User Review: Marmot Aspen 40 Ultralight
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90
A lightweight, 1.5 pound, 600 down fill summer sleeping bag. This line of Marmot sleeping bags was made exclusively for Dick's sporting goods; the current Marmot Aspen bag sold at Dick's has synthetic insulation. The closest match to this bag today is a Marmot Always Summer. If you can find one, it's a great choice for summer backpacking and cycling.
- Very lightweight
- No feathers have come out, with heavy use, since 2009
- Full hood
- A true 40 degree bag — don't push the rating
- Developed cold spots — use a liner or wear a base layer if this bothers you
- Zipper tends to snag on the way up
I walked into Dick's Sporting Goods one day in 2009 and ended up with a few things not on my list, this Marmot Aspen 40 degree ultralight bag being one of them. I've put this bag through a lot since then, including several multi-day hiking and biking trips, and I haven't regretted my investment. That being said, there are a few things that bug me, including a zipper that tends to snag on the way up (but not down — go figure), and sewn through construction that gives me a cold spot in my hip area. This is why it only gets 4 stars.
Dick's has still has a line of Marmot Aspen bags made exclusively for it by Marmot, but the current Aspen ultralight has synthetic insulation. So I'll be comparing it to the closest current version I can find and actually play with, the Marmot Always Summer 40 degree bag.
The bag's shell seems to be made of tricot nylon, and I can't see through it so it's a bit thicker than some newer ultralight bags. No feathers have come through the lining, so I've either been lucky, or it's just good material. The bag is filled with 9 oz of 600 fill down. It has a draft tube and a full hood unlike some other summer bags. I like a hood as it keeps whatever I'm using as a pillow in place. The bag has two hanging loops in the boxed foot area. There is a drawcord and zipper cover at the top along with a small zippered pocket. No issues with seams.
In comparison, the Marmot Always Summer has 9.8 oz of 650 fill down, with a slightly stretchy nylon shell, and a different baffling system that may reduce the cold spots I feel in mine. The bag isn't mine, so I can't sleep in it, but the Always Summer does seem like an improvement for a bit more weight.
My bag weighs 1.5 lbs with the supplied Marmot XXS stuff sack. The stuff sack isn't waterproof, and the bag can be compressed a bit smaller than what the including stuff sack can do, but doing so makes the bag a hard little rock. I can fit it, a Big Agnes air pad, and a Big Agnes SL1 in the bottom compartment of my backpack. A cotton storage sack was also included. My bag is about 70" long and 28" at the widest point. For me, 5'10" 180lbs, the bag is a comfortable size. I don't like bags that hug you too close.
In comparison, the Marmot Always Summer is built a bit different and seems to be a bit smaller inside to me.
The bag is rated to 40 degrees. I've used this bag in temperatures as cold as 30 degrees on top of a Big Agnes insulated air pad and got cold even with a base layer. I'm a cold sleeper, so this was expected, but 30 degree temps on that outing were not. So I've learned to use this bag only in the summer, and it's great for that.
A great Marmot bag that's fit for its intended purpose; a lightweight summer bag. It is a no-frills bag and is almost like a stripped-down Marmot Always Summer. Even though it's a Dick's exclusive bag, it's still a Marmot, and the Marmot warranty is the same as any other bag - I just haven't had to use it. It makes me willing to try other Marmot-branded gear at Dick's and other sporting good stores, the corners may have been cut a little to reduce the cost, but the quality holds.