Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sierra Designs Mobile Mummy

This last weekend I made it up to Seattle to visit some family and managed to fit in a stop at the REI flagship store where, after making the poor employee dig through the sleeping bag stock for 15 minutes, I finally got to try out the Sierra designs mobile mummy.
Now for those of you that don't follow these things, Sierra Designs has been a fairly mediocre brand for quite a while. Fairly typical sleeping bags with typical stats, cheap proprietary rain coats, tents (I don't know a thing about tents, they could have been fabulous) and generic apparel. Recently they've been making a push, mostly with some treated down products (still in the "gimmick" category in my book, but I will be as happy as a clam to be wrong in this case). I picked up a thinner down puffy for my wife at an REI sidewalk sale but I haven't noticed anything spectacular about it, my wife is new to puffys and doesn't have anything to compare it too.

Well, recently SD unveiled their new sleeping bag line and I'll admit I was pretty skeptical. While I'm always in favor of innovation, I wasn't sure they'd hit the mark. the backcountry bed for instance has huge areas of dead air on both sides of the head that give me pause, but they did manage to score an editor's choice award in the latest Backpacker magazine. After some online discussion I began looking closer at the mobile mummy, I've been wanting to try out a center zip bag for a while and the old Golite Adrenaline is darned hard to find on ebay, the new USMC 3-season sleeping bag is paper thin, and the newest Kifaru slick bag is beyond my reach to test-drive.

The "mobile" part of the mummy I could take or leave, but it turns out being able to stick your arms out to fiddle with the zipper is pretty darn convenient; ever notice how much of a pain it is to cinch in the hood on a normal bag? for one you have to fight your arms up to face level and then fiddle with some draw cords you can't really see, and then fight your arms up again when you want to get out. With this design you pretty much have to stick an arm out to zip up the last few inches, but since there is no closure on the armhole it didn't feel to tedious.
The main thing that drew me to this design is the hood. I've been having a lot of trouble with my current sleeping bag and the bulk of it is the gaping hood opening and the lack of a draft baffle. This bag has a snug, jacket-style hood with no cords, bungees or toggles and a generous draft baffle around your neck. This might curtail my current habit of wearing a hooded down jacket to bed, but I'd give it up in a heartbeat. I've seen very few bags (by that I mean one or two) that have such a narrow hood, the Exped Wallcreeper (now called the "dreamwalker"I think) is one, and is functionally very similar to the mobile mummy in that it has armholes, a center zipper, and the ability to walk around with it on. BUT the Exped hood is much more open, and there is a gaping hole at the foot so I never got super excited about it.

I was dubious of the armholes leaking heat but there is something like 5 inches of overlap and initial reviews seem to say it's not a problem. Another issue I've had with my current bag is not being long enough, even with the long size I sometimes compress the down in the foot box and freeze my poor toes. Initial "lying down in REI" tests suggests adequate length for this bag.

The cost is of course a problem, even with an REI 20% off coupon it comes in at $320 (for the long size) and I suspect it will be awhile before they make it onto ebay. My only hope is the odd design will be off-putting to a few early adopters and one will magically fall into my hands at another sidewalk sale.
Hey, thats how I got pretty much everything else I own.

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