Dec 2, 2010 at 7:39 pm #1266165
@texicoLocale: North Georgia
My apologies if this has already been posted elsewhere, but I haven't seen it yet, so here we go.
It looks like Marmot has released some new bags, their "Plasma" line. I just saw the bags on the REI website, and all I know about them is what's listed there, but has anyone heard anything about them or some first-hand experience?
There is a 15* and a 30* bag with 17.6oz and 10.4oz of 900fp down, respectively, for the regular length. This gives them an average weight listed as 30oz and 22oz. It also has "Flow Gate Construction" which looks like a fancy marketing term for continuous baffles in order to shift the down inside the bag. All this for the low low price of $420-$490.
P.S. Is it me or do they seem a "tad" overpriced? I mean, I know 900fp is da uber bestest, but with 800fp bags for $150 less…Dec 2, 2010 at 8:02 pm #1670326
plasma 30 vs. phantom 30
price … $419 vs $290
weight … 22 oz vs 23 oz
stuff sack vol … 9.5L vs 6.3L
fill … 10.4 oz/900 vs. 11 oz/800
en rating men … 34F vs 29F
en rating women … 42F vs 38F
so in short you're paying an extra $129 retail for a bag that packs bigger, is only an ounce lighter, is 5F colder
note that the marmot "900 fill" down doesn't perform any better than MH "800 fill"
the only advantage is being able to shift the down … but there are other bags that can do that as wellDec 2, 2010 at 9:53 pm #1670356
If you watch the video for the 15 degree version on REIs site it indicates that the "flowgate" construction is actually internal baffles to prevent down migration within the long vertical baffled design. So, you actually can not shift the down, which appears to be something they are using as a selling point.
I just checked the specs on my old Marmot Helium (regular size, 900 fill down, half zipper, Pertex Quantum shell).
It has 19 ounces of down, is roomier all around, has continuous baffles, and is the same weight (1 pound 13.8 ounces as weighed by me).
So, this Plasma line is an overpriced step towards a more complicated than necessary bag that uses less of the same fill power down as the old Helium, but has a lighter shell (less durable). It looks as if the more complicated design (down "pillow" in the hood, new footbox) is supposed to justify the price, but I'd rather have a lighter, cheaper, less complicated product.
Also, the REI video makes me want to punch "Curly" in the face… but I digress
Edit: Eric, I would guess that the Plasma bags can stuff down much smaller than the included stuff sacks.Dec 3, 2010 at 4:35 am #1670394
@texicoLocale: North Georgia
Thanks for the responses guys. That's exactly what I was thinking. I guess I just was wondering if anyone had physically seen the bag and maybe had different thoughts about it. I have a feeling I'm still going to get the Mountain Hardwear Phantom bag or a Jack's R Better ground-dweller quilt…Dec 3, 2010 at 9:49 am #1670462
@areichowLocale: Northern Minnesota
If someone was going to spend that kind of money, why not go all the way and go Western Mountaineering? Summerlite has less room in the hips, but lighter and cheaper.
The built-in pillow on the Plasma bags is cute, but whoever put that into the design seems to be missing the point of a UL bag.
Michael and Mitchell: I think you're both wrong on what "Flow Gate Construction" is. It isn't a fancy marketing term for vertical baffles *or* continuous baffles, but something in between. It's a system that allows you to shift down around the bag and keep it there. That's the impression I get from the video and the text description, at least. In the video, Non-Curly holds a diagram that each baffle contains smaller chambers, which would make the bag effectively box baffled. I assume you can toggle these "Flow Gates" and lock down in certain areas. If this is the case, it would be a neat little innovation, though certainly not revolutionary.
Curly sez, "Wake up, Michael!"
Dec 3, 2010 at 11:51 am #1670500
@woodenwizardLocale: Greater Mt Tabor
Ahh! It looks like the Emperor from Star Wars.
"Annekin, I got you this helmet from the Blagoevich estate sale"Jan 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm #1688510
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Well, I saw one of these in person. While it's on top of the pile, it's not all that lofty.. I'd call the fifteen degree, a thirty degree.
More photos from my trip are at outside365.comJun 17, 2011 at 12:24 am #1750262
IMO… The bag in the pic above looks like it was just pulled from its storage bag or possibly a stuff sack. I have a Plasma 15, and trust me… it puffs up! Way up!! I have owned WM bags for over 10+ years (Ultralite, Summerlite and Highlite) and the Plasma is superior in nearly ever way. This is most evident in the hood, draft tube and neck collar. The Marmot design leaves the WM bags I have owned in the dust in those areas, offering far greater comfort, warmth and ease of use when cinching down the hood and draft collar. The Plasma hood coddles your head and nothing touches you in the wrong way. In contrast, the WM hoods are very shallow, do not coddle your head nicely, the velcro often lays against your face and the cord in the draft collar in the Ultralite lays in such a way so that when it is cinched, it literally presses down against your neck and throat – very uncomfortable! The Pertex fabric in the Plasma also feels better and is far more water repellent than the Extremelite fabric from WM. I have also found the Plasma 15 warmer than the Ultralite, so I'd also say the 15 degree rating is pretty much spot on.
Now, I love that the WM bags are still made in the USA, but after trying the Plasma 15, I knew I had found a superior bag. Yes – it weighs about 2.5 ounces more than the Ultralite, but I'd gladly trade those few grams for a far superior sleep. Also – I don't think Marmot's goal was to make the lightest sleeping bag for temp rating on the market. If that was their goal, they failed. I think, rather, that they wanted to create an absolutely full-featured, top-of-the-line sleeping bag with most, if not all the bells and whistles, and do so at a weight "nearly" the lightest in each class. In that regard, I think they hit a home run! Again… IMO… :)Jul 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm #1757341
Just bought a new marmot plasma, wondering when in the field what would be the best compression sack for it. Trying to save a little extra space. Also will I do the bag any harm by compressing it further than the sack provided.
Expert help needed
Regards DeanJul 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm #1757344
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
compression sacks are overly heavy. just stuff it in an oversized stuff sack and then cram everything else into the bag. that way it will fill all the empty spaces that shaped stuff sacks cant.Jul 11, 2011 at 10:00 am #1758055
@daveheissLocale: Pacific Northwest
Or just pick up a Riksak from Gossamer Gear, which you can use it as a stuffsack for the Plasma and as a daypack for when you make camp and want to explore the area.Jul 11, 2011 at 10:04 am #1758057
I have heard about it and a few friends have talked about it. It looks good with it's specs but not sure why they put a pillow pocket?Sep 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm #1778007
@alinaLocale: Toronto, Ontario
@David or anyone who has the Plasma 15
How small is the Plasma 15 once in its stuff bag? I read a review that the provided stuff sack is too small for this bag? Is it true?
What is the shoulder girth?
Thank you.Sep 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm #1779032
Hi. The Plasma stuff sack is not too small for the bag. If fits fine. You just have to stuff away. As far as stuff sack size and shoulder girth, I'm pretty sure that info can be found at the marmot site? Bag packs small for a 15 degree bag and the I do not in any way feel cramped in the bag. In fact, it is VERY roomy compared to the WM Ultralite, especially in the shoulders and hips. At first that threw me off, causing me to think I'd be chilly with the extra room, but the 900 Power down has crazy loft and it is a WARM bag. The zipper is a bit sticky, but once you get the hang of it, it is not problem. I really like this bag, but it is so warm, I there are times when I think I should have purchased the Plasma 30 instead. Hmmm… maybe a Christmas gift to myself? LOL…Sep 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm #1779050
@alinaLocale: Toronto, Ontario
Thank you very much for your response.
It is interesting that you say that Plasma feels much roomier than Ultralight. Plasma is only 1 inch wider .
Regarding it being too warm: where do you mostly backpack? I was thinking that if it gets too hot I could get an overbag and use it just by itself. In colder temp. the overbag will come in handy as well so I do not have to buy a winter bag. What do you think of this idea?
Marmot actually does not list the girth or the size of the stuff sack which was very surprising. Since my post here I have found somewhere else that the girth is 60” and the stuff sack 9” by 15” hmm….
Ultralight is only 7” by 13”. When I watched a video review from backpacker magazine the stuffed bag seemed to be quite small. How do they compare? Is there really such big difference?
One more question: how is Plasma’s water repellence/performance and how does it compare to Ultralight?
Thank you.Sep 14, 2011 at 7:36 am #1779435
Hi. The shape of the Plasma is less restricting overall to this user compared to the WM UL. It is a more refined shaped and it fits me wonderfully. As far as the stuff sack goes, it might be a bit larger than the UL, but I have no issues carrying it horizontally at the bottom of my 2100 cubic inch TNF Alteo 35 pack.
Let me try to explain it this way. The WF Ultralite bag is a great piece of gear. It is exceptionally well made, with wonderful materials and it is warm, light, compressible and has proved to this user a durable bag when properly cared for. It is good stuff.
The Marmot Plasma does all that, and then takes it up a notch or two. It is warmer, has a significantly better fitting hood and draft collar, has more features (the built-in pillow really makes a difference and you get hang loops, where as in the WM UL, you do not) a better DWR, more sophisticated foot box, a more articulated and comfortable shape (at least to this user – 5'9", 170 lbs, athletic build), the Pertex feels nicer to the skin than the Xtremelite fabric of the UL, and you get higher lofting down with the Plasma as well.
So… Warmer, more features and better sophistication in fit and over-all design while still staying under 2 lbs. That is what you're paying for compared to the WM UL. A quick Google search shows that the Marmot Plasma 15 can be found at Moosejaw right now for $375.20. Really, at that price, it is an absolute must buy IMO.Sep 14, 2011 at 8:12 am #1779446
I always chuckle to myself with warmth ratings. Here you have a bag that is EN tested to 28.9F for comfort but yet is marketed as a 15F bag, which EN testing confirms would be most uncomfortable at that temp.
But the facts are in the specs – fill weight of under 20oz and loft of under 5". For a true 15F bag, you would need closer to 28oz of down and a loft of closer to 7".
But at least you are carrying a sub 2lb bag…….Sep 14, 2011 at 9:34 am #1779477
David, I think an acknowledgement of different sleep metabolisms is in order. Looking at the EN ratings and down fill, I would say it's a true 15-20º bag FOR ME. 7" of down at 15º would have me sweating all night.Sep 14, 2011 at 9:42 am #1779479
the plasma 15 is a 29F for women, 18F for men rating
note that while it is slightly lighter than the helium … the helium in theory is a slightly "warmer" bag according to the en specs
so its quite a valid question if there any real advantage
not that i use the plasma, or the helium currently ;)Sep 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm #1779540
I agree with Stephan above. Sleeping bags and warmth are really personal, not unlike a pair of shoes. Sure, you can find your basic size, but that does not mean that all shoes in that size fit and/or are comfortable. Sleeping bags and warmth/comfort are no different, and for me, I have found the Plasma 15 warmer in use than my WM Ultralite bag, which is no slouch in the "keep you warm" department. And again, I have found the Plasma far superior in over-all comfort.
Compared to the Helium, I cannot say if the extra money is worth it. That would be up to the purchaser to decide. Now would I have paid full price for my Plasma 15? In truth, no. But once again, at $380, it was a must-have purchase for me and I feel like I got a good value at that price.
Also… I just took multiple measurements of the loft and found it to be between 5.5" and 6".Sep 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm #1779568
The 18F rating for a man is EN tested using a pad with an R-value of 5.2 and zero wind.
How many of you use a pad with an R-value of over 5?Sep 14, 2011 at 7:35 pm #1779679
Guess all the EN testing for other bags is inaccurate too, right? Or just for Marmot? ;)Sep 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm #1779714
Who said it was inaccurate? The EN testing shows this is between a 29 and 18F bag. Shouldn't it be called the Plasma 18 for men and the Plasma 29 for women?
Most use pads that do not meet the R-value used in the EN testing so the bags will not come close to providing the warmth they expect from the bag.Nov 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm #1799257
David, I'm looking at upgrading my backpacking sleeping bags and trying to kill two birds with one stone. Most of my trips are during the summer, so a 15 deg bag gets warm. Thus, I usually use it as a quilt when it is warm.
I am looking at buying the plasma 15 or 30. The 30 will be a cold for my Sept elk hunting trips, so I would have to add a liner. I was thinking of using a plasma 30, IF the loft on the bottom is much less then on top. IF it is, then I can sleep with the bottom of top for warm summer. That may work better then a bag opened up like a quilt.
Can you measure the loft on the top half and bottom half for me.
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