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78948Re: FR - MontBell Down Hugger - Bob Dorenfeld

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  • geartest7000
    Aug 1, 2014
    • 0 Attachment
      forgot to add link to HTML:  http://tinyurl.com/ocu92vu


      ---In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, <geartest@...> wrote :

      Hi Coy,

      Here's my FR for the sleeping bag.  So far I like it, great item.
      HTML is here:
      and FR text part of the review is below.


              - Field Report -

            It's been two months since my Initial Report, and I'm pleased to
            announce that the Down Hugger has performed at least as well as
            expected, and in some ways better.  After a brief summary of field
            conditions in which I used the sleeping bag, I'll describe my
            experiences in sections, starting with MontBell's spiral-stretch

            *Range of Field Conditions

            * * sleep system*Up to this point I've slept in the Down Hugger
            for 12 nights on backpack trips.  Nighttime low temperatures
            ranged from freezing to about 50 F (10 C).  Elevations, all in the
            Rocky Mountains of Southern Colorado and Southern New Mexico,
            varied from 7500-11,700 ft (2300-3560 m).  Other weather
            conditions included damp and rainy, clear and dry, still and windy
            - in short, quite a variety of conditions.  As this photo shows, I
            use a tarp-tent style of shelter with a full wall of no-see-um
            netting at the front of the tent and netting around the base
            perimeter, all integrated with a single-wall roof; an insulated
            air pad for comfort and warmth underneath the sleeping bag
            completes my sleep system.  Some nights were quite cool and
            breezy, while others remained still and warm.  The inside of my
            tent walls gathered some condensation when it was raining and
            humid, but not enough to penetrate the water-resistant sleeping
            bag when it touched the tent wall.*

            *Spiral-Stretch System

            * This is easy to summarize - I like it!  Although I was skeptical
            at first, I found that it's great for a restless sleeper like
            myself who usually tosses and turns throughout the night.  I felt
            like I could curl up or stretch my legs without stressing the
            bag's delicate seams.  I'm of average build for my height of 5' 6"
            (1.68 m) height, and I feel like I still have a good amount of
            wiggle room in this bag even without the stretch seams.  However,
            I can see how this bias-cut feature could be especially beneficial
            for a larger person who fills out the bag and doesn't have a lot
            of extra room to start with.

            *Zipper and Drawcord

            * Another great feature is the zipper...I can think of only one
            time when I snagged it, most likely due to carelessness on my
            part.  It just works very smoothly, both up and down using the
            inside or outside zipper pull.  I haven't yet used the locking
            slider at the foot end, although I have opened the foot during a
            couple of warm nights for ventilation and found that the zipper
            there hardly moved during the night; actually I found that the
            zipper didn't move much at all from any position I left it at.
            Likewise, the drawcord for the hood worked well for me, no
            problems there.  The hood was snug if I wanted it to be, but
            allowed enough room to move my head and to breathe.


            *Now to the nub of the issue - how warm did the Down Hugger keep
            me?  Most of the time, warm enough within the range of
            temperatures indicated by the Comfort and Lower Limit ratings as
            described above in Product Overview.  There were a couple of times
            when, given my open-netting tent, the cool outside breeze made me
            draw up the hood to stay warm (air blows at head level across the
            bottom of the tent and exits at the top to reduce condensation).
            That night the outside temperature was just above freezing, inside
            the tent a couple of degrees F warmer.  Given a warmer tent
            (double-wall with less netting) I'd probably have been warmer in
            the sleeping bag.  But I was never uncomfortable, and am happy
            with the EU rating of the Down Hugger that assigns a "Lower Limit"
            of just about freezing to this bag.  I do wear long underwear (top
            and bottom), both for warmth and to keep body oils off of the
            inside of the bag, and I'm sure this adds to my comfort at the
            temperatures in which I've been using the bag.  I also found it
            easy to reposition the bag during the night when it inevitably
            twists so that the zipper ends up below me, or the hood is no
            longer below my head.

            *Slippery Fabric*

            The rip-stop nylon that MontBell chose to use for the Down Hugger
            exterior and interior is really slippery stuff.  Inside it feels
            smooth and silky on my skin, very comfortable.  But before using
            it in the field I was concerned that it would slide too easily on
            my air mattress, and unfortunately that proved to be the case.
            When I could pitch my tent on a level or nearly-level site, there
            wasn't much of a problem.  But if the tent was sloping appreciably
            (perhaps half of all my camp sites) I would be constantly fighting
            to keep from sliding down to the tent end and off of my pillow.  I
            don't see any benefit to such a slippery fabric for the bag's
            exterior.  I wonder if there's an alternative nylon that offers
            the same light weight and durability but with more inherent
            surface friction?  Regardless, I'll probably need to fix the
            problem by applying caulk dots onto the top surface of my air
            mattress, adding friction to keep the Down Hugger from slipping down.

            * Down Stability, Moisture, and Loft
            I've noticed just a few feathers and down pieces floating about
            during use, but really nothing out of the ordinary for a down
            bag.  So far I'm not concerned, but I'll be alert to any increase
            in this regard.

            Fortunately the bag (and down) hasn't gotten wet during use.
            During the rainy nights, some condensation from the tent rubbed
            off onto the top of the bag, or blew in from the tent margins onto
            the bag bottom, but as far as I can tell no down got wet at this
            time; the moisture beaded up and either wiped off or evaporated
            within a couple of hours, demonstrating good water repellency of
            the bag's nylon exterior.

            The bag has continued to feel as fluffy as the day I received it.
            When arriving at a new campsite, I always unpack the sleeping bag
            and shake it out as soon as the tent is set up, and it takes
            perhaps at most ten minutes for the down to regain its original loft.


            So far during my test I have not seen any issues with stitching,
            the zipper, or seams.  All look as good as new, and the drawcord
            and zipper are working flawlessly.  I can't see any fraying at the
            stretch seams along the body of the bag.

            *Odor and Dirt Issues*

            I haven't yet noticed any odor build-up inside the sleeping bag
            yet; using long underwear helps that situation.  It's way too soon
            to think about washing the bag, as I'm also careful about keeping
            my tent clean.  Any dirt I've encountered has brushed off easily,
            or wiped off with a damp cloth (including the inevitable paw
            prints from my dog).


            I love the way the Down Hugger stuffs and packs - so quick and
            easy!  I also like the two-level drawcord on the stuff stack - it
            makes the package just a bit shorter, and the tapered sack makes
            it easier to get the bag in.  Where my previous sleeping bag took
            up almost the entire lower compartment of my backpack, I can now
            fit in the Down Hugger, stuffed air mattress, pack rain cover,
            rain jacket, and other small stuff.  And I definitely like the
            only 1 lb 8 oz (687 g) that it adds to my backpack!


            Starting this summer I'm now hanging all of my sleeping bags
            (including the Down Hugger) from a rod near the ceiling using the
            two nylon hooks provided at the bag's foot.  This will provide
            better airing out of the bag and less down compression between
            uses, more so than using the large cotton bag that came with the
            Down Hugger.  This is in addition to my normal airing out for a
            couple of hours in the sun immediately on my return from a camping
            trip, when I'll turn the bag inside out onto the clothes line.

            */Evaluation Highlights So Far/*
              *Good points*: warm, comfortable, easy zipper, water repellency,
            good loft-to-weight ratio
              *Bad point*: exterior fabric too slippery on my air pad

            This completes my Field Report for the MontBell Down Hugger 800.
            Check back in about two months for my Long Term Report to see how
            this sleeping bag continues to perform.


            Thanks to MontBell and to BGT for the opportunity to test the Down
            Hugger 800.

      Reviewed By
      Bob Dorenfeld
      Southern Colorado Mountains
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