I'm looking for a new sleeping bag at the minute and I've been considering getting one of the mountain equipment glacier bags with the water resistant outer (currently discounted). Its mainly just for camping in the tent but it will also be used for stargazing during meteor showers.
I'm not sure whether the outer material will be of much benefit to me really, and I'm concerned how much it will affect the breathability and pack size. I did notice last time I was out star gazing that my down quilt was wet from condensation so maybe it would be useful for similar conditions.
Has anyone got one of these bags or one with a similar outer material? Do you find they trap moisture and get damp? Do you prefer them?
I was always under the impression that these style of bags were specialist kit aimed at alpinists who didn't want the extra weight of a bivi bag or had condensation issues on multi day routes? Unless you plan to spend a far bit of time sleeping out of the tent then I would imagine your better off with a normal bag which will be considerably cheaper and lighter.
Very useful for winter camps. The sort of drilite /endurance outers usually used are just thin coatings, a long way from e. g. Event or Goretex but do hold off general dampness pretty well for minimal extra weight.
Yeah, maybe so. It's on offer at the minute and its actually a bit lighter with a slightly lower temperature rating too. I guess it will sacrifice some breathability for that though, which could defeat the purpose of being water resistant in the first place
Thats what I was hoping for really. A bit extra warmth and some resistance to moisture during winter camps. It is actually slightly lighter and warmer than the other bag, just worried it will trap moisture and get damp throughout the night
My experience is that there is more than enough breathability with the coating and the water resistance is worth having.
Unless you plan mutliday camps longer than a weekend in winter I wouldn't bother. My first winter climbing season I soley camped in Scotland using a standard 4 season down bag (also not Hydrophobic down), usually 2-3 nights on the trot and never had issues with condensation build up. For your star gazing I would just advise a bivi bag if you really need it, which will likely be useful other times too.
You could consider a much cheaper alptkit bag. Also consider the idea of using a 2-3 season synthetic outer bag over a 2-3 season down bag. The synthetic helps to stop the dew etc effecting the down and as long as the outer bag is large my experience is this will vastly increase warmth. Ofc this system isn't ideal if you need to trek in with a winter bag as it does increase weight, but you need to ask your self if you actually intend to do this. One advantage of this system is you end up with a superlight 2-3 season down bag which is ideal for 3 season UK mountain camps being warm enough and very light / small.
Which model Glacier were you considering and for what price?
Aren't most down bags outers somewhat water resistant anyway? Back when I last bought one most the outers were pertex / pertex like material and often DWR coated. Is the glacier something extra to that?
If the question is should you get a down bag with a pertex like fabric with a DWR on the outer then the answer is Yes IMO! The DWR weighs nothing, increases durability, doesn't really effect breathability much and lets water run off it to an extent! If you actually search the manufacturers websites for most the decent down bags you'll find they have this anyways.
If you want a robust bag that is tolerant of damp and don't mind weight or bulk, consider the Buffalo range
Weight and pack size is pretty important to me so unfortunately the double bag suggestion isn't ideal. I've tried alpkit bags and I just prefer some of the features on the mountain equipment ones like the lode lock on the draft collar. Thanks for your reply
Glacier 700. I can get it for £240 I think. The outer is ME's drillite II, which is slightly thicker and more durable than their other fabrics with about 1500mm HH I think. Their buying guide compares some of the fabrics they use here: https://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/pages/sleeping-bag-buying-guide
Thanks for you reply
Don't forget the seams on a Drilite bag won't be taped, so they're not fully waterproof and therefore not a substitute for a bivvy bag if it's really wet.
"Weight and pack size is pretty important to me"
So you are going to actually trek in to wild camp / bothy in the depths of winter then?
"he outer is ME's drillite II, which is slightly thicker and more durable than their other fabrics with about 1500mm HH I think"
I'd be wary of any outer fabric that advertises a HH if you tend to run hot or sweaty. It's easy to misjudge a down bag and end up very sweaty in the morning with the bag damp. 1500 HH on a down bag outer is not something I'd want. I'd just use a bivi bag on the few occasions thats needed.
240 is a good price for the quality of the bag.
Remember a bag that goes down to say -15 comfortably is going to be far too hot for most other uses than cold winter camps.
Yeah I do plenty of hiking and wild camping, but I usually stop about late November I'd say. I'm not opposed to going later but I don't have a 4 season tent right now.
I tend to be quite a cold sleeper which is why I'm looking at bags with about -5 comfort temp. ME give it a -15°C 'good nights guarentee', but I've got their down quilt and I start feeling the cold about 5 degrees above their guarenteed temp. So I think I must just feel the cold more than most.
I share your skepticism about the breathability of the outer, I think I might look at a different model. There are some other good bags on offer at the minute too. Thanks for your help
I had a late 90s Lightline with a Drilite outer. I don't know if it was a the same as the current drilite or not, but it was a great bag. The outer was good at dealing with frost, snow and condensation from small tents, and I never worried that it wasn't breathable enough to let sweat out. Even using it many night on a trot I don't remember any issues with down collapse. I got well over a decade of regular use out of it before eventually selling it on at a decent price when I had a number of other bags that were similar from doing reviews.
Ah, interesting. Had a quick read about that model and it seems to get some good praise. Couldn't find any info about the original drilite but I can't imagine it being too much different from the current versions. Looks like they rate the breathability for drilite the same as their helium material used on the regular bag. Thanks for your reply