User Review: MontBell U.L. Super Stretch Down Hugger #3
Design: Mummy stretch
Fill: 800 down
Temperature Rating: 30
Price Paid: $270
As an REI member, I had a 20% off coupon and a dividend of around $80 (I use their credit card). Despite these incentives, the more I heard about the Montbell UL SS line the more I grew attracted. I ended up buying this #3 bag before heading out to Big Bend National Park on the Texas/Mexico border.
The trip was mid-March. Temps ranged from 90s in the desert to below freezing in the mountains. We camped out for 7 nights. I used a 3/4 Therm-a-rest, and added a stuff bag with clothes at the end to keep my calves and feet off the ground (In retrospect, I would buy a full-length).
I really liked this Montbell #3. I had heard all of the fuss about the #2, and I figured #3 can't be that much different. I didn't plan on being out below 25 degrees, and the #2 was boasted to be able to go down to 10. This #3 was quite accurate in its rating of 30 degrees (see below).
1 night was in the 60s, 2 nights were in the 40s, 4 nights were in the 30s.
In the 60s with dry conditions, the bag was too warm zipped up. It was a bit drafty and sweaty when fully unzipped and used as a blanket. Nevertheless, I still believe this is a great bag for any temp between 30 and 60 degrees. Because of its weight and packing size, there isn't any length of trip when I would hesitate to pack it. It is quite versatile.
In the 40s, it was excellent in dry conditions and good in wet conditions. Inside of a tent, it was perfectly warm with just a t-shirt and long underwear. One night we slept outside and there was a lot of dew. The bag became a little cold and wet in the footbox (probably partly b/c I didn't have a full Therm-a-rest).
In the 30s, it worked great in dry conditions. Inside of a tent was perfect. One night sleeping under the stars in 30 degrees (with dew) was a little chilly, but the bag still stayed warm enough for me to sleep. One night it snowed and condensation built up quite bad in our tent. The outside of my bag was quite wet to the touch. That moisture never reached the inside of the bag though, and I stayed quite warm, even removing my fleece half-way through the night).
So, my conclusion about warmth is that the bag is very accurate. In dry conditions (especially within a tent), the bag can do at least 30 degrees. In wet conditions, the bag should do well within a tent, but may not do well outside of a tent if there is moisture in the air.
The fit is very comfortable and has lot of room for movement. This was a concern, but there was literally not one moment when I felt cocooned in.
The appearance looks a bit like a space mushroom. The material is shiny and ultra-light. The hood has a surprising amount of insulation, so it creates quite a mushroom-like cap when pulled tight around the head.
Overall, just a really great bag. I'm glad I spent the extra money and saved my REI discounts for another time. REI just needs to carry Montbell, then all would be well.