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REPOST: Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15- Peter Spiller

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  • phspiller
    Roger, Thanks for the edit. The extensive filed location and conditions section of this report was me playing with the idea of modularizing this section, so
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 5, 2008
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      Thanks for the edit.

      The extensive filed location and conditions section of this report was
      me playing with the idea of modularizing this section, so that I can
      easily create info for areas that I visit often, and create a unified
      set of information for all my trips. I will see how it works for me
      in the future.

      I have made the edits indicated in your report, and reposted the HTML
      to the test folder. You can find it here:


      If I have missed anything please let me know.

      Thanks Again,


      Mountain Hardwear Phantom +15 Sleeping Bag
      Peter Spiller
      February 16, 2008

      Name: Peter Spiller
      Age: 37
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83m)
      Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
      Email address: phspiller@...
      City, State, Country: La Mesa, CA U.S.
      Website: www.outsidesd.com
      Backpacking Background: I have been camping and hiking avidly since
      childhood. In the last several years my passion for backpacking and
      kayaking has grown. I am a Chapter Outing Leader for the Sierra-Club,
      I have trained in Wilderness First Aid, and am a staff member for a
      Wilderness-Basics course. I enjoy solo backpacking and group trips.
      I have an adaptable style that is fueled by my interest in backpacking
      gear. I pack as light as possible when the situation dictates, but I
      am not against hauling creature comforts. I average 1 hike a week, and
      1 backpack a month year-round.

      Product information:
      Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 Seeping Bag
      Manufacturers Website: www.mountainhardwear.com
      Listed Weight: 31 oz (880 g)
      Delivered Weight: 33 oz (936 g)
      Purchased: December 2006
      Manufacturers Description: (from the website) Designed to be warm and
      as light as possible, the Phantom™ 15 is a great all-around choice for
      colder conditions. This light, warm mummy cut bag has a snug fit and
      is an ideal choice if you only want one bag. The Phantom 15 is
      insulated with 800-fill down, tuck-stitched for durability and built
      from Superlight 15 denier fabric.

      Product Description:

      I purchased my Mountain Hardwear Phantom sleeping bag (hereafter
      referred to as the Phantom 15) with the intention that it be my only
      sleeping bag through the next several seasons. With this in mind, I
      settled on this sleeping bag as it was represented as being the most
      versatile on the market.

      The sleeping bag is a mummy-cut down sleeping bag rated to keep the
      user warm to 15 F ( -9.4 C). Its 800-fill power down in encased in
      lightweight fabric that is blue ripstop type nylon on the top
      exterior, and black ripstop type nylon on the bottom exterior. The
      interior is a slightly heavier black material. There are seams sewn
      across the body of the bag at regular intervals that hold the down in
      place. The zipper is on the right hand side, and is ¾ of the bag in
      length. There are two zipper pulls on the opening, allowing me to zip
      the bag closed, and then vent the mid-section of the bag using the
      second. A substantial draft tube backs the zipper track. The
      interior of the bag features a down filled draft collar near the neck
      area that has a Velcro closure on the right side, and two
      differentiated pull cords the left side, running through a single cord
      lock that is attached to the bag via a short ribbon. Just above the
      draft collar on the left side is a small triangle-shaped zipper pocket
      backed by another Velcro closed pocket formed by the zipper pocket and
      the wall of the sleeping bag. The sleeping bag has a substantial hood
      with a Velcro closure on the right side of the bag, and two
      differentiated pull cords running through a single cord lock on the
      right side of the hood.

      The bag I have been using is a medium, and my 6 ft (183 cm) 190 lbs
      (86 kg) frame fits into the bag a bit snug, but not uncomfortably so.
      It is long enough that my feet reach the foot-box, without pushing up
      on the bottom of the bag. I am a side sleeper, and the cut of the
      torso and shoulders of the bag allow me to sleep on my side but it is
      somewhat tight in the shoulder area. When rolling over in the bag, I
      need to use a little care to keep the bag from rolling over with me as
      the bottom of the bag is not as generously insulated as the top. The
      bag has substantial loft when uncompressed, but does compress down
      very well, and fits in a 7 in (18 cm) by 20.5 in (52 cm) compression
      sack. The stuff sack that came with the bag ripped within the first
      week of using the bag, so I purchased a waterproof compression sack.
      I did call Mountain Hardwear in regards to the defective stuff sack,
      and they responded by sending me a replacement. There was also a
      large mesh storage sack included, for uncompressed storage when not in

      Locations and Conditions:

      I have used Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 Sleeping Bag in multiple
      locations throughout California and Arizona. The Phantom 15 is my
      primary 3-season sleeping bag, and I have used it on just about all of
      my backpacking trips in the last 13 months. I will include
      descriptions of trips in the following locations in this report:

      Anza-Borrego Desert, CA (January 2007)
      High temp: 78.7 F (25.9 C) Precipitation: .04 in (1.0 mm)
      Low temp: 23.4 F (-4.8 C) Elevation (Borrego Springs, California):
      780 ft ( 238 m)
      Average Temperature: 52.6 F (11.4 C)
      Terrain: The Anza-Borrego region is classic desert terrain. It is
      covered in rugged rocks, split by sandy washes. The foliage consists
      primarily of cactus and yuccas. The weather is usually dry, with a
      brief wet season in February and March in which the desert comes alive
      with one of the most spectacular wild-flower blooms in the world.

      Anza-Borrego Desert, California February 2007
      High temp: 82.3 F (27.9 C) Precipitation: .03 in (.8 mm)
      Low tem: 37.2 F (2.9 C) Elevation (Borrego Springs, California):
      780 ft (238 m)
      Average Temperature: 59.8 F (15.5 C)
      Terrain: The Anza-Borrego region is classic desert terrain. It is
      covered in rugged rocks, split by sandy washes. The foliage consists
      primarily of cactus and yuccas. The weather is usually dry, with a
      brief wet season in February and March in which the desert comes alive
      with one of the most spectacular wild-flower blooms in the world.

      Mammoth Lakes, California (March 2007)
      High temp: 69.8 F (27.9 C) Precipitation: 0 in (0 mm)
      Low temp: 6.0 F (-14.4 C) Elevation Mammoth Lakes, California: 7920
      ft (2414 m)
      Average Temperature: 38.0 F (3.4 C)
      Terrain: Mammoth Lakes is a high altitude area covered with thick pine
      and juniper forests. The violent volcanic history of the region has
      distinctly shaped the terrain. The jagged mountain ranges, and
      plethora of volcanic rock littering the forest floor speak of this
      tumultuous past.

      Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (May 2007)
      High temp: 69.8 F (21 C) Precipitation: .65 in (1.65 cm)
      Low temp: 39.1 F (3.94 C) Elevation Range: 2200 ft (670 m)-7400 ft
      (2255 m)
      Average Temperature: --
      Terrain: The Grand Canyon is a unique and diverse place. The vertical
      mile of elevation change allows one to experience a wide variety of
      terrains in one day. The rim is swathed in juniper forests, which
      quickly give way to a mild shrub covered terrain, just as quickly
      yielding to a harsh desert regions. The water of the Colorado River
      creates an oasis from the extreme desert environment, providing for
      riparian forests of willow and tamarisks.

      Yosemite National Park, California (August 2007)
      High temp: 99 F (37.2 C) Precipitation: .14 in (3.6 mm)
      Low temp: 50.8 F (10.4 C) Elevation Range:
      4,000 ft (1219 M)-9926 ft (3025 M)
      Average Temperature: 74.1 F (23.9 C)
      Terrain: Yosemite is covered with pine and juniper forests, and is
      dominated by its spectacular glacier carved granite features. The
      moisture from the large amount of snow in the winter, and the regular
      but short thunderstorms that rolls through during the summer, sustains
      the forests.

      User Experience:

      Anza-Borrego Desert, CA (January 2007): The overnight trip that I
      took in Anza-Borrego Desert was my first real experience with the
      Phantom 15. The weather was fairly mild, and I found that I was
      overheating using the bag in the traditional manner. I reconfigured my
      sleeping setup to use the bag as a quilt in conjunction with a closed
      cell foam pad inside a solo two-wall tent. The open configuration of
      the bag used as a quilt was perfect to keep my temperature regulated,
      and I was neither too hot nor too cold. The bag compressed as
      expected, and lofted in a reasonable amount of time after removing it
      from its stuff sack. I wore a lightweight base layer while sleeping.

      Anza-Borrego Desert, CA (February 2007): The temperature during this
      trip was a little more severe, and the lows dropped down in the 30's
      during the middle of the night. The Phantom 15 performed well zipped
      up in the more traditional manner, but I was very cold during the
      first night as I developed a hole in my inflatable mattress, and was
      not carrying a closed cell foam pad. The down that comprises the
      underside of the bag did not insulate well when compressed with the
      weight of my body. Fortunately, Mountain Hardware had the foresight to
      use less down on the bottom than the top of the bag, concentrating the
      insulation where it is most effective.

      Mammoth Lakes, CA (March 2007): I camped in the Mammoth Lakes Area,
      as part of a snowshoe trip for a wilderness basics course. This is
      the first trip I experienced any extreme temperatures in the Phantom
      15. The overnight temperature dropped below 20 F (-7 C) range, and I
      am happy to report that the bag was able to keep me warm and
      comfortable in these temperatures. I supplemented the bag by wearing
      light fleece pants and a light fleece pullover, and placed the bag in
      a breathable bivy sack to protect it from moisture. Early in the
      night, when the temperature was somewhat warmer, I did need to open up
      the bag to avoid overheating. When the temperature dropped, I zipped
      it down over my head, and was very comfortable.

      Grand Canyon National Park, AZ (May 2007): I used the Phantom 15 as
      my primary sleeping bag for my backpacking trip into the Grand Canyon
      in May. The conditions in the canyon were very warm, exceeding 100 F
      (39 C) in the day, and not cooling much during the night. The Phantom
      15 was way too much bag for this trip. I still carried it as the
      weight of the bag is comparable to many summer bags, and it provided
      me backup insulation if the weather would take a drastic change while
      in the Canyon. I did not need the backup, and never slept inside the
      bag during the trip, although I did drape it over me loosely in the
      coolest part of the night to cut the mild chill. I do not regret
      taking the bag with me in the warm conditions, but if I have access to
      any lighter less insulated bag in future trips, I would not hesitate
      to bring it in place of the Phantom 15.

      Yosemite National Park, CA (August 2007): The Phantom 15 excelled
      during my trip to Yosemite with my daughter. The weather was warm
      during the day, dropping to cool to cold in the evening depending on
      location. I spent four nights in the Phantom 15, and it was an ideal
      sleeping bag for each evening. On the warm evenings I would sleep
      with it unzipped, loosely covering me. As the temperature dropped
      during the night, I was able to stay warm by zipping it more closely
      around me. I only needed the hood one of the nights, when the
      temperature dropped more significantly than the others. This was the
      first trip I used the bag for more than two nights, and I was
      initially concerned about condensation compromising the down
      insulation, but this proved to be unfounded. I did pull the bag out
      of its compression sack at every opportunity in order to dry it out,
      but I believe that it would have remained dry enough without the
      additional precautions.


      The Phantom 15 is a very versatile sleeping bag. It is functional in
      all but the coldest and the warmest conditions I have found in the
      Western United States. The high quality 800-fill down has kept me
      warm while sleeping without adding undue bulk or weight to my pack.
      The bag has been durable, and has held up well on multiple nights of
      use in the backcountry. The ability for me to ventilate the bag with
      double zippers, and the ability to close up the bag with the draft
      collar, and the cinch down hood add to the range that this sleeping
      bag is comfortable to me. The small pockets near the head of the bag
      look convenient, but I have yet to use them, and would prefer the
      weight savings if they were removed. The differentiated pull cords
      work well, and are vital to opening and closing the draft collar and
      hood in the dark. The biggest problem I have with the bag is the
      zipper, which snags the draft tube regularly when zipping and
      unzipping the bag. Overall, the features, durability and flexibility
      of this bag far outweigh the annoyance of the snagging zipper. What
      follows is a synopsis of the pros and cons of The Mountain Hardwear
      Phantom 15 sleeping bag:

      • Warm
      • Durable
      • Packs down small
      • High warmth to weight ratio
      • Well designed hood system

      • The zipper pull snags the draft tube when zipping it open and closed
      • The small stash pockets do not get used by me, and add to the
      weight of the bag
      • Slightly snug around the shoulders when sleeping on my side.
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