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SnowLion Northstar sleeping bag

rated 5.0 of 5 stars

SnowLion is no longer in business, and the Northstar sleeping bag has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best sleeping bags and pads for 2024.

Excellant 4 season bag, have slept in it at 15 below. Roomy tulip bulb foot section keeps feet nice and warm. Double zipper system keeps sides of bag from pinching down like single zipper system does. Down has held up well over 30 years, still lofts to original spec. Nice roomy bag.

Pros

  • Double zipper system much better than draft tube when its really cold and unzipping inside zipper makes bag roomier and cooler. Very durable down from the 70's. Enlarged foot section keeps feet warmer when cold and cooler when hotter, mostly sleep with feet outside bag to cool it down

Cons

  • Really can't think of any negatives other than it hasn't been made in over 30 years. Snow Lion was WAY ahead of its time in technical design of sleeping bags

Bought this bag in 1976 and hitch hiked and back packed all over USA for many years. Think maximum abuse.. It saved my life in Idaho when got stranded and temps dropped to 15 below, bags rated lower limit.The down has held up exceptionally well for decades. Original bag was retired when puppies neatly chewed off all the zipper teeth so got another on eBay. The bag is designed to have 60% of its loft on top, the baffles are contured instead of just straight ribbon, which keeps more down on top. Love the double zippers (two separate zipper tracks about 3 inches apart instead of draft tube, the twin zippers keep sides of bag from pinching down to nothing where a single zipper would, think two flat planes side by side. the nicest thing about double zippers is that in summer or any time temps above freezing, inside zipper can be unzipped which makes bag slightly larger in circumference and cooler where some heat can escape through single zipper. Biggest issue with this bag is usually trying to cool it down instead of making it warmer. I own four Snow Lion sleeping bag models and find the construction very high quality. Only problem I ever saw was on a bag I bought used that had the hood drawstring grommet pull out, which was very easily repairable. The Northstar model and another called the Limited Edition Standard both have removable collars that are held in by snaps and velcro. The collar probably adds another 10 degrees to warmth rating but are very hard to find in the used market.

Check out the technical specifications in the 1976 snow lion catalog in the "outandunder" website and be amazed at what Snow Lion innovated in design. To this date, the only other sleeping bag that uses double zippers is the Feathered Friends Snowy Owl 60 below arctic bag for about $1400.

Background

Have slept in this bag hundreds of nights in every condition. When I was poorer, this was my only bag year round. Winters in New England, New Mexico deserts in March and the Pacific Northwest. Have many more bags now for specialized purposes and this compares well with a Marmot COL for size and warmth rating. Remember, it's always easier to make a warm bag cooler than to make a cool bag warmer.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: it was about $115 at Mels army navy in 1976

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