My first sleeping bag was bought from the local army surplus store. It was rectangular in shape and zipped all the way round so you could use it as a blanket. It was filled with nylon fibres and the panels were stitched through. It wasn't very warm, technical or fantastic in any way. But as a kid I loved it because I loved camping. Camping was an adventure!
Kevin Avery snug and warm in his Pinnacle bag, sleeping in the van in the Cairngorm. Temps were -5 to -15 C, no insulation in the van so it iced up every night.
Marmot's Pinnacle bag is a far cry from my first cheapo sleeping bag. It's sumptuously soft and luxurious, and warm; in fact more so than the duvet on my bed! It's filled with 800+ fill quality goose down and has a host of technical features. It also costs a lot more.
Marmot describe the Pinnacle as being ideal for a wide range of outings, from summer backpacking to late season climbing trips and I can vouch for that. I have used the bag for UK summer camping trips in the Lakes and Wales, as well as high altitude bivvys in the Dolomites. I have also used it on some recent frigid frosty nights in the UK. Never have I found it wanting in warmth or comfort. This is a bag that is rated to -9 degrees centigrade mind you, so I would have been surprised if I had.
I did get a little bit warm whilst camping in Pembroke this summer, easily sorted out by opening the zip. In my experience I have generally found down bags to have a greater comfort range than their synthetic rivals. The synthetic bags I have used have generally proved to feel sweatier when used in temperatures warmer than those they have been designed for.
the internal draft collar, snug hood and hood muff
I tested the regular length bag, coming in at 6 feet in length. Being 5 foot 9 this size was perfect and gave me enough room to snuggle right down under the hood without feeling like I was going to poke my feet through the foot-box.
On the subject of the foot-box there was sufficient room to keep items such as boot inners, spare socks and other bits and pieces that you may want to warm and dry overnight. This extra space is down to the trapezoidal “box” design which is pretty much just that; a box rather than the circular set-up seen on other bags.
There is also a superbly snug hood and hood muff, which manages to contour round your face without feeling claustrophobic.
At 1.13 kg this isn't the lightest bag in its class but nor is it the heaviest and I think that Marmot's conservative temperature rating means that you get a decent amount of warmth for the weight.
Other features I liked include a full zip with a snug draft tube to stop any drafts. It hangs from the top ensuring no gaps can let the cold enter the bag (or the warmth escape!). The zip is smooth in its function and operates two-way meaning it can be zipped up and down from the bottom and the top, something that is very useful for ventilation.
The Pinnacle also sports an internal draft collar, which seals out cold air (and keeps warm air in) from just above the shoulders. There is also a superbly snug hood and hood muff, which manages to contour round your face without feeling claustrophobic. Obviously the hood and collar can all be loosened off in order to provide extra ventilation in warmer temperatures. All draw cords are easy to operate, even whilst wearing gloves.
One final nice touch is an internal valuables pocket that protects your car keys (from you losing them that is!)
The Pinnacle's outer is constructed from a lightweight nylon fabric that is treated with a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) finish. This is tough and has a degree of water resistance, but it is not waterproof. The inner is constructed from a similar fabric, but in this case a slightly heavier material is used (1.4 oz/yd rather than 1.05 oz/yd on the outer) and there is no DWR. Both fabrics feel luxuriously soft and comfortable against the skin.
Marmot use 800+ fill quality goose down in the Pinnacle bag. Marmot make a big deal out of their quality control and testing and from my experience of this bag, they have every right to. It lofts superbly, even after long periods of compressed storage and without wanting to risk sounding like a broken record, it feels like pure luxury.
637.9g of fine quality goose down are held in place using a system of Stretch Tricot Baffles. These hold the down in place (like individual down compartments) and are not stitched right through the inner and outer fabric. This means there are no cold spots as at no point does a seam go straight through the bag. The baffles stretch in order to increase durability and reduce risk of tearing during stuffing and un-stuffing.
A Few Words About Down
First of all, down is not all the same. On outdoor products such as sleeping bags and jackets, that is where the 'fill power' rating comes in. However this doesn't tell you much down is present in the garment, but more specifically how much space one ounce of down would fill in cubic inches (or cubic centimetres depending on the brand!) Generally a fill power of 700 and upwards is present in the most specialist products so the Pinnacle at 800+ is definitely up there in terms of quality. Read more about fill power at www.facewest.co.uk
800 Fill Bag Diagram DOWN
Forward Cant matches the natural forward lean of your feet during sleep.
Stretch Tricot Baffles allow the bag to be stuffed and unstuffed without creating a tear in the baffle material.
Thermo-Pane foot box double layer baffle construction for increased warmth in foot area.
Nautilus Hood Same construction as our 8000m jacket hood; a 3D hood that wraps around your head to help reduce heat loss.
Hidden Draft Tube Pocket keeps contacts, watches or midnight snack out of the way but within easy reach.
Hood Muff creates a warm down gasket around your face, keeping the drawcord away from the face.
Down vs Synthetic
Down provides a superior warmth to weight ratio
Down is more compressible
Down loses its insulating properties when wet
Synthetic products are cheaper
Synthetic bags stay warm when wet
Synthetic bags provide less warmth to weight
Down is light
Oh and did I mention how nice down feels lol ;-)
This is a fantastic sleeping bag that is ideal for autumn to spring use in the UK. It is also suitable for UK summer use but a little too warm to be ideal. On the other hand it would a great summer Alpine bag. It is packed with excellent features and feels like a high quality piece of kit that is well worth the price tag. It also comes in a long length for those taller individuals amongst us!
Weight: 1180g (reg), 1285g (long)
Zip Option: LZ, RZ
Fill: 596g (reg), 682g (long)
Materials: Plexus N-100R Silicone DWR
Lining: Omni N-140 WR
Insulation: 800+ Fill Goose Down
Sizes: 183 cm (reg), 198 cm (long)
Certified 800+ Fill Goose Down
Classic Trapezoidal Foot Box
Down-filled Collar with Easy Access Draw Cord
Down-Filled Draft Tube
"Feely" Draw Cords
Forward Lean Foot Box
Ground-Level Side Seams
Hidden Draft Tube Pocket
Lightweight 20d Nylon Shell with Silicon DWR
Nautilus 6-Baffle Hood
Stretch Tricot Baffles
Stuff and Storage Sack Included
Thermo-Pane Foot Box
Velcro®-free Face Muff