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Backpacker Magazine – April 2009

Editors' Choice 2009: MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger #1 Sleeping Bag

Ultralight meets ultra-comfortable in this roomy sleeping bag.

by: The Backpacker Editors

MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger #1 (Steve Howe)
MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger #1 (Steve Howe)

MORE EDITORS' CHOICE WINNERS
See more gear that made the cut in our 2009 awards.

We've tested plenty of two-pound, 15°F sleeping bags, and we know this to be true: They're either crazy expensive, crazy narrow, or crazy to claim a 15°F rating. Enter this precedent-setting 800-fill down mummy, which is warm, spacious, and affordable. How? It starts with a continuous spiral baffle that drapes insulation around your body more snugly than standard horizontal chambers, while also adding some stretch without the weight and cost of extra seams. Next, the fabric is cut on a diagonal, which enhances flex. The stretch doesn't compare with MontBell's heavier Down Hugger line, which actually has elastic built in, but testers were unanimous: This bag felt roomy to everyone–despite different body shapes–but it never had excess space to heat.

Every other detail is dialed. The hood closes easily around the face, and the zipper runs snag-free despite the wispy 12-denier shell fabric. The DWR-treated microfiber cover proved water resistant enough to keep the down dry in soggy Wales. The fabric breathed well in the humid conditions, and showed no weakness despite the ultra-thin construction. The minimalist design includes no frills–like stash pockets–but testers slept too soundly to complain. The bag packs down to minus-football size, and comes in short (5'6"), regular (5'10"), and long (6'4"). $299; 2 lbs. (reg.); 15°F; montbell.com



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Jim
Aug 25, 2011

The concept of a mummy bag is great: Letís wrap a human being like a caterpillar in a cocoonÖstrike thatÖlike a mummy in a sarcophagus to seal in all that body heat and seal out the cold. I like it! Only when Iím the human being playing mummy, the sarcophagus gets the better of me. Turns out Iím a bit claustrophobic. This was something I did not know about myself until the first time the zipper was pulled shut and I found myself being held a little too snug in my new (different brand) sleeping bag. Good thing the zipper didnít snag as I hastily pulled it open because I would have used my teeth to chew my way out if the need had arisen! (deep breath).

Mont-bell to My Rescue
I probably spent a couple of hours all told, 5 to 10 minutes at a time, lying on the floor of half the gear shops in New England trying on sleeping bags. ďYou can do this, itís just a mental thingĒ became my mantra. But no matter which brand I tried on or how hard I attempted to physic myself up the I-must-get-out-of-this-thing feeling soon overtook me. (deep breath). Alas I found Mont-bell! The stretchy nature of this bag is pure genius. The Mont-bell Spiral Down Hugger should be listed with the FDA as a medical cure for claustrophobia or at least when the condition is sleeping bag related. I experience absolutely no twinges of mental discomfort when Iím enveloped in this sleeping bag. I now own 3 models of the down hugger; +25, 0 and -20 degree. Yeah, do the math: Iíve put my money where my mouth is.

Rattus
Feb 01, 2011

Yes you can get this exact bag for under $299. I found several sources that sell them for $268-$280.
I found the review helpful and on the mark.

Jordan
Jan 14, 2011

Just got this bag. I was looking for an 800 fill bag and was thinking about the Marmot Helium 15 degree but went with this one. Haven't gone backpacking with it yet but slept in it at home seems very comfy. We'll see. Not cheap!

Luke Swab
Dec 01, 2010

This was an old review. It is possible that the bag was $299 when it came out, and now the pricing has changed. I just got mine in the mail today. It is indeed comfortable in the living room at least. You can wiggle around and turn over and it just stretches all around you. I believe I'm going to be very pleased with this bag.

Ashleigh
Oct 19, 2010

This bag has everything you need. Incredibly warm, ultralight, very roomy/strechy and feels like you are sleeping in a cloud. It is expensive, but any 15 degree down bag that is 2lb or less costs the same if not more! Highly recommended!

Matt
Oct 19, 2010

299 for the spiral 1? Where? in your dreams?? Backpacker... your reviews are all too often flawed or downright misinforming.
There was a time when you could be trusted for dependable reviews... now.. not so much.

Jeff
Aug 26, 2010

I have the U.L Spiral Down Hugger #3 and it is simply amazing. Light, water resistant, and packs down to nothing.

Sam
Nov 10, 2009

If you're in the UK, have a look at the Alpkit Pipedream 600 for £40 less...

LazyAcrobat
Sep 24, 2009

Looks warm! I am seriously considering buying this bag. Has anyone tried it out?

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