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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2012

Gear Guide 2012: Valandre Shocking Blue Sleeping Bag

This roomy bag allows you to lock in your body heat with its cocoon-like structure.

by: Will Rochfort

Valandre Shocking Blue (Ben Fullerton)
Valandre Shocking Blue (Ben Fullerton)

Bundle of Bags
See all the summer, 3-season, and winter bags from our 2012 Gear Guide. Sleeping pads too!
[warmest]

With a unique “Marie Antoinette” draft collar, which seals snugly around the neck with a zipper on one shoulder and Velcro on the other, the Shocking Blue creates a luxurious cocoon good enough for a queen (or king). “I felt frustrated and tangled while first learning how to work the collar,” says one tester who used the bag in the wintry Sierra. “But once I figured it out, I was able to lock my body warmth in the bag, and I stayed warm down to -7°F, even with blowing snow and ice accumulating on the outside of the bag.”

The 850-fill down lofts up like a hot air balloon, and the bag warms up fast and stays that way throughout the night. Testers also raved about the shape. The torso is roomy enough to wear a down jacket in extremely cold temps, and baffles of varying heights (loftier ones around the feet and torso, where you need the extra warmth, and thinner ones in the legs, where you don’t) provide precision-controlled insulation.

The result is a superior fit that minimizes dead space while still providing enough volume to roll around. “I had room in the torso to spread out my soaking-wet clothes after a winter hike through Zion’s Virgin River,” says one tester. The angled trapezoidal footbox* also received high marks: “It creates a floating cloud of down that kept my feet warm, yet I still had enough room to stuff my boot liners into the bottom of the bag.” Sticker shock is the only fly in the ointment. $745; 3 lbs. 1 oz.; -10°F; valandre.com

*ANGLED TRAPEZOIDAL FOOTBOX A bottom chamber sculpted and canted to mimic the shape of the feet; allows down to fully loft around the feet for maximum warmth

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