Mar 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm #1288045
I have a substantial REI dividend (more than $200) and there is a current 20% of sale. Of course, I MUST spend the dividend at REI, so l am looking for something useful that I do not have. My thoughts lit on a sleeping bag in the 0 to 10 D (degree) range. I expect my most severe camping to be in late fall in Maine and I sleep very cold, so something in this range should do the trick. Of course, I am looking for the best combination of weight, warmth, and cost.
To me the likely candidates are the $389 REI Magma (EN rated at 7D, weight 44 oz.) and the vastly more expensive $535 Mountain Hardwear Phantom +0 (0D NOT EN rated with just 2 ½ oz. more of the same 800 fill down and weighing 46 oz). I am suspicious of the Mountain Hardwear actual performance and I don’t like the cost difference for 7D. By comparison, the $479 Marmot Couloir 0 has an EN rating of -2D with 8 ½ oz more of the 800 fill than the REI bag and it weighs a hefty 55oz.
First question: Should I be suspicious of the Mountain Hardwear rating? Implied in this is the amount of 800 fill down, which all use, and the rated warmth difference: REI has 25.5 oz of fill for a 7D rating; Marmot has 34.0 oz for a -2D; and Mountain Hardwear has 28 oz for a 0D. The difference between Mountain Hardwear fill and REI is small for a 7D jump and the difference between Mountain Hardwear and Marmot is substantial for a 2D difference.
At least as important a question is: Does anyone have information about REI bags, preferably the Magma, but their bags in general and/or thoughts about other bags available from REI (remember: it’s gotta come from REI) that might have a good balance of warmth and weight?
Thanks for reading through all of this and thanks for any ideas.
JimMar 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm #1861171
@nigelhealyLocale: San Francisco bay area
that's tongue-in-cheek right? You know your dividend can be taken as cash, you probably will get more value for money online and reserve your REI dividend for stuff with a possibility of return.Mar 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm #1861174
So Nigel, I have been an REI member for 25 years and I was unaware of this! Numb in Maine, huh? Still, I am lazy enough to go with the REI bag if it gets a good response. And I am very curious about the down comparison aspect.
Thanks very much for showing me that enlightenment may come late but it can come!Mar 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm #1861192
@mrmuddyLocale: No Cal
Take the cash .. Go to the Feathered Friends Web Site… Look at the options . then call them ( Super friendly, knowledable, and easy to work with ) or , e-mail them..
Guaranteed that you'll LOVE your bag .. for life !Mar 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm #1861197
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"You know your dividend can be taken as cash"
Not until July 1.
–B.G.–Mar 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm #1861199
I'd go with finding something on REI. The dividend + 20% is a serious discount off a product. Plus, you can buy it, try it, and if it doesn't meet your expectations, return it – you can even return it for cash and then buy a bag from some other company.
I have always had great experience with mountain hardware bags. I'm pretty sure they sell down MH on REI.Mar 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm #1861200
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
I'd vote for the FF bag over an REI bag but if you're trying to take advantage of your 20% discount and dividend, there are some Marmot cold-weather bags on sale on REI-Outlet.com that you might consider as well. As a member, you have a separate 20% coupon for the Outlet as well.
As mentioned, you can't cash out your dividend until July.Mar 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm #1861208
@nigelhealyLocale: San Francisco bay area
""You know your dividend can be taken as cash"
Not until July 1."
I've not contacted REI to verify this, but this time last year I used some of my dividend and they offered the rest as cash, I took it.
I'd check with REI if you can't get cash right away, I'm 80% certain you can get cash right away subject to the store having the cash in.Mar 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm #1861216
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I wish you guys had the sense to read the fine print on the back of your dividend notice.
"The dividend is good for merchandise and REI Adventures travel immediately upon receipt of this notice through its expiration date. You can opt to receive cash or check for your remaining dividend; cash and checks are issued from July 1 through December 31 only. Restrictions apply. Please see complete information at REI.com/2011dividend."
–B.G.–Mar 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm #1861261
I have several sleeping bags (Montbell thermal sheet, Marmot Hydrogen, Marmot Helium, Marmot Couloir, WM Puma) and would like to make the following comments:
A lot of the advice on this forum will be geared towards the more esoteric manufacturers – it's almost like quality is inversely proportional to the manufacturers size such that one person companies seem to produce perfect, almost 'magical' products
I was personally disappointed in WM because I had to wait almost six weeks to get it and had I not called to complain they would have missed my drop dead date – they didn't seem to care. Almost exactly the same thing happened to my friend who was almost without a sleeping bag on his backpacking trip. When the bag arrives with one day to spare you can't even prepack for the trip. I don't care how many employees the company has or how 'nice' they are, when I pay that much for a product I expect it to be delivered when they say, not two weeks late.
Look at this review:
Which basically says that although the $205 piece of Silnylon with a Zipper is well sewn, it sags when wet and leaks during heavy rain – five stars? Would it have been five stars had it had MSR on it or REI on it? I think not.
When you look at it objectively the Marmot bags are just as well made as the WM and in fact the design features are a lot better particularly in the hood. There is no visible difference in stitching quality. The WM zipper arrangement at the top seems to be an afterthought of how to produce a seal – very kludgy! The stuff sack is also not well made – single sewn, looks like it will fall apart. The same people who say 'why do you care about the stuff sack?' will also say that they love the 'quality details' of WM (or small manufacturers) – simply not true.
So my advice is to buy from REI because as an earlier poster said the dividend and 20% off is a great discount and you can try the product, decide for yourself and then return it, no questions asked if you don't like it. (The WM return policy was 30 days and only if unused).
I like the Couloir but wonder if I should have got the Lithium especially since I went ahead and got the Puma. Couloir has a few more features but I don't like the exterior fabric as much as the other bags.
A lot of the difference you are seeing in the temperature ratings of bags with different amounts of 800 fill is the size of the bag. bags with less interior volume (like the REI) will give more loft for the same fill because the baffle volume is less. I happen to like the interior size of the Marmot bags – your preference may differ, that's why it would be good to try.
My 2cMar 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm #1861262
Regardless of the fine print and the July restriction, you can use your dividend to buy a product tomorrow and next week, if you choose to return it, they will give you check through the mail for the price of the item. I've done it.Mar 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm #1861327
Good post, right on the point with the recommendations on these forums.
While I do have a WM bag, I also have a Marmot bag and a Kathmandu bag (New Zealand brand). I also shop 90+% of the time at REI for the guarantee.
Oh, and I sent my WM bag back to WM for work and while it was free, I had to call twice and email a few times to get it back.Mar 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm #1861341
I don't have experience with bags with that low of a rating, but I'm a big fan of Marmot Down bags. We have 15 degree Pinnacle's (800 fill down) and both the Men's and Womens are excellent. When we bought ours, we found that Marmot's rating was much more conservative than all the others (before EN ratings were available) and the amount of down fill for the temperature rating seemed to back it up. We considered a Mountain Hardware bag. It was nice and light, but they seemed to have much less down for the rating and reviews suggested people found them to be chilly. MH also skimped on the down in the back, which might be ok if you are a back sleeper, but doesn't work well when you sleep on your side. Conversely, The Pinnacle is amazingly warm and fluffy from every angle.
I also think it is wise to use dividend money and a 20% coupon for a large purchase like this. We have large dividends due to the use of our REI credit card that we pay off every month. We ended up getting the first bag nearly "free" with the dividend and got the second bag free with dividend money the following year.
Sure, you could cash in the dividend and spend it somewhere else, but REI provides great service, has a great return policy, and allows you to see stuff in person before you shell out the money. Besides, by buying their higher end products, you are encouraging them to keep stocking higher end products and you support your local economy when you buy from your local REI store.Mar 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm #1861360
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I own the MH Phantom and use it for snow camping in the Sierra Nevada mtns. I think the 0 degree rating is fairly accurate because I am a cold sleeper and I have slept warm in it on many nights down to 10 degrees F under a tarp ( a MLD Duomid) and inside a bivy. The only times I get cold are when I roll off my GG closed cell pad. :-(
The Phantom is a very tight fit, much less shoulder room than my Marmot Hydrogen. This is one of the reasons it weighs less.
If you follow the Marmot web site link to the description of the EN rating you will see the full meaning of the ratings.Mar 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm #1861370
both bags are en-rated … the magma to 7F for men … the couloir for -2F …. if you are "standard" male i would consider en-rating fairly accurate providing you use a R5 pad … as to the MH phantom the en-rating appears the same as the magma at 7 F
which one you buy depends on yr needs, one is warmer and heavier (couloir), the other is lighter and cheaper (magma) … you cant go wrong with either one since at worse you just return it to REI
as to the suggestions go go with smaller manufacturers … thats your choice… but there is nothing wrong with REI, marmot or MH bags with the no questions asked REI warranty and the 20% off which smaller companies wont have … i agree with the posters that stated that there is a smaller company fetish on BPL … at the end of the day a bag just need to fit, have the features you want and provide insulation at a certain weight and price … thats all there is to it, a fancy name wont make it any warmer
to understand more about en-ratings go here …Mar 30, 2012 at 6:22 am #1861422
The cottage manufacturers have zero marketing budgets comparably. Their entire marketing strategy is to flood sites like BPL with reviews and coddle a few of the heavy users. It costs them very little to send out a few freebies in return for good reviews.
I have a 15 yr old Marmot down bag that is good as new. I'm looking for a summer bag and will definitively be going to REI.
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