Vying for the Best Sub 700g Sleeping Bag
With an ever expanding range of sleeping bags to choose from the difficulty arises when researching to buy a new one. This was the conundrum I faced a few months back while searching for a new 3 season bag. Even narrowing the options to high quality lightweight down bags didn’t lessen the task as the differences are mostly subtle. While price was a consideration, it wasn’t the only one and my preference was also for a ‘home grown’ one – in this case one made here in Japan.
This left three companies meeting my exacting criteria; Montbell, Isuka and Nanga. All these adventure wear companies are renowned for their high quality bags, though only one is manufactured locally, namely Nanga whose bags are fashioned in Maibara City, Shiga Prefecture. All the top featured Nanga sleeping bags including the 380SPDX use the highest grade 95/5 860+FP Polish mother goose down, while the equivalent Isuka and Montbell bags use a 90/10 800+FP and are made in China.
My first impression of the Nanga 380SPDX is one of high quality craftsmanship and the attention that has gone into its construction, which isn’t unsurprising given these bags aren’t exactly cheap. The stitching is flawless and the 20D nylon shell fabric means down fill leakage is minimised. The right sided zips are YKK and a Velcro fastener is thoughtfully added to stop it from being unintentionally undone while sleeping. The sleeping bag itself is divided into ten horizontal baffles keeping the fill in position and consequently your warmth. Two tabs are sewn into the foot base allowing the bag to be hung when not in use. Unlike my old Mountain Designs sleeping bag the Nanga is actually effortless to stuff into the compression sack and double draw strings make for a snug fit. Probably the biggest surprise is how compactly it compresses – at φ13×25cm there isn’t another -6ºC sleeping bag on the market that can complete.
Performance in the Field
It’s during real life testing that the Nanga 380SPDX really earns its strips. At first I was doubtful that a 700g bag could withstand freezing conditions however it’s amazingly warm and the internal hood draw cord means you can hunker down and retain the heat when needed. The shell fabric is treated with a DWR finish which helps keep the moisture at bay. The bag also employees an anti-snag zipper system which is works as it should and lessens the frustration of getting it zipped up quickly. In subzero conditions the sleeping bag remains comfortable using a silk liner and throwing on an extra layer of clothes.
This is truly a wonderful sleeping bag and I can’t talk up the Nanga brand enough. The bag is well capable of operating in 3 season environments with the option of adding a Montbell Warm Up Sheet or silk liner to extend its use through the cooler months. Being 172cm the regular length bag fits comfortably though if your 180cm plus I would suggest investing in the long version. The sleeping bag can be purchased directly through the Nanga website though the 380SPDX I picked up was significantly discounted through an online retailer.
Nanga 380SPDX sleeping bag specifications:
Comfort temperature rating: -6ºC
Limit temperature: -12ºC
Packed size: φ13×25cm
Shoulder width: 80cm
Max. user height: 175cm
Shell fabric: 20D nylon with a DWR finish
Fill power: 95/5 860+ Goose Down
Fill weight: 380g
Zip side: right
Country of origin: Japan
Nanga 380SPDX sleeping bag: ($445 USD) (as at Oct 16, 2013)
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