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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > MontBell Down Hugger 800 3 Sleeping Bag > Test Report by Brian Hartman

May 25, 2020


NAME:Brian Hartman
EMAIL:bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
LOCATION:Westfield, Indiana
HEIGHT:5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT:160 lb (72.6 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in the Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid-weight backpacker. I hike with fairly light weight clothing, equipment, and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.




Manufacturer: Montbell
Year of Manufacture: 2020
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: $309.00 US
Listed weight: 20.2 oz (573 g)
Measured weight: 20.2 oz (572 g)
Fill weight: 9.9 oz (280 g)
Insulation: 800 Fill Power EX Down
Fabric: Shell & Lining: 10-denier Ballistic Airlight nylon
Waterproof treatment: Standard DWR treatment
Compressed size: 5.5 x 10.9 in. (14 x 28 cm), 3.8 L
ISO tested: Comfort rating = 40 F (4 C), Lower limit = 31 F (-1 C)

Available lengths: Regular, Long
Maximum user height for regular: 72 in (183 cm)
Shoulder girth: 59 - 76 in (149 - 194 cm)
Knee girth: 48 - 63 in (123 - 160 cm)
Zipper side: Right or left zip (decide before ordering)
Available colors: Balsam, Sunrise red
Sleeping bag tested: Regular length, right side zipper, sunrise red

Super Spiral Stretch System
Multi-tube construction
Two-way right or left hand mating zippers 
Anti-snagging slider cover
Hood adjuster draw cord for face hole adjustment
Insulated flap covers the zipper to keep out cold air
Auto locking zipper to limit zipper ”slip” during the night
Triangle gusset reinforcement at the end of the zipper
Storage and stuff sacks included

The Montbell Down Hugger 800 #3 (hereafter called Down Hugger 800 or sleeping bag) is a lightweight, backcountry sleeping bag with a comfort rating of 40 F (4 C).  It has a sewn through, multi-tube box construction, and uses high grade materials for the shell and insulation.  In addition, Montbell touts the bag as having unrivaled fit and comfort thanks to their patented Super Spiral-Stretch System.  Per the manufacturer, this system uses woven fabric, oriented at 45 degrees to the major seam lines, and elasticized thread to provide stretch that allows the sleeping bag to flex throughout the night.  As a result, the Down Hugger is supposedly more comfortable and more thermally efficient than previous designs.  

The Down Hugger 800 arrived in a nondescript cardboard box along with a storage bag and stuff sack.  Upon removing it, I was immediately impressed with how lightweight and compressible the sleeping bag was, and I really liked the color.  The down insulation seemed to have plenty of loft and the shell fabric felt soft and thin but still durable.  The Down Hugger arrived in excellent condition with no loose threads, snags, or torn seams.  It appears to be well designed, well manufactured, and of excellent quality.  The sleeping bag measures approximately 76 in (193 cm) long and 27 in (68.6 cm) wide at its widest point and it is considered 'regular' length.  Montbell also sells the Down Hugger 800 in 'long' for individuals who are over six feet tall.  The stuff sack is made of 100% nylon and measures approximately 5.5 x 14 in (14 cm x 35.6 cm) with the sleeping bag inside.  Montbell's logo is imprinted on the end of the stuff sack.

IMAGE 1                    BD

Going into more detail, the outer shell is constructed of 10-denier ballistic Airlight nylon and the insulation is 800 fill power EX goose down.  I was impressed how quickly the insulation lofted once the sleeping bag was out of the shipping box.  The comfort rating for this sleeping bag is 40 F (4 C) and the lower limit is 31 F (-1 C).  The comfort rating is based on the lowest temperature an adult woman is deemed able to have a comfortable night's sleep and the lower limit is based on the lowest temperature a standard adult male is deemed able to have a comfortable night's sleep.  As mentioned above the shell feels thin but durable and it is coated with a DWR finish, which I'm planning to test in wet and humid conditions here in the Midwest.  A large YKK zipper, measuring 60 in (152 cm) long runs down the right side of the bag, leaving 6 in (15.2 cm) at the bottom of the bag fully enclosed.  When the zipper is pulled all the way up, it is cocealed by a small flap and from what I read the zipper is auto locking to prevent it from accidently opening.  Finally, an insulated flap extends along the entire length of the zipper, inside the sleeping bag, to keep out cold air.  

Montbell redesigned the hood so it fits better and has more room than the previous design, and it has a draw cord to adjust fit.  Two loops are sewn to the bottom of the sleeping bag at the toe box.  These loops provide a method for hanging the sleeping bag during long term storage.

Finally, Montbell incorporated a large foot box into the design of this sleeping bag. My experience with this feature is that it adds more vertical room in the foot area which is important for mummy bags since they're usually quite narrow in the foot area.

IMAGE 2                    IMAGE 3


Care instructions for the Down Hugger 800 are printed on a tag which is sewn into the stuff sack. The instructions are as follows:

Hand wash in a bathtub or sink
using a down specific cleaner and cold or lukewarm water.  Close zippers and submerge completely.  Press lightly on soiled areas to remove soil and stains.  Rinse thoroughly to remove all cleaner.  Do not wring out.  Push down to squeeze out water.  To restore loft, dry the sleeping bag immediately in a large dryer at its lowest setting.  Hang in the shade to dry afterwards with plenty of ventilation.  Interestingly the instructions say that the sleeping bag may take up to one week to dry completely.


I set the sleeping bag on my family room floor, climbed inside, and zipped up, and my first reaction was 'wow this is snug'.  I'm not a big guy and yet it seemed like my toes touched the bottom of the bag and my chest and shoulders filled the entire upper part of the bag.  I fully anticipate I'll get used to the narrower design and it'll be fine.

Next I cinched the draw cord to pull the fabric around my face, and at that point I felt like I could easily sleep in 35 degree F (2 C) temperatures in this bag.  The redesigned hood wrapped gently around my head sealing it off from the outside so no drafts could get in. Montbell's new design obviously reduces the extra fabric and bulk that's present in my other bags, which allows for a snug fit and reduced heat loss.

My first attempt to stuff the sleeping bag into its compression sack took a minute or two and at first I didn't think it would fit, but eventually it did.  Once in, the stuff sack was tight but the seams held.  I am excited to test this bag in the field and see how well it performs.


What's not to like about the Down Hugger 800!  It's well designed, well built, incredibly lightweight, and it's down.  I look forward to the next four months of testing in a variety of weather conditions.



During Field Testing I took the Down Hugger 800
on three backpacking trips.  My pack weight averaged 29 lb (13.2 kg) not including food.

Charles Deam Wilderness, Hoosier National Forest, Indiana
I hiked approximately 9 miles (14.5 km) on this trip, mostly off-trail 
Temperatures were in the upper 60's F (19 C)
The terrain was rugged and heavily forested

Hoosier National Forest, Indiana (IN)
On this two day backpacking trip I hiked approximately 11 miles (18 km), all of it on-trail.
The weather was hot and skies were hazy with temperatures reaching the upper 80's F (31 C) during the day and low 70's F (22 C) at night.
The terrain was hilly and forested

Franklin County 
I mostly relaxed, hiking only 6 mi (10 km) during this two day trip.
The daytime high was 75 F (24 C)

The landscape here was scenic with rolling hills, deep valleys, and multiple creeks


The Montbell Down Hugger 800 performed very well during the past two months of Field Testing.  It was soft and comfortable to sleep in and it didn't absorb any odors, even after three backpacking trips.  Most nights I crawled inside the sleeping bag, although on my trip to the Hoosier National Forest, because it was so warm, I simply unzipped it and laid it over top of me.  On two of the trips I brought a sleeping pad which made lying on the ground much more enjoyable.  On my third trip I slept in my hammock and consequently didn't need/bring a sleeping pad.   

Speaking of warmth, the Down Hugger's comfort rating of 40 F (4.4 C) was more than adequate for the temperatures I experienced during this test period.  I look forward to trying it out this winter in much colder temperatures, although I suspect a liner will be needed to overnight in below freezing temperatures.  At this time although I don't have any firsthand experience with this bag in temperatures below 67 F (19 C), I will say, subjectively, the Down Hugger feels like it could easily handle temperatures in the low 50s F (10 C) or 40s F (4.4 C) without a problem.  I make that statement based on experience with other Montbell sleeping bags.  They make high quality, dependable products, and seem to be conservative with their ratings.  

At 76 in (193 cm) long and 27 in (68.6 cm) wide, the Down Hugger 800 is smaller than any other sleeping bag I've owned.  I have enough room to wiggle around inside the bag but there is no wasted space that needs to be warmed.  As noted in my Initial Report, my feet nearly touch the bottom of the foot box so there's no additional room for me to stash clothes or a water bottle in the bag.  In that regard, I wish I had selected a size long bag as there would've been extra space below my feet to store items in winter.  At 20.2 oz (572 g) the Down Hugger 800 is ultra-lightweight and that, combined with the fact that it compresses so much, I hardly notice it in my backpack.  It truly is the perfect sleeping bag for thru hikers, or anyone looking to shave weight and reduce their pack size.

On my first trip of this test period, to the Charles Deam Wilderness, I carried the Down Hugger bag in a 3,300 cu in (54.12 L) pack along with my sleeping pad and a small tent.  The Down Hugger added 20 oz (572 g) and took up 5.5 x 10.9 in. (14 x 28 cm), or 3.8 L of pack space.  What a phenomenal difference, compared to the sleeping bag I carried in my 20's, which weighed 5 lb (2.3 kg) and took up to 20 L of space.  When I arrived at my campsite in the evening, the temperature was 68 F (20 C) and there was hardly any wind.  I set up my tent, inflated my sleeping pad, and then unpacked the sleeping bag from its compression sack.  With a few minutes the Down Hugger regained its loft and was ready to go.  I was comfortable throughout the night and never felt clammy despite the warm temperature.  I woke up briefly around 3am and scooted myself back onto the sleeping pad since I had slid off, then I fell right back asleep.  In the morning there was some condensation on the tent walls, but the sleeping bag was only slightly damp.  Just to be safe though I strung a line across my campsite and hung it out to dry before breaking camp.

Reflecting back on my first night in the Down Hugger, I really liked the contoured hood.  It enveloped my head without making me feel claustrophobic.  The zipper worked well, and the bag seemed to capture every ounce of heat my body generated.  I had similar experiences on my other two trips.  In general, the Down Hugger performed exceptionally well, and the bag showed no signs of wear or damage.  The fabric appeared to be durable given its light weight and it didn't snag or tear on anything during my trips.  In addition, the seams remained tight, and no feathers escaped the bag.  Getting the bag into its compression sack was doable but it took some work.  Luckily, down bags can be compressed over and over again without loss of loft, and this is one big advantage they have over synthetic bags, whose insulation tends to break down after being repeatedly stuffed and unstuffed.

One thing I was anxious to test on the Down Hugger was its DWR coating: how well it worked and quickly the bag dried after getting wet.  I'm happy to report that although the outside of the bag got damp from condensation it never wetted through, and it didn't seem to affect the bag's insulating properties at all.  Hopefully, I'll have a chance to go out in wet weather as I think that would be a good test for the bag.  On this trip I just let the Down Hugger air out in the breeze and what little dampness was on the surface of the bag quickly dried out.  

light                    asd

The Montbell Down Hugger 800 has performed really well so far.  Although it hasn't seen extreme temperatures, it has been tossed around in the wilderness and hung out to dry (literally).  



I used the Down Hugger 800 on two weekend backpacking trips, totaling 4 days, during Long Term testing.  Both trips were to Franklin County, Indiana, located a few hours from Indianapolis and one of my favorite spots to get away.  On my first trip, the skies were partly sunny with temperatures approaching the low 80s F (27 C) during the day and the mid 70s F (24 C) at night.  I hiked 2.5 mi (4 km), all off-trail, through forests and fields at elevations that ranged from 680 ft (207 m) to 850 ft (259 m).  On my second trip the skies were clear, and temperatures were cooler with a high of 72 F (22 C) and overnight lows in the mid 60s F (18 C).


After four months of testing, the Down Hugger 800 has proven to be durable.  There are no loose threads or seams, the zipper operates smoothly and has yet to snag, and the shell shows no signs of wear.  Despite being stuffed and compressed in its storage sack more times than I can remember, the bag always lofts back to its original shape, and the down insulation doesn't appear to have shifted or compressed at all.  In fact, I haven't noticed any cold spots during my outings.  I love that this bag compresses so much and weighs so little.  It easily fits in my backpack and is a pleasure to take on trips when I'm planning to hike long distances.   

When lying in the bag, there's not much room to wiggle around but I've gotten used to it, and the small space allows my body heat to warm it quicker.  Two things I can't do in this bag, as there's simply not enough room, are change clothes or put my next day's clothes inside so they're warmed up for the next morning.  That's regrettable but not a deal breaker by any stretch.  I haven't noticed any cool air entering the bag from the zippered area, so the draft collar appears to work well.

Temperatures were too warm this summer to challenge the Down Hugger's low temp rating.  It was so warm on my first trip of this test period that rather than crawl inside I unzipped the bag and draped it over me like a blanket.  I also kept all the tent vents and the door open.  It was cool enough on the second trip that I crawled inside the bag and I stayed plenty warm all night without overheating.  The Down Hugger was comfortable and seemed to breathe well so I never sweated or felt clammy.  

On my second trip I noticed the outside of the bag was damp when I woke up in the morning.  No moisture made it through the outer shell and the bag dried out in less than an hour once the sun came out and the wind picked up.  I was hoping for a substantial rain, all-day rain, so I could really test the DWR finish, but that will have to wait till another day.


Montbell has done an excellent job with the Down Hugger 800.  It's well-made, incredibly lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and durable.  I plan to use it when temperatures are between 32 and 65 F (0 and 18 C).  I'll try it out this winter in below freezing temperatures but will most likely need to add a liner or blanket to stay warm.

This concludes my report and this test series on the Down Hugger 800.  Thanks to Montbell and for the opportunity to test this sleeping bag.

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