Reviewers Paid: $269.00
A very good down winter bag with enough length to store stuff. Excellent warranty and excellent attention to details.
- VERY good design features
- Attention to important details
- DownTek DWR treated down
- Extra length for overnight storage
- Good quality
- Great sale prices
- Orange and gray color not my first preference
- (for 2018-19 Beans changed the color to blue.)
I was looking for a -20° F down bag with DWR down treatment like DriDown or Bean's DownTek to ward off moisture collection over several days of winter use. Anyone who has winter camped with a down bag for a week or so knows the down gradually collects respiration and perspiration moisture, losing insulative ability and making the bag heavier. DWR treated down like Bean's DownTek or Bauer's DriDown really helps keep moisture buildup to a minimum.
In my search for the winter bag I described above I very luckily stumbled on LL Bean's -20° F down bag ON DOUBLE SALE! (two day only double sale) And it included a $10 gift card. This brought the price to $269, down from the original $419, which was on the price tag the bag came with.
Last year I had returned an 800 fill Eddie Bauer Karakoram -20° F. bag for having a non-functional and poorly placed draft collar. EB still had not changed it. "Designed by mountain guides" my butt!
This LL Bean bag is sized long for storing things like boot liners, battery operated items and (well sealed) water bottles. This is good thinking. The bag's interior and exterior is very tightly woven nylon but it is not ripstop nylon. No big deal. My Western Mountaineering Megalite 3 season bag has ripstop nylon and it still ripped a little. The exterior is DWR treated but I'll re-treat it with Revivex spray.
The bag's goose down is "...sourced from Europe and China and not live plucked." and is 750 fill. i.e 750 cubic inches of loft per ounce. The tags says 41 oz.of fill. It lofts very well and comes with the usual coated nylon stuff sack and large cotton storage sack. This bag came with a left side zipper, the only bag I have with left hand zip. I purchased a 21 liter REI compression stuff sack that works perfectly for this size bag. Heck, it is even color matched!
One of the best features of this bag is the excellent draft collar with elastic draw cords for comfort and the well fitting hood which also with two draw cords of its own. Both sets of cords have spring loaded cord locks and the cord ends are captured in little grosgrain loops. Very tidy.
The Velcro collar and hood closures have fold-over Velcro "protectors" to keep the scratchy "male" Velcro from contact with your skin when they are not in use, as on a warmer night. Again, attention to detain that other bag makers often miss.
The captive elastic draw cords and Velcro closures are THE best design I have ever seen on any winter bag, regardless of cost. Thank you LL Bean!
All in all this is an excellent bag even at the full $419. MSRP. But at the sale price it was an amazing deal. I sold my old 1994 -20 F. synthetic Mountain Hardwear bag on the Winter Trekking site to a guy in Minnesota. With the Polar Vortex up there he'll need it.
There are other very good -20 F down bags, but you will pay up to $600. for them. Bean's -20° bag is well worth your investigation. I looked at REI's Expedition -20 F. winter bag and felt the LL Bean bag was a better buy with its 750 fill goose down v.s. REI's 700 fill duck down.
I've used this bag in -10° F. weather at 9,500 ft. and was, of course, toasty. I used a Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro self-inflating mattress with an R4-rating.
For more than three days I recommend wearing a Vapor Barrier Liner suit. I'm in the process of sewing mine from light silnylon using a men's large pajama pattern.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $269