Valandre Mirage

10:47 a.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Looking for some real world reviews on the Valandre Mirage.  Pros, cons, and alternative choices in the class.  The EN tested results are very good and the down fill weight looks higher than other comparable bags (i.e. Marmot Plasma, WM Ultralite, etc).  What is the quality like?  Leaking down?  Water resistance of the outer shell?  Decent retailer?

Thanks!

11:51 a.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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no personal experience. 

backpackgeartest.org and backpackinglight.com (the latter requires a paid premium membership to see the full review) both have fairly thorough reviews of this sleeping bag.  i'm not affiliated with either site & am not advocating them, just providing info relevant to the gear.   

10:27 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks - just read those.  Mmmm....maybe a Bloody Mary would be a better all around choice.  Higher down fill, higher temp range and full zip.

Have headache, can't think.

11:45 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Knowing you for as long as I have, I think that you would cherish the lightness and the compressibility of the Mirage.

1:05 a.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks Charlie - I think I have narrowed down to three:

-Valandre Mirage (thanks for the input)

-Western Mountaineering Megalite

-Feathered Friends Kestrel

From what I have read, all are excellent and very high quality bags.  Similar girth as I would want the option to layer in.  The Mirage seems to have the least girth but the reviews I have read indicate that it is generous so there could simply be discrepancies in measurement - that is, it is plenty wide.  The Mirage appears to have the best hood and although it is the most expensive, I would already be spending $$ so not an issue.

The FF has the highest down fill weight but the loft is listed the same as the WM.  Might be that the FF is simply wider.  The Valandre has the second highest down fill weight but I could not find the loft measurement in the specs.

I am just thinking out loud here.  Something about the Valandre is speaking to me but.....

Any further perspective would be grand, thanks.  

8:00 a.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy, I will be in Seattle Today and probably tomorrow, very close to the Feathered Friends store, if you want I could stop by and get some info and pics, or ever try it out.  I am bigger then you so keep that in mind.  

Just leave a list of what info you need, I will check latter in the day by phone. 

Wolfman

9:35 a.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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I believe that there is a discrepancy in Valandre's girth measurements.  Having used both the Mirage and the Megalite, the Mirage has a significant larger shoulder girth to it.  Niels designed it as a climbing bag...or summit bag, capable of layering. When I weighed a lot and had a 50" chest, the Mirage was one of the few bags that would fit me.  That is why Kutenay loves the Shocking Blue long, it fits him around the chest and shoulders. 

10:40 a.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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vigilguy said:

I believe that there is a discrepancy in Valandre's girth measurements.  

 I am thinking this is the case as well as I keep reading how much room there is in it.

10:45 a.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

Family Guy, I will be in Seattle Today and probably tomorrow, very close to the Feathered Friends store, if you want I could stop by and get some info and pics, or ever try it out.  I am bigger then you so keep that in mind.  

Just leave a list of what info you need, I will check latter in the day by phone. 

Wolfman

 That is great - thanks for the offer!

I had listed the Kestral but given the price difference and increase in down weight, I would probably look at the Swift.

I am curious to the loft differential between the Kestral and Swift - a pic would be grand should they let you lay them side by side on the ground.

How does the zipper work?  Does it snag?  This is the only negative comment I have read about the Mirage in that the zipper snags but admitedly, these reviews were for a previous generation Mirage (with a shorter zipper length).

How about the hood on the FF?  Does it cinch down tightly?

How do you fit?  I am 6'1" and 210 (was 215 prior to the WCT, ha, and should be back up in no time) and reasonably wide.  Does the 64/65" girth feel true to spec?

I also had some questions regarding the fabric options but will probably just call them for that.

Again, thanks a lot for your offer!

10:43 p.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy

So I stopped at Feathered Friends to day and looked at two bags, the Swift and the Kestrel.  Was the Mirage also a FF bag? 

1) Zippers are a new design and seemed to work really well, they have a flexible piece of stiff fabric that keeps the bag material away from the zipper.  I am sure you could snag it if you tried hard enough, but if work very easily in the store.

2) She(the sales person) said that the loft information can be found on a different page under technical specs.  Can't help you there.  She id say that the more important number is the down fill, higher the better, 900 being the best. 

3) The Swift "Looked" a little longer and wider, but the Kestrel was not hanging up and was from the back, so it had some compression to it.  I did lay on top of the Swift and you can see from the photo that I mostly cover the bag.  Given that I have probably 70lbs on you and 5", the bag would not have fit me.  But it would fit an "Normal" size person, what ever the heck that is! :D

4) Hoods clinch tight, down to about a 2" circle.  Way to tight for me!  I would be freaking out in that.  Maybe just clinch it tight around my neck....  Well no probably not that either.

5) There is a Swift and a Swift UL.  The fill is the same I think the big difference is the material the bag is made out of.  You really should call them and talk about all that, It went right over my head.  Something about saving 1.5 oz and costing about 75 bucks more.  Yea I think I'll go cry now. I think I spent less then $75 on my last sleeping bag.  :D

6) Girth, given that I am about 50 something in the chest and then throw in the arms, I think the 65" girth is a fair estimate.  She did say that it is measured on the inside of the bad if that makes any difference.

Now for some pics:

Well that's not working right now, I keep getting "Bad Request"  I am going to upload them to Picasa and then link them.  Be back soon....  Second Try.


Swift UL 900
100_1590.JPG

Tight Hood.
100_1591.JPG

Swift UL vs the Kestrel (Note Kestrel is right out of a bag.)
100_1592.JPG

Baffles run through the bag so the down can be shifted up or down
100_1593.JPG

Dead whale on the table!
100_1594.JPG

You can see why I did not want to climb in to the bag.  But it would have been to small for me anyway.  But it dose have some girth!!!  No not me the Bag!!!

Wolfman

9:25 a.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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For a comparison Family Guy, here is a photo of me in the Mirage, I tested it down to 12F one night. Yeah, I stayed warm. This was a medium and was too short for my 6'1" length.  I ordered a Long and so the hood fits much better, like it is supposed to fit.


Mirage.jpg

10:07 a.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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The Mirage look kind of tight in the legs.  Is there less insulation there also?

11:21 a.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks Wolfman!  Wow, that Swift has a lot of yummy loft for the weight.  I suspect the Kestrel simply hasn't had time to loft for comparison.  But pictures are worth a thousand.  Thanks again!!!

Regarding the fabrics, this is how I understand it.  There are two choices for the lightweight bags.  First is Nanosphere which is highly water resistant and breathable.  The second (and more expensive) is Pertex UL Endurance which is slightly lighter but with a tighter weave for even better water resistance (i.e. a better 'natural' DWR).

VigilGuy - thanks for the pic of the Mirage.  Holy loft as well!!  What were you wearing in the bag to get it to those temps as that blows past what the EN testing shows.

 

Thanks,

12:13 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Marmot Dri-Clime top with merino wool top bottom and balaclava.

Doesn't feel tight in the legs. Just no wasted space.

1:41 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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I've read the footbox on Valandre bags are designed so the material doesn't rest on the feet and create cold spots.  What's your opinion?  I would like to get a Bloody Mary but I am hesitant at spending the money for it. 

1:53 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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The foot box on my Bloody Mary is amazing. It doesn't pull or constrict around my feet at all. It is formed so effectively that it just  beautifully and lightly surrounds my feet. 

10:57 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy, have you looked at the 3 season bags from Go Lite?  They are about half the cost and I think there are three stores in your area.  Castle Rock, Denver, and Bolder.  I don't know how these bags compare, but it's got to be nice to save a few hundred bucks!  :D

Wolfman

11:50 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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I have, actually.  I have their 3 season quilt and it is great in warmer temps.  Their bags are too narrow for me, however, hence the look at FF and Valandre.  I can just withhold some of the kid's inheritance, I figure.

9:22 a.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

Family Guy, have you looked at the 3 season bags from Go Lite?  They are about half the cost and I think there are three stores in your area.  Castle Rock, Denver, and Bolder.  I don't know how these bags compare, but it's got to be nice to save a few hundred bucks!  :D

Wolfman

 Half the cost because they are made in China, no?

2:17 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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There is a WM Puma, nearly brand new, in the classifieds right now for $475

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/classifieds/topics/127861.html

It is a much warmer bag than the Mirage, which you may not need, just thought I'd mention it. 

2:38 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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There is a WM Puma, nearly brand new, in the classifieds right now for $475

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/classifieds/topics/127861.html

It is a much warmer bag than the Mirage, which you may not need, just thought I'd mention it. 

 

gonz, that bag was sold.

2:54 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Oops, sorry, didn't notice the update.  Thanks, Rick

7:09 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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I am not sure if Go Lite stuff is still made in Bolder, or if it comes from oversees.  I think the big reason for the price difference is that they dropped all their retailers and are now a direct sale company.  Thus their 50% off sale.  I found that the tent I got is very high quality and would not hesitate to recommend then to anyone.  I have also heard good things about their packs. 

If they are made in China, or some other country, is that really so bad if the quality is there?  I am not talking about Walmart crap, but a high quality product, at lease in my humble opinion. 

Wolfman

11:30 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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It depends on the item. Sometimes the quality is there, sometimes it isn't .

In the case of Valandre' goose down, they source it practically in their back yard and can monitor the quality closely. In their case, the down is really, REALLY good stuff.

12:58 a.m. on June 8, 2012 (EDT)
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I was on GoLite's web site not too long ago, looking at tents and bags. Had to look real deep to find it but eventually got to the "In order to compete in a global economy, yada yada" Their corporate office is here in the US & so are the people they hope will buy their products, but they are sending the work overseas to compete on pricepoint. Not where I want to see their focus.

Unlike Western Mountaineering that has "Made in the USA" plastered right next to each product on their web site. Same with FF.

I think comparing the quality of GoLite to WM & FF is a bit of a stretch. Comparing them to Valandre... Not even close. (my opinion...)

Is it impossible to come up with the same quality from overseas? Every product is different, but the vast majority just don't measure up. Columbia has gone totally down hill the last several years. Used to be a great product. I've just been disappointed one time too many. I do find things made in Vietnam to be vastly better than those made in China. Petzl for instance among others.

9:17 a.m. on June 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Agree. Rab sleeping bags took a dive when they started being sewn in China. Seams were crooked on the sample I purchased. Montbell bags are made in China but they are actually pretty decent. I also have been very impressed with the stuff sewn in Vietnam.

I am testing the new Kuhl Liberator pants and I am very impressed with the fit, design, and quality of construction. I believe Kuhl discovered a factory that is cranking out high quality items. I was told by a reputable gear maker that really good factories can be found in China, but you need to research and pay the $$ to get the high quality results.

9:20 a.m. on June 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Valandre bags are sewn in Tunesia but filled in France. Knowing Niels for years, I know that he demanded only the highest quality and brought in supervisors from France to insure high standards. He had to move operations there in order to cut cost, but the high quality has remained the same.

10:01 a.m. on June 8, 2012 (EDT)
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FWIW, I still haven't decided!

Agree on the Rab comment.  I had a look at their Nutreno (sp?) sleeping bags recently and was not impressed with the quality.

11:01 p.m. on July 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Well, I did decide. I ordered a FF Swift with an extra 2oz of overfill. Wow, what a bag. Excellent quality and probably the nicest piece of gear I own. I will post pics and a review shortly. Maiden trip in just over 2 weeks.....thanks to everyone for their help in making a final decision. Much appreciated.

8:53 p.m. on July 10, 2012 (EDT)
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naz

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