Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Owner Review Mountainsmith Cypher bag - Ray Estrella

Expand Messages
  • rayestrella1
    Hello to all, I hope you had a great weekend, I did. And now I have some editing for some unfortunate soul. HTML may be found here; http://tinyurl.com/hu6rq
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 30, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      Hello to all,

      I hope you had a great weekend, I did. And now I have some editing
      for some unfortunate soul. HTML may be found here;
      http://tinyurl.com/hu6rq

      Mountainsmith Cypher Sleeping Bag

      Owner Review
      May 1, 2006

      Tester Information
      Name: Raymond Estrella
      Age: 45
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 3" (193cm)
      Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
      Email address: rayestrella@...
      City: Huntington Beach
      State: California
      Country: USA

      Backpacking Background: I have been hiking for over 30 years, all
      over the state of California. I have also hiked in Washington,
      Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, and Idaho. I hike year-round, mostly in
      the Sierra Nevada, and put 555 miles (888 km) on my boots last
      year. As I start my 4th decade of backpacking I am making the move
      to lightweight gear, and smaller packs.

      The product

      Manufacturer: Mountainsmith (owned by Pacifica LTM)
      Web site: www.mountainsmith.com
      Product: Cypher 0 F (-18 C) sleeping bag
      Size: Long
      Year manufactured: 2004
      MSRP: $ 389.00 (US)
      Weight listed: 2 lb 13 oz (1.28 kg) Actual weight 3 lb 1 oz (1.39
      kg)
      Fill: 30 oz (850 g) premium 750+ goose down
      Size listed: "fits to 78 in" (198 cm) Measured inside length 82 in
      (208 cm)
      Shoulder girth listed: 63 in (160 cm) Verified accurate
      Packed size: 8 x 14 in (20 x 36 cm) My measurement
      Color: Cobalt Blue
      Warranty: (from company web site), "Most Mountainsmith products are
      covered by a Lifetime Warranty against materials and workmanship
      defects."

      Product description

      The Mountainsmith Cypher sleeping bag (hereafter referred to as the
      Cypher, or the bag) is a mummy style down filled sleeping bag. The
      entire outer shell is bright blue. A yellow drawstring surrounds the
      hood.

      The outer shell is made of Dimension Polyant, this is how
      Mountainsmith describes it. "The outer shell of the mummy-shaped
      bags utilizes the same tough Dimension Polyant fabric often used in
      high-performance sail lofts. The material fights and conquers all
      the elements. It is wind-resistant, has the highest rating of water-
      repellency wind resistance, breathes, and has maximum tear
      strength." As I was researching for this report I found that this
      material is pretty much only used in very high-end racing sails.
      More about this later.

      The Dimension Polyant material is very soft to the touch. In fact it
      is the softest most delicate feeling of any of my bags. It has a
      very small-grid ripstop pattern woven into it.

      And to make that rip-stop pattern look huge I just look at the black
      interior lining of the Cypher. I could not find what the fabric is,
      but it is a micro-light synthetic of some kind with the tiniest rip-
      stop pattern I have ever seen. I had to look very close to notice it
      was a grid. Surprisingly it is not as soft feeling to me as the
      outer shell.

      At the top of the bag, centered on the hood, is the Mountainsmith
      name and anvil logo, and at the bottom are two attached tags. One is
      the standard consumer tag, with fill type, weight, and "Made in
      China". The second, smaller hang tag has materials information, and
      cleaning instructions. An item that strikes me as funny is that one
      tag says "100% white goose down", and the other says "90% goose
      down".

      It is recommended to wash the bag in cold water, in a front-loading
      machine, and dry on low. On my trips I bring an extra pair of long
      underwear to sleep in, and have kept the bag very clean. I have not
      had to wash the bag yet.

      The bag has a 57 in (145 cm) 2-way, yellow nylon YKK zipper running
      two thirds of the way down the bag. It runs right at pad level to
      about my shoulder, then the zipper climbs and curves in to its
      ending point at the side of the hood. The zipper is placed on the
      left side of the bag. Backing the zipper inside of the bag is a fat
      2.5 x 1.5 in (4 x 6 cm) down filled draft tube. When the draft tube
      reaches the top of the zipper (lengthwise) it continues around the
      bag (widthwise) to create an insulated neck collar. A cool thing
      about the draft stop and collar is that they are in completely see-
      through nylon. I thought my Lucid (see review) was transparent, this
      takes the cake. Here is a picture of the interior features of the
      Cypher. Notice the yellow cord running through the see-through draft-
      collar.



      The hood and neck opening have a single drawstring and cord lock.
      The top and bottom can be adjusted together, or by pulling one side
      or the other, be adjusted independently. A very cool detail to me
      is the "forehead baffle" that can be seen above as the fat little
      tube under the logo patch. This is a down-filled section that the
      hood cord goes over. So when it is tightened I have an
      insulated "brim" instead of the normal tight fitting closure. It is
      an excellent way to help retain heat.

      The bag is fully baffled, and uses "stretch tricot material" for the
      baffles. I think this is very good considering how small this bag
      packs down too. It should help to keep the baffles from tearing down
      the road.

      It employs a variable-fill technique to help keep the weight down.
      Mountainsmith says, "Sixty percent of the fill is placed in the top
      shell, with high percentages placed in the head, torso, foot-box,
      and draft-tube areas to optimize insulating efficiency".

      A 1.5 oz (79 g) yellow sil-nylon stuff sack was provided, (see photo
      at bottom of review). It also came with a cotton storage bag.

      Field Conditions

      I have used this bag the past two plus years in Yosemite and Sequoia
      National Parks. I have had it on trips to the eastern Sierra Nevada,
      and the lower section of the White Mountains. I have used it
      numerous times at Mount San Jacinto, my favorite (quick) winter get-
      away. It has seen temps from 10 F (-12 C) to 34 F (1 C). I have
      slept in it at elevations from 7,500' to 10,200' (2286 to 3109 m). I
      have between 16 and 20 bag nights in this sleeping bag.

      Observations

      It is pretty humorous to me to read the last line of the previous
      paragraph. I bought this bag in the late winter of the 2003/04
      season, and after my first trip with it, thought I would never use
      it again. Let me explain.

      My old 0 F bag was synthetic fill. While it was plenty warm (one of
      the most accurate ratings I have yet to see) it was a bit heavy, and
      worse, very bulky. It took up one third of the space in my winter
      pack. And back then that pack was huge!

      So I started looking for a new bag. After much positive reviews on
      the fairly new line of bags by Mountainsmith, I decided to take a
      chance on the Cypher, although I was very skeptical that a bag with
      this rating could weigh this little. When it showed up I got a
      bigger surprise. This thing packs down smaller than any bag I owned,
      or have ever owned. (I was just getting into quality down bags.) I
      had a 40-30 F (4 to -1 C) variable bag that would not fit into the
      Cypher's stuff sack.

      The quality of construction on this bag is better than most, and
      probably up there with one other bag of mine. Which cost twice as
      much as the Cypher, so kudos to Mountainsmith. Even after over two
      years there are no pulled-out seams or loose threads. And it leaks
      down less than any other bag of mine. When I write these reviews I
      have the bag in my office and look at it, inspect it, go over it
      inch by inch, and just hold it waiting for my muse to tell me what
      to write. (I don't do this alone.) And there is one piece of down
      sitting on my floor as I look around.

      I loved the Dimension Polyant material. I was extremely worried at
      first that I would tear it. As I mentioned before, I have never felt
      that seemingly delicate of a fabric on a piece of outdoors gear. It
      has proved to be very tough.

      I had to weight it down with big chunks of granite on the John Muir
      Trail to keep it from blowing away in the moderate-to-strong winds
      that were blowing, and I was worried that they would damage the bag.
      I carefully inspected the material after each occurrence but it
      sustained no damage. The stuff is pretty tough. But why did I have
      to have rocks on it in the first place? Read on.

      On my first trip with the Cypher I took it up to San Jacinto, my
      winter testing ground. My second trip with it was above Lee Vining
      in the Sierra's. On both trips I used a Sierra Design's Hyperlight
      AST 2 man tent solo. Both times I had condensation issues. That is
      to be expected in the winter, especially with a person as full of
      hot-air as me…

      The problem was the Cypher got a covering of ice crystals on it. No
      big deal, I will just brush them off. Uh they did not brush off.
      They are stuck to the bag. I will set it outside over a bush. Either
      it will freeze up enough to knock off or it will melt and evaporate,
      or be wiped off.

      Bzzzzzt! Wrong answer. It melted all right, and soaked right into
      the bag. I am freaking out and cursing everyone that talked me into
      down bags. I am solo and envisioning being a Cobalt Blue popsicle if
      I continue to use this bag. So I go home and buy another (and
      another) 0 F bag. But I can't get rid of the Cypher.

      I love how small it packs down to, and how little it weighs. It is
      like a woman that my family keeps telling me is no good for me. I
      just can't let it go. I ended up taking it on a hike of the northern
      half of the John Muir Trail in October of 2005as we had to be ready
      for any kind of weather. Here are some excerpts from my log
      concerning the Cypher.

      "I brought a 0F rated bag with me that was way to warm for the
      temps, so I used it as a quilt, and lay on top of my Big Agnes
      Insulated AirCore pad." <snip> "The low was only 34F for the night.
      I was kicking myself for bringing the Mountainsmith Cypher. I could
      have saved almost a pound with my Lucid." <snip> "It was 17F when we
      got up today. I finally climbed into my bag last night. And yeah, I
      am happy I have it. But the condensation was very bad in my tent. My
      bag is wet. I am going to have to try to dry it out at the end of
      the day" <snip> "It got down to 18F tonight. My tent got even more
      condensation. It was great until about 4:00AM when the wind stopped
      blowing. I think there is so much moisture in the air from the
      creeks that it amplified the problem. My bag is wetter than before,
      and I got cold during the night. The down was clumping at the lower
      third of my bag." <snip> "We sailed down into Lyle Canyon and made a
      camp just past the Vogelsang trail junction. This was Dave's
      favorite camp site. The weather was great now, all the way up to
      40F! I spread my bag out to dry." <snip> "We made very good time
      again today. We rolled in to Sunrise High Sierra Camp at 1:45. It
      was nice and sunny so I spread my bag out to dry and explored a
      little."

      So it can be seen that I am a bit skeptical about the claims that
      this material "has the highest rating of water-repellency". It has
      very little in my opinion. But I will most likely take it this
      October when we do the lower 110 miles (177 km) of the JMT.

      I am a side sleeper. I flip from side to side all night long. That
      does not work with the variable fill technique used with this bag.
      When it is near the rated temps I get into the hood and I roll the
      whole bag over with me. This exposes the lighter fill of the bottom
      of the bag to the cold air. And it is noticeable. But it is warm
      enough that I can use it to 10 F (5.5 C) with no discomfort.

      That is the way I look at this bag, as a 10 F (-12 C) bag. I will
      never take it on an extended winter hike as there is no guarantee
      that I will be able to get it to dry once it gets wet. But I think I
      will keep it for the foreseeable future. It is hard to beat a bag
      this warm and small.
    • chcoa
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 4 , May 4, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
        Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. Do
        not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our
        Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an
        official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response
        from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this
        timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben@....

        To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask
        that you post only ONE Owner Review for edit at a time. Our
        experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
        yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved
        and uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews.
        This way we can work with you on addressing any standard BGT policy
        edits which you can incorporate into your second and subsequent
        reviews before submission.

        If you are new to BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community!
        The Editors will work with you, within their own time constraints,
        to get your first two Owner Reviews approved and upload in a timely
        manner. Once these first two Owner Reviews have been approved and
        you have submitted your Tester Agreement you will be eligible to
        start applying for Tests. If you'd like more assistance or guidance
        with the process you can request a mentor by sending an email to
        Jennifer P, the mentor coordinator, at (jennifer.pope@...).

        You may receive edits or comments from other members of the group.
        These edits and comments, while not official, should be considered
        carefully, and if you find them substantial, revise and re-post your
        review. Incorporating member edits and re-submitting to the list
        will usually result in a better review, as well as making things
        easier for the official Editor. Please put REVISED in the subject
        line of your re-submitted review, if you take this route or make any
        changes to your review BEFORE the review has been taken by an Edit
        Moderator.

        Additionally, it is important for you to monitor the Yahoo Groups
        list to keep track of the progress of your Owner Review. Once an
        Editor has taken your OR and made the necessary edits they will post
        their comments to the list with EDIT in the subject line. Once you
        have incorporated these edits into your review please use REPOST in
        the subject line. When your OR has been approved by the Editor they
        will use APPROVED in the subject line.

        If you'd like to keep track of the progress of your OR, the entire
        Owner Review Queue is posted to this yahoo group list on Fridays.

        If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask via
        the list or contact me directly.

        Regards
        Jamie DeBenedetto
        Edit Administration Officer
      • edwardripleyduggan
        Hello Ray, Edits follow (not many). The bit about the bag as a no-good woman made me chuckle. Almost worth a blues... Interesting review. None of my 0 degree
        Message 3 of 4 , May 8, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          Hello Ray,

          Edits follow (not many). The bit about the bag as a no-good woman made
          me chuckle. Almost worth a blues...

          Interesting review. None of my 0 degree bags (well, I have a 5 degree
          WM Antelope and a -10 (?) Valandre Shocking Blue, but close enough)
          have quite the issue you describe i.e. frost on the bag soaking in
          etc. Sounds to me as if, in these settings, the transition point to
          freezing is within the bag's shell, which can cause some mayhem, but
          it seems worse than usual here.

          One thing I was curious about, and would definitely like to see added
          to the review, is how easily the bag dries on the trail. Clearly, if
          the shell tends to hold the moisture in, this is not a good thing, but
          if it allows moisture to quickly escape, much better. What sort of
          drying times have you experienced? How many nights can you use the bag
          before moisture in the loft cuts the insulative value to the point
          where you are no longer comfortable?

          Anyhow, Ray, upload to

          http://tinyurl.com/j374p

          when edited. Looks good!

          Ted.

          BGT OR Editor


          > The outer shell is made of Dimension Polyant, this is how
          > Mountainsmith describes it. "The outer shell of the mummy-shaped
          > bags utilizes the same tough Dimension Polyant fabric often used in
          > high-performance sail lofts. The material fights and conquers all
          > the elements. It is wind-resistant, has the highest rating of water-
          > repellency wind resistance,

          ### EDIT: Is this meant to be "...water repellency, wind
          resistance..." It doesn't make sense as is, but it is a manufacturer
          blurb, so...



          >
          > My old 0 F bag was synthetic fill. While it was plenty warm (one of
          > the most accurate ratings I have yet to see) it was a bit heavy, and
          > worse, very bulky. It took up one third of the space in my winter
          > pack. And back then that pack was huge!
          >
          > So I started looking for a new bag. After much positive reviews

          ### EDIT: "After reading many positive reviews..."

          on
          > the fairly new line of bags by Mountainsmith, I decided to take a
          > chance on the Cypher, although I was very skeptical that a bag with
          > this rating could weigh this little. When it showed up I got a
          > bigger surprise. This thing packs down smaller than any bag I owned,
          > or have ever owned.

          ### EDIT: should this be "had ever owned." (?)

          (I was just getting into quality down bags.) I
          > had a 40-30 F (4 to -1 C) variable bag that would not fit into the
          > Cypher's stuff sack.
          >

          >
          > I loved the Dimension Polyant material. I was extremely worried at
          > first that I would tear it. As I mentioned before, I have never felt
          > that seemingly delicate of a fabric

          ### EDIT: "As I mentioned before, I had never felt such a seemingly
          delicate fabric on a piece of outdoors gear."

          on a piece of outdoors gear. It
          > has proved to be very tough.
          >

          >
          > On my first trip with the Cypher I took it up to San Jacinto, my
          > winter testing ground. My second trip with it was above Lee Vining
          > in the Sierra's.

          ### EDIT: Sierras.

          On both trips I used a Sierra Design's Hyperlight
          > AST 2 man tent solo. Both times I had condensation issues. That is
          > to be expected in the winter, especially with a person as full of
          > hot-air as me…
          >

          >
          > I love how small it packs down to, and how little it weighs. It is
          > like a woman that my family keeps telling me is no good for me. I
          > just can't let it go. I ended up taking it on a hike of the northern
          > half of the John Muir Trail in October of 2005as

          ### EDIT: 2005 as

          we had to be ready
          > for any kind of weather. Here are some excerpts from my log
          > concerning the Cypher.


          >
        • rayestrella1
          Hello Ted, I made the edits suggested and added some verbage about the drying. Thank you for your help as always, Ray
          Message 4 of 4 , May 8, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Hello Ted,

            I made the edits suggested and added some verbage about the drying.

            Thank you for your help as always,

            Ray
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.