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Sleeping bag selection

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Sleeping Bag Selection help

This page collates some of the technical data for a variety of down sleeping bag brands and styles. The list was initially populated with information from a Bushwalk Tasmania forum topic (May 2009). It is hoped that the data will be updated, refined and augmented with additional models and brands by other people in the future as they go through the process of selecting a new sleeping bag.

Bag Lengths and fill

Manufacturers generally make a standard length bag and a long bag. Some also do a women's bag which maybe the same length or shorted but has an extra fill of down to make the bag warmer. There are also shorter bags available for the vertically challenged. Longer bags generally have more fill to cater for the extra bag size.

Do not assume you need a standard length bag. Best to actually get into it before you buy it. Some brands standard bags are quite short (Mont-Bell quotes 5'10" for their regular sized down hugger #1)

Some manufacturers will supply a bag with overfill on request for an extra charge. One Planet and Western Mountaineering are known to do this, but there could well be others.

Bag Shape

There are two popular bag shapes for bushwalking. Mummy and Semi-Rectangular. The difference is that the Mummy shape reduces dead area inside the bag and reduces heat loss, whilst the Semi Rectangular shape allows more room for the occupant to move around in their sleep. Restless sleepers beware that you could find the Mummy bags restrictive. Even within these two shapes there is variation and some bags are more generously cut than others, whilst others are designed to stretch to afford the occupant more freedom of movement.

Be aware that some Mummy bags come with a half or three quarter zip instead of a full zip. This is a trade off of heat retention vs convenience on a warmer night. If the bag has a Full Double zip, the foot area can be opened independantly of the side, perhaps affording a more comfortable night in some circumstances.

Shell Materials

The pursuit of light weight has focussed attention on the bag shell materials. Even in the selection of bags in the table we have some shells that are about half the weight of the heavier examples. With increasing weight we generally get more robust and water resistant materials.

Down

There is much confusion regarding Down Loft ratings. Much of this confusion is because many bag manufacturers quote loft ratings without also quoting which standard the down was rated to. Basically, there are three standards out there and until manufacturers start declaring which standard their down is rated to we will never know. Good info from Roger Caffin in the BT Forums here. Bottom line: Don't worry too much about down ratings, pay more attention to the whole bag performance, especially EN 1537 below.

EN 13537 ratings

The headings Cmft Low Extrm refer to EN 13537, a European method of testing and rating sleeping bags.

Cmft Comfort rating is based on a standard woman having a good nights sleep.

Low Lower Limit rating is based on the lowest temperature that a standard adult male is deemed to have a comfortable nights sleep.

Extrm Extreme rating is an extreme survival rating for a standard adult woman. Do not expect to use the bag in these temperatures, you will not sleep and it will be very cold.

Keep in mind that these ratings are a guide only. There are variations on how warm people sleep based on their own physiology and condition. It's a bit of a catch-22 in that you need to know how warm you sleep in an EN rated bag to know which one you need.

There is a good description of the process and meaning of the ratings on Marmot's site.

Where EN 13537 ratings are available, they are placed in the table. Otherwise the manufacturer rating is placed in the Low column.

Experiential Loft/Temp ratings for non-EN13537 rated bags

Many smaller and cottage Sleeping bag suppliers do not rate their bags according to EN13537. This may be because of the costs of testing, but also because their principal market does not yet understand the rating system. BackPackingLight.com formulated the following table, it does not represent an 'official guide' more a 'rule of thumb' based on averages.

Loft (cm) Temp (°C)
3.1 10
3.8 4.4
4.6 -1.1
5.6 -6.7
6.6 -12
7.6 -18
8.9 -23
10 -29

Long Down Sleeping Bag Specifications

Bag Size Weight Fill Shell Loft Cmft Low Extrm Shape Zip Mat Lgth Shld Foot Updated
Macpac Latitude 500 XLLong11905406507000-6-23SemiRectFullDoubleVLA23480?15/06/09
Macpac Latitude 700 XPLong1440740700700-4-10-29SemiRectFullDoubleRLP23480?15/06/09
Macpac Sanctuary 600 XPLong1340640700800-4-11-30MummyFullDoubleRLP23585?15/06/09
Marmot HeliumLong907609.5297.5850-2.4-8.7-27MummyFullDoubleLFN198815308/06/09
Marmot PinnacleLong1247690557800-5.4-12.2-31.5MummyFullDoublePLX198815308/06/09
Mont SpindriftLong1720800920750-15MummyFullDoubleHXT20080?08/06/09
Mont TelemarkLong1830900930750-19MummyFullDoubleHXT20080?08/06/09
Mont-Bell #0Long1390880510800-16-31Mummy?BAF19385?08/06/09
Mont-Bell #1Long1100620480800-9-22Mummy?BAF19385?08/06/09
OP Cocoon 400Large8404503908002-4-20MummyHalfVVL185893008/06/09
OP Cocoon 500Large9405503908000-6-23MummyHalfVVL185893008/06/09
OP Zephyr 400Large10004505508003-3-18SemiRectDoubleVVL185897508/06/09
OP Zephyr 550Large1170600570800-1-7-23SemiRectDoubleVVL185897508/06/09
Tundra Pure Dry -5Large880400480860-5Mummy?DaL225804015/06/09
WM BadgerLong1135705430850-10MummyFullDoubleMF200855211/06/09
WM Badger DryloftLong1305735570850-10MummyFullDoubleGWS200855211/06/09
WM UltraliteLong870480390850-7MummyFullDoublePQ200764808/06/09
WM Ultralite overfillLong930540390850-9MummyFullDoublePQ200764808/06/09
WM VersaliteLong960620340850-12MummyFullDoublePQ200804911/06/09

This is a sortable table. Click the icon next to the header item you wish to sort the table by.

Material Abbreviations: (see manufacturer web sites for specific information)

BAF = Ballistic Airlight fiber nylon DWR, DaL = Dry and Light DWR, GWS = Gore WindStopper, HXT = Hydronaute XT, LFN = LightForce N-120R DWR, MF = MicroFibre, NY = Nylon, PLX = Plexus N-100R Silicone DWR, PQ = Pertex Quantum, RLP = Reflex LoftPro DWR, VLA = VapourLite DWR, VVL = Vapor Vent Lite.

Standard length Down Sleeping Bag Specifications

Bag Size Weight Fill Shell Loft Cmft Low Extrm Shape Zip Mat Lgth Shld Foot Updated
Macpac Latitude 500Std11005006007000-6-23SemiRectFullDoubleVLA21978?15/06/09
Macpac Latitude 700Std1350700650700-4-10-29SemiRectFullDoubleRLP21978?15/06/09
Macpac Sanctuary 600 XPStd1250600650800-4-11-30MummyFullDoubleRLP22082?15/06/09
Macpac Sanctuary 800 XPWmns1450840610800-7-14-35MummyFullDoubleRLP20583?22/06/09
Marmot HeliumStd859552.8306.2850-2.4-8.7-27MummyFullDoubleLFN183785108/06/09
Marmot PinnacleStd1134637.9557800-5.4-12.2-31.5MummyFullDoublePLX183785108/06/09
Mont NemoWmns1620980640750-20MummyFullDoubleHXT17072?15/6/2009
Mont SpindriftStd1420750670750-15MummyFullDoubleHXT18575?08/06/09
Mont TelemarkStd1530850680750-19MummyFullDoubleHXT18575?08/06/09
Mont-Bell #0Std1162794368800-16-31Mummy?BAF17877?08/06/09
Mont-Bell #1Std907567340800-9-22Mummy?BAF17877?08/06/09
OP Cocoon 400Std7404003408002-4-20MummyHalfVVL177803008/06/09
OP Cocoon 500Std8405003408000-6-23MummyHalfVVL177803008/06/09
OP Zephyr 400Std8904004908003-3-18SemiRectDoubleVVL177806008/06/09
OP Zephyr 550Std1040550490800-1-7-23SemiRectDoubleVVL177806008/06/09
WM BadgerStd1075650425850-10MummyFullDoubleMF180845211/06/09
WM Badger DryloftStd1250680570850-10MummyFullDoubleGWS180845211/06/09
WM UltraliteStd820450370850-7MummyFullDoublePQ180754808/06/09
WM Ultralite overfillStd877507370850-9MummyFullDoublePQ180754808/06/09
WM VersaliteStd905565340850-12MummyFullDoublePQ180784911/06/09

This is a sortable table. Click the icon next to the header item you wish to sort the table by.

These are not exhaustive lists. Each manufacturer has a bunch of bags in their ranges - One Planet alone has 8 styles, each available in 3 standard fill weights and all of them available in std and large sizes, some also in small - 51 variants. The bags in the lists have been mentioned on the Sleeping bags Forum Topic so the best way of getting a bag added onto these lists is to mention it there (or you can add it to the list yourself if you're familiar with wiki table editing).

External Links

MacPac Aus/NZ

Marmot US

Mont Australia

Mont-Bell US

One Planet Australia

Tundra EU

Western Mountaineering US

Backpacking Light

BackpackGearTest review site

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