Brand: Mountain Equipment
Model: Matrix III
Why we like it The combination of down and synthetic fills leverages the advantages of both types of insulation (compressible warmth and water-resistance, respectively).
Warmth/comfort “I used the Matrix for fall hiking on Mt. Hood, and the PrimaLoft Synergy synthetic fill on the bottom was shockingly warm with my ultrathin, closed-cell foam pad,” says our tester. (Synthetic fill doesn’t compress underneath you and lose ability to insulate as much as down.) On top, 725-fill, water-resistant down in horizontal, slant-box baffles kept our testers toasty even below the bag’s temperature rating. “I used only a half-length, self-inflating pad and a bivy sack on Alaska’s Bomber Traverse,” says another tester, “and I slept warm down to 18°F.” Both also liked the hood design, which has five small, trapezoidal baffles that wrap snugly around the head.
Durability The tough, 30-denier, nylon taffeta lining (most liners are 15- or 20-denier) means you can store boots and other items in the bag with you without worrying about tears.
Downside It’s not as compressible (basketball-size) as a pure down bag. $300; 2 lb. 13 oz.; 20°F; mountain-equipment.co.uk