Valandré SB, BM

1:39 p.m. on October 26, 2011 (EDT)
53 reviewer rep
135 forum posts

I bought the valandré Shocking Blue and The bloody mary for a really good price to a friend of mine this summer. 

 The SB, LaFayette, BM are designed to be able wear down gear underneath. The point is that they are made foremost for UL alpine climbers in the himalaya or Andes. Of course you are supposed to have the body of an alpine climber who are in general pretty slim. After all it's an ultra endurance sport, you can loose 15 000 calories on a summit day (compare with 10000 of a triathlete).

Anyways, if you have the usual north american fit it' may be tight
The lafayette is pretty Large

the SB a little bit less

The BM a little bit less (specially for the legs). 

What I can tell you is that the down is distributed unevenly over the bag.

The foot box, head and shoulder is much more massive than the legs. It seems to me pretty logicall since the legs are full of muscle that produce a lot of heat. The foot box is really massive. The SB head too.

I read somewhere that is was a bad idea to wear your down gear or to layer in your sleeping bag. IMO it's a matter of choice and taste. Alpine climbers do it all the time, I know at least 4 guys that used this technic during 3 weeks in the artic circle. They use a 600gr down sleeping bags and a combi to save weight and they were pretty happy (the temp were -25 F). Moreover with large bags you can putt your stuff in to keep them  warm. Finally My cousin did it during all his infancy as a scout. So it really is a matter of taste. 

In any case I hope to test those bags pretty soon here in Canada  and let you know my further impressions and comments. 

4:45 p.m. on October 26, 2011 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

For all of my 65 years living in the mountains where I was born and recreated and worked, I have always thought that body type had little to do with one's abilities in terms of mountaineering. I have found that fitness level, determination, intuition concerning danger and the ability to "route find" quickly and safely are the most important aspects of mountain life, but, this is only my opinion based on field experience.

I can think of several internationally renowned climbers, who have been short, stocky and had to watch their waistlines and still seemed to make it up Everest and Annapurna, for example, the "Mancunian Plumber", Don Whillans, of the '70s and Jean Genest of Denali fame are two such persons.

No, wearing layers of various materials in your sleeping bag is considerably more than merely a matter of taste and both BillS and I have explained why this is in threads contiguous to this one. While, some alpine climbers DO wear down suits at altitude in severe cold and then sleep in these inside a down bag, this is often done in sitting bivouacs and it is not as efficient a method of dealing with severe cold on backpacking trips as is using the correct sleeping bag.

For short term climbs it can be a useful alternative, however, it is seldom as "warm" as using a sleeping system that will allow you to avoid dampening your down insulation with nightly perspiration and thus rendering all of your sleeping system and clothing less efficient than it can be.

I have now had my SB for four years and have a pretty fair idea of what it will and will not do; I have lived and worked in the Canadian Arctic, as has my wife and both of my closest friends and hunting partners. The SB is a "borderline" bag for these conditions and the BM is not an appropriate choice, except in summer, where there are less costly and completely acceptable alternatives available.

Double bags do have their place and I have two such systems for specific uses. One is the ID combo designed first for the UKSF squaddies who train with CanForce troops in various parts of Canada. This is a really useful general bag, BUT, it is too heavy for backpacking. I also built up an "emrgency" system for use in about any weather, when on solo treks. This, is an ID hooded Dolomite jacket, Wildthings Primaloft 3/4 bag and an Exped Primaloft Wallcreeper Large to go over it and all inside one of my ID eVent bivies.

This, system will keep me warm, dry and comfortable in ANY conditions I will ever venture out in and is easy to get into, even with a broken, splinted leg, as I know from experience. However, such gear is too complicated, costly and a bit too heavy for backpacking, it is for trips where I could be stranded for several days and this is largely to do with working situations.

Anyway, I trust that this is within the parameters of the thread and if someone likes to wear his jacket in his bag, rock on, this is all about fun, anyway!

Brumo, where in Canada, are you or will you be coming to?

6:30 p.m. on October 26, 2011 (EDT)
53 reviewer rep
135 forum posts

I didn't say that you can't do climbing if you're not slim but most climbers are and that it's due to the kind of effort that climbing is.

For sure layering is not the most efficient way in terms of comfort and thermal efficiency. But if you have a limited budget it does work for many people. You have to be a little bit cautious and experienced though. Moreover for UL backpacker it seems to work pretty well and it saves weight

The temp at which you use your sleeping bag depends a lot about your training and diet. And I'm sure everyone on this site noticed it. I read a very interesting book about it but it's in french. 

I'm in Québec. 

6:40 p.m. on October 26, 2011 (EDT)
53 reviewer rep
135 forum posts

Meanwhile, the main argument of Bill S was that the insulation is compressed when you layer. The SB is roomy enough to prevent that at least with my built. It's one of the reason I bought it.

December 18, 2014
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