NEMO EQUIPMENT RHYTHM SPOON 40 PRIMALOFT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
INITIAL REPORT - June 30, 2013
FIELD REPORT - September 23, 2013
LONG TERM REPORT - December 05, 2013
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season backpacker and year round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: NEMO Equipment, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: Summer 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.nemoequipment.com/
Listed Weight: 2 lb, 5 oz (1 kg)
Measured Weight: 2 lb, 5 oz (1 kg)
Included Stuff Sack Weight: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Temperature Rating: 40 F (4 C)
Fill Type: PrimaLoft Synergy
Fill Weight: 18 oz (522 g)
Height Accommodated: up to 72 in (183 cm)
Shoulder Girth: 64 in (162 cm)
Hip Girth: 60 in (152 cm)
Knee Girth: 68 in (172 cm)
My measurements confirm the listed.
Listed Packed Size: 14.5 x 9 in (37 x 23 cm)
Compressed Volume: 6.5 L (1.72 US Gallons)
My measurements confirm the listed. Although with mild effort smaller pack size can be achieved.
Shell Fabric: 40D Nylon Ripstop with DWR
Footbox Fabric: 15D OSMO DT W/B + DWR
Lining Fabric: 30D Nylon Taffeta
Zipper Location: Left
Listed Color: Aluminum/Riptide
To My Eye: Multi-Gray/Blue
The Rhythm bag is also available in a Long that accommodates up to 6 ft, 6 in (198 cm). This also adds 2 in (5 cm) to the shoulder and hip girth. Along with increases in weight of 4 oz (113 g) and 2 L (0.5 US Gallon) compressed volume.
* Adjustable Contoured Hood - drawstring control of shape and size of opening
* Pillow Pocket - sleeve opening in the hood holds extra clothes to create a pillow
* Tuckable Blanket Fold - insulated flap can be tucked in or folded out of bag to adjust warmth
* Waterproof, Breathable Footbox - different fabric than body of the bag protects against tent wall condensation
* Zippered Watch Pocket - located in the hood for storing small items
* Curved Vertical Baffles - mimics the shape of the body
* Offset Quilting - even insulation distribution eliminates drafts and cold spots
* Two Way Zipper - allows venting of one area without opening the entire bag
* Spoon Shape - provides room for movement of elbows and knees during sleep, allows for sitting cross legged inside the bag
Further Explanation of Materials:
PrimaLoft SYNERGY is a multi-denier continuous filament, made with different size fibers. Larger ones trap heat and provide warmth while thinner ones provide softness, loft and compressibility. Information found on the NEMO company website says the advantage of a continuous filament is that it will not clump, shift or compact over time. The PrimaLoft promise is also stated, "warmth when wet". This is achieved utilizing a proprietary permanent repellent finish that will last the lifetime of the bag.
OSMO DT W/B shell fabric is a 15 denier high tenacity nylon fabric. A high level of tear strength and durability are achieved using double ripstop threads in the warp and weft. Warp is the lengthwise threads and weft the transverse threads in a fabric. The fabric is treated with a waterproof and breathable coating on the backside of the fabric and a DWR on the face.
The exciting arrival of the Rhythm bag turned to disappointment when I pulled the stuff sack out of the cardboard shipping box. I received the wrong size. I contacted NEMO Customer Service via email and quickly received a Return Authorization Number and shipping instructions.
In about a week I received a replacement bag inside a stuff sack. Also included was a cotton storage
sack measuring 35 x 22 in (89 x 56 cm). I checked the tag on the stuff sack, size regular, yeah! So this time I pull the Rhythm from the stuff sack. The exterior feels nice and the bag quickly lofts up. I pull the zipper open revealing the NEMO logo, bag model name, insulation type, temperature rating and bag size. It says Long! After mild distress I decide to complete my check of the bag.
The above information is sewn to a thicker fabric than the lining of the bag. This thicker fabric runs the full length of the zipper and prevents the zipper from snagging. The same fabric also forms a little flap at the top of the zipper, forming a "garage" for the zipper pull. Near the top of the zipper on the front of the bag is a small 6 in (15 cm) long and 7 in (18 cm) deep pocket.
Looking inside the bag again I notice the Tuckable Blanket Fold and the Pillow Pocket. I grab my Equinox Armadillo Pillow to see if it will fit. It's a perfect match and nicely holds the pillow in place. The Blanket Fold looks like a big blue tongue. I know its purpose but not sure how it will work. At the foot of the bag there are two loops of fabric for hanging the Rhythm and three labels.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The three labels provide information about the bag. One has the following care instructions: hand wash or machine wash warm, gentle cycle front load only. Use mild non-detergent soap. Do not bleach, rinse thoroughly, do not wring, air dry or tumble dry low in heavy-duty dry. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
Another is devoted to the insulation, Primaloft Synergy. This is basically the same information I mentioned before.
The last one I read listed the bag's materials, country of origin, name and address of company it's sold by and finished size of the item, 78 x 29.25 in (198 x 75 cm). The last piece of information really surprised me and caused me to measure more carefully. Sure enough the bag is a size regular!
TRYING IT OUT
Once convinced I will not be returning the bag I jump inside. The Rhythm is instantly comfy and I feel it warming quickly. The hood cinches comfortably around my face with a drawcord easily accessible on the left hand side. The Blanket Fold adds the feeling of covering up in bed. Folding the Blanket out I can feel heat rush out. The extra width in the leg area is noticeable. I can comfortably bend my knees while laying on my back or side. But on an 80 F (27 C) day I cannot stay in the Rhythm too long.
Other than the confusion over the labeled size the Rhythm bag is right on beat. The Rhythm is made of quality materials and solidly constructed. Little things like the non-snagging strip of fabric along the zipper suggest thoughtful design. Bigger things like the spoon shape suggest innovation. At first glance the shape looked bulky almost funny, once inside the bag I feel the benefit. I feel cocooned in most bags which I don't always mind. The Rhythm gives me the feeling not of being inside a bag but rather underneath a blanket. I am excited again about the Rhythm bag and looking forward to some outdoor spooning.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Storrs Pond, New Hampshire - one night in a single wall four person tent at 400 ft (120 m) elevation next to the water, low of 60 F (16 C) clear with slight breeze. 8 mi (13 km) round trip.
Acadia National Park, Maine - two nights in a single wall four person tent at 150 ft (46 m) elevation and 0.25 mi (0.4 km) from the ocean. First night 63 F (17 C) humid with on and off burst of rain. Second night 55 F (13 C) dry and breezey. Three days hikes totaling 14 mi (22.5 km).
Gilman Island, New Hampshire - one night in a cabin at 400 ft (120 m) elevation on the Connecticut River, low 50 F (10 C) and clear. 4 mi (6 km) hike and 1 mi (1.6 km) paddle round trip.
Lincoln Peak, Vermont - one night in a single wall two person tent at 3700 ft (1130 m) elevation, low of 40 F (4 C) very windy at night and heavy dew in the morning. 19 mi (30 km) round trip via the Long Trail.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I have slept in or on the Rhythm bag for five nights during the test period. I used the same set up every time. The Rhythm lay atop a Big Agnes Air Core pad while my head rested on an Equinox Armadillo Pillow. I wore synthetic shorts, a very thin (18.5 micron) wool T-shirt and wool socks.
In its stuff sack the Rhythm compresses down to fit perfectly in the bottom of my 65 L pack. Once unpacked and fluffed a few times the Rhythm lofts nicely. The Rhythm got along with the air pad with minimal noise or slippage. However my pillow and the Rhythm pillow pocket had a minor falling out. It's mostly my fault as I change position frequently while sleeping. The pillow inside the sleeve is comfortable while on my back or stomach. But on my side the pillow is too low. Side sleeping requires me to fold the pillow, doubling it up. The Rhythm pillow pocket will not accommodate my double stuff pillow.
While the pillow pocket doesn't work well being a rolling side sleeper the spoon shape seems to encourage it. I can adjust my arms, legs and position with ease. I am comfortable in this bag in every position I sleep in. I didn't get to test the full capacity of the spoon shape by sitting cross legged atop Cadillac Mountain watching the sunrise as planned. I missed my wake up call, more on this later. I settled for a possible second best of breakfast in bag. I sat in the Rhythm zipped to my waist comfortably legs crossed while enjoying my oatmeal.
In Acadia I wanted to hike Cadillac Mountain and watch the sunrise over the Gulf of Maine. I set my watch and zipped it in the pocket near the top of the Rhythm. I thought this a good choice as the watch would be closer to my ear than if in the tent wall pocket. However the insulation did just that and insulated the sound of the alarm. No one heard the alarm and we slept right through it. I can't think of anything else to store in this pocket, but will not use it again for holding my watch.
On the two warmest nights I slept on top of the bag fully unzipped. Only covering my legs a few times then kicking it off when warm. At 50 F (13 C) and 55 F (10 C) I slept inside the bag zipped to hips. Again covering and uncovering my upper body as needed. Then at 40 F (4 C), spot on for comfort the Rhythm was fully zipped. I started the night with the blanket fold inside the bag. It feels extra cozy this way. As the bag warmed I flipped the blanket fold out. Then in the morning I pulled it back in to block the morning chill.
Twice the Rhythm became wet overnight. I didn't notice the moisture until coming out of the bag after waking up. Both times the side was slightly wet and the foot very wet. The outside of the bag was wet to the touch. However the inside was only damp on the side and completely dry at the foot. The Rhythm was dry after hanging in a tree in the sun while cooking and eating breakfast.
Thus far the Rhythm bag has served me well, although overnight temperatures were on the higher end of the comfort range for the Rhythm. As autumn approaches I look forward to cooler temperatures and testing the lower comfort range of this sleeping bag.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Moose Mountain, New Hampshire - one night in trail shelter at 2,300 ft (700 m) elevation. Low 44 F (7 C) and clear. 11.5 mi (18.5 km) via the Appalachian Trail.
Velvet Rocks, New Hampshire - one night in a one person tarp-tent at 1,240 ft (380 m) elevation. Low 33 F (0.5 C) light rain during the day and windy at night. 10 mi (16 km) from my front door to the Appalachian Trail.
Storrs Pond, New Hampshire - one night in a one person tarp-tent at 400 ft (120 m) elevation. Low of 30 F (-1 C) clear and calm. 8 mi (13 km) round trip.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During this stage of testing I used the same sleeping set up as before. But on the two colder nights I woke up cold. I added a second thicker pair of wool socks, 18.5 micron wool base layer bottoms and a long sleeve, little heavier (21 micron, 390 g/m2) wool top. I then slept comfortably through the night.
Adding a second layer of clothing while inside the Rhythm was no trouble. The room provided by the spoon shape made all the necessary movements easy. Knowing I would need the extra layer on the coldest night I went to sleep with the clothes inside the bag. Again the spoon shape was nice for stuffing the clothes in the extra shoulder space.
On the last two nights out I bundled up with the Rhythm's hood. It was comfortable, adding warmth and still allowed me to move easily. The opening is such that the hood never interfered with my breathing. The blanket fold also added an extra degree of comfort and warmth on the colder nights. I like this feature; it's like a snuggable draft collar.
The NEMO Rhythm 40 PrimaLoft is a very nice sleeping bag. It is well designed and constructed. The Rhythm's design features are functional and useful. I even found a use for the zipper pocket. Cold temps. mean tissues and Chapstick for me. The pocket is an easy to get to place for these items. A final inspection of the Rhythm shows no signs of defect or damage. All parts function as they did on day one of testing.
I have enjoyed this test series with the NEMO Rhythm. I will be packing this sleeping bag when the overnight temperatures range from 45 to 30 F (7 to -1 C). I was comfortable enough to try using this bag at 25 F (-4 C) and hope to do so soon.
This concludes my Long-Term Report. Thank you to NEMO Equipment Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Rhythm 40 PrimaLoft.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
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