Moonstone 800 Cassin Ridge Sleeping Bag
By Raymond Estrella
March 20, 2006
Orange County, California, USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.
Manufacturer: Moonstone Mountain Equipment
Web site: www.moonstone.com
Product: 800 Cassin Ridge -20 F (-29 C) down sleeping bag.
Year manufactured: 2004
MSRP: $ 545.00 (US)
Weight listed: 4 lb 7 oz (2013 g) Actual weight 4 lb 6 oz (1985 g)
Inside length: 79 in (198 cm) My measurement
Torso girth listed: 66 in (165 cm) Verified accurate
Loft: 8.5 in (21 cm) Actual measured 8.5-10 in (21-25 cm)
Insulation type: 800+ fill power premium goose down.
Fill weight: 44 oz (1267 g)
Color: Iguana (a light green) and Charcoal
Stuffed size listed: 10.5 x 21 in (26 x 52 cm) Actual measured 10.5 x 19.5 in (26 x 49 cm)
he Moonstone 800 Cassin Ridge sleeping bag (hereafter referred to as the Cassin, or the bag) is a mummy style down filled sleeping bag. It is yellow on the top (head and shoulder area) and front, and black on the sides and most of the bottom. An orange trimmed drawstring surrounds the hood.
The outer shell is made of Pertex Endurance, this is how Moonstone describes it. “Pertex Endurance 2.0 Due to its PU membrane Pertex Endurance 2.0 has a 0 CFM air permeability. There is absolutely zero air movement through the fabric, which eliminates convection heat loss, and increases the thermal value by about 10ºF. The PU membrane seals out wind, rain, and snow completely, but allows moisture to escape freely.
30D Nylon 66 high tenacity x 40/70D Nylon 66
2 oz/y2, 68 gr/m2
Ultrathin hydrophobic PU-membrane
Air permeability 0 CFM”
The Endurance fabric is slightly “crinkly”, and is noticeably stiffer than other non-waterproof/breathable bags I own. It has a rip-stop pattern in the fabric. Moonstone uses the Endurance inside the bag at the head/hood and shoulder area, and on the top of the draft collar. This is to combat the effects of condensation from breathing.
Centered at sternum level, the Moonstone logo is embroidered on the shell. On the bottom of the foot box the Moonstone name, and crescent-moon logo are also embroidered. To either side of the foot box is a hang-loop, and at the bottom are two attached tags. One is the standard consumer tag, with fill type, weight, and “Made in China”. The second, smaller hang tag has materials information, and cleaning instructions.
It is recommended to wash the bag in a large capacity machine, and dry on low. After fully drying they say to let it loft for 24 hours before storing in the net storage sack. On my trips I bring an extra pair of mid-weight long underwear to sleep in, and have kept the bag very clean. I have not had to wash the bag yet.
According to the web site, the inner lining is made of Pertex Microlight 1.27. Again here is Moonstone’s pitch. “Pertex Microlight 1.27, this silky soft microfiber liner has a wicking treatment for quick moisture movement. It feels great on the skin, yet the fabric is very abrasion resistant and has excellent tear strength.
30D x 30D Nylon 66
1.27 oz/y2, 43gr/m2
Calendered for total downproofness
The bag has a 2-way, yellow nylon YKK zipper running pretty much full length. It stops 9 in (22 cm) short of the bottom. It sits very low on the bag from the bottom to about shoulder level, then the zipper climbs and curves in to its ending point at the side of the hood. The zipper is placed on the left side of the bag, the only option on a long size. (The regular size only comes with the zipper on the right side). Backing the zipper inside of the bag is a generous 2.5 x 4 in (6 x 10 cm) down filled draft tube. Velcro patches are placed every 16 in (40 cm) along the draft tube, and the opposite side of the bag, to keep the bag closed if the zipper is lowered for ventilation purposes.
Trapezoid baffles are used throughout the body of the bag to retain the down, and eliminate cold spots. Moonstone uses a variable fill ratio with this bag to keep the weight down. They say they put “more concentration of insulation in areas of greater heat loss”. It does have noticeably more loft in the head/chest and foot area. Here is a picture of it zipped up.
Inside of the bag at chest level, is a huge 5 x 4 in (13 x 10 cm) down filled draft collar. It has a drawstring and cord lock on the right side of the bag, away from the zipper. It also has a Velcro attachment to keep it together when the zipper is open. A smaller down filled “Ripskirt” draft stop is at waist level, inside the bag. It too has a drawstring and cord lock on the right side. Here is a picture of the inside of the Cassin.
The hood has a single drawstring and cord lock. The top and bottom can be adjusted together, or by pulling one side or the other, be adjusted independently. Inside of the hood, at the location of my right ear is a round netting watch pocket.
A 2.8 oz (79 g) black nylon stuff sack was provided, (see photo at bottom of review) although I use a Granite Gear Air-Compressor sack in the field. It also came with a netting-style storage bag. Moonstone refers to it as an “Easy ID storage sack”. That is because the name, size, temperature rating, and pertinent information are printed on the end of the sack. It is a great idea, but I keep it (and all of my down bags) in an after-market cotton storage sack to keep dust out of the bag. Here is a picture of the Easy ID storage sack with one of my synthetic-fill bags in it.
The highest point I have used the Cassin was in the White Mountains, at the Bristlecone Pine Forest (California). I was at 10,600’ (3,180 m) elevation. For the past two winters I have used this bag mainly in this area, between 7500’ (2,250 m) and the previously mentioned 10,600’. The coldest temperature in this area was 9 F (-13 C) I also used this bag on Mount Shasta, where it got down to 13 F (-11 C). Our camp was at Helen Lake 10,000’ (3,000 m) elevation, but I carried the bag with me to the summit in case of a forced bivy. I have used it 9 times in the past two years.
I purchased the Cassin in November of 2004 for the express reason to climb White Mountain in the middle of winter. Accessing the historical weather data of the area compiled by the Western Regional Climate Center, I saw that it gets down to 0 F (-18) or slightly lower. As I sleep a bit cold in winter bags, due to my sleeping on my side, I figured a -20 F (-29 C) bag would work well. I chose the Cassin because of familiarity with their bags, (I own an 800 Lucid also) and the price point of the bag.
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The Cassin is very well made. The stitching is straight, and the over-all workmanship seems to be excellent. It lofts higher than advertised, a welcome sight. Even after two seasons of use it is still lofting very well. (See measurements above).
It is a very warm bag. On the trip to White Mountain in 2005, it warmed up to 20 F (-7 C) the first night. I was too warm in the Cassin. Venting did not work too well as I would be to cold if the frigid air hit my body, and too warm with it zipped shut. The next night the temps dropped and I was much more comfortable. This year (2006) the trip was colder, and the Cassin worked very well.
On Shasta I shared a 4-man tent, and the Cassin was very comfortable there also. I never have got down to its intended range though.
The Endurance fabric is great for keeping the condensation from wetting the down. I have had no problems with it, and there was quite a bit of condensation this year in my Bibler Fitzroy, which I used solo. Last year we shared the same tent (the Fitzroy), and one night Dave closed the door and vent while I was asleep. I woke up to horrific condensation. There was frozen moisture over the whole bag, which I had to pack the next morning after knocking off as much as I could. Nothing soaked into the down.
I have never used the watch pocket, as I do not ever use an alarm. (I can barely sleep during winter trips). But I do keep my food bars for breakfast, my Kestrel Pocket Weather Meter, and the next day’s socks and gloves in the bag with me. It has plenty of room. I have never used the Ripskirt. I flip over too much for it to be useful to me.
The anatomic foot box is comfortable. I do not feel cramped, or overly confined. As I am usually on my side, this is not as big a deal to me as it would be if I were a back-sleeper.
The zipper works very well on both ends from the outside. From the inside is another matter. The Velcro closures along the length of the bag make it a pain to open the zipper from inside. I understand the reason for them, but I do not care for them. When I pull the Velcro apart it causes the liner to raise up at that spot, then as I continue to pull the zipper up it occasionally snags.
Over-all I am pretty satisfied with the Cassin sleeping bag. I plan to use it for many years to come.
Pros: Light weight, highly compressible, warm, good value.
Cons: Zipper not very useful from inside.
|The Cassin stuffed into the provided sack|
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