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ALPS Mountaineering Desert Pine 20

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: ALPS Mountaineering Desert Pine 20 3-season synthetic sleeping bag

A solid and affordable starter bag that performs ably.


  • Full synthetic — great for wet climates like the PNW
  • Sturdy construction puts up with a lot of abuse
  • Excellent price point for its quality
  • Pretty light for a synthetic bag
  • Packs surprisingly compact for a synthetic
  • Included stuff sack is extremely robust


  • Like many mummy bags it's very snug — a downside if you're stout
  • Like many ALPS products it's on the heavy side of its performance bracket
  • Synthetic fill keeps it on the bulky side when packed (for its performance bracket)
  • Zipper snags now and again
  • Slips around on smooth surfaces a little

Full disclosure: I've had mine for closing on five years now. Take this review both as a testament to its performance and durability. Keep in mind that the model of bag may have changed for the better or worse since I bought mine.

ALPS products are, overall, pretty solid offerings in the entry to mid-grade market. They're not as light, compact, or elegant as some of the competition with fancy brand names. They are, however, performing, durable, well made products that are perfect contenders for those on a budget or those who don't mind a few extra ounces here and there, who are shopping for something that will last and do what it says. This bag is no exception.

On the cost/budget note: you can usually find this bag listed under a hundred bucks, often in the $70 range. I picked mine up as an overstock clearance for under half that. For $30 this bag has far and away exceeded any expectation I could ever have for it.

The temperature rating is entirely accurate. I've been in this bag in surprise snowfalls and cold snaps and come out just fine. It's surprisingly warm for synthetic. It also lives up to the synthetic insulation promise of staying warm when wet — I've been caught by rain while tarp camping and come out just fine. I haven't done a full-bag dunk into a stream yet to REALLY test it, but I'm confident it'll work out. The bag is warm for summer weather. A little extra-warm. Take a fleece liner and be ready to sleep on top of the bag.

For myself, at 5'10'' the length is spot on. A little wiggle in the footbox, a little wiggle in the hood. That said, like nearly every mummy I've tried, it's rather close fitting. I'm built stout and broad-shouldered, and the bag is a smidge close. The zipper is, however, a semi-common size. If you're handy with a sewing machine, it wouldn't be hard to build an insert to help with that.

The bag does slip a little if your sleeping surface is overly smooth. Using it in a hammock (hey, I haven't gotten around to making a quilt yet) can be an interesting struggle. It's not that difficult however, but be ready for a little wiggling to get it right. If you simply sit, insert feet, and lay down, it's not that bad. The bag is also pretty easy to get out of in a hurry even if the zipper jams, though it is somewhat comical to watch.

The bag packs really well for a synthetic. There are others out there that pack smaller but this one is all right. The compression sack is very sturdy, as I can attest. Kneeling on it while tightening opposite straps at the same time yields a solid little package approximately volleyball sized. Not the smallest packing size for its class, but nowhere near as big as it could be.

It sits solid from that point and the bag has yet to show any stresses in almost five years of packing and unpacking. The little slide-lock on the drawstrings finally let go this summer, but that had gotten caught and smashed in a car door previously. The bag when unpacked fluffs up pretty well. I personally store mine unpacked, hanging in a closet.

This bag has really lived up to, and beyond, any expectations I had. I figured, when I bought it, that I would upgrade to a down bag, or to one of the ultra-tech synthetics (probably build my own). It's too hard to justify making the change/upgrade. This bag has continued to soldier on through snow, rain, ocean camping, heat, hunting, everything I've tossed at it, and it keeps on coming along for the trip.

For hammock camping, I'll swap to a quilt (if I ever get one built), but for everything else, the Desert Pine has soldiered on like a champion. 

Not bad for a deep discount bargain bag. 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $30 on clearance

This is a very good bag for the price...I have been using it for over a year now, and it's my first mummy bag...

In the past, I have used one of the flannel-lined square bags, but glad that I made the switch. The bag kept me warm...well, for the most part, but my being cold was because of my own doing (I put my face into the bag, poor insulation underneath, and not dressed properly in bag).

If you have never slept in a mummy-bag, and are looking to try one out, this one can't be beat for the cost. 


  • no-snag zippers
  • baffles stay put
  • packs easily into compression stuff sack
  • packs nicely into backpack
  • lightweight


  • nothing -- only things that user can fix (proper cold-weather dressing, educating themselves on differences between mummy bag and standard bag)

Overall, this was a good buy/pick, and have recommended ALPS bags to my scouts (I have the WIDE bag, they only need the regular or long). 

Price Paid: Scout Price

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Product Details from ALPS Mountaineering »