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Mountain Hardwear Spectre SL 20°

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Mountain Hardwear Spectre SL 20° 3-season down sleeping bag

Started off great, but then the waterproof materials and the welded baffles completely failed after about 10 years. Warranty coverage was lacking.


  • Great hood
  • Warm to rating
  • Waterproof


  • Poor longevity for the welded baffles and waterproof laminate
  • Poor warranty coverage for the bag after 5 years
  • A bit heavy

I loved my Spectre 20. I had it for 10 years and used it for hundreds of nights. Then I ended up getting a tear in the seams. Not the end of the world. One tear after 10 years.

I called Mountain Hardwear and asked them what to do to send it back to them. They said I had to wash it first. Even though it had a hole in it and down was coming out, they wanted me to wash it. They said to duct tape it, so I did. Predictably, when I washed it in a professional machine, the hole got a lot lot bigger.

When I sent it to them, the trouble really started.

First, the waterproof shell and welded baffles is a great idea, until something rips. They wouldn't or couldn't (never gave me a straight answer) repair the tears in a way that could be re seam sealed. So essentially the waterproofing was voided around the tear area which was the hood.

Then they told me they noticed that the conduit waterproof laminate was coming off of the top fabric layer of the bag. When I got it back I looked at it and noticed that the top half from the waist up no longer had any internal baffles. The heat seam sealed baffles pealed off the fabric and so now the entire front top half of the bag is one large compartment.

Those welded baffles with no stitches sounded like a good idea at the time. No stitches = lighter and more waterproof, according to their marketing materials. But they didnt last in the end.

In the end the bag was trashed. So, now I'm going to get a Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering.

Now some people may think that getting 10 years out of the bag was good enough. When I compare that to the 20, 30 years that a lot of Western Mountaineering customers have said their bags lasted, it doesn't sound that long.

I do think that if you are going on a major expedition and need the waterproofing, that the bag is really great. If you don't plan on it lasting longer than 5-8 years though you should be satisfied.

They kept telling me they couldn't do more for the bag because it was so old. I asked them what the age cut off was for when they would stop warrantying the bag and they wouldnt give me a clear answer.

I still like Mountain Hardwear a lot, but they are no longer on the pedestal they once were in my world.

In the end I give the bag 4.5 stars up until the point that the waterproof material and baffles fell apart. Then 0 stars.

Source: bought it new

Great bag for sleeping in cold and damp environments. I'm retired Army Infantry and am an avid outdoorsman. I live in North Carolina and as such am exposed to all types of weather, often within the same week.

This is by and far the best bag I have ever used for temps down to the 20s (F) and lots of humidity when it's above 32 degrees (F). Especially considering it weighs in under 3 lbs. Wish I had this bag when I was active duty!!


  • Waterproof outer
  • Waterproofed down feathers
  • Light and comfortable.


  • Some stickiness on the zipper. Wish it was about a pound lighter, but great product for the cost vs weight ratio.

I have slept in this bag outside at 22 degrees (F), using it as a bivy sack, in damp weather. Very humid until it dropped below freezing, yet I slept warm and dry. Much more room than I was used to in the military down bags and much lighter, not to mention the fact that it's waterproof.

I am 5' 11" and 175 lbs and the regular fits me fine. If I was taller than 6 ft I would go with the long. Extremely comfortable bag for bad weather. No drafts due to the zipper flaps and the collar/face drawstrings. Nice having the key/light/etc pockets built in.

The only mod I've made is adding a glow fob to the zipper. The compression sack works great—cinches up tight and packs away nicely. However, upon letting it out of the comp sack it lofts up quickly.

I have used the bag in cold weather from the coast of N.C. to the mountains. Plan on taking it for the cold weather portions of the A.T.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $320

This bag ROCKS!! BUY THIS BAG!! It stuffs damn small and it's light. And POOF, it lofts quite well. I own a North Face Tundra minus 20 polarguard delta insulation bag and the Mountain Hardwear Spectre SL bag. The MH bag is warmer as a 20 degree bag. The loft is amazing and the bag is waterproof.

I tested this bag for five nights at 11,000 feet in Colorado in Oct. 2004 and the night temps were approx. 15-25 degrees. I did have a MH pad and NFace 4-season tent to repel ground cold and wind. With that said I slept in thermax long underwear and a fleece top and I had to vent to get some cooler air. The zipper zips from top or bottom and there is a nice overflap that can get caught but it is necessary for total waterproofness in the body of this bag. I also spent some time under the stars and the morning dew became intense. This bag repelled all moisture with no problems or issues.

Overall this bag is awesome in features and its conservatively rated, but not by much. But one could either wear some down pj's or use a down liner and easily extend the range of this bag down to zero degrees. It's hard to view bags on the net but trust me when I say that this bag is awesome looking and the envy of my outdoor buddies.

Design: mummy
Fill: 800 down.
Temperature Rating: 20 degrees
Weight: 2.5 lbs.
Price Paid: $250

This bag is damn good.The loft is awesome (800 fill goose down) considering it is composed of Conduit SL waterproof material. There are about 3 stitches in total that are taped of course, the rest is all "welded" technology at work. Makes it lighter and less susceptible to water penetration.

It has a very nice, heavy duty zipper flap too, that seals out water. If you buy this bag you won't even need a bivy sack. I have yet to try and use it as a bivy sack but I will :).

The only thing I would like to see changed is that I would add a glow-in-the-dark zipper pull, and perhaps a compression stuff sack with it ... but on the other hand no good sleeping bag comes with a compression sack.

Conclusion: if you can afford it, buy it. I got lucky and scored mine for only $240 canadian brand new.

- Happy Camping.

Design: mummy
Fill: 800 fill down
Temperature Rating: 20 F or -7 C
Weight: 2.5 lbs
Price Paid: $240 Canadian (got lucky)

Warm, light, packs small, feels small, and is noisy.


  • Light
  • Compressible
  • Warm


  • Cut small
  • Noisy

it is a nice bag for 3+ season use. Likely due to the laminate, it gets damp in below freezing weather; using a vapor barrier liner takes care of the problem. I find that it is very confining in the shoulder area when fully zipped.

The sleeping bag makes a lot of noise when shifting around or rolling over. I can't speak to its durability since I have only used it for no more than 20 nights in my five years of ownership.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $190

I saw this on Sierra Trading Post and had an extra 35% off, so I got it for an incredible price and couldn't pass it up. Construction of the bag is great — seems to be extremely durable. 

The 800 fill down makes this bag light and warm. I feel like I have more than enough room in the footbox to stash some items I wouldn't want to leave out (I'm 5'9"). Comes with a stuff sack, which is nice — compresses to about 10x8".

All in all — great bag.

Price Paid: $190

This bag is awesome! Worth every penny, I have used it outside in heavy dew and frost and stayed warm and dry. Backpacker magazine said it best, "this is not just a bag - it's a shelter". With 800 fill it is nice and cozy. The bag now comes with a compression bag, but it only has three straps so it compresses in to the shape of a banana.

Design: mummy
Fill: 800 fill down
Temperature Rating: 20 F
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Price Paid: $320

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regular long
Price MSRP: $430.00
Historic Range: $234.00-$750.00
Reviewers Paid: $190.00-$320.00
Weight 3 lb 6 oz / 1530 g 3 lb 10 oz / 1650 g
Fill weight 1 lb 1 oz / 474 g 1 lb 2 oz / 512 g
Loft 5 in / 13 cm 5 in / 13 cm
Temperature rating 20 F / -7 C 20 F / -7 C
EN comfort 30 F / -1 C 30 F / -1 C
EN lower limit 19 F / -7 C 19 F / -7 C
Fill 800 fill-power down 800 fill-power down
Shape Mummy Mummy
Max user height 6 ft 0 in / 180 cm 6 ft 6 in / 200 cm
Shoulder girth 62 in / 157 cm 63 in / 160 cm
Hip girth 58 in / 147 cm 59 in / 150 cm
Foot girth 38 in / 97 cm 40 in / 102 cm
Price $30.00 USD $450.00 USD
Product Details from Mountain Hardwear »

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