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Gear Reviews

Valandre Swing 900

Sorry men, this lofty and warm Marmot Xenon 15 is only available for women.

Brand: Valandre

Model: Swing 900

[best women’s bag]

“Hands down the loftiest 15°F bag I’ve ever used,” declared our tester after using the Xenon on a September hike in Colorado’s Flat Tops Wilderness, where her companion grumbled, “It practically fills the tent.” Credit the 850-fill goose down—and lots of it: Marmot crams 20 to 25 percent more down into this women’s model than a comparably rated men’s bag (because many women sleep colder than guys). Much of that extra insulation gets loaded into horizontal baffles at the core and foot, which helps this bag deliver on its 15°F promise: On a 20°F night camped on alpine tundra, our tester never even felt the chill. The comfort-cut mummy is wide through the shoulders and hips (our curviest testers called it “efficient but unrestrictive”), yet tapers sharply at the foot to reduce dead air space around cold-prone toes.

A plump draft tube eliminates cold spots along the full-length zipper, and a superfat draft collar “feels cozy and snug,” reports one tester. The sculpted hood (shaped with six baffles) seals out drafts, and adjustment is simple: A single pull cord tightens both hood and collar (some users liked the ease of use, others wished for the ability to fine tune). The water-repellent Pertex Microlight shell and lining fabric feels silky but resists snags—dragging it over alpine grasses didn’t send feathers flying. Bottom line: The Xenon strikes a good balance between weight, warmth, and durability. Size check: Women taller than 5’6” won’t fit. (For more women-specific gear, turn to page 142.) $399; 2 lbs. 9 oz.; 15°F;

The shell fabric of the SWING 900 is baced upon a very nice and solid acrylique on the outside and a polyester inside, both produced 100% by Asahi-KASEI in Osaka Japan.

No technical “bling bling” in the construction. The SWING 900 is a well proven and classical H box wall construction, sewn in a 90° angle, and stitched from the inside. 17 continuous compartments runs over the top and on the back.

The SWING ads a improved and perfectly ballanced anatomical shape (Bloody Mary style), with a reversed trapezoid and raised foot box by incorporation of lateral triangles.

The hood of the SWING was improved by adding a central piece of fabric next to two lateral. The static draw cord runs perfectly, making the hood easy to ajust with high presision.

But the central key improvement on the SWING is a serious increase in the inside volume. And with a perfectly balanced anatomical shape, the SWING offers great comfort with a high level of security.

The security issue, is based upon the inside volume, that allows the user to layer up seriously, without risking compressing the down membrane, for when you hit unexpected low temperatures.

The precision of the cut, is exactly the same as on our elite equipment, all fabric stitched are overlocked on the inside and all quality aspects are under strict control in this bag…So you are not taking any risk with a SWING.

So, when you are looking for your first down bag for 4 seson use, a SWING 900 is your selected choice.

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