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LTR - Sierra Designs Echo - Andy Henrichs

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  • a_henrichs
    Here s the LTR for the SD Echo. Html version can be found at http://tinyurl.com/36qrvd . Thanks for the edits! Andy Sierra
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 1, 2007
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      Here's the LTR for the SD Echo. Html version can be found at
      http://tinyurl.com/36qrvd <http://tinyurl.com/36qrvd> . Thanks for the


      Sierra Designs Echo Sleeping Bag

      Test Series by Andy Henrichs

      June 25, 2007

      Initial Report - 2-13-07 <#Initial Report>

      Field Report - 4-25-07 <#Field Report>

      Long Term Report - 6-25-07 <#Long Term Report>

      Initial Report

      Biographical Information

      Name: Andy Henrichs
      Age: 26
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
      Weight: 190 lb (86.2 kg)

      Shoulder Girth: 49" (124 cm)

      Hip Girth: 40" (102 cm)

      Feet Girth: 35" (89 cm)

      Email address: a_henrichs@...
      City, State, Country: Carbondale, Colorado, USA

      Backpacking Background

      Most of my backpacking has been in the mountains of Colorado and
      Wyoming, as well as the desert in the southwestern US. I've gone
      winter camping several times, but I still prefer backpacking in the
      warmer months. Most of my trips are 2-3 days, but I have taken several
      trips of 5-6 days. This past summer, I was fortunate enough to have
      thru-hiked the 476 mile Colorado Trail over 35 days. Recently, I have
      been leaning towards the lightweight side of the spectrum.

      Product Information

      Manufacturer: Sierra Designs (www.sierradesigns.com
      <http://www.sierradesigns.com/> )

      Year of Manufacture: 2007

      MSRP (regular): $479 US

      MSRP (long): $499 US

      Manufacturers Stated Bag Weight (long): 4 lb 8 oz (2 kg)

      Manufacturers Stated Stuffed Size (long): 10 in by 20 in (25 cm by 51

      Measured Bag Weight (long): 4 lb 8 oz (2 kg)

      Measured Stuff Sack Weight: 5.8 oz (160 g)

      Measured Removable Pad Lock Weight: .5 oz (14 g)

      Measured Compressed Stuffed Size (long): 10 in by 14 in (25 cm by 36 cm)

      Product Description

      The Sierra Designs Echo is a -20º F (-29º C) sleeping bag. It
      features 800-fill goose down as well as a dark blue
      waterproof-breathable DriZone 40-denier nylon shell. The Echo has a
      two-way zipper that runs nearly the full-length of the bag. The pull
      tab on the upper zipper is a small flap of a leather-like material. The
      bag also features Welded Seam Construction. According to the Sierra
      Designs website, "Welded Seam Construction is stronger, lasts longer,
      and denies water an entrance to a sleeping bag." Basically, this means
      that there are almost no seams on the exterior of the bag. The only
      seams on the exterior are at the edges of the zipper and storm flap.
      The storm flap runs the length of the bag and has small hook-and-loop
      closures at four points along the length of the zipper to ensure it
      covers the zipper. The hood of the Echo is an "Expedition Jacket Hood."
      According to the Sierra Designs website, this is a "streamlined
      construction [which] creates the most thermally efficient hood on the
      market." The hood also features an internal face draft tube and draft
      collar. Both the face draft tube and draft collar have draw-cords for
      adjustability. Again according to the website, this "creates an
      extremely quiet sleep zone" and "allows eyes to be more shaded (ideal in
      the most northern latitudes)." The internal draft collar also features
      a 3 in by 4.5 in (8 cm by 11 cm) mesh "media pocket" with a
      hook-and-loop closure. In addition to the adjustable face draft tube,
      the Echo has a traditional draw-cord closure around the perimeter of the
      hood. The Echo also has two removable pad locks. These are .5 in (1
      cm) wide strips of fabric with an adjustment tab. They have
      hook-and-loop closures at each end; these in turn are attached to small
      loops of cord. When used, the pad locks secure the sleeping bag to the
      sleeping pad, preventing shifting of the pad or bag. There is one green
      Sierra Designs logo on the chest of the bag and one on the left side of
      the foot of the bag. Also at the foot of the bag is the name, fill,
      temperature rating, and DriZone logo. There are two storage hang loops
      at the foot of the bag, as well as two consumer information tags of the
      "to be removed by consumer only under penalty of law" variety.

      [Sierra Designs Echo] [The hood, all zipped up]

      [The lower pad lock]

      I think my favorite thing about this bag is the 40-denier polyester
      liner material. It comes in a very cool looking pinstripe-like pattern.
      The interior of the Echo also features dual draft tubes running the
      length of the bag on either side of the zipper. Sewn into one draft
      tube is a care instructions label. The Echo also comes with a standard
      cotton storage sack and a compression stuff-sack. The stuff-sack has
      four compression straps. Two are fixed, and two have quick release
      buckles. The opening of the bag has a draw-cord. The opposite end of
      the sack has a pull handle of webbing so it's easier to get the sleeping
      bag out of a pack. Attached to the Echo was a Sierra Designs hang tag
      with information on the DriZone sleeping bag line, a description of
      various features of the Echo, and the Sierra Designs warranty.

      [Way-cool pinstripe lining] [The Echo in the compression

      Field Information

      The bulk of my testing will take place in the Elk Mountains of
      western Colorado this winter. I will also use this bag through the
      spring when the temperatures are warmer, but always threaten to plunge
      at night. I will use this bag at elevations ranging from 7000 ft (2134
      m) to over 13000 ft (3962 m). I would expect to experience a variety of
      nighttime weather on my trips. This may include wind, snow, sleet,
      hail, and possibly rain on spring trips. On most of my testing trips I
      expect to experience nighttime lows ranging from -10º F (-23º C)
      to around 15º F (-9º C).

      Initial Impressions

      The Sierra Designs Echo arrived stuffed into the cotton storage
      sack. Having never owned such a cold-weather bag, my first thought when
      I picked it up was "this is one heavy bag!" I removed the bag from the
      storage sack, let it loft, and began looking it over. Based on my
      inspection, Sierra Designs paid a lot of attention to detail with this
      bag. All the construction looks top-notch, and the bag looks just plain
      tough. I get the feeling that I could run this bag through the wringer
      and it would come out looking like new. Nevertheless, there's a lot of
      testing to be done before I can jump to any conclusions. I've crawled
      into the bag at home several times and it feels great. It's snug (no
      extra air to heat), but not constricting. There's adequate room in the
      bag to store clothes, camera, food, a water bottle, or anything else
      that I don't want to freeze. I was able to fit my camera into the
      internal media pocket, but the pocket wouldn't close. I anticipate
      using this as a watch pocket most of the time.

      The hood opening is relatively small when the bag is zipped
      completely up. I think this will be nice in the field, as less warm air
      will escape. When I cinch up the draw-cords on the hood, face draft
      tube, and draft collar, the hood opening exposes only my nose and mouth.
      When the face draft tube is cinched up, the material tends to bunch up
      and poke at my eyes, but I've been able to avoid it by shifting the hood
      slightly. When stuffing the sleeping bag back into the stuff sack, air
      tends to get trapped inside the baffles. I've found that if I just
      maintain steady pressure on the bag, the air escapes and I can stuff it
      into the stuff sack. I suppose this is to be expected of a windproof
      material, but it raises concerns about how well the DriZone fabric will

      I will pay particular attention to the following aspects of the Sierra
      Designs Echo Sleeping Bag during the testing session:

      1. Fit/Comfort – So far I feel like the bag fits well. Will I feel
      the same after a full night in the bag? What about ten nights? Will
      the snug-fitting hood overheat me in warm weather? Will the face draft
      tube poke me in the eyes if I shift while sleeping? I seem to have
      found a short term solution, but will it work when I roll around at

      2. Warmth – How accurate is the temperature rating of this bag? I
      tend to sleep slightly warm. What is the temperature in which I will
      comfortably be able to use this bag? Will I find an upper limit where
      the DriZone can't breathe as fast as I produce heat and moisture?
      Are the dual draft tubes and draft collar effective at sealing in the

      3. Zipper – The very first time I unzipped the bag, the zipper got
      snagged on the storm flap. "So much for the Snag-Free Zipper Track," I
      thought to myself. Honestly, I've haven't had a problem with the zipper
      snagging since then. I'll see if it occurs again.

      4. Durability – How tough is the nylon shell and liner material?
      Will the shell hold up to normal wear and tear, especially when sleeping
      outside of a tent? Just from the look and feel of the material, it
      looks like it could hold up to nearly anything. I'll work this bag hard
      to see how it handles real-life use.

      5. Waterproofness and breathability – The DriZone shell sounds
      pretty intriguing. One of my first tests with this bag was to stick the
      foot of it under the kitchen sink. I was pretty impressed; even after
      sitting under running water for a full minute, the material didn't soak
      any water up. I'll test the waterproofness claim in the field by
      spending several nights out under the stars, hopefully under a light
      snowfall. As I stated earlier, I'm a little leery of the breathability
      of the DriZone in warmer weather. I've often heard complaints of
      waterproof bags feeling clammy due to moisture expired by one's
      body, particularly when sleeping in more moderate temperatures. Will I
      get the clammy feeling after a night spent at mild temperatures or will
      the shell breathe easily?

      6. Windproofness – The shell also claims to be windproof. As I
      mentioned previously, I plan on spending several nights out under the
      stars to test this claim. How windproof is the zipper? Do the draft
      tubes and storm flap block the wind effectively?

      7. Compression Stuff Sack – I was able to compress the Echo to 10
      in by 14 in (25 cm by 36 cm) At this size, the compression sack was
      pretty solid. I probably won't compress it quite as much in actual use
      as less compression will make the bag softer and easier to pack. Will
      it easily fit into my winter mountaineering pack?

      This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to
      this report in approximately two months from the date of this report.
      Please check back then for further information.

      Field Report

      Field Conditions

      Most of my testing has taken place on the Western Slope of Colorado.
      I have also taken one long weekend day-hiking/car camping trip and two
      overnight mountain biking trips to the desert of southern Utah this
      spring. Testing has taken place at elevations ranging from 4500 ft
      (1400 m) to 10500 ft (3200 m). Nighttime low temperatures have ranged
      from 10° F (-12° C) to 35° F (2° C).

      Field Observations

      Unfortunately, the arrival of the Echo also seemed to herald the
      arrival of spring to Colorado. As such, I haven't been able to test it
      in the extreme cold it was designed for. Nonetheless, I am getting a
      good handle on what it is capable of. I've been able to use the Sierra
      Designs Echo during three overnight backcountry skiing trips and nearly
      a week total of car camping. Two of the skiing trips took place on
      Huntsman Ridge, a ridge heading off a nearby mountain pass. Elevations
      of my camps on both nights were near 10500 ft (3200 m). During the
      first trip, I experienced strong winds, blowing snow, and a nighttime
      low of approximately 15º F (-9º C). Due to the wind and new snow,
      I ended up tracking a fair amount of snow into the tent despite my best
      efforts. The DriZone shell on the Echo worked like a charm. I was able
      to brush most of the snow off the bag, but soon realized that wasn't
      necessary. When it melted, the water would just roll off the bag.
      Weather on the second trip up Huntsman Ridge was much milder, with only
      a slight breeze and clear skies. Temperatures on this trip hovered
      around 10º F (-12º C) at night. My third skiing trip took place
      at Thomas Lakes, which lie at 10300 ft (3100 m). This trip also
      featured mild weather with clear skies and a light wind. Nighttime
      temperatures on this trip only fell to approximately 25º F (-4º

      My car camping trips gave me more time at even milder temperatures.
      Nighttime lows during these trips ranged from 25º F (-4º C) to
      35º F (2º C). I spent one of these nights sleeping under the
      stars. When I woke in the morning, I found frost covering the top of
      the Echo. I had to stuff it for a few hours with the frost still on the
      shell, and it seemed like the shell itself wet out slightly, but the
      down still seemed to loft well. The shell dried after approximately 15
      minutes in the sun.

      Thoughts (so far)

      I like the cut of this bag. It's cut so there isn't an excess of
      air that I have to heat, but it's just roomy enough to fit my food bag
      (to prevent the food from freezing) and extra clothes in the bag with
      me. Given the relatively warm weather that I've used this bag in, I
      haven't found myself using the hood too often. As such, I haven't had a
      problem with the face draft tube poking me in the face. As I mentioned
      earlier, I unfortunately haven't been able to test the Echo in the
      temperatures it was designed for. My coldest night has been around
      10º F (-12º C). On this trip, I used the hood but didn't wear a
      hat. I was layered in my base layer with my extra clothes stuffed
      behind my knees and around my feet. I left the top quarter of the
      zipper unzipped for some venting and I was plenty warm. In fact, I woke
      up during the night to take my socks off because my feet were roasting.
      That's something I've never expected to do while winter camping. On the
      nights where the low was near 35º F (2º C) I didn't use the hood
      or wear a hat. Again, I was in my base layer without socks. I had the
      top half of the zipper unzipped for venting and I was still fairly
      comfortable. I don't think that I'd want to sleep in the Echo in
      temperatures much warmer than 35º F (2º C). I just don't like
      saunas that much.

      I've still been quite impressed with the construction of the Echo.
      I haven't had any issues with the zipper snagging since the first
      incident. The material has also held up quite well, despite sand being
      everywhere and anywhere on several nights. I have yet to find any stray
      threads, abrasions or snags.

      I'm also quite impressed with the DriZone shell. As I mentioned
      earlier, it has withstood snow, water, and frost. When it did wet out
      (stuffed while covered with frost) it dried extremely quickly. Despite
      the warm temperatures I've used the Echo in, I haven't felt the clammy
      feeling that I was dreading. While I never had the bag completely
      zipped closed in these warmer conditions, I think the DriZone breathes

      As for packability, I've found that compressing the Echo so that it
      still has some "give" is the best way to pack it. This allows it to
      conform to the other items in my pack. It fits into my winter
      mountaineering pack, but it does take up a good amount of space. I
      suppose this is normal for -20º F (-29º C) sleeping bag. The one
      feature of the Sierra Designs Echo that I don't really care for is the
      pad lock. I've found that if I tighten them enough to hold my sleeping
      pads in place, they take up the slack in the bag and prevent the zipper
      from closing. As soon as I loosen them, the pads can begin to shift.
      Also, I like to roll around. Due to the design of the hood on the Echo,
      I find it much more comfortable to roll the entire bag with me. The pad
      locks hinder this quite a bit.

      This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be amended to
      this report in approximately two months from the date of this report.
      Please check back then for further information.

      Long Term Report

      Field Conditions

      The testing during the Long Term Report has taken place in the mountains
      of central and western Colorado. Elevations have ranged from 8500 ft
      (XX m) to 10000 ft (XX m). Nighttime low temperatures have ranged from
      20° F (-12° C) to 35° F (2° C). The weather on these trips
      was very mild with clear nights, mild wind and no precipitation.

      Final Thoughts

      I used the Echo on five additional nights during the Long Term Report
      session. I used in on two backcountry skiing trips, two 14000 ft (XX m)
      peak climbing trips, and one car camping trip. I slept under the stars
      on one backcountry skiing trip and one climbing trip. I slept in a tent
      on the other three nights.

      I'm still very happy with how the bag fits. There's just enough
      room for me to maneuver extra layers on and off, but not so much room
      that it takes all night for the bag to heat up. In fact, it takes
      almost no time for the bag to heat up. All of my testing has been in
      nighttime temperatures of 10° F (XX° C) or warmer. I never had to
      completely zip up the bag, and I rarely used the hood. Once
      temperatures hit 35° F (2° C), I would absolutely roast in my bag,
      even with it completely unzipped. When the bag was partially unzipped,
      I always felt like I was cockeyed in the bag. I think this was due to
      the way the zipper contours from the side of the bag up the shoulder to
      the neck. If I had the bag partially unzipped and I draped the front of
      the bag over me it would either slide off or I would pull too much over
      and the hood would slide out from under my hood. This proved to be
      mildly annoying. Of course, this wouldn't be an issue if I had been
      able to use the sleeping bag in the temperatures for which it was
      designed. The only other feature of the bag that I didn't like was
      the pad locks. I tried using them a couple of times, but I found that I
      just didn't like the feeling of being strapped to my sleeping pad.
      I think I just roll around too much in my sleep.

      The DriZone shell proved to be extremely durable. Despite sleeping near
      dirt, rocks, and sand, I never damaged the fabric at all. Better yet,
      the DriZone fabric proved to be extremely waterproof and breathable.
      While I did wake up on several occasions sweating profusely, keep in
      mind that I was sleeping in a -20° F (-29° C) sleeping bag on a
      35° F (2° C) night. Despite waking up to the bag covered in frost
      on several nights, the frost never penetrated the DriZone barrier into
      the down. The outer layer of the fabric was soaked, but the down
      remained light and fluffy.

      Overall, this is a great sleeping bag. While I haven't been able to
      push its useable range due to the warm winter and spring we experienced,
      I have confidence that it would perform well at those extreme
      temperatures. I would feel comfortable spending a night out in the
      Colorado backcountry in winter if I had this sleeping bag with me.

      Thank you to Sierra Designs and BackpackGearTest.org for giving me the
      opportunity to test this sleeping bag.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Andrew Priest
      Dear Andy Can you please repost this to the list with only the relevant section of the report, that Long-term section for editing. This makes it much easier
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 1, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Andy

        Can you please repost this to the list with only the relevant section of the
        report, that Long-term section for editing. This makes it much easier for
        your Test Monitor and is as per the Bylaws requirements.

        Andrew, sir

        On 02/07/07, a_henrichs <a_henrichs@...> wrote:
        > Here's the LTR for the SD Echo. Html version can be found at
        > http://tinyurl.com/36qrvd <http://tinyurl.com/36qrvd> . Thanks for the
        > edits!

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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