World First - Montane Prism Sleeping Bag
Just arrived very early for spring is a test sample of what might just be the ultimate damp conditions sleeping bag, the new Montane Prism, which combines synthetic PrimaLoft Eco fill with a full Pertex Microlight outer and a whole raft of neat design touches that might just make it the ultimate UK-friendly, knock-about sleeping bag.
The Prism's just one of a range of six new sleeping bags due out early this year - see our preview - and it's the first time the NE brand has looked at the area. As with the pack range, Montane has taken a really fresh approach to bags using different fabrics and fills along with some really neat little ideas.
A few basics to start with: the Prism weighs a real life 1160g with the waterproof, roll-over top stuff bag adding another 60g - there's also a storage sac included. The temperature ratings, which are neatly printed on a label at the head end of the bag are: Comfort: 5˚C, Comfort Limit: 0˚C and Extreme: -16˚C - don't get too excited about that last figure, it simply means that the bag will just about keep you alive at that level, not that you'll enjoy the experience...
Realistically, we'd expect it to cope with 'normal' UK winter conditions if you're a warm sleeper, but masochistic winter mountaineers may well choose to push the limits further.
PrimaLoft Eco Fill
What really makes the bag stand out is its use of PrimaLoft insulation. It's not the only bag using the damp-friendly, hydrophobic fill - OMM has a couple of ultra-light options - but it's the only once we're aware of that's likely to cope with cooler conditions and all-round use.
Add in the tough windproof and water-resistant Pertex Microlight outer shell and you're looking at a bag that should thrive in damp, cold British weather and make for fret-free bivying and cope with the odd dunking without down's prima dona-esque descent into uselessness. Should be spot on for terminally careless or just unlucky campers, trekkers and backpackers.
How Does It Roll?
So what's it actually like? Well, first, it has a properly classy feel to it. There are loads of nice little touches. The zip, for example, is a highly water-resistant, plastic-toothed YKK Vislon, as used on top-end waterproof shell jackets. There's a fat baffle behind it and an anti-snag strip with the Montane logo and name embroidered on it. The underside of the bag has little Montane logo gripper dots to minimise sliding around on slick mats and the neck baffle closes with two press-studs.
The sleeping bag also gets Montane's new Flipper Foot design, a sort of updated box-foot designed to give lots toe wiggling space and keep your feet pleasantly warm while minimising internal voids.
For a first effort, it isn't half impressive in the same way that Montane's first crack at packs was a proper eye-opener.
Next Page: Inside The Bag - First Impressions