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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby JHH60 » Thu May 05, 2011 9:45 pm

dskoon wrote:Yeah, temps really seem to vary bag to bag, even from the same manufacturer, etc.
Ex. the bag you speak of, my friend also has, Marmot Helium. However, he's complained about it not being quite as warm as the bag he was intending to replace(due to a little less weight), which was/is the Marmot Pinnacle. He claims the Pinnacle, also rated to 15f, is warmer than the Helium. I also have the Pinnacle, and though I haven't quite got it down to 15, I've been warm in it in low 20 temps on an icy night up in Yellowstone.


I think they also vary a lot from person to person, and the only real way to tell if your 15F bag is warm enough to take to 15F is to try it in the field. My Mountain Hardware Phantom 15 keeps me comfortable down to at least 15F, as indicated on my thermometer, if I'm sheltered from the wind and am wearing heavy thermal underwear, but I sleep very warm. I've been in a tent with my girlfriend where she's complaining about the cold in her OF North Face bag and I'm sweating in my 15F bag (not surprising as she always wants at least one more layer on the bed than I do).
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby fluxlib » Thu May 05, 2011 10:54 pm

dskoon wrote:
Yeah, temps really seem to vary bag to bag, even from the same manufacturer, etc.
Ex. the bag you speak of, my friend also has, Marmot Helium. However, he's complained about it not being quite as warm as the bag he was intending to replace(due to a little less weight), which was/is the Marmot Pinnacle. He claims the Pinnacle, also rated to 15f, is warmer than the Helium. I also have the Pinnacle, and though I haven't quite got it down to 15, I've been warm in it in low 20 temps on an icy night up in Yellowstone.


If you look at Marmot's site, the pinnacle has a better EN rating than the helium even though they are both "15" bags. The pinnacle sneaks another 6 or so degrees in there. I stumbled upon this because I exhaustively research these pieces of gear, to the point of insanity really, maybe I have a problem? The pinnacle has the internal draft collar while the helium does not, it's more of a passive gasket around the face, but it works fine.

I do like that Marmot gives these results on their site and I am very impressed with my helium bag, it was a good value to me for 3 season backpacking, a very well thought out minimalist bag. They certainly aren't the only game in town though, and I was looking at a couple WM bags as well, would not hesitate on one of those either and by all reports, their temp ratings are accurate if not generous in a good way. I did score the Helium on sale, so no regrets!!

Since the ratings are pretty skewed across manufacturers, I would look at things like the fill weight, girth of the bag at various points, the shell material, features like draft collars, down loft, and overall weight. In most cases, equivalent bags (loft, temp, size) are within a few ounces of each other for the most part.
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby dskoon » Thu May 05, 2011 11:12 pm

fluxlib wrote:
dskoon wrote:
Yeah, temps really seem to vary bag to bag, even from the same manufacturer, etc.
Ex. the bag you speak of, my friend also has, Marmot Helium. However, he's complained about it not being quite as warm as the bag he was intending to replace(due to a little less weight), which was/is the Marmot Pinnacle. He claims the Pinnacle, also rated to 15f, is warmer than the Helium. I also have the Pinnacle, and though I haven't quite got it down to 15, I've been warm in it in low 20 temps on an icy night up in Yellowstone.


If you look at Marmot's site, the pinnacle has a better EN rating than the helium even though they are both "15" bags. The pinnacle sneaks another 6 or so degrees in there. I stumbled upon this because I exhaustively research these pieces of gear, to the point of insanity really, maybe I have a problem? The pinnacle has the internal draft collar while the helium does not, it's more of a passive gasket around the face, but it works fine.

I do like that Marmot gives these results on their site and I am very impressed with my helium bag, it was a good value to me for 3 season backpacking, a very well thought out minimalist bag. They certainly aren't the only game in town though, and I was looking at a couple WM bags as well, would not hesitate on one of those either and by all reports, their temp ratings are accurate if not generous in a good way. I did score the Helium on sale, so no regrets!!

Since the ratings are pretty skewed across manufacturers, I would look at things like the fill weight, girth of the bag at various points, the shell material, features like draft collars, down loft, and overall weight. In most cases, equivalent bags (loft, temp, size) are within a few ounces of each other for the most part.


Yeah, lots of "little" things can make up bigger differences in warmth, etc, including(as you did), loft, ozs. etc. I think(without looking), that the Pinnacle has more loft to it than the Helium. . . Hence, more warmth.
Yeah, I, too, spend waaaaaay too much time looking at those details, comparing, etc. Probably could do anything-go for a walk, read Freedom of the Hills, etc- and it would be a better use of my time. . .
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby JHH60 » Fri May 06, 2011 1:35 am

fluxlib wrote:If you look at Marmot's site, the pinnacle has a better EN rating than the helium even though they are both "15" bags. The pinnacle sneaks another 6 or so degrees in there. I stumbled upon this because I exhaustively research these pieces of gear, to the point of insanity really, maybe I have a problem? The pinnacle has the internal draft collar while the helium does not, it's more of a passive gasket around the face, but it works fine.

I do like that Marmot gives these results on their site and I am very impressed with my helium bag, it was a good value to me for 3 season backpacking, a very well thought out minimalist bag. They certainly aren't the only game in town though, and I was looking at a couple WM bags as well, would not hesitate on one of those either and by all reports, their temp ratings are accurate if not generous in a good way. I did score the Helium on sale, so no regrets!!

Since the ratings are pretty skewed across manufacturers, I would look at things like the fill weight, girth of the bag at various points, the shell material, features like draft collars, down loft, and overall weight. In most cases, equivalent bags (loft, temp, size) are within a few ounces of each other for the most part.


The info on the Marmot site is very interesting - I was just wondering whether there was a standard for sleeping bag temperature ratings and now I know that there is (EN13537)!

What's interesting is that different manufacturers appear to use the EN standard in different ways, and some manufacturers use it differently even within their lineup of bags.

Out of curiousity I decided to check what the EN rating for my 15F bag (MH Phantom) is - MH says that it's 15F for lower limit, which I gather is the lowest temp. an average man in a curled up position can find comfortable. The rating for "Comfort," which is what an average woman lying on her back would find comfortable, is 26F (the woman's version of the Phantom is rated slightly warmer). I.e., Mountain Hardware rates their bag based on lower limit, not comfort limit. I've tested my bag at 15F and found it quite comfortable.

The Marmot Helium, by contrast, which is also a "15F" bag, has a Comfort limit of 22F and a Lower limit of 10F. Looks like Marmot decided to peg the advertised rating of this bag based on the number halfway between the EN numbers.

On the other hand, if you look at the Marmot Plasma 15, also called a "15F," it has an EM comfort rating of 29F and Lower Limit of 18F (i.e., the advertised rating is below the EN limit of what even a curled up man would find comfortable). Likewise, the Marmot Lithium ("0F") has Comfort rating of 18F and Lower Limit of 6F, which is higher than the advertised rating. Wierd, and fascinating to gear geeks! :)
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby sneakyracer » Fri May 06, 2011 5:32 pm

I have the Helium and its a VERY warm bag. It packs down small (XS stuff sack) and lofts up quite a bit (5-7"). To maximize loft its best to keep it dry and unstuff it about an hour before using it. If its in the 30's (temp inside the shelter) I have to use it as a quilt otherwise I sweat inside it! (I sleep with Capilene 2 or 3 long sleeve and long bottoms)

The Marmot Pinnacle is similar to the Helium in loft but has a draft collar and a thicker outer fabric that seems more durable. So its a tad heavier and doesnt pack down quite as small.
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby Grampahawk » Fri May 06, 2011 6:10 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:My understanging is that the temperature ratings assume you are in a tent or shelter with adequate ground insulation and you are wearing all your clothes and are properly fed and hydrated.

I never knew the rating included all of your clothes being on. What do they condsider "clothes"? I usually wear just my base layer, down booties and a hat while in my bag.
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri May 06, 2011 6:47 pm

Grampahawk wrote: I never knew the rating included all of your clothes being on. What do they condsider "clothes"? I usually wear just my base layer, down booties and a hat while in my bag.

"If you aren't wearing all your clothes to bed, you brought too many." I think I read that in FOTH. I consider my cothes as an essential part of my sleeping system. I wear everything except my shells which I put into a stuff sac for a pillow and my puffy which I lay over the top of my sleeping bag.
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby JHH60 » Fri May 06, 2011 6:49 pm

Grampahawk wrote:
ExcitableBoy wrote:My understanging is that the temperature ratings assume you are in a tent or shelter with adequate ground insulation and you are wearing all your clothes and are properly fed and hydrated.

I never knew the rating included all of your clothes being on. What do they condsider "clothes"? I usually wear just my base layer, down booties and a hat while in my bag.


REI has a writeup on the EN rating here:

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/article ... cking.html

Apparently the rating assumes you are wearing a base layer and a hat.
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby dskoon » Fri May 06, 2011 6:52 pm

sneakyracer wrote:
The Marmot Pinnacle is similar to the Helium in loft but has a draft collar and a thicker outer fabric that seems more durable. So its a tad heavier and doesnt pack down quite as small.


True.
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby Kai » Fri May 06, 2011 8:27 pm

I own the Marmot Lithium. (an older model with 900 fill down, and 1/2 zipper.)

It is a terrific bag. It'' s my go-to winter bag for even sub zero temperatures. It's cut a bit fuller than some other lightweight bags out there, so you can wear more clothing inside the bag comfortably. This is important if you're trying to push the temperature envelope down a bit.

I also own 2 Valandre bags. Honestly, the Valandre bags aren't any better/warmer for the weight than the Marmot equivalents. They're just more expensive.

Get the Marmot Lithium, and I think you will be happy with it.
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby dskoon » Sat May 07, 2011 1:09 am

Kai wrote:I own the Marmot Lithium. (an older model with 900 fill down, and 1/2 zipper.)

It is a terrific bag. It'' s my go-to winter bag for even sub zero temperatures. It's cut a bit fuller than some other lightweight bags out there, so you can wear more clothing inside the bag comfortably. This is important if you're trying to push the temperature envelope down a bit.

I also own 2 Valandre bags. Honestly, the Valandre bags aren't any better/warmer for the weight than the Marmot equivalents. They're just more expensive.

Get the Marmot Lithium, and I think you will be happy with it.


There ya go! Wish I had the do re mi. I'd then have my third, and probably last Marmot bag.
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby MoapaPk » Sat May 07, 2011 4:48 am

Anybody own a Holubar?
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby jrisku » Sat May 07, 2011 6:09 pm

I am not sure if that is accurate. Valandre's site has the Mirage listed as a 30°F bag at 27.3 oz weight, not sure if that is the small, med, or large size for the weight.

The lithium is listed as a 0°F bag at about 48oz according to Marmot's site.

Not sure if these two bags are really equivalent, I am guessing the Marmot ratings might be on the lower end, like their 0 bag is actually equiavalent to a 15 Valandre bag maybe??

My experience with the Marmot Helium (15F) is that you were toasty without additional layers down to about 30 and then needed some layers to take you down comfortably to 15 or so. Beyond that you are in for a cold, wrestless night but won't be hypothermic.

the valandre bags do like quite nice though.


You're right... I just quickly looked at the ratings at REI.com (and the info there isn't always excact + compareble across products). :-) In any case Valandre bags are extremely high quality stuff and typically perform even better than their advertized ratings. The "correct comparison" for Lithium would most likely be the Shocking Blue. Here's the new comparison. Sorry for jumping to conclusiong too fast. :-)
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby Nitrox » Sat May 07, 2011 6:34 pm

dskoon wrote:
sneakyracer wrote:
The Marmot Pinnacle is similar to the Helium in loft but has a draft collar and a thicker outer fabric that seems more durable. So its a tad heavier and doesnt pack down quite as small.


True.


The Pinnacle has a higher fill weight also. On my scale the regular Pinnacle weight 2lb 8oz while my buddies Helium Membrane Long weight 2lb 6oz.
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Re: down sleeping bag

Postby RickF » Sun May 08, 2011 12:57 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:
Grampahawk wrote: I never knew the rating included all of your clothes being on. What do they condsider "clothes"? I usually wear just my base layer, down booties and a hat while in my bag.

"If you aren't wearing all your clothes to bed, you brought too many." I think I read that in FOTH. I consider my cothes as an essential part of my sleeping system. I wear everything except my shells which I put into a stuff sac for a pillow and my puffy which I lay over the top of my sleeping bag.


My advice, and yes I've posted this mantra on several other sleeping bag threads, only sleep in all of the clothes that you brought if (A) you don't have a sleeping bag, or (B) the bag you have is no where near adequate. Wear minimal clothes inside your bag, like a dry base layer and dry socks. To be warm in your bag your body has to be able to breathe freely and circulate warm blood. Getting good circlation to your extremities is essential for staying warm. If your body is radiating heat, a good bag will retain that heat and reflect it back to your body. Your body and bag have to interact. Excess clothing can constrict breathing and circulation and interferes with that interaction.
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