Center zip mummy bag.

12:38 p.m. on October 14, 2011 (EDT)
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I know that Golite, Exped, and Stoic that make mummy bags with a center zipper. Anyone else?

5:51 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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My vintage (really) Eddie Bauer Kara Koram.

About 40+ years old.  Down filled.   No longer made, as you can guess.   Amazing bag, which I still use, and it is in very fine condition.   It's hanging from a ceiling hook about 20 feet from where I'm posting this  in "Robert's Gear Hootch".   Was just in-touch with Rainy Pass folks about their pro cleaning service and re-lofting.   Might just do it myself, but this bag is in a class by itself, and probably becoming iconic.   A "classic", at the very least.

I LOVE a center-zip configuration.  Once you use a center-zip bag, all others seem awkward.

~ r2 ~

6:20 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I have had one and used another and they ARE a neat rig, but, impossible to vent your feet in when the weather is warm, as in summer. For serious cold camping, I consider them the best alternative and wish I could get one built to my specs. for that purpose.

The one superb example currently available is the "LaFayette" made by Valandre in Tunisia/France and these are currently the best bags I know of and I have or have had WM, FF, original Marmot Mountain and on and on and Valandre simply out-performs them all.

Mine is a Shocking Blue and it is THE finest bag I have ever slept in and as close to "perfect" as I expect can be made. I HIGHLY recommend these bags, one of these is a lifetime investment for almost any outdoors person.

9:30 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey, Dewey ~~

Interesting that you should mention the circumstance with the foot-box area in the Kara Koram having NO means of ventilation ... compounded by the 1/2-length center-zip.

I was just in-touch (Email) with Rainy Pass Repair in Seattle about this.   They quoted me a price from $98 to $140 for modifying (including shortening the bag in this area, to better suit my physique) the foot-box to provide some means of ventilation.

I realize this is quite an expenditure,  not to mention the cost of shipping and insurance, the $37 for pro-cleaning and re-lofting ... and may compromise the bag's originality.   I have learned that these bags may have already become some kind of "collector's item".

I might mention that I have several other  bags with more modest temp-ratings, such as a vintage Moonstone synth-fill ... that can easily be substituted for the Kara Koram when it is not extremely cold, and have proven to be more than adequate, with a long, side double-zipper.

What would you do?

What would your "specs" be, in designing the "perfect Kara Koram" ?

Does your Valandre vent the foot-box area to your satisfaction?  Is there a long double-zipper?

~ r2 ~

6:06 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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That EB Kara Koram is, with the Holubar bags and the ORIGINAL Marmot Mountain Works hot cut bags made under Eric Reynolds at Grand Junction, CO, among the finest bags ever made, anywhere. The only superior aspect of almost all current bags is the much better shell fabrics that resist moisture.

I would NEVER alter it and would wash it myself, an easy task and one I have done dozens of times. What you want to do with this bag is keep it original, although I have spoken with RP several times and they have a very good reputation and use it when winter camping.

I would add a Western Mountaineering Hot Sack VBL, custom modded to include a matching center zipper and an Integral Designs eVENT "Bugaboo" bivy to this and rock on. Get ONLY this specific bivy and this rig will keep you warm down to temps far lower than you will believe, until you experience it.

I wish I had bought one of those when I started working in January, '65, Eddie Bauer, was then the "real deal" and sold outstanding gear. I dunno about "collectible", I have three rooms full of classic sporting rifles and other guns, most highly sought after and quite valuable as well as lots of highend gear and to me, this stuff is to be USED, taken care of, certainly, but, it is NOT the freakin' "Mona Lisa" and should be used.

Any light bag will work for summer camping, I often sleep just in a bivy in my gonch and am fine, I only use the shelter because I HATE BUGS! Anyway, them's my thoughts on the matter.

6:13 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Nunatak does a center-zip bag...and their gear can be customized to your heart's desire: any length/width, multiple differential cut offsets, EIDER down, 950 fill power down, multiple fabric options, etc...Top notch stuff.

6:25 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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pillowthread said:

Nunatak does a center-zip bag...and their gear can be customized to your heart's desire: any length/width, multiple differential cut offsets, EIDER down, 950 fill power down, multiple fabric options, etc...Top notch stuff.

 Thats a company I am not really familiar with. Competitively priced?

6:38 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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EIDER down is merely a sales buzzword and while a TINY amount of down from Canadian Eider Ducks is collected, sometimes, by Inuit in Canada's northern territories, it is NOT superior to the very fine Polish, Canadian-Hutterite, French Grey and Chinese down that has been used in the best down products for decades.

I know people who bought Nunatak and were not too impressed with the sewing, I do  not consider them an equal to Valandre, Westcomb, FF, WM, PHD or the older bags I mentioned above. YMMV and I am not into arguing here, this is what I have seen in decades of using this gear.

Another aspect of this is that I learned long ago, to be sceptical of the claims of manufacturers concerning down volume. My old Marmot Mountain custom bag had, supposedly, mere  600 cu. in. fill down in it as does my equally venerable Richard Egge double duvet from Switzerland. I have never seen down better than that in these two items and I have used them both at -40* for several nights/days on end in the BC mountains. Field experience trumps theory, IMHO and superb down comes from several sources, Russia is another one.

7:05 p.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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No worries. I, like you, have only anecdotal information to offer on Nunatak. I had heard positive things, and, being that they make a center-zip bag, figured I'd offer up what I know.

I understand what you mean about the marketing hype; I did not know, however, about the Eider down deceit  I'm not too sure that the highest fill power is the "best" for a sleeping bag either; there is some merit to the argument that the feather content in a, say, 600-fill sleeping bag will keep it more lofted and evenly distributed than will the relative lack of it in a 850-fill bag. Also the conditions used for the EN standardization test simply do not replicate real-world parameters. There is simply no way the down in your sleeping bag, out on the trail, will ever be as clean and dry as the down they use in that test.

September 30, 2014
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