Page Type: Gear Review
Object Title: Helium EQ
Created/Edited: Jun 11, 2009 / Jun 11, 2009
Object ID: 6204
The "Helium EQ" is an award-winning sleeping bag designed and manufactured by Marmot. Similar to the Marmot "Helium" sleeping bag, the "Helium EQ" sleeping bag is filled with 850+ Goose Down. But unlike the "Helium" sleeping bag, the "Helium EQ" sleeping bag has the added feature of Marmot's innovative MemBrain® technology which ensures a waterproof, breathable outer shell fabric. By being so ultra-lightweight and durable, the Marmot "Helium EQ" sleeping bag is an ideal option for mountaineers and backpackers alike, during any season.
FeaturesClassic Trapezoidal Foot Box For More Foot Room
Hood Draw Cord Positioned for Easy Access
Insulated Draft Tube Eliminates Cold Leaks Through the Zipper
Nautilus 6-Baffle Hood 6 Chambers of Down Around Head for Better Down Control and Fit, Hood Cord is Positioned for Easy Access
Stretch Tricot Baffles Provide Ultimate Strength, Durability and Bag Life
Stuff and Storage Sack Included Store and Pack Just Like Your Sleeping Bag
Velcro®-free Face Muff Keeps the Drawcord and Zipper Away from Your Face
Zipper Guards Help Repel Biting Zipper Coils
Filled and Finished in Santa Rosa, California
Certified 850+ Fill Goose Down The Best Weight to Warmth Down in the Market; Independently Tested and Certified by International Down and Feather Laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. Retested at Fill Time in Santa Rosa to Ensure 850+ Fill Power Every Time. If The Down Does Not Meet Marmot's In-House Test, Marmot Sends It Back
Marmot MemBrain®, Waterproof/Breathable Fabric Marmot MemBrain, Waterproof/Breathable Fabric
SpecificationsWeight: 2 lb 5 ozs / 1.49 kgs
Fill Weight: 19.5 ozs / 552.8 g
Main Material: Aerolight 2.3 oz 100% Nylon Ripstop MemBrain® 2L
Lining Material: LightForce 1.0 oz 100% Polyester Taffeta DWR
Insulation Material: 850+ Goose Down
Size for stature: 183 cm
Size on shoulder: 157 cm
Size on hip: 147 cm
Size on foot: 102 cm
Colors: 025 - Pacifica
EN 13537 Tested
(Learn to read EN numbers.)
Comfort: 23.4F / -4.8C
Lower Limit: 11.3F / -11.5C
Extreme: -23.3F / -30.7C
Marmot Innovative Technology
850 Fill Down
Certified 850+ Fill Goose Down bags are constructed with the following features:
Nautilus Hood: the same construction as our 8000m jacket hood, a 3D hood that wraps around your head and reduces heat loss.
Hood Muff: creates a warm down gasket around your face, keeping the drawcord away from the face.
Stretch Tricot Baffles: allow the bag to be stuffed and unstuffed without tearing the baffle material.
Trapezoid Foot box: matches the shape of your feet, wider in the toe area and narrower in the heels.
Down Fill Oversized Draft Tube: eliminates cold spots
Zipper guard: keeps the draft tube fabric from getting caught in the zipper
Ground Level Seams: top layer wraps fully around the body creating a warm layer of down.
From the beginning, down has been Marmot’s foremost insulator. No synthetic surpasses the lightweight, compactability and longevity of down.
Marmot Down DNA:
Down is in our DNA. Marmot was founded in 1974 as a manufacturer and seller of premium quality down jackets, vests and sleeping bags. To this day we only use the finest quality certified goose down for our down insulated outdoor products. Mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide rely on Marmot down gear for warmth, comfort, and sometimes survival.
Marmot Down Quality:
Down quality is determined by fill power and durability which is dependent upon the age/maturity of the bird and the processing of the down. The best down comes from larger, more mature birds and goose down is better than duck down (when age/maturity are equal). More mature goose down has larger filament clusters than less mature goose down. These clusters, when grouped, provide many more trapped air pockets and therefore provide better insulation. To maximize the effectiveness of the down clusters, the proper processing of the down (sorting, washing & drying) is required to open them up.
Higher fill power means higher loft, better insulation, lighter weight, and greater durability. We test all of our down for content, cleanliness, species, and fill power. We guarantee minimum fill power for all of our down clothing and sleeping bags. That means, for example, that our 800 fill sleeping bags are guaranteed to have at minimum 800 fill power. We don’t believe in + or – variation when it comes to comfort.
Down is the light, fluffy undercoating at the base of the feathers of waterfowl. Down is a multi-dimensional structure that insulates by creating pockets of still air that retain body heat. Down is highly breathable and exceptionally comfortable. Pound for pound, high quality down is the most efficient natural insulator there is.
Geese are raised primarily for food and the down that is derived from them is a by-product of the food industry. Geese are raised on large and small farms and roam free outside on these farms. This is their natural environment. They are not raised indoors in controlled conditions. Geese are grain fed and also have access to local plant life.
Geese are generally harvested after 4-9 months for food. Some female geese are kept for breeding stock and are harvested between 1-2 years. These are the geese called the “mother birds” that provide the best, most mature down. After the geese have been harvested for food, the down and feathers are removed, washed, dried and then sorted by separating the down and small feathers from the larger, heavier feathers. These processing methods determine the final quality and fill power of the down. Marmot currently buys down primarily from Russia, Poland & China.
MemBrain® fabric balances the best performance in waterproof, breathable fabric with excellent durability.
MemBrain® reduces internal condensation while increasing comfort by reducing the chilling effect caused by condensation build-up.
When used with insulated garments or sleeping bags, MemBrain® protects the insulation from harsh weather conditions.
Marmot Lifetime Guarantee:
Since 1974 Marmot has guaranteed every product the company has made for the life of the product. Marmot believes the best thing for everyone and the environment is to make products that last.
EN Testing And Related Questions
Marmot began as a sleeping bag company and continues to pioneer performance, value and insulation standards in the outdoor industry. All Marmot sleeping bags are EN tested to ensure quality and performance. During the development process, Marmot sends all samples to the Thelma Testing Center in Norway. Marmot continually uses the Thelma Center to achieve continuity in the company's results.
What is the EN 13537 test?
EN, short for European Norm, is a government test for sleeping bags.
How is the EN test conducted?
First let’s be clear that it is challenging to test temp ratings because there are so many variables. Every person will sleep differently in the same bag. Choices like clothing, sleeping pad, tent or no tent, eating and drinking before bed can all affect one’s sleeping experience. For the EN test, a copper mannequin named Charlie is fitted with 20 sensors and a clothing layer (top, bottom, and socks) that provide a consistent thermal value. The mannequin is placed in the sleeping bag and put onto a wood platform roughly 12mm thick. The board is held above the floor with some support which allows air circulation under the board. The board is covered with a mattress that has a consistent thermal value then placed in a cold room. A mathematical formula is used to measure the data received from the sensors based on human modeling.
Why is there an EN Test hangtag on Marmot bags?
Marmot sleeping bags sold in Europe require this testing and hangtag. We include this hangtag on all of our bags, as we believe it is the most reliable and accurate measure of the performance of a sleeping bag currently available.
How does EN testing differ from other methods and is it better?
When Marmot first started testing bags, especially when we used Gore-Tex® fabric, our designers would go into meat lockers and sleep over night. Once they were able to sleep through the night they looked at the amount of fill to determine the temp range. Nowadays it is a bit more scientific. The testing method used in the US is very similar to the EN test. They use a copper mannequin, but the clothing, pad, and math formula are different. Again we feel the EN test is the most reliable and accurate measure of the performance of a sleeping bag currently available.
Has the feedback from the EN testing improved the designs of Marmot bags?
Yes it has. The vast majority of our bags have tested to our current temp ratings. In some cases, the tests showed our bags were actually warmer than the rating we gave it. In another instance, there was a spot that showed room for improvement which led to more efficient baffle construction. With our baseline testing started in 2004, we can now measure improvement over time through new fabrics, insulation, and construction techniques.
Will the EN test become an industry wide standard?
That is unknown. Currently our industry can’t agree on how the testing should be done because of all the variables. The European government has stepped in and taken control of standardized testing. For the meantime, Marmot will continue to test with the EN standard.
How do I read the EN hangtag?
Basically the EN hangtag shows a temperature range:
Comfort Limit – Based on a standard woman having a comfortable nights sleep
Lower Limit - Based on a standard man at the lowest temp to have a comfortable nights sleep
Extreme Rating – A survival rating for a standard woman
For example, the rating on our Pinnacle 15º Sleeping Bag shows:
Comfort Limit – 22.2 degrees
Lower Limit – 10 degrees
Extreme Rating – Minus 24.7 degrees
This can be helpful in selling on the floor. Below is an example dialogue between a female customer and a store employee.
Female Buyer - “I think I need a 15 degree bag.”
Store Employee – “What temperatures are you expecting on your trip?”
FB – “Between 15 and 25 degrees. I tend to sleep cold however.”
SE – “You can definitely use this Pinnacle 15 bag, but you may consider buying a Zero degree bag to sleep more comfortably at the lower temperatures.”
Marmot rating vs. EN rating?
Marmot’s assigned temperatures are comparable
to the EN lower limit rating.
During Marmot’s development process we send
all samples to the Thelma Testing Center in Norway.
Continually using the Thelma Center allows us to achieve continuity in our results.
Awards And HonorsMarmot’s Ultralight Series Sleeping Bags (Including "Helium EQ") Were Collectively Named Backpacker Magazine's 2008 Editor’s Choice Gold Award Winner.