I'm looking at getting a winter bag rated at 0F with around 600 fill power down and a max budget around $270. The LL Bean 0F down bag seems like a good price, but I'm guessing that the comparable Marmot Never Summer bag quality is higher?
Anyone have experience or insight into LL Bean down bag quality? They don't publish detailed specs like loft and fill weight, so that makes me suspicious. I'm leaning toward the Marmot.
Quality is a difficult thing to put a finger on. I have LLbean full zipper packlite pants that are very light, rugged, have never failed me and are my constant winter companion. I like their guarantee. Marmot gear is also excellent, BUT I have had 2 marmot jackets (expensive ones) delaminate and they replaced one, can't replace the other but they did offer to try, and one Marmott coat made in China was made with an inferior zipper apparently substituted in China, they replaced the zipper.
BUT what you want to know is 2 things - what is the loft of the bag since thickness = warmth almost, and which bag will fit you the best since your body size and how it fits the bag is absolutely as important as brand, loft, or the value of the down, OR ITS TEMP RATING. I can attest that 550 down can be very warm and rugged. I also had a US mountain regular military bag with a fill of "chicken and water fowl feathers" that had a militarized cotton shell, and is was perhaps one of the warmest most comfortable bags I've owned.
Look for a bag with a good "foot box", any quality bag will have good one designed to contain feet without them pushing into the bag and freezing your toes. If you need to wear socks in your bag in conditions warmer than its rating, keep looking.
Also these bags last forever unless someone destroys it washing it in detergent and a used bag 10 years old may still be an excellent bag. Jim
Edited by Jimshaw (12/04/0910:31 PM)
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
LL Bean doesn't state loft or fill weight, but I called them, and they were able to come up with a fill weight after keeping me on hold for a few minutes. The LL Bean down seems to be slightly higher quality if their claimed fill power number is accurate--who knows though. The Marmot bag is EN 13537 tested. One reviewer on Bean's site complained about the zipper on another Bean down bag getting stuck on the draft tube all of the time.
Marmot Never Summer: Weight: 3 lbs, 9 oz Fill weight: 30 oz Down fill power: 600+ goose down
LL Bean 0F: Weight: 3 lbs, 1 oz Fill weight: 30.35 oz Down fill power: 650 goose down
Bean also has a -20 F bag for 1 lb/$90 more which is looking like an attractive option too.
I can't speak to the quality of Bean's regular bags but I have an older North Col bag from them. It is rated to -10 and I have been comfortable down to -15F. All the rest of the gear I have gotten from them has been the highest quality. It is not necessarily the lightest weight but well built and reasonablly priced for the quality.
If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?
• The EN 13537 Upper Limit or Maximum Temperature is the highest temperature at which a ‘standard’ adult male is able to have a comfortable night’s sleep without excess sweating. • The EN 13537 Comfort rating is based on a ‘standard’ woman having a comfortable night’s sleep. • The EN 13537 Lower Limit is based on the lowest temperature at which as ‘standard’ adult male is deemed to be able to have a comfortable night’s sleep. • The EN13537 Extreme rating is a survival only rating for a ‘standard’ adult woman. “In the risk range a strong sensation of cold has to be expected and there is a risk of health damage due to hypothermia.” This is an extreme survival rating only and it is not advisable for consumers to rely on this rating for general use. The best guideline temperatures for purchase decisions are the TComfort and TLimit ratings.
For me I'd want the "Standard Woman," plus another 5* F.
Most sleeping bag ratings in the US are, IMHO, fictional. I have done well with Western Mountaineering, though.
Edited by OregonMouse (12/06/0906:57 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Loc: Washington, DC
If you poke around the interwebs, there are some good clearance deals on the Golite Venture 0, a 800 fill bag, 3lbs 1oz reg (3lbs 3oz long), 7inches loft.
I just picked one up for $275, but have not tested it. Construction looks good, zippers alright, not great. But if it were me, for the same money, same weight,I would expect the 800 fill to out perform 600, leading me to think the LLBean is probably over rated.