sleeping bag choice - ClubTread Community

User Tag List

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: , , .
Posts: 40
Default sleeping bag choice

I'm trying to narrow down a new sleeping bag choice. Typical places of use include the Rockies and West Coast Range (alpine and sub-alpine) in the summer, coastal summer and shoulder season. No winter camping really. I currently have a punched-out 0C synthetic bag and a -7C down barrel bag that is being passed along to my son. We also do 3 season car camping. You'd think that a -7C bag is way to hot for summer camping, but we were by Kamloops last July long weekend and the temp got down to about 3C. The comfort temp for a -7C bag (which may mean -7C lower limit) is probably closer to 0C.

My top choices right now are the MEC -3 Merlin ($230, 3.8L, 680g), Marmot -7 Lamina ($150, 10L, 1.5kg), MEC -7 Pharoah ($240, 9L, 1.1kg) and Mont-Bell Super Stretch #2 -4C ($240, 9L, 1.1kg).

The specs on the Merlin are amazing, however I think it would actually be a cooler bag because it is lacking a collar and drawstring. As well, the material really does see almost fragile.

I must admit that the Lamina (synthetic) seems like an amazing bag, it even comes with a compression sack. It's difficult to justify a down bag when you compare the similar specs and much lower cost. I'm not considering the 800-fill down bags as they are too expensive.

I've read on these forums some reviews on Merlin and Mont-bell, and thought maybe someone may have input on the Lamina or Pharoah.

Another bag that I would consider is the Marmot Arroyo -1C (765g, ?L), but I haven't seen one in town. I don't know how small it packs but it must be pretty small since it is 800-fill. I'm not sure if -1C is warm enough though. The comfort temp on it is 4C.
sluggo is offline  
Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 08:45 PM
Off the Beaten Path
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: north shore, BC, Canada.
Interest: Uh... hiking? :P I love love love the outdoors. And I like shiny things. Been hiking, mostly solo, for over 20 years. You might assume that makes me antisocial. And you would be right *g* Climbed rock and ice and mountains for many years too...
Posts: 841
Default

Admittedly, as an employee of MEC my opinion is quite biased, but I do have experience with the MEC Merlin and Pharaoh.

The Merlin is soooo light, but is lacking a few features and the materials as you've noted are lightweight [read: not as durable]. When I put it into a compression bag and cinched it tight, I was almost lulled into getting one myself.

The Pharaoh is the bag I decided on. More durable, Dryloft ends, and still a pretty high fill power. And it compresses well. I had it out last weekend, where it dropped to around 2C at night. I was plenty warm in it and I don't sleep warm at all [mesh tent, some wind and rain, 1.5" thermarest, well hydrated and fed, light thermal underwear, middle-aged female] - I actually had to unzip it halfway in the middle of the night. I would confidently take it to -5.
icevixen is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 08:47 PM
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Finally stopping that crazy suffering that is ice, climbing to concentrate on great ski tours!, .
Interest: Anything that can drag me to the mountains. Backpacking is #1, followed by climbing, dayhiking and camping with family.
Posts: 3,782
Default

What about the -10C Merlin? We have one, and it's awesome. You can vent it on warmer nights, but it's warm enough for those Rockies nights where it hits 0C, or even a bit below. At just under 1kg, it's great value for a lightweight bag. Merlin is an 800 fill bag.

As for the material of the Merlin, I wouldn't sleep outside in it, but otherwise, it's held up very well.
johngenx is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 09:41 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Nanaimo, BC, .
Posts: 33
Default

You mean the Mountain Hardwear Lamina right? In my opinion, this is a GREAT bag and would be perfect for the use you are describing. I have always preferred synthetic bags for everything but winter camping just because they are easier to care for and less to worry about in damp conditions. My beef with synthetic bags up until the Lamina came out though, was that they were heavy and not very compressible. MHW's Thermic Micro insulation seems to have solved that problem. From what I have seen it is as close to down in terms of weight and packability as I have seen from a synthetic bag. I compared the Lamina 20 (-7) to my Marmot Pinnacle -7 down bag the other day and was pleasantly surprised to find out that they both compressed down to just about the same size. At $159 for the Lamina compared to $389 for the Pinnacle, I think it is a bit of a no-brainer. Unless you are seriously counting the ounces (which would pretty much rule out any synthetic bag), I would definitely take a closer look at the Lamina.
cms82 is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 11:04 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Vancouver, , .
Posts: 159
Default

I own a Merlin -10 and have used a Merlin -3, and here's my take.

If you handle your gear carefully, then the benefits of the Merlin's lightweight and compressibility are well worth the reduced durability. Don't reef on the zip, keep sharp things away from it (rocks, knives, etc), keep it clean, and it's an incredible bag.

The Merlin is very lovable once you realize just how small it packs and how lightweight it is for a decent price.

platypus is offline  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 11:04 PM
Off the Beaten Path
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Interest: Bumming around above treeline.
Posts: 775
Default

I have a pharaoh -7 and it's a fantastic bag! It's relatively light, quite warm and compacts pretty small. the fabric is pretty strong and hard to tear (I didn't get the merlin because I was worried about its durability. I want a bag that'll take the abuse!). I went from a synthetic -12 bag and this is a huge step up. The foot box is really stuffed with down and I never have cold feet. The draft collar is a great design, but I basically never use it.


It's perfect for summer camping in the alpine; I think -7C is a good rating for that. Sub-zero summer nights in the alpine are not so uncommon, even in july or august. And for those normal nights when it's 5C, you'll be toasty and comfy.

Last october I slept in the pharaoh at -7 and I got a bit chilly; I had to wear my down jacket to be comfortable. That's what I do in the winter during which, let's be honest, it doesn't get very cold very often around here.

Good luck,
Benoit
gyppo is offline  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 11:10 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Maple Ridge, , Canada.
Posts: 29
Default

My vote goes to Merlin. Size ,weight and 800 fill @ $230 sounds like a good deal.
exrodad is offline  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 07:51 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Beaverton, ON, , Canada.
Interest: Woodworking, Hiking, Backpacking, canoe tripping, motorcycle touring, fishing, etc. ...etc. living life outdoors is what it\'s all about!
Posts: 1,298
Send a message via MSN to Dusty Boots Send a message via Yahoo to Dusty Boots
Default

I have the 1st generation -3 Merlin.
I noticed that MEC took it off the market for a season and when I emailed MEC as to the reason why they quite offering it, they responded with they were having troubles 'sourcing' material for the bag, so I don't know what the difference is on the bag they now offer.
Anyways, I've used it in temps down to 28*F/-2.22*C, using a Pacific Outdoor Equipment insulted air mattress and a Double Rainbow TarpTent at 6800'/2072m in a rainstorm in Canyonlands and was warm enough.
Although the material looks fragile and the zipper will snag if not opened/closed with a small amount of care, the bag has proven to be very capable and durable with some degree of prudent handling.
Initially I found the bag's shell to be very 'staticy' but when I stored the bag in it's cotton storage bag along with a sheet of Bounce dryer static guard, that disappeared.
They shell also wards of moisture very well as when I tested the shell fabric, I poured a few drops of water on the shell and let it sit there for a while before wiping them up. The water just sat on top of the material, beaded up and never wet out the material.
The bag disappears in a compression sac and is very lightweight.

It's my 'go to' bag for 3 season backpacking use.

Dusty
Dusty Boots is offline  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 09:51 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: , AB, Canada.
Interest: Backpacking, trail running, spending time with my wife, kids, and dog.
Posts: 1,294
Default

MB #2 for me. The stretch baffles allow the bag to hug me but also to move around (i.e. stretch) without compressing any of the down. It is a remarkable bag that compresses down smaller than the Merlin, provides more comfort, and more features. You, of course, will pay for that.

Note - because of its stretch ability, you can layer into the the bag very nicely, easily pushing the warmth rating much, much lower. It also has a full zipper so can be used as a quilt in warm conditions. As an all around bag, it can't be beat.
FamilyGuy is offline  
post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: , , .
Posts: 40
Default

FamilyGuy, which MB #2 do you like? Is it the UltraLight version that sells for around $390? That would be a fantastic bag, no doubt.

Which stuff sack would be good for the Merlin -3C, since I don't think it comes with one? To get the 3.8L I guess you'd need a compression sack but MEC only carries larger compressions sacks like this, whereas the smallest stuffsack is 1L larger than the bag spec? Maybe this is a dumb question, but is the 10L compression sack size prior to compressing?

cheers
sluggo is offline  
post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: , , .
Posts: 40
Default

LOL, it looks like with the Merlin a person gets to choose what is more important.

lightweight: get a slightly larger 5L "waterproof" stuffsack
size and waterproof: get a 220g compression waterproof sack
size and weight: get a 105g compression sack
sluggo is offline  
post #12 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 01:54 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: , AB, Canada.
Interest: Backpacking, trail running, spending time with my wife, kids, and dog.
Posts: 1,294
Default

Sluggo - yes, the #2 UL SS bag. But I got it from Backcountry.com for 40% off recently. Shipped including exchange I was well under $300 CDN.
FamilyGuy is offline  
post #13 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: , , .
Posts: 40
Default

wow, 40% off. How recent is recent, maybe I'll phone them and see if I can do a deal. It's not showing on sale now.

sluggo is offline  
post #14 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 03:01 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: , AB, Canada.
Interest: Backpacking, trail running, spending time with my wife, kids, and dog.
Posts: 1,294
Default

I got very lucky. It was a month ago.

However, I do have a 20% off coupon for you:

475-9-6LPT3

I think it works on any full priced item.

FG
FamilyGuy is offline  
post #15 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 06:51 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Vancouver, , .
Posts: 159
Default

MEC carries a compression sack by OR called the Helium compression sack. It's really lightweight, and the #2 size should fit the Merlin -3 just fine.
platypus is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1