Our take Alpinists know the value of a three-quarter-length sleeping bag when pack space is tight. (You pair it with a puffy for upper body warmth.) These short bags are usually basic, but Montbell brings some slick design to the category. By sewing the baffles in a spiral pattern, designers took advantage of the natural stretch in the 10-denier nylon liner. That, coupled with elastic threads and cutting the fabric on the bias (turning the material during the manufacturing process to leverage its natural stretch), translates to 15 to 20 percent of additional move-around space. Good thing: The bag has 54 inches of hip circumference to reduce cold spots. It packs down to about the size of a football.
The details The Down Hugger has a 13-inch zipper at the bottom for venting (but no side zip, par for the category). There’s also a nylon shell connected to the top of the bag—pull it over your shoulders to seal in heat on cold nights.
Trail cred “My upper body was chilled because I packed a puffy that was too light, but my toes were still toasty on a 21°F night,” reported one Alaska tester after a late-season climbing trip to Reed Lakes at Hatcher Pass.