Shocking Blue sleeping bag

7:30 p.m. on May 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I am considering bidding on a Shocking Blue sleeping bag that is on ebay.  Any recent opinions on this bag?  I would be using it for winter camping in the Sierras.  It looks like they are very highly regarded for cold temps.

7:41 p.m. on May 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I have one. It's insanely warm for the weight. Literally, unbelievably warm.

That said, by itself it's maybe a 0F bag, and I don't think that accounts for the worst the Sierra can throw at you in full-on winter conditions...However, I always have a down jacket and synthetic-insulated pants with me/on me at those temps anyway, and so I find I can sleep very soundly down to -20F in the Shocking Blue with supplemental clothing.

I've posted an in-depth review of my SB here on Trailspace.

7:42 p.m. on May 5, 2013 (EDT)
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A former member here had a Valandre bag. I think it was a Shocking Blue. He had about 30 years of experience in the backcountry, mostly in Canada and thought it was the best bag he'd ever owned. If I remember right, the list price is around $700.

Here are some reviews-

Do a word search for more threads on this bag.

Hey Vince, I wrote this just before you posted. Dewey is the former member I was thinking of, then I saw you have one too. BTW, that vest I bought from you? I wear it all the time. Works great in the mild weather here before it warms up. Thanks again.

8:25 p.m. on May 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks- I usually expect to wear some clothes anyway when it gets really cold.  I think I'll bid on it...hope it doesn't go up anywhere near 700 though!

8:31 p.m. on May 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Vigil Guy on these forums has one and loves it.  I would rank Valandre bags in the same group as Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends.  Not much better in terms of quality construction.

10:07 p.m. on May 5, 2013 (EDT)
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DISCLAIMER - I am an authorized Valandre Retailer, and have been one (and a field tester) for them for about ten years or so, whenever they first came to SLC for the OR Show.

Having said that, what kind of temps do you expect to use it in?

The Shocking Blue was designed with climbers in mind.  It has a large shoulder girth so that you can layer with it. Some users complained of the snugness of the legs, I never noticed it, as I have a long torso and short legs.

The Marie Antoinette collar is not a gimmick--it really works at sealing in the body heat. 

The baffles are anatomically shaped to conform to the body...hard to even feel the weight of the bag at all.

We once were caught off guard with a cold clear night where the temps outside our tent plummeted to -21F. There were me and my two sons in the Nallo 3, I was using my Shocking Blue.  I have no idea what the temperature was in the inside of the tent, but the outside measured -21F with a Kestral weather meter. I stayed warm inside the bag, using a balaclava and a marmot driclime windshirt on.

I think that the SB is a very efficient bag.  The down is extremely high quality and the construction is meticulous.

But, WM and FF certainly make top rated bags as well.

I am currently using a Stephenson Warmlite triple bag, as i like the zipped in DAM (use a Micro-tek fan to blow it up), the roominess, and the versatility using two tops.

12:27 a.m. on May 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Just some of my observations on the Shocking Blue bag on EBay ---

It is the original model, using Pertex, and not the newer model that uses the Asashi fabric, for what it's worth.  The color of the fabric and the Valandre' Mountain emblem give it away.

I would say that the bag listed is 5+ years old.

My suggestion is if you can get it for less than $300, great...otherwise, keep looking.



2:07 a.m. on May 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I want that other Valandre, the Bloody Mary.

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary. I'm supposed to say that 3 times in front of a mirror in a darkened bathroom and the bag is supposed to appear, right everyone?

7:16 a.m. on May 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Whatever bag you go with, do note early season in the Sierra does get below -20F at altitude.

11:00 a.m. on May 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I have the Bloody Mary, which is rated at around 20F, and I've been toasty warm in it down to 15F wearing just a baselayer. I haven't had the opportunity to test it in temps colder than that, but I can't say enough about the quality of the down and construction.

11:09 a.m. on May 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the advice!  I am waiting a bit to see how the auction goes but it does look like a nice bag.  Thanks for the info on the age, vigilguy.

11:42 p.m. on May 6, 2013 (EDT)
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FYI, if you don't get this bag, I would look for a WM Puma. I've seen a few on eBay and on Craigslist. There used to be a program called Craigslist Reader that searched through all the Craigslists. Unfortunately, the company forced it to shut down. I found a really nice Marmot winter bag that way right before the program was shut down. Now you have to search city by city, which is time consuming.

I've seen Pumas going for around $300-400 on Craigslist, less than what you'd find on eBay generally speaking. My bag is good down to -10F, if I remember right. Haven't used it yet, but it should do fine in Yosemite in the winter where I have used a +23F bag and overbag for several winters.

9:55 a.m. on May 7, 2013 (EDT)
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I know - I used to use Statewide List but craigslist shut it down too.  Don't know why they don't have such a service themselves.  Thanks for the tip on the Puma.  FYI there is a WM Caribou on Santa Barbara craigslist for 200.

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