Gear Review: Sea to Summit Micro MC III
Brand: Sea to Summit
Model: Micro MC III
“Superstreamlined, packable, and light,” said a Washington tester who appreciated the versatility of this ultralight, 850-fill DownTek sack. “I took the Micro backpacking, sea kayaking, and bike touring from early spring to late summer, and even packed it to the beach as a cozy throw for cool evenings.” Multipurpose cred: The tube-shaped bag unzips completely into a quilt for warmer conditions, and a drawcord at the foot coverts it into an open-ended rectangle for maximum ventilation in moderate temperatures. In even colder weather, the drawcord cinches shut to create a closed footbox, taking a tester down to 25°F in the central Cascades comfortably. The bag also scored high marks on packability, smushing down to the size of a couple of Nalgenes in tester’s packs. But despite its size, the Micro is tough: “I used this bag under and around dogs, slept on rocks and sand, and got it caught in the gears on my bike, and it’s basically tearproof,” reported one gear-abusing tester. The bag also backed up its water-resistant claims when a tester’s leaky drybag wetted out parts of it on a kayaking trip in Washington’s San Juan Islands. “The windproof, water-resistant shell repelled lots of the moisture, and it dried fully after an hour in the sun,” she said. But colder-sleeping testers shivered as the mercury approached the Micro’s limit, especially in the cinched footbox: One tester had to add a second pair of thick socks when sleeping at 11,080 feet in a Colorado backcountry hut, and others stuffed extra layers into the footbox to block drafts. Others griped about the flat, minimalist hood, which cinches with a drawcord: “It wouldn’t stay wrapped around my head on a cold night in Colorado’s foothills—eventually, I gave up, pulled the collar tight, and just pulled my Buff over my head,” said one. Other dings: “Crinkly” inner fabric and only moderate breathability in cold conditions (when testers still wanted the footbox cinched). $419; 1 lb. 10 oz.; 28°F; seatosummit.com
Laura Katers: The bag opens at both ends and is shaped like a tube. I like this feature because I like to stick my feet out of my bag when I’m traipsing around camp in cool mornings. Additionally, one can unzip the entire bag and have a nice down blanket for around camp. One needs to have an extra cushy sleeping pad or a nice bed of pine duff to help with insulation and comfort.
Becca Stubbs: I wasn’t impressed with the warmth rating. I put on a double layer of socks to protect my feet from the drawstring cord that served as the foot, and the hood didn’t seem to be very insulating, which constantly forced me to adjust my hat during the middle of the night.
Eli Zabielski: I expected my feet to get cold, but they didn’t. I did find the bottom of the bag somewhat clammy, even with low humidity. This bag is very narrow compared to most. I actually like that, since I don’t need a wide bag, and it means the bag will be warmer with less material. However, it lost points for the hood design. I found the hood was basically useless.