Gear Review: MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #3 Bag
MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #3
$339, 1 lb. 7 oz. (regular), $359, 1 lb. 9 oz. (long)
Sizes: regular and long
We tend to buy a sleeping bag based primarily on temperature rating, price, and weight, ignoring a key characteristic that will affect how well you sleep in it as much as its warmth: comfort. I’ve slept in many bags—especially ultralight models—that are cut so narrowly to shave grams that they felt like a straitjacket. Montbell’s UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #3 provides superior comfort through a simple but unique feature: elasticized baffles that stretch and contract with your movements. The bag effectively acts like a second, much thicker and warmer layer of skin, moving wherever you move without inhibiting you at all.
With 11 ounces of 800-fill power down, the bag carries an EN rating of 40° F for comfort, 30° F for men’s comfort, and 3° F for extreme (read: survival). I tend to sleep warm and found the bag warm enough for nights around freezing. Only on my coldest night in it did I have to pull on more than a base layer top, socks, and underwear: inside a yurt in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains in early April, when we let the woodstove fire die out overnight and woke up to an inside temp of 18° F. At Idaho’s City of Rocks, I did not close the bag up entirely on nights in the 40s, though I pulled the hood over my head on nights in the low 40s in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness—but still only wore a T-shirt and underwear. Yet the bag was not uncomfortably warm on nights that did not drop below 50° F in Idaho’s Smoky Mountains. More than its warmth and low weight and bulk, though, this may be the most comfortable bag you’ll ever saw wood inside. Looking for a less-expensive alternative? Go for the Super Spiral Down Hugger #3 ($249, 1 lb. 15 oz. for a regular), which uses 650-fill down instead of 800-fill.
For more reviews of my favorite sleeping bags, type the words “sleeping bags” into the Search box at left. See also my Pro Tips articles “How to Choose a Sleeping Bag” and “Staying Warm in a Sleeping Bag.”
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