The Lafuma Pro 650 Down sleeping bag is targeted at a value price point of $189 for a 25 °F rated ultralight down sleeping bag. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? It has a very nice shell fabric and lining, ¾ zipper that doesn’t snag, and good shoulder room. What’s not to like? Just one thing – and its not a flaw, but a misleading statement that should be revised.
- Lightweight at only 23.2 ounces
- Zipper operates smoothly and seldom snags
- Baffled construction
- Good fitting hood
- Water-repellent, downproof 20 denier shell and lining
- Roomy in the shoulder area
What’s Not So Good
- 700 fill down is entry level for an ultralight bag
- Temperature rating is VERY optimistic
|2007 Lafuma Pro 650g Down|
|Hooded mummy with 3/4 zipper|
|Sleeping bag, compression stuff sack, storage bag|
|8.8 oz (250 g) of 700 fill-power down|
|1.8 in (4.6 cm) single layer loft|
|25 °F (-4 °C)|
|11 in x 5 in (28 cm x 13 cm)|
|Measured weight 1 lb 7.2 oz (658 g); manufacturer specification 1 lb 7 oz (652 g)|
|One size fits to 6 ft (1.82 m), bag measures 6 ft 9 in long (2.06 m)|
|Shell 20d polyester with DWR, lining 20d polyester with DWR|
|Down insulated hood with one drawcord, down-filled draft tube, 3/4 length zipper, snag-free zipper guards, trapezoidal baffle construction, trapezoidal footbox, inside pocket with Velcro closure, compression stuff sack and storage bag|
Lafuma’s terminology for their sleeping bags is a little confusing. This bag is named the “Pro 650 Down”, but the 650 references neither the quantity or fill power of the down in the bag. Rather, it’s the total weight of the bag (650 grams/22.9 ounces). The fill is 8.8 ounces (250 grams) of 700 fill-power down, which nowadays is considered entry level for an ultralight down sleeping bag (more on this later).
The bag’s feature set (see specification table) is typical for an ultralight sleeping bag – Spartan. It has lightweight 20-denier fabrics and a few simple features to minimize weight. The zipper is claimed to be ¾ length, but it’s actually a little over half length (38 inches). A notable point is that the zipper operates very smoothly and has a glow-in-the-dark zipper pull.
The Lafuma 650 Down sleeping bag in a solo shelter (Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape).
Both outer and inner shell fabrics are 20-denier polyester with DWR. The lightweight fabric is soft, downproof, breathable, and durable (with reasonable care).
The shape of the Pro 650 also saves some weight. It’s slender in the leg and foot area and roomy in the hip and shoulder areas. The shoulder girth is 64 inches, which is enough to wear an insulated jacket inside to extend the bag’s warmth on cold nights. Please note that the bag is available in ONLY ONE SIZE which is 6 feet 9 inches long, equivalent to a size Regular. I’m 6 feet tall and the bag fits me perfectly; it would be too short for a taller person.
The hood is not sculptured very much and draws up well with a single drawcord. The anchored cordlock is claimed to be operable with one hand, but it actually takes two hands to operate, and I would prefer to dispense with that gimmick.
The Pro 650 comes with a serious compression stuff sack capable of compressing it down to nerfball size. In my opinion, a compression stuff sack is overkill for an ultralight sleeping bag. It adds unnecessary weight, and I personally feel that over-compression can damage the down. A simple lightweight stuff sack will do just fine.
Lafuma’s temperature rating for this bag is 25 °F/-4 °C, tested by an independent lab in compliance with European Standard EN13537. The 25 °F rating is the “Comfort” rating within that standard, which is roughly equivalent to the US sleeping bag rating system. I measured the bag’s average single layer loft to be 1.8 inches, which translates to about a 30 °F rating according to our table of estimated temperature ratings based on measured loft. For more information, read the Backpacking Light Position Statement on Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings. The Pro 650 has a T-Chamber baffled construction to hold the down uniformly in place, which coaxes a little more warmth from the down.
I tested the Lafuma Pro 650 on 14 separate occasions, in a variety of shelters, with nighttime low temperatures ranging from 45 °F down to 26 °F. Since the Pro 650 does not have the expected loft of a 25 °F bag, I was prepared with a Montbell Alpine Down Jacket and Bozeman Mountain Works Cocoon pants at my side to put on when I felt chilly. I’m normally a warm sleeper, but I don’t like to get cold any more than the next guy! Each night I slept in the bag I started out wearing microfleece long johns, wool socks, and a fleece cap – which is my baseline sleepwear. If I got chilly, I wore the insulating clothing inside the bag – which is my normal ultralight backpacking technique.
Based on my testing, I slept warm in the Lafuma Pro 650 down to about 35 to 40 °F. I repeatedly got chilly in the bag at around 35 to 40 °F, depending on the shelter and nighttime breezes. When I wore insulated clothing inside the bag, I was able to stay warm (barely) at the bag’s specified 25 °F rating with the hood tightly drawn.
Sleeping under the stars in the Lafuma Pro 650 in northern Arizona (left). Staying warm in the Lafuma Pro 650 in temperatures below 35 F required wearing insulated clothing inside the bag (right).
The bag’s shell and lining are very nice. The fabric is very soft and supple, downproof, and its DWR treatment resists wetting very well. The bag’s 64 inches of shoulder girth provides adequate room to wear clothing inside to extend the bag’s warmth, which is frequently required in this case.
If you’re following me so far, you can tell that I like everything about the Lafuma Pro 650 except its claimed 25 °F temperature rating. Quite frankly, the Pro 650’s loft and warmth are less than several bags on the market that have a claimed 30-32 °F rating. In other words, it’s equivalent to a 35 °F rated down bag, and does not deserve a 25 degree rating by our standards.
The Lafuma 650 Down bag (right) next to a 2006 Montbell UL Down Hugger #3 bag (left). The Lafuma bag contains 8.8 ounces of 700 fill down, has 1.8 inches of single layer loft, and a claimed temperature rating of 25 °F; the Montbell bag is a size Long and contains 10.6 ounces of 725 fill down, has 2 inches of single layer loft, and a claimed temperature rating of 32 °F. Adjusting for the bag length, the two bags are roughly equivalent in terms of down content, loft, and warmth.
To show how much temperature ratings vary, here’s the Lafuma 650 Down bag (left) rated at 25 °F next to a GoLite Feather-Lite bag (right). The GoLite bag has more loft (2.25 inches, single layer) and is rated at 40 °F. Holy goose feathers – that’s a heck of a difference!
The following table compares the Lafuma Pro 650 with some popular 30-32 °F rated ultralight sleeping bags. The manufacturers of these bags provide information on the amount of down in the bag (many manufacturers do not provide that information – bummer!). All of the bags have baffled construction.
|Manufacturer||Model||Temperature Rating||Single Layer Loft (in)||Weight of Down (oz)||Fill Power||Total Weight (oz)||Cost|
|Montbell||Super Stretch Down Hugger #3||30||?||10||800||23||$270|
|Lafuma||Pro 650 Down||25||1.8||8.8||700||23||$189|
Inferences from the table are:
- Lafuma’s 25 °F rating for the Pro 650 simply doesn’t compute! All of the other bags contain at least 10 ounces of 800-850 fill power down to achieve a 30-32 °F rating. The Lafuma bag has less down, lower fill power, and less loft, yet it claims a lower temperature rating.
- The Lafuma bag costs a lot less than the others.
If you are thinking about purchasing the Lafuma Pro 650, you must consider the fact that this bag is equivalent to about a 35 °F rated sleeping bag, not a 25 F bag as claimed. If you adjust the temperature rating to a more realistic 35 °F, the Lafuma Pro 650 is a decent ultralight sleeping bag for summertime backpacking in the mountains. Using our standard technique of wearing extra clothing inside the bag, the Pro 650 can keep a person warm down to about 25 °F, depending on the person and sleeping conditions.
That said, the Lafuma Pro 650 is a good value at $189, especially when you compare it with the popular Marmot Hydrogen (21 ounces, rated at 30 °F) which costs $309, or the Montbell bag mentioned above (which is now 800 fill down, 23 ounces, and rated to 30 F) at $270 in size Regular.
The Lafuma Pro 650 is well designed, constructed of quality materials, and is a great value. And the zipper works smoothly!
Recommendations for Improvement
- Revise the temperature rating to a more realistic level
- Drop the one-handed drawcord feature on the hood
- Upgrade the fill to at least 750 fill power down
- Upgrading to 800 fill down would make this bag a great value