Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 32F/0C Sleeping Bag & NeoAir UberLite Mat
Toby Archer sleeps lightly, with a down bag that offers an impressive warmth for its minimal weight and a mat that's billed as the "lightest insulated air mattress available".
The new range of Mammut sleeping bags, introduced summer 2013, builds on the tried and tested partnership between Mammut and Ajungilak. There are four bags in the range from the 2-season Montana 2 to the 4-season Montana 4 and Jura models.
The bags are going to be available in June via selected outlets only but we have received a Montana 2 for review accompanied by one of the tiny and ingenious Inflatable Air Pillows.
The Montana 2 is described as a 'high performance, lightweight summer bag' covering a temperature range of 24°C to 6°C at comfort level and 4°C at 'transition'. It claims a 'risk' level down to -11°C but you would want to wrap up warm with extra clothes if using it at those temperatures. The bag weight is 950g with 900g of filling and, with the stuff sack, it comes to just over a kilo.
The fill is OTI™ Element synthetic filling enclosed in a box construction to give more loft and avoid cold spots. It certainly felt like it gave even coverage all over although, as with all synthetic-fill bags, time and a few trips through the washing machine are what is really needed to test how robust the filling is, and whether it resists 'clumping'. In this case though, the fill does feel extremely uniform, even across the seam lines, so the signs are definitely good.
The outer is made from Balance fabric, a strong but lightweight polyester. The inner is made from Silky TX. Now I am a fan of cotton and I sweat a lot under synthetic fabrics but, of course, cotton brings extra weight, hence for a lightweight bag it isn't an option. Although not as nice as cotton, the SilkyTX inner fabric is a good compromise. It isn't as shiny and slippery as some sleeping bag inners and appears, on my limited testing, to not be quite as sweat-inducing.
The bag is the conventional 'mummy' shape with a tapered foot and a 3/4 side zip. It claims to have an 'ergonomic foot for added comfort' although I am not able to see what the difference is from other similar shaped bags. The zip is the normal two-way with a nice finger tab on the main upper zipper. One problem suffered by many bags over the years is the incessant snagging of the thin fabric in the zip when you try and zip it up. The Montana series has adopted the now-common solution of a strip of tougher fabric just inside the zip to reduce the likelihood of this occurring. As a general quality note; this is one of the first features that gets dropped on cheaper sleeping bags and always a good indication of a decent sleeping bag.
The Montana series all come with a water-resistant compression sack. This enables you to stuff it down to a nice small-football sized shape. Personally I would prefer a longer and thinner tube compression since I think cylinders are easier to pack in with other items like sleeping mats, but this certainly does an good job. The water-resistant aspect is useful although I wouldn't favour it in a full-immersion situation, but adequate if it is sitting outside in the rain while you put your tent up.
This eye-catching piece of kit certainly fulfils the 'fast and light' requirement for much modern gear. It really is not much bigger than a match box and takes only half a lung-full of air to inflate. The valve is well-designed to allow air in but not out, although you can flick it with your finger to allow it to deflate properly. It does create a decent-sized pillow when inflated. Unfortunately, as with all air pillows, the comfort isn't great, although used partially inflated in combination with a rolled-up fleece top it will do the job.
The Montana 2 is a good all-round summer sleeping bag which has the benefits of durability and price offered by synthetic fabrics, but loses out to down on weight and size. It is well made with good features showing it to be a quality product in a market where there are a lot of similar-looking sleeping bags of lesser quality. At £80 (or £60 with a card) it represents great value - check here. The pillow (£10) is a nice addition for those where space is at an absolute premium but don't imagine it is like your feather pillow back home - check here.