stuffsack.

Insulation

The bags featured here use synthetic or down insulation. Down has the advantage over synthetic insulation of being more efficient at trapping air, and therefore it can be used to produce lighter and less bulky sleeping bags. However synthetic insulation is lower in price and maintains its performance better than down when damp. 

Shell & lining

To protect the insulation, the shell and lining benefits from some water resistance, and in some cases this may be enhanced on the base, foot and hood areas. Nylon is often used for the shell and lining, but polyester is used to reduce prices. 

Shoulder baffle

A good shoulder baffle keeps the warm air in the bag, which increases its insulating ability.
The best can be adjusted to fit closely, while lighter or lower-priced bags
may have non-adjustable shoulder baffles or no shoulder baffle
at all.

Hood

The fit and degree of insulation in the hood is important in colder conditions. A drawcord will be provided to cinch it in but some hoods are easier to adjust, and their fit and comfort level will be better than others. 

Size

Some bags are available in a choice of lengths or widths. Women’s models tend to be smaller and some have extra insulation.

Zip

Side zip designs vary from half-length to full-length – the former offering a weight saving, the latter making a more versatile bag for hot nights. To prevent the zip from jamming it may have an anti-snag strip behind, while a wide insulation-filled baffle is important to prevent cold spots along the length of the zip.  


Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 30 £140

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  • Lowest comfort limit -2.2°C n

  • Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 210x78x40cm

  • Packed size (compressed) 20x20cm

  • Weight 1027g (inc 95g stuffsack)

  • Women’s Trestles Elite Eco 30 (plus long)

It’s good

Designed with the environment in mind, this bag uses synthetic insulation called HL-Elixr ECO with 96% recycled material. The weight and packed size of the bag is good for a synthetic with this temperature too. The main side zip is full-length and exceptionally well designed not to snag, but there’s also an additional zip on the opposite side of the bag so you can more easily vent the top, as well as sit and read from the bag. Get in the bag and it is more spacious than most, with a particularly roomy foot area. The hood draws in easily and is very comfortable around the head.

However

Like any synthetic bag, this is not as light or as compact as the higher-priced down bags. The main side zip doesn’t quite reach the foot either, so you do get warm feet even with the zip open, although that is a minor difference perhaps rather than a big drawback. There is a shoulder baffle but compared to some it is not quite as good at locking in the warm air. Some bags have the stretch baffle design, which you may prefer, and others have extra water-resistance on the outer material to ensure the insulation stays dry from tent condensation. So no major drawbacks really, and at this price they are probably tolerable.

Verdict

An environmentally-friendly bag with a spacious design and good range of features for general backpacking.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 3/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

 

Deuter Exosphere 0° £145

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  • Lowest comfort limit 0°C n Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 200x65-77.5x40-50cm

  • Packed size (compressed) 17x22cm

  • Weight 1071g (inc 79g stuffsack)

  • Women’s Exosphere 0° SL

It’s good

The size of this bag is deceptive, as its stretch baffles allow the width to expand by 25%. This means that the bag hugs your body closer, leading to less cold spots and more rapid warming, while still allowing great freedom of movement. The insulation is synthetic Deuter Thermo Proloft, so this won’t be effected by moisture as badly as down. Also you get a nylon shell with water-repellent Dry Zones at the head and foot to keep condensation from tents at bay. Once inside the bag the hood fits well, is comfortable around the face and adjusts easily. The side zip has an excellent baffle and anti-snag strip too.

However

The weight and packed size is not as impressive as the higher-priced down insulated bags. Also other bags have a slightly lower temperature rating, while also being smaller and lighter when packed. While the details are great there is no shoulder baffle, although as this hugs your body so close due to the stretch design this is not such a drawback. You may feel the stretchy, hugging design is not for you and prefer the spaciousness of some non-stretchy bags, as it does take a little getting used to. This still offers a great option for most backpackers though.

Verdict

Well-priced bag, with the benefit of stretch baffles and some great features setting it apart. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 3/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Criterion Ultralight 350 £225

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  • Lowest comfort limit -3°C

  • Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 200x72x41cm

  • Packed size  19x25cm

  • Weight 823g (inc 21g stuffsack)

It’s good

This is a well-priced bag when you consider it is slightly warmer than some other bags here (it has a -3°C temperature rating) and comes with a very good weight and small packed size. It’s made with 700 fill power down and a Pertex nylon shell with a water-repellent treatment like other quality bags. Importantly you also have trapezoidal construction to keep cold spots at bay along the seams. The zip is full-length, so you can vent the foot area in warmer weather. Get inside and it fits very close, with a hood that can be drawn in further with a drawcord. Overall it feels great for lightweight backpacking.

However

The supplied stuffsack doesn’t compress the bag as others do. If it did then this bag would squeeze down to just 19x16cm. Also there is no shoulder baffle and the zip baffle is slightly smaller than some options. I did find the zip snagged a little more easily than some others, and the hood does not fit quite so well. The bag is also slightly smaller in width and length than others. You don’t get the benefits of hydrophobic down or synthetic insulation either, both of which would absorb less water and dry quicker than the down used here. The price is good for what you get, but of course you can spend less – and you can also get a slightly lighter bag.

Verdict

Lightweight compact bag with a full-length zip, but does lack some details of heavier/higher-priced bags.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 4/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 4/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 76%


Rab Neutrino 200 £240

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  • Lowest comfort limit -1°C

  • Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 210x78x45cm

  • Packed size (compressed) 15x18cm

  • Weight 608g (inc 37g stuffsack)

 It’s good

The low weight and tiny packed size sets this sleeping bag apart from many others, and yet you still get a temperature rating down to -1°C. It is the use of 800+ fill power down insulation as well as thin Pertex nylon that mainly keeps the weight down. The down has been treated, so it absorbs less water and dries more quickly than standard down. Unstuff the bag and get inside and the hood fits well, with a neck collar that is both well filled and easily adjusted with drawcords. The side zip is half-length to save weight, but it still allows you to get inside easily enough. The side zip also gets a huge baffle on the inside.

However

Having a half-length side zip does mean that in warm weather this bag can be overly hot, as you can’t vent the foot area as can be done with other bags. It’s also a slightly smaller bag than other options, so larger people may feel it is a little restrictive. This bag is down-filled, so it needs a little more care to keep dry than a synthetic-filled bag, which will maintain better performance if it gets damp. Of course there are lower-priced bags but it is the weight and packed size benefit you will lose out on if you pay less. 

Verdict

Ideal sleeping bag if you want to save weight and packed size, but it does only have a short side zip. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 4/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 5/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 80%


Lightwave Firelight 350 £449

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  • Lowest comfort limit -2°C

  • Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 200x75x55cm (plus short and long)

  • Packed size 18x26cm

  • Weight 654g (inc 15g stuffsack)

 It’s good

This bag is extremely lightweight but also has a lower temperature rating than some bags. The foot area is very wide too, and there’s a full-length side zip, so it is not skimping on features. The low weight comes from the use of 900 fill power down combined with very thin Pertex Quantum 15 denier nylon. The weight saved by the materials means that plenty of great features can be added, so that full-length side zip has a very good internal baffle, and the shoulder baffle is also very well filled. In addition the bag comes in three sizes. If low weight and full features are your priority, then this sleeping bag is hard to beat.

However

The obvious drawback here is the price tag, but if you pay less then you’ll need to compromise on the weight or other benefits. The stuffsack doesn’t include a means of compressing the bag, but if paired with a compression bag it would go down to 18x16cm. The side zip is great but seems more likely to snag than some others, so a little more care is needed. The hood fits well but some others have a little more comfort around the drawcord, and the shoulder baffle gets no drawcord at all. Some bags get stress zones and extra water-resistant designs, so there are drawbacks here if low weight is not your number one priority.

Verdict

When low weight and practical features are needed this bag is hard to beat for those with the cash.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 5/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

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The Big Test: Three season sleeping bags reviewed (2019)

During spring, summer and autumn, the right 3-season sleeping bag can help make camping in the mountains an idyllic experience. Here’s our pick of the six best down and synthetic sleeping bags for 2019.

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The runners up


Mammut Kompakt MTI 3-Season (Women) £159 

Tester: Anna Humphries

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  • Lower comfort limit -10°C

  • Insulation Ajungilak MTI Pro polyester 

  • Size 205x80cm (Regular and Short available)

  • Men’s equivalent Kompakt MTI 3-Season (Regular, Large and Wide available) 

  • Packed size 21 x 30cmn 

  • Weight 1851g (inc 100g stuffsack)

This well-priced bag is warmer than other 3-season bags, with a temperature rating of -10°C, while others are -4°C, -6°C or -8.5°C. So not surprisingly, it’s also a little heavier and more bulky when in its stuffsack.

Synthetic insulation means it is less compact but does feel warm instantly, which was a welcome benefit over the down bag I tried, which took more time to become cosy.

The hood, shoulder baffle and zip are all well designed, and there are two sizes each for the women and men’s versions. The women’s option has the extra benefit of a fleece-lined foot area and a bigger hood.

So, what’s not to like? For me this bag’s pink colour with a green zip is a real turn-off. It also lacks the stretchy seams of other higher-priced bags, and is heavy, but of course it is warmer too. Oddly the stuffsack colour is a nice red and black, which doesn’t match the bag but at least the pinkness is hidden when the bag is packed inside!

PROS 

Price, warmth, fleecy foot in women’s option, two sizes each for men and for women

CONS 

Weight and packed size, no stretch baffles, pink colour for women’s version 

  • OVERALL SCORE 80%


Vaude Santis 800 SYN £250

Tester: Graham Thompson

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  • Lower comfort limit -4°C

  • Insulation Pinnero Mantle 100% recycled polyester

  • Size 220x80cm (one size)

  • Women’s equivalent n/a

  • Packed size 22x28cm

  • Weight 1292g (inc 75g stuffsack)

Like many Vaude products it’s the environmental benefits that shine through with this bag, as it’s made with 100% recycled polyester insulation and its water- repellent finish doesn’t use harmful fluorocarbons (PFC).

Stretch fibres are used in the knee area to allow more comfort, and the shoulder width and length are bigger than some. There’s also a unique additional side zipped arm hole, so you can be inside the bag with both arms out (one arm out via normal side zip, the other through the arm hole).

The weight and packed size are good although, of course, a down bag is even lighter. But also note this is rated as -4°C comfort limit, while other bags here are rated as -6°C comfort limit, so this isn’t quite as warm as the others. There are no extra size or women’s options here either, and the price tag is less friendly than this bag’s impressive environmental benefits.

PROS 

Environmental benefits, zipped arm opening, stretch panels in knee area, reasonable weight and packed size for a synthetic bag

CONS 

Price is relatively high compared to other synthetic bags, slightly lower temperature rating, no extra size options or women’s option

  • OVERALL SCORE 76%


Thermarest Hyperion 20F/-6C £400-£420 

Tester: Tim Butcher

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  • Lower comfort limit -6°C

  • Insulation Nikwax Hydrophobic 900 fill power goose down

  • Size 216x74cm (Long, Small and Regular available)

  • Women’s equivalent n/a

  • Packed size 16x20cm

  • Weight 688g (inc 50g stuffsack)

New for 2019, this bag is exceptionally lightweight and compact when compressed into its stuffsack. It still carries a temperature rating of -6°C and the weight-saving comes from a numbers of areas. Firstly it uses top quality 900 fill down, so you just need less of it to stay warm, and the shell fabric is very thin 10 denier ripstop nylon.

The side zip only extends to the hip, rather than the foot or calf area, and the zip itself is a lighter-weight design that seems to snag a little easier than others, and tends to open on its own if I didn’t secure the press stud at the top of the zip. There is no shoulder baffle either.

Finally you don’t get the stretch baffles of other sleeping bags. It comes with a pair of thin webbing straps that can be wrapped around a Thermarest sleeping mat for ‘optimal efficiency’, but I didn’t find this of much benefit and felt if I turned over too roughly I may have ripped out the straps.

PROS 

Weight and packed size. Attachment webbing to sleeping mat may be of benefit to some, but I wasn’t convinced as I tend to sleep on my side and move around too much

CONS 

Price, short side zip, no shoulder baffle, no stretch in bag size, no women’s specific design

  • OVERALL SCORE 72%


 
 

The top three


Deuter Exosphere -6° £170 

Tester: Graham Thompson

Is this synthetic insulated bag so good, there’s no need to spend extra on down insulation?

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  • Lower comfort limit -6°C

  • Insulation Thermo Proloft synthetic 

  • Size (Length x shoulder width) 205x68cm (Regular and Large available) 

  • Women’s equivalentDeuter Exosphere -6° SL (one size)

  • Packed size 20x23cm

  • Weight 1319g (inc 88g stuffsack)

It’s good

This sleeping bag uses synthetic insulation, so is available at a much lower price than an equivalent down insulated bag. But the weight, packed size and temperature rating are exceptionally impressive, even compared to down-filled bags.

Elasticated construction allows the whole bag to expand in width by 25%. The elastication also holds the insulation closer to the body, resulting in increased efficiency as there are less cold air pockets, so the bag warms up faster and needs less insulation.

In addition the foot and head have been treated to keep moisture at bay, such as when condensation gathers in a tent. You also get a shoulder baffle, a great hood and a side zip with a good anti-snag design.

I found this bag outstandingly comfortable and warm, and perfect for camping without the cost of a down bag. What’s even better is it comes in both regular and large sizes, as well as a women’s option, and as it is stretchy this bag should fit a wider range of people than most bags.

The compression sack has four webbing buckles to crush the contents, making it easy to create a good packed size.

However

This bag is rated as -6°C comfort, but a similar weight down bag is rated as -8.5°C. And if you have the cash, a top quality -6°C rated down bag is just 866g, so down is going to be lighter if you compare temperature ratings carefully.

If you’re really picky then this bag could be lighter, with a skimpier stuffsack that vacuum- packs the bag more efficiently. Some grams could also be shaved off by using thinner shell materials, while you could strip out the shoulder baffle and dryzones to save cash too.

There is a chance you may not like the stretchy, body-hugging design. I love it, but some people may want the more spacious feel of a wider bag that doesn’t hug you as closely as this. Finally, some other synthetic bags use more recycled content.

Verdict

An excellent synthetic-insulated bag that would suit the needs of most backpackers and mountain campers. But pay more and you can have a lighter bag, and if you can live with less features you can pay less or reduce weight.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Rab Ascent 700 (Women’s) £260 

Tester: Anna Humphries

This mid-priced down bag offers lots of benefits over synthetic, but is it worth the cash?

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  • Lower comfort limit -8.5°C

  • Insulation Nikwax Hydrophobic 650 fill power European duck down

  • Size 205x70cm (one size, women’s)n 

  • Men’s equivalent Rab Ascent 700 (Regular and Extra Long available)

  • Packed size 24x18cm

  • Weight 1325g (inc 66g stuffsack)

It’s good

This is relatively well-priced for a down insulated bag. It uses 650 fill power down (rather than 800 fill power down) to reduce costs, but still has a very reasonable packed size and weight. It also gives you a few extra degrees of warmth compared to some bags, which makes it more suitable for women, who on average feel the cold more than men.

This spacious bag had plenty of room for my hips and legs without feeling tight when I turned over. The side zip extends a good way down to the foot for venting, and there’s also a shoulder baffle to trap air inside.

Hydrophobic down (certified by the Responsible Down Standard to safeguard bird welfare) is used to improve the performance a little more, and is treated with Nikwax to resist moisture. I found the bag did take a little longer to warm up than the synthetic option, but once warm I was extremely cosy and comfortable.

The stuffsack is particularly good, as it allowed me to very easily vacuum-pack the bag down to a very small size.

However

It is heavier than a bag using down insulation with higher fill power, but of course that is why its price is more competitive. This bag is only available in one size for women too, so if you’re a tall woman you may find you need to look at the longer men’s version.

Some bags have stretch linings to make them even more comfortable and efficient, but that isn’t on offer here. As with any down insulated bag, if it does get damp then its performance drops off rapidly compared to a synthetic bag, although at least here we do have Nikwax-treated down, so this is less of an issue. Of course, while the price is good for a down-insulated bag, if you find the performance of a synthetic bag acceptable you can save a lot of cash by choosing synthetic insulation instead of opting for feathers.

Verdict 

Mid-priced down insulated bag that compares well to costlier down bags. It has most of the key features many mountain campers will need, but pay more and you get a lighter bag, while synthetic options save money.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 88%


Mountain Equipment Firelite £440

Tester: Tim Butcher

A top-quality down insulated bag with all the features you need, but does it justify the outlay?

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  • Lower comfort limit -6°C

  • Insulation 800 fill power Russian goose down 

  • Size 215x65cm (Regular and Long available)

  • Women’s equivalent n/a

  • Packed size 21 x 21cm (size Long)

  • Weight 866g (Long, inc 59g stuffsack)

It's Good 

Designed for ultra- light backpacking and high mountain use, this bag certainly meets its brief. At just 866g and a tiny packed size, this was a doddle to pack into my rucksack and it left plenty of space for other camping equipment.

The bag comes in two sizes, and I tested the Long version given my 198cm height. The width is closer fitting than other bags, but this bag features stretch baffles, so it can expand with your body, but also more loft space is created for the insulation when the lining hugs your body, thereby keeping you warmer.

The insulation is a top-quality down, and the shell material is extremely thin and lightweight. You also get an easy-to-adjust hood and the side zip has a good design that didn’t snag easily. A neck baffle helps prevent warm air from escaping if the hood is not fully tightened. Together this all adds up to a very comfortable bag that was slightly tight across the thigh area but otherwise unrestrictive and warm.

Insulation comes from an audited supply chain called the Down Codex, to ensure welfare standards and quality are high.

However

To make the bag match my height, sections have been added at the foot, which did mean the side zip doesn’t extend as close to the foot as other bags. So you might get overly warm feet. The bag is narrower than others too, and while it isn’t generally restrictive, a little more thigh space would have been beneficial.

Any bag with down insulation needs to be kept dry, as the insulation will not trap warm air very effectively if it gets damp, so more care is needed here to keep the bag dry compared to a synthetic insulation bag.

This is pretty much a no- compromises bag, and the result is a hefty price-tag that may cause you to, ahem, lose sleep. But for regular backpacking when all- round performance is your need then this is an acceptable price when compared to other options.

Verdict 

Top-quality backpacking bag if you want optimum performance and are prepared to stretch your budget. But the price is quite eye-watering, and synthetic bags perform better if damp.

  • Features 5/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 5/5

  • In use 5/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Therm-a-Rest Antares (2013)

A design that’s likely to polarise users, the revolutionary system used in the Therm-a-Rest Antares dispenses with insulation on the base of the sleeping bag, and instead features straps into which a sleeping mat (any will do, but preferably a Therm-a-Rest, naturally) slides, providing the insulation underneath. The result is an application of logic (down that is squashed flat underneath you does little to insulate, so why have it?) and the bonus of being held in place while you sleep, as opposed to rolling off your sleeping mat. Not everyone will like this – especially fidgety sleepers. You can still move around in the bag, but the bag can’t move around on the mat, so your appreciation will depend on your preferred sleeping position. It’s a little heavy considering it’s stripped of underside insulation, but Therm-a-Rest claims the 405g of down fill (at least 100g more than most in our test, excluding the Terra Nova, which has 375g) has been redistributed around the bag, which – when used with a sleeping mat – will push the warmth of this sleeping bag higher than most. Nice touches include a zipped pocket near the head, ties on the main zips and a comfortable inner. 

 

Weight (with stuffsack) 888g (912g)
Size 203x76cm
Packed size 31x17cm
Outer fabric nylon ripstop with DWR
Inner fabric 100% nylon
Insulation 750+ fill goose down
Construction baffled/zoned insulation
Lower comfort limit 1 deg C (with airmat)
Extreme temp rating -22 deg C (with airmat)
Website www.cascadedesigns.com

 

Verdict

If the Therm-a-Rest Antares works for you, it will work really well – and it’s terrific, market-leading quality at a great price. But it’s a bulky option compared to many.

Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine August 2013


Mountain Equipment Xero 350 (2012)

The Mountain Equipment Xero 350 is an interesting mix of traditional progressive features. The bag has an EXL lining, which means that the inner seams are elastic and hug your body to help eliminate cold spots in the bag. These seams feel quite pronounced if you run a hand over them, but in use I quickly got accustomed to them and it wasn’t an issue. Some users might find it claustrophobic though, so again, try before you buy. The bag has a two-way three-quarter-length zip with an internal baffle and anti-snag strip with a Velcro security flap at the top. The hood is protective and cinches in neatly but there is also a full shoulder baffle with its own internal drawcord adjustment for users who would rather sleep with their head free of the main bag. In use the EXL lining means the Mountain Equipment Xero 350 feels very different to the other bags in the test. Although the elastic seams do grip you gently, the inner fabric is soft and you can stretch out easily enough so there is no feeling of restriction and the bag is comfortable. The Xero comes with a compression stuffsack and a storage sack.

Weight (bag only) 808g
Size (length x shoulder width x foot width) 190x37x62cm
Packed size 17x26cm
Outer fabric He30rs
Inner fabric Supersoft lining
Insulation 750 Hungarian goose down
Construction box wall with EXL stretch seams
Comfort temperature rating +5 deg C
Lower comfort limit 0 deg C
Extreme temperature rating -15 deg C
Website
www.mountain-equipment.co.uk

 

Verdict
The Mountain Equipment Xero 350 is a very well-appointed sleeping bag. The EXL system will either appeal to users or not. All the features add up though, meaning the Xero is the second heaviest bag in the test at 808g for its 0 deg C rating.

Review by Peter Macfarlane
First published in Trail magazine June 2012


Rab Neutrino Endurance (2012)

The Rab Neutrino Endurance takes inspiration from both adventure racing and mountaineering, which look for performance at minimum weight. The top half of the bag has regular trapezoidal baffles, which loft (fluff up) well; but the back has varying amounts of insulation, from very little under your torso to well-insulated around the foot. The idea is to save weight where your body crushes the down, rendering it ineffective – which is fine if you lie on your back all night, but often I flip onto my side, at which point I can feel the cold. There’s a half-length two-way internally baffled zip with an anti-snag strip and Velcro security tab. The hood is simple but well-shaped, cinches in well and has a small zipped pocket to one side of your chin that sits outside of the adjustable shoulder baffle. The Neutrino uses highly water-resistant outer fabric, which could give it an advantage in many cases – such as nights in small condensation-prone tents. A comfortable bag with room to move, the Rab Neutrino Endurance has hanging loops and comes with a dry bag compression stuffsack and storage bag.

Weight (bag only) 704g
Size (length x shoulder width x foot width) 220x42x76cm
Packed size 15x28cm
Outer fabric Pertex Endurance
Inner fabric Pertex Quantum and Pertex Endurance
Insulation 800 European goose down and Primaloft draught tube
Construction trapezoidal baffles
Comfort temperature rating +5 deg C
Lower comfort limit 0 deg C
Extreme temperature rating -16 deg C
Website www.rab.uk.com

 

 

Verdict
The Rab Neutrino Endurance’s water-resistant shell could be a distinct advantage in our damp climate, but the fabric edges the weight up to 704g for a 0 deg C bag.

Review by Peter Macfarlane
First published in Trail magazine June 2012


Mammut Sphere Alpine Spring (2012)

The Mammut Sphere Alpine Spring is the lightest bag in our test at just 622g but it still manages a -1 deg C rating. It does feel light and soft and is very compressible with its high-quality down fill and a lightweight shell fabric making it very small in your rucksack. Some of the overall weight is cut from the features; for example the two-way zip is three-quarter-length with an internal baffle and an anti-snag channel made of webbing. There is no Velcro securing tab but there is a fabric zip ‘garage’ to keep the zip-pull in place. There is no shoulder baffle but the basic shaped hood cinches in to seal in the heat. The hood also has a small peak, which might give added protection from the elements while bivvying or deflect condensation drips away from your face in your tent. The shape overall is comfy, with reasonable room around the arms and enough space to move your knees. The foot box is roomy and shaped to allow your feet free movement. There are hanging loops, and the Mammut Sphere Alpine Spring comes with a storage sack and an excellent compression sack.

Weight (bag only) 622g
Size (length x shoulder width x foot width) 214x42x72cm
Packed size 17x24cm
Outer fabric Prolite TX
Inner fabric Light TX
Insulation 850+ European goose down
Construction wave box
Comfort temperature rating +4 deg C
Lower comfort limit -1 deg C
Extreme temperature rating -17 deg C
Website www.mammut.ch

 

 

Verdict
The Mammut Sphere Alpine Spring is a very light and comfortable bag that is warm for the weight of just 622g. The only drawback might be that temperature rating of -1 deg C, depending on the conditions you encounter.

Review by Peter Macfarlane
First published in Trail magazine June 2012


Jack Wolfskin Mountain Sunrise (2012)

While down is more efficient than synthetic insulation, it suffers more if it becomes damp (from condensation in a tent for example). To reduce the chances of moisture affecting the down, the Jack Wolfskin Mountain Sunrise has a waterproof shell at the toe and head, the two areas most likely to get wet when camping. This does increase the weight and price, but it’s also slightly warmer than the other bags here too – another reason why it is a little heavier and carries a higher price tag. The bag comes with a compression stuffsack for easier storage in a rucksack. The side zip works well thanks to a good anti-snag design, and there is a decent baffle inside to protect against cold spots. There is a particularly wide and well-insulated shoulder baffle to trap air inside the bag, and the hood is also well-designed. The Jack Wolfskin Mountain Sunrise is a great bag for when there is a high risk of dampness affecting the down.

Outer fabric 30D Argrid; Stormlock Hyproof on hood and foot

Inner fabric 30D Moisture Control

Insulation 90/10 700+ fill power down

Compression packed size 23x22cm

Weight 1390g

Lower comfort temp. rating -9 deg C

Website www.jack-wolfskin.com

 

Verdict

The Jack Wolfskin Mountain Sunrise is the sleeping bag with the best water resistance in our buyer’s guide.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2012


Rab Ascent 500 (2012)

The Rab Ascent 500 has been restyled for 2012 and comes with a good stuffsack that allows it to be compressed smartly for easy packing into a rucksack. The bag feels like it can easily cope with its -5 deg C temperature rating. The foot of the bag is particularly spacious for increased comfort, and the side zip ends about 25cm from the end of the foot, so you can vent your calf area while keeping your feet toasty-warm inside the bag. There is a good anti-snag strip inside the zip to ensure it runs freely and it benefits from a wide and well-insulated draught baffle inside the zip. There is a shoulder baffle that is well-filled with insulation and it has an excellent drawcord design that allows it to be smoothly adjusted to trap air inside the bag. The hood is equally well-designed. A nice added extra is a small zipped internal pocket for valuables. The Rab Ascent 500 is a great bag for all-round camping and backpacking.

Outer fabric 30D Pertex Microlight

Inner fabric 30D Pertex Microlight

Insulation 650+ fill power duck down

Compression packed size 22x18cm

Weight 1220g

Lower comfort temp. rating -5 deg C

Website www.rab.uk.com

 

Verdict

The Rab Ascent 500 is the best all-round sleeping bag in our buyer’s guide.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine Spring 2012


Alpkit Pipedream 800 (2012)

Alpkit are the kings of producing superb gear at unbeatable prices, and this they achieve by keeping minimal stock levels and selling direct to the customer via their online store. The Pipedream 800 is a well-established winter sleeping bag that is insulated with down for maximum efficiency, and therefore minimal weight and packed size. With a temperature rating of -17 deg C it is better for colder winter weather than some lower-priced synthetic alternatives. The bag has a full-length side zip with a particularly good anti-snag strip and a wide baffle to prevent cold spots in this area. There’s a good shoulder baffle too with drawcord adjustment so you can trap air inside the bag. The hood is well-shaped and again easy to adjust. If you don’t mind buying online and are prepared to wait for stock to arrive if necessary, the Alpkit Pipedream 800 is a superb option if weight and price are important.

 

Outer fabric Toray nylon

Inner fabric Toray nylon

Insulation 95/5 down, 750 fill power

Compressed packed size 25x22cm

Weight 1270g

Lower comfort temperature rating -17 deg C

Website www.alpkit.com

Verdict

The Alpkit Pipedream 800 is the best lightweight down bag in our review.

 

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine March 2012


Rab Ascent 900 (2012)

Rab has long been one of the most tried and trusted manufacturers of down sleeping bags, and the Ascent 900 is its best value-for-money option. It features a temperature rating of -19 deg C, so it is warmer than all the lower- priced bags here, yet it still only weighs 1700g including the stuffsack. The bag is a little more spacious inside with a slightly squarer shape than other bags, to make it more attractive to first -time users and general winter campers who may find some closer-fitting bags too restrictive. To keep the weight down the 2012 version also uses Pertex Microlight on the outer and inner. The bag has a long side zip with a wide baffle as well as a wide shoulder baffle. The hood is easy to adjust and fits well. This is superb for those on a budget who also want a bag that is very warm, spacious and lightweight.

 

Outer fabric Pertex Microlight 30D

Inner fabric Pertex Microlight 30D

Insulation 95/5 down, 650 fill power

Compressed packed size 25x22cm

Weight 1700g

Lower comfort temperature rating -19 deg C

Website www.rab.uk.com

Verdict

The Rab Ascent 900 is the best budget down bag in our review.

 

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine March 2012

 


Cumulus Quantum 350 2010

Quantum bags are the lightest in the Cumulus range and they are designed to offer a superb warmth-to-weight ratio. So they use the best down available and combine this with superlight fabrics. To save a little more weight those in the Quantum range are slightly shorter and narrower than other Cumulus sleeping bags.

Design
The Cumulus Quantum 350 is designed to optimise performance for weight, so it makes use of a trapezoidal construction. This is like a box wall construction with sloping sides to each box and it results in a bag that is warmer than box wall as cold spots are reduced between each box of insulation. This is also a lighter construction method than V-shaped boxes. The down is also top-quality, being 870 fill power Polish goose down. These features are combined with Pertex Microlight fabrics that weigh in at only 50g/m2 and Pertex Quantum, which weighs 32g/m2. The bag is also made with a differential cut so the top of the bag has extra room to allow the insulation to ‘loft’ in the top of the bag.
To save a little weight the Quantum range of bags are 217cm long, rather than the usual 220cm. Also they are 75cm wide at the shoulder when some bags are 80cm wide. All this adds up to make this bag extremely light at just 732g, plus
18g for the stuffsack.

On the hill
The Cumulus Quantum 350 packs down amazing small, making it ideal for light backpacking trips. Pull the bag from the stuffsack and it instantly feels soft, while the down soon lofts to make this feel very cosy. There is a good, well-filled zip baffle down the length of the side zip. I did snag the zip a few times though. There is a shoulder baffle on the front of the bag, but this does not extend around the back as most shoulder baffles do and it does not have any drawcord adjustment. The hood fit was okay, but others are better. Overall I did not think the head and shoulder area was as good as other bags. The shorter length of the bag was not a major problem for my 5ft 11½in frame, but I did notice that the width was a little tight, which resulted in compressed insulation at my elbows. Of course those with a slimmer build than me will find the width ideal.

In the lab
At 9.3TOG / -6.5 deg C the results of our lab test closely matched the temperature rating of the Cumulus Quantum 350.

Size 217x75x50cm
Outer fabric Pertex Quantum
Inner fabric Pertex Quantum
Fill weight 350g of 96/4 white Polish goose down
Fill power 870
Lower comfort temp rating -6 deg C
Trail temp rating -6.5 deg C
Packed size 24x15cm; 18x15cm compressed
Weight bag 732g; stuffsack 18g
Made in Poland
Stores across UK 13
Stockist details tel. (0161) 929 1782; www.cumulus-sleepingbags.co.uk

 

Verdict
The weight and packed size of the Cumulus Quantum 350 are superb. However, the zip snagged more easily than others; hood and shoulder baffle design not as good as other heavier bags. Overall, it’s great for lightweight backpacking but other bags have enhanced performance

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2010

 



GoLite Adrenaline 3 Season Mummy 2010

GoLite is showing that great lightweight kit can have even less impact on the planet by utilising eco-friendly materials, and running an ‘I’m Not Trash’ programme that enables their gear to be returned to them for recycling after use. Also, the down insulation is protected by waterproof Arid Zones at the foot and head.

Design
The GoLite range of sleeping bags feature 100 per cent recycled polyester lining and shell. This is shaped into a set of vertical and horizontal baffles that trap the down insulation to optimise distribution for maximum warmth. Stretch baffles are provided so that the insulation is pulled close to the body to limit cold spots. And in order that the foot and head areas do not reduce efficiency when they come into contact with the walls of a tent that is dripping in condensation, waterproof Pertex Eco fabric is used. Inside this shell 800 fill power down provides the insulation. Unlike most bags the GoLite Adrenaline 3 Season Mummy has just a short zip on the chest rather than a full-length side zip. The bag has a draught tube around the face and behind the front zip, but no shoulder baffle.

On the hill
The GoLite Adrenaline 3 Season Mummy is not the lightest or most compact bag of those tested, even though it does not have a full-length zip. However unless you are really counting every gram, it is still light enough for backpacking. What is more noticeable is that when compared with the lighter bags it does feels like it has more insulation in the hood and in other areas too. The impression is that you are getting more bag. It is full size too so when I got inside it felt very comfy with the elasticated baffles hugging my body more. Although it fitted well, the hood drawcord was not ideal and the material bunched a little when this was pulled in. The front zip did snag a couple of times, but I quite liked its position while lying on my side. However I tend to need to vent my foot area, and I could not. Having the waterproof material at the foot and hood is ideal as these areas so often get damp.

In the lab
At 11.5TOG / -13 deg C the GoLite Adrenaline 3 Season Mummy tested warmer than the manufacturer’s rating, so at least it is likely to stay warm enough for 3-season use even when some degradation of performance takes place.

Size 220x80x55cm
Outer fabric Micro 20 nylon; waterproof at foot and head
Inner fabric micro nylon supersoft
Fill weight 400g ethical goose down
Fill power 860
Lower comfort temp rating -5 deg C body (-10 in head and foot)
Trail temp rating -10 deg C
Packed size 37x18cm in stuffsack; 27x18cm compressed
Weight bag 808g; stuffsack 40g
Made in Poland
Stores across UK 12
Stockist details tel. (0161) 432 0319; www.tundrasleepingbags.com

 

Verdict
The GoLite Adrenaline 3 Season Mummy has waterproof material at foot and head; enhanced foot space with extra insulation; ethically sourced down, well-fitting hood.
But there’s no side baffle so users need to ensure down is correctly distributed; others felt a little warmer; zip snags easier than others. In summary, it’s an excellent ethical bag with enhanced performance features at  the foot and head

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2010