78948Re: FR - MontBell Down Hugger - Bob Dorenfeld
- Aug 1, 2014forgot to add link to HTML: http://tinyurl.com/ocu92vu
---In firstname.lastname@example.org, <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.*
* 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.
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
Southern Colorado Mountains
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