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OWNER REVIEW - Cumulus Mysterious Traveler 700

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  • Christian Veenstra
    Cumulus Mysterious Traveler 700 ultralight down sleeping bag Owner Review July 8th, 2010 http://www.sleepingbags-cumulus.com/ Personal Biographic Information
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 13, 2010
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      Cumulus Mysterious Traveler 700 ultralight down sleeping bag
      Owner Review
      July 8th, 2010

      Personal Biographic Information

      Name: Christian Veenstra
      Age: 27
      Gender: Male
      Height: 5'10" (178cm)
      Weight: 165lbs (75kg)
      Email address: christianDOTveenstraATyahooDOTca
      City, State, Country: Vancouver, BC, Canada
      Date: June 28, 2010
      Backpacking Background:I started out in Ontario, backpacking, canoing and rock
      climbing. Since I moved to British Columbia 5 years ago I've frequently spent
      time in the Coast Mountains of BC, but have also done trips in the Cascades,
      Rockies, Alps and Iceland. Trips range from overnighters to self-supported
      expeditions up to a month in length, and for the most part I'll be camped above
      treeline. Since I'll often be tackling technical objectives, which require
      additional amounts of gear, I require all my fundamental equipment to be as
      minimal and lightweight as possible. The weather in the Coast Range is
      generally pretty wet (well, snowy in the alpine) during the winter and dry in
      the summer. I get out year 'round, so encounter a fair variety of weather.
      Whether I bring a tent or tarp depends mostly on the weather forecast.


      My wife and I purchased a pair of these sleeping bags for a month long kayak
      accessed ski tour of the Waddington Range in the Coast Mountains. Since our 6
      person team would be carrying in all our own supplies and mountaineering
      equipment for our (planned) 17 days away from the kayaks it was quite important
      that our sleeping bags (one of the "big three" heavy items) be very lightweight
      and have low packed volume. In May one still has to be prepared for winter
      conditions in the mountains so we thought the Cumulus' 2010 Mysterious Traveler
      700 (MSRP $370CAD), with its -11C (12F) rating, seemed to be a good choice as
      it would still be lightweight but we could expect to survive the coldest nights
      (if we wore all our clothes and down jackets inside). At the time these were
      the lightest offerings by Cumulus in that temperature range, although it seems
      they've recently introduced yet lighter ones, despite it being only a few
      months later (I believe they are in the process of expanding their North
      American offerings).

      Since then we've used these bags on a handful of other trips as well - probably
      20 nights total camping on snow or glacier in the alpine, 10 at sea level and
      another 5 somewhere inbetween. The worst conditions we've slept in them was at
      the top of the Ice Valley corridor in the Waddington Range (~2600m, glaciated),
      where it was probably -12C (10F) and blowing hard. Under the bag I generally
      use a short-cut (shoulder to knee length) Thermarest prolight 4 sleeping pad
      and make a little pile of stuff for for my feet and head.

      Initial Impressions

      The bag comes with a large mesh storage sack as well as a smaller stuff sack
      (which is made of waterproof fabric, but is not seam-sealed). Out of the bag I
      immediately noticed that the build quality was very nice, exactly what one
      would expect for a first rate sleeping bag, and with very few escaped
      feathers. Of course you can see some of the down through the fabric, but this
      is entirely expected of the thin fabric for an ultralight bag. It felt
      lightweight, but of course I immediately checked its weight with my own scale
      to see how it compared against the all-mighty gram. Mine weighed in at 1122g
      (39.6oz) and my wife's at 1170g (41.3oz) (without the stuff sack or tags) -
      slightly over the manufacturer advertised weight of 1080g (38.1oz), but still
      definitely qualifying as light.

      I measure the thickness to be about 16cm (6 1/4"), measured with the bag lying
      flat on the floor after hanging for > 2 days to allow it to loft fully. For my
      height of 178cm (5'10") the bag is almost a perfect fit, with the extra space
      taken up if I do up all the draw cords tightly. I would estimate there to be
      another 10cm of space with the cords looser, so I think the maximum recommended
      height of 190cm (6' 3") is probably accurate.


      Overall, we have been very happy with our bags. The only "problem" is that I
      think that they are actually warmer than the -11C rating might imply - they
      feel warmer than my -9C MEC Merlin (another ultralight down bag), as well as my
      -12C MEC Hybrid (a reasonable quality bag), and even my -20C MEC synthetic
      (although the fact that particular bag is rated -20C is a bit of a joke, to
      me). For most of the trips I do, even in the alpine in winter, I think this
      bag will be a bit too warm - I wonder if I should have bought the next lighter
      bag (in the Coast Range it rarely gets really really cold, and I don't mind
      having to wear my down jacket inside my sleeping bag for the odd really cold
      night). I should qualify the statement a bit with the fact that I generally
      sleep fairly warm, but it seems that this is one of the few sleeping bags which
      actually keeps you comfortable at its rated temperature in a tent, as opposed
      to barely allowing you to survive the night (which seems to be the standard).
      I have not yet had to put on extra clothes to keep warm while using this bag,
      despite probably exceeding it's temperature rating a little bit (of course, I
      always wear a base layer to help keep my bags clean).

      I think that a lot of this warmth comes from the build quality of the bag - you
      can tell that the inner fabric layer is smaller than the outer, which helps to
      prevent you from packing out the loft, it is very breathable, and the zipper
      baffle and neck collar make a really good seal. One of the nicest touches
      about this bag, actually, is that the neck collar seals with its own wide strip
      of velcro - this means that, even if you've zipped the bag together with
      another bag, you can still do up the neck collar. This is invaluable to me,
      since I almost always camp with my wife, as it means that we can still zip our
      bags together on the coldest nights without the massive heat leak from in
      between our heads that we'd get with most bags.

      I should mention as well that, although ultralight, it seems the fabric is
      still reasonably tear resistant. On that first trip another member of our
      party, who'd bought the same sleeping bag, had a bear attempt to eat the drybag
      containing it! Although we scared it off before it could do too much damage it
      did mange to ruin the drybag and chew up some of the items inside. The
      sleeping bag itself received a couple of punctures, but the holes remained
      holes and didn't rip larger. He was able to just throw a couple of stitches
      over the punctures and they haven't spread since. Not to say the bags are
      "bear proof", as I'm sure it could have destroyed the sleeping bag without
      trouble, but it was nice to see that the holes haven't grown.

      The only trouble with the bag is the lack of a zipper stiffener, which can make
      opening/closing the bag when half-asleep a bit tricky if you're not used to
      it. Of course, then the bag would probably have to weigh 100g or so more.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jamie D.
      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 2 , Jul 17, 2010
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        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. 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. 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(at)hotmail.com

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        Edit Administration Manager
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