User Review: Mountain Hardwear Ghost SL -40
Price Paid: $529
This is a first look that focuses on the fit and finish; i plan to post a follow-up review after taking this to deep cold weather, which i have not yet had the opportunity to do.
This is a winter expedition down sleeping bag, rated to -40 fahrenheit. It is insulated with 800 fill down and has a waterproof/breathable outer shell made from conduit, Mountain Hardwear's proprietary membrane.
i purchased a long size so i could stow some gear around my feet. this bag replaced a synthetic fill expedition bag, also rated to -40f, which served me very well for a long time. it weighs about five pounds.
the design and manufacturing quality of this bag is uniformly outstanding. the zipper is backed by two full draft tubes and is covered on the outside with two stiffened parts of the outer shell that run the entire length of the zipper, and the fabric underneath the zipper is a thicker, more robust nylon to prevent snags.
the draft collar around the neck is shaped to leave a little space in the middle and completely surrounds to prevent drafts. the two ends of the collar attach with velcro near the zipper, and the scratchy velcro strip mates to an extra strip on the same size - so even if you don't use the velcro, the rough edge won't bother you.
the hood cloaks your head - it is well-shaped and has a lot of down. two elastic drawcords pull the collar and hood tight, leaving as much or as little of your face showing as you might want. it has a small interior zippered pocket that holds a headlamp and a few other small items.
the toe box is full and doesn't bother my size 11 feet. It's a roomy bag at the shoulders, which i like a lot. an interesting design feature is that the baffles are welded to the outer waterproof/breathable membrane rather than stitched - so no needle holes on the outside. no down leaking anywhere.
it comes with a compression stuff sack that isn't exactly small - but that is to be expected for an expedition bag.
My only night out has been a backyard test run in 20 degree weather, one of the coldest nights we have had in the mid-atlantic this winter. not surprisingly, i was roasting and slept with the bag partially unzipped.
My initial impression is that Mountain Hardwear did this right, through and through. more to come after a few truly frigid nights.