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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > MontBell UL Alpine Burrow Bag > Test Report by Kevin Hollingsworth

MontBell U.L. Alpine Burrow Bag #3
Test Series by Kevin Hollingsworth
January 8, 2008

Initial Report (August 28, 2007)
Field Report (October 30, 2007)
Long Term Report (January 8, 2008)

Tester Information:

Name: Kevin Hollingsworth
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Height: 6’ 1” (1.9 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email address: kholling55@yahoo.com
City, State, Country: Williamsburg, Virginia. USA

I started backpacking and camping when I was in the Scouts. I spent 20 years in the military, which curtailed my personal outdoors adventures. While day-hiking, I normally carry a light load, a waist pack with mostly food and water and a few other things. On three to four day trips, I will carry a pack weighing about 45 to 50 lb (21 to 23 kg). I prefer to hike in the mountains. I have been hiking in Colorado (USA), Korea, Egypt, and most recently the Eastern part of the United States.


Initial Report - August 28, 2007

 Product Information & Specifications:

Manufacturer:

Mont-bell

Year of Manufacture:

2007

URL:

http://www.montbell.us/

 

 

Listed Specifications:

 

Temperature Rating:

30 F (-1 C)

Weight:

2.1 lbs (1.0 kg)

Max User Height:

75.6 in (192.0 cm)

Inside Shoulder Girth:

57.8 to 64.2 in (146.8 to 163.1 cm)

Inside Knee Girth:

45.2 to 50.2 in (114.8 to 127.5 cm)

Stuffed Size:

7.0 x 13.8 (17.8 x 35.1 cm)

Size:

Long

Zipper

Right side (also comes in Left side)

Color:

BASM(Balsam)

 

 

Measured Specifications:

 Note:  All measurements are mine (unless otherwise specified)

 

 

Weight:

2.2 lbs (1.0 kg)

Length:

84.0 in (213.4  cm)

Inside Shoulder Size:

28.0 in (71.1 cm)

Inside Knee Size:

17.0 in (43.2 cm)

Stuffed Size:

7.0 x 13.4 in( 17.8 x 34.0 cm)

Warranty:

Mont-bell’s warranty covers all defects in materials and workmanship to the original owner for the lifetime of the product. If a product ever fails due to a manufacturing defect, Mont-bell will repair the product, or replace it, at our discretion.

 

 

MSRP:

 $194.00 US


Product Description (paraphrased from manufacture’s website):

The MontBell Ultra Light Alpine Burrow Bag #3 is a soft ultra-light mummy style sleeping bag , with a temperature of 30 F (-1 C). The exterior is constructed of 15-denier Ballistic™ Airlight fiber nylon. It is treated with POLKATEX™, a 100-wash rated DWR treatment, projected to retain 90% of its original water repellency after 100 washes. The insulation is quick drying EXCELOFT® synthetic insulation.  The bag is manufactured using the gathered Quilt™ System to eliminate extra air space between the bag and the user’s body preventing warmed air from escaping from the bag.  The Shingle Tile Construction alternately wraps sections of insulation to prevent unnecessary heat loss.

Burrow  bag size 


The bag’s exterior is of a shiny, nylon fabric. The top of the bag is a greenish color, while the bottom and interior are gray.  The product name and size is stenciled on the top, right side near the zipper. The company name, “mont-bell”, is stenciled on the top center of the bag near the neck area. There are two “YKK” zippers located on the right side. The two zippers allow the bag to unzip from either the neck area down or from the feet area up. There is a small triangle draft tube running along the length of the zipper. At the end of the zipper, near the neck, there is a small strap with a hook fastener on it.  Also at the neck area there is a nylon cord with a small plastic tensioner. The cord runs through the interior of the bag, from the top of the zipper (top of bag), around the neck area, along the head or hood area, and then back to the top of the zipper on the backside of the bag. The nylon tensioner is on the left exterior of the bag, near the neck area.

foot sizing

There is also another cord with a metal tensioner at the last baffle or quilted area near the feet. This is used to shorten the bag, or as the manufacturer states “to create a bootie around your feet”. Also at the foot of the bag, there are two tags and a small nylon loop that I assume is for hanging the bag to dry and for attaching the stuff sack to the bag, while the bag is in use. The tags are written in English and give general information on the bag.

Stuff Sack  Stuff Sack open

The stuff sack is also constructed from a greenish color nylon. Attached to the stuff sack during shipping was a small information tag. The tag is in English and Japanese. It gives general information and key features on the bag and contact information for MontBell America. On the tail end of the sack, is a piece of gray nylon, stenciled with the bag name and size. There is also a small plastic hook that can be used to attach the stuff sack to the foot of the sleeping bag during use. Located at the open end of the stuff sack there is two tightening cords, with plastic tensioners. The first cord is at the end of the sack. Sewn around the inside of the sack, there is a 4.5 in (11.4 cm) piece of nylon. The second tightening cord is attached to this piece of fabric. On this fabric, there is a tag written in English and Japanese, for the care of the sleeping bag. 

Care Instruction:  

"Routine care will extend the life of this item. After extended use careful washing will restore its best insulating properties. Do not dry clean."

Washing instruction:

"Before washing, repair any tears in the fabric, close all zippers. Gently sponge soiled areas using a neutral detergent. We recommend hand-washing in warm water. Thoroughly rinse to remove all detergent. Do not wring, Dry flat out of direct sunlight."

Storage:

"Do not store this item for long periods in the small sized stuff bag. After completely drying it store it in an aired place out of direct sunlight"

Initial Impressions:

I received the MontBell U. L. Alpine Burrow Bag #3 rolled inside in own stuff sack, with a product tag attached. I was initially surprised on how small the bag and stuff sack were.  Being 6’ 1” (1.9 m), I requested a long. The bag seems to be long enough for me. The quality of the bag and the stuff sack and its manufacturing looks very good.  The Burrow bag is exactly as I expect based on the manufacturer’s website description.  I am very pleased with the Burrow bag.

Conclusions:

I would like to thank both, BackpackGearTest and MontBell, for the opportunity to test the U.L.Alpine Burrow Bag #3. This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.

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Field Report - October 30, 2007

Field Locations and Conditions:

Location #1:

Shenandoah National Park

Type of Trip:

Back Packing

Distance (average per day):

10 mi (16 km)

Length of Trip:

3 Day (2 night)

Total Pack Load:

50 lbs (23 kg)

Elevation:

3000 to 3500 ft (900 to 1067 m)

Weather Conditions:

Mostly cloudy, fog, thunderstorms, high humidity

Temperature Range (Day):

75  to 80 F (21 to 27C)

Temperature Range (Night):

75 F (24 C)


Location #2:

Jefferson National Park

Type of Trip:

Back Packing

Distance (average per day):

10 mi (16 km)

Length of Trip:

3 Day (2 night)

Total Pack Load:

50 lbs (23 kg)

Elevation

4500 to 5000 ft (1372 to 1524 m)

Weather Conditions:

Clear, Windy

Temperature Range (Day):

75  to 80 F (21 to 27C)

Temperature Range (Night):

60  to 65 F (16 to 18 C)


Location #3:

Local Campground

Type of Trip:

Car Camping

Distance (average per day):

3 mi (5 km)

Length of Trip:

2 Day (1 night)

Total Pack Load:

N/A

Elevation

Sea Level

Weather Conditions:

Clear

Temperature Range (Day):

75  to 80 F (21 to 27C)

Temperature Range (Night):

50  to 60 F (10 to 16 C)

Performance in the Field:

Functionality:

On all my trips, the temperature never dropped closed to the minimum temperature rating of the bag.  The lowest temperature was close to 50 F (10 C).  I slept in shorts and a T-shirt on all the trips.  I would normally zip the bag up to just above my knees and the bag provided ample warmth. If I found myself getting too hot, I would unzip the bag all the way, and just allowing the bag to cover the lower part of my body. The zipper functioned perfectly. It never got caught in the fabric and worked easily every time.  The tab was easy to find in low light situations. The only negative thing  I found was that the exterior of the bag was slippery on my sleeping mat. If I slept on any sort of incline or moved too much in my sleep, I would notice at night that I would be slipping off my mat. This was not too much of a problem, as long as I found a relatively flat area to sleep on.

Fit and Comfort:

 The bag was very comfortable to sleep in. There was plenty of quilting and the bag was really fluffy.   The gathered quilting fit snugly around my body, especially my shoulder area and leg area. My shoulder girth is approximately 53.0 in (134.6 cm) and my height is 73 in (185.2 cm).  Based on these measurements, I had chosen a long.   Even though it was snug, it was stretchy enough so that anytime I moved, the bag stretched in the same direction, allowing plenty of room. I never felt cramped or restricted.  I credit this to the "Gathered Quilt System”. 

Storage and Packing:

 It was very easy to pack the bag in the provided stuff sack. The extra material at the entrance of the stuff sack seemed to make it easier to pack. Even though the Burrow was “stuffed” into a small size, I did not notice any detrimental affect on the insulation and it just fluffed back up upon removal from the bag.  I really liked the hook on the foot of the bag. At night, I would hook the stuff sack to it, and I never had to look for the “lost” stuff sack in the morning, very convenient. I followed the storage instruction, and stored the Burrow bag in a larger stuff sack that was larger than the provided one. I did not notice any problem with the bag “fluffing up” after being stored. I just pulled it out and shook it a couple of time and it was all fluffy again.

Conclusions:

So far, I am pleased with the performance of the U.L.Alpine.Burrow Bag #3.  This concludes my Field Report; the Long-Term Report should be completed by 8 January 2008. Please check back then for further information.

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Long Term Report – January 8, 2008

Field Locations and Conditions:

Location #1:

Shenandoah National Park

Type of Trip:

Back Packing

Distance (average per day):

10 mi (16 km)

Length of Trip:

3 Day (2 night)

Total Pack Load:

50 lbs (23 kg)

Elevation:

3000 to 3700 ft (900 to 1128 m)

Weather Conditions:

Snow (5 in (13 cm) )

Temperature Range (Day):

35 F (2 C)

Temperature Range (Night):

30 F (-1 C)


Location #2:

Local Campground

Type of Trip:

Car Camping

Distance (average per day):

3 mi (5 km)

Length of Trip:

2 Day (1 night)

Total Pack Load:

N/A

Elevation

Sea Level

Weather Conditions:

Clear

Temperature Range (Day):

60  to 70 F (15 to 21C)

Temperature Range (Night):

45 to 55 F (7 to 12 C)

Performance in the Field:

Functionality:

 On the first trip, when I started out the weather was pretty clear, with a forecast of drizzle and possible snow. That evening it started to snow, with a total accumulation of approximately 5 in (13 cm). During the night the snow accumulated along the sides of the tent.  It was slightly windy and the outside air temperature on average was 30 F (-1 C). The inside of the tent was on average 35 F (2 C) all night. I was using a three season tent and an insulated sleeping pad. I slept in fleece pants and a long sleeve base-layer shirt.  On the most part, the Burrow bag did extremely well. I measured the inside temperature of the bag, with my altimeter/thermometer, and as long as I kept the bag zipped, the temperature was maintained around 60 F (15 C).  When I did unzip the bag, the temperature inside the bag did drop, but once I got back into the bag, it quickly heated back up. The only problem that occurred was when the bag lay up against the tent wall or when the bag was wet. When this occurred, there was a definite cold spot at that location. Other than that the bag performed wonderfully. It kept me comfortable all night, was easy to get in and out of, and I had no problem at all packing it up. When I packed the bag into its stuff sack, there were a few wet spots. By the next evening all of these had dried up.

 Conclusions:

 I am very satisfied with the performance of the U.L.Alpine.Burrow Bag #3. The quality of the bag and the stuff sack is excellent. It is lightweight, while at the same time not constricting in any way. I had plenty of room to move around. The bag was extremely comfortable and kept me warm in its rated range. During the testing period, I did not have any real problems with the zipper or see any tears. The stitching remained firm and there was no piling or deformation of the insulation. It was very easy to pack the bag in its stuff sack. The extra material at the entrance of the stuff sack made it a lot easier to pack. Even though the Burrow was “stuffed” into a small size, there was no detrimental affect on the insulation and it easily fluffed back up. I enjoyed testing the Burrow bag and I plan to continue to use it on my outdoor adventures.

I would like to thank both, BackpackGearTest and Mont-bell, for the opportunity to test the U.L.Alpine.Burrow Bag #3

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