You won’t find a better deal on a sub-two-pound, weather-resistant bag unless you get lucky on Craigslist. Indeed, we’ve seen bags that cost at least $150 more and don’t have the performance or durability of the Igneo and Joule (the women’s version). The 800-fill down and waterproof/breathable ripstop nylon shell (it uses a rolled-on coating, not a membrane) kept testers warm and dry in everything from windy bivies in the Sierras to subfreezing temps in Wyoming to the perennially soggy Pacific Northwest. (Note: The bag itself is not completely waterproof because the seams are not taped.)
Moisture from one tester’s single-wall tent didn’t faze the shell, and another tester slept sans shelter through 20-plus-mph winds without feeling chilled. He also got in and out of his bag repeatedly that same night to take photos during an adventure race, and even though he returned to the bag overheated from the exertion, the sweat vapor passed through the shell and he awoke fully dry for each shoot. “The temperature rating is dead on,” reports one tester who slept comfortably on 20°F nights in Montana’s Medicine Bow National Forest. “The differential drawcord on the hood (one flat cord and one round cord to provide better shape around the face) seals nicely, and the draft collar is effective without giving me that restrictive, claustrophobic feeling.”
Durability is high, too: One tester dragged the sack around like Linus while bivying on granite in the northern Sierra, and the shell showed no sign of wear. It packs to volleyball size for easy stowing. Igneo: $329; 1 lb. 15 oz.; 19°F; Joule: $339; 2 lbs. 2 oz.; 22°F; rei.comFreja is the lightest bag in Valandre’s expedition series. Weighing in at 2lb 1oz (1544gm) and with an extreme rating of -27°F (-33°C) the sleeping bag is the answer for those doing expeditions without all those pesky porters. The main difference the Freja has from the Odin or Thor is the lack of side raised walls.
Like all of Valandres sleeping bags, the Freja (named after the Nordic goddess in charge of life, beauty, love and magic) is based on our Tubular Bell construction. The Tubular Bell design is more couture and less off the rack. It is this tailoring that gives the Freja the ability to perform in extreme conditions. The Freja consists of 39 custom cut fabric panels and baffles that when assembled provide the architecture for incredible thermal qualities. This design feature reduces weight and maximizes the amount of down that can be placed around the sleepers body.
The Freja is a fully functioning alpine bag that is amazingly compressable. Take the Freja along on fast light ascents or into the coldest environments and stay safe and warm.