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Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Pinole 20° & Big Agnes Cabin Creek Sleeping Bag

An affordable mummy bag that's super soft inside.
october 2010 mountain hardwear pinole 445x260Mountain Hardwear Pinole 20&Deg; (Courtesy Photo)

This affordable mummy is generously shaped for stretch-and-sprawl comfort, and the interior fabric (50-denier polyester taffeta) feels sumptuously soft. The included stuffsack is even lined with microfleece, so you can turn it inside-out, stuff it with a jacket, and use it as a pillow. Our 5’11”, 205-pound tester praised the spacious cut, which gave him ample room through his hips and shoulders.

Even the footbox is big. The synthetic Thermic MX insulation combines solid fibers (for loft and softness) with hollow ones (which trap heat in tiny air spaces). Warmth proved sufficient for most sleepers, but one cold-sleeping tester wished for a draft collar on a subfreezing night along Maine’s Kennebec River (in chilly conditions you can rig one by wrapping a jacket around your neck and shoulders). Bonus: The Pinole compresses enough (think medium watermelon) to use on short-mileage backpacking trips when pack space is not an issue. $80; 3 lbs. 4 oz.; 20°F; mountainhardwear.com

Double Up
Separate is not equal when you want to snuggle with your sweetie. The two-person Big Agnes Cabin Creek kept our couple warm down to 20°F in New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains, and the separate hoods and draft collars let them each customize venting. $240; 5 lbs. 8 oz.; 15°F; bigagnes.com

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