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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Sierra Designs Arrow Rock Bag > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen


Sierra Designs Arrow Rock 30 Sleeping Bag
with Flex™ Technology

Test Series by Ryan Christensen

Last Update - October 27, 2008

SD Arrow Rock 30
Photo Courtesey of http://www.sierradesigns.com

ACCESS MAIN REPORT SECTIONS VIA THESE LINKS:

INITIAL REPORT
May 28, 2008

FIELD REPORT
August 22, 2008

LONG-TERM REPORT
October 27, 2008

INITIAL REPORT
May 28, 2008

Reviewer Information

Backpacking Background


Name: Ryan L. Christensen

Age:  43

Gender:  Male

Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)

Weight:  235 lb (107 kg)

Shoulder/Chest Girth:  58 in (147 cm)

Email:  bigdawgryan(at)yahoo(dot)com

City, State, Country:  Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA


I began backpacking at twelve, continuing until 25. After an extended hiatus, due in part to a bad back, I resumed cycling, hiking, and backpacking several years ago. I also began snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I share my love for backpacking and these sports with my children. I am a midweight backpacker, but carry a full array of necessary gear.

Product Information:

The information below comes from the Sierra Designs website.

Arrow Rock 30 Men's Sleeping Bag

Manufacturer:

Sierra Designs

Manufacturer website:

http://www.sierradesigns.com

Place of Manufacture:

China

Year Manufactured:

2008

Materials:

Outer Shell
Fill
Inner Lining


30D polyester
600-Fill Goose Down
40D polyester

Temperature Rating:

30 F (-1 C)

Sizes Available:

Regular - fits up to 6 ft (1.8 m)
Long - fits up to 6 ft 6 in (2 m)

Warranty:

The Sierra Designs Warranty

"Sierra Designs guarantees that the materials and workmanship in every product we make will stand up to the use for which it was designed. This warranty does not cover damages caused by improper care, accidents or the natural breakdown of materials over extended use and time. All defective or damaged products should be returned to us for evaluation and will be repaired or replaced at our discretion. Damages due to accident or improper care will be repaired at a reasonable rate. Products sent for repair must be cleaned prior to sending."

MSRP:

$199 USD [Regular]
$219 USD [Long]

 

Product Specifications

Manufacturer's Specifications

 

Listed Stuff Size:

Long


7 x 17 in (18 x 43 cm)

Listed Trail Weight:

Long


2 lb 9 oz (1.16 kg)

Listed Fill Weight:

Long


18 oz (510 g)

Tester's Actual Measurements

 

Dimensions:

Long


84 x 29 in (213 x 74 cm)

Weight:

Sleeping Bag - Long
Storage Sack
Stuff Sack


2 lb 9 oz (1.2 kg)
3.5 oz (99 g)
1.5 oz (43 g)

Stuff Size:

Long


7 x 17 in (18 x 43 cm)

Color:

Two-Tone Orange / Grey

Product Description:

Footbox Hood

The Sierra Designs Arrow Rock 30 (hereafter referred to as "bag") is a three-season, mummy-shaped, left-zip, down-filled, men's sleeping bag. The Arrow Rock 30 is one of ten bags featuring Sierra Designs new Flex™ Technology. Five of the bags, three mens (Arrow Rock 15, 30, 45) and two womens (Diamond Spring 15, 30) feature full Flex™, meaning the Flex runs from the footbox to the hood. Whereas the other five bags (men's Nitro 15, 30 & Lazer 30; women's Spark 15, 30) only have partial Flex™, located between the knees and the shoulders. From what I can tell on the long bag that I received for testing, Sierra Designs Flex™ Technology consists of twelve horizontal baffels sewn with elastic and gathered material (see photo at the top of report as an example). The elastic and extra material apparantly allow the bag to expand somewhat to accomodate the user's movements. On its website, Sierra Designs advertises the following:

Flex™ Technology

  • Flex™ eliminates constriction, allowing the sleeping bag to move with the user and keeping them warm and comfortable

  • Flex™ greatly improves a bag's thermal efficiency

  • Technically advanced elastic binding tape is used on the 3-season down Flex™ bags, while we use a lighter proprietary elastic thread in the Ultralight series

  • Features up to 8" of expandable baffles in our 3 season bags and 7" of partial Flex™ in our Ultralight bags. Flex™ allows the growth of the bag to expand as and where needed.

These bags are "manufactured under a license by Mont-Bell, LTD. US Patent #4,888,828."

As other mummy bags, this one tapers from the shoulders to the footbox. The bag is 29 in (74 cm) across at the shoulders, its widest point. It is approximately 14 in (36 cm) across at the smallest point in the footbox. The bag is two-tone in color: a brigth orange top and a slightly darker, rusty-orange bottom. The interior is grey. In the chest area, there is a Sierra Designs logo embroidered in grey thread atop the bag. The hood is a typical mummy-style hood. There is a 1.375 in (3.5cm) wide draft tube that extends 25 in (64 cm) around the outer edge of the hood. There is a 0.875 in (2 cm) wide sleeve sewn into the seam seperating the hood draft tube from the hood itself. This sleeve also runs along the upper edge (chest area) of the bag. The hood's drawcord passes through this sleeve. The hood draft tube and drawcord are used to secure the hood around the user's face. The drawcord and cord lock are accessed on the right shoulder at the base of the hood. Once the drawcord is adjusted, the hood is secured on the left side via hook and loop closure at the upper end of the zipper. This bag does not have a draft collar. The company logo, bag name, size, insulation, temperature rating, and Flex™ are embroidered in grey thread near the zipper at the footbox (see upper left photo). The 18 oz (510 g) of 600-fill goose down gives this bag a temperature rating of 30 F (-1 C).

Zipper Single Draft Tube

The bag has a full-length, two-way, YKK 8CF coil zipper. On the interior of the bag, there are two "Snag Free Zipper Tracks" running the entire length of the zipper (see left photo above). The "Snag Free Zipper Tracks" are approximately 0.5 in (1 cm) in width and are made from what appears to be heavy nylon-weave material with some sort of cord sewn in the outer edge to provide a barrier between the lining and the zipper. The zipper handles have cloth pulls with the company name an logo on them. Inside the bag, there is a fully insulated draft tube which runs from the footbox to the upper end of the zipper. This draft tube is in the upperside of the zipper. (see right photo above) . On the draft tube, approximately 7.5 in (19 cm) from the head-end of the bag is a care tag which reads:

CARE INSTRUCTIONS:

  • DRY CLEANING: Use a dry cleaner experienced in the cleaning of down items who will guarantee their work.

  • LAUNDERING: Hand or machine wash with mild soap or a soap designed specifically for use with down (see your local outdoor equipment dealer.) Machine wash on gentle cycle and recommended water temperature of soap. Do not use an agitator type washing machine. Rinse very thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Drip dry or tumble dry in a cool dryer. Do not use harsh detergents or bleaches. Do not steam press or iron.

  • Shell: 100% polyester

  • Lining: 100% polyester

  • Insulation: Goose Down

There is a pocket, located on the exterior of the bag at the right shoulder. The pocket measures approximately 9 x 4 in (23 x 10 cm). The YKK 3CF coil zipper measures approximately 5.5 in (14 cm). The pocket, which is constructed from the shell material, seems to be sufficiently sized to hold either a cell phone, GPS unit, compact digital camera, etc.

Pad Locks

On the underside of the bag, there are two pad locks used to secure the bag to a sleeping pad. Each pad lock consists of a 0.5 in (1.3 cm) wide strap of nylon webbing which is sewn into the seam on each side of the bag. Each pad lock has a buckle to enable adjustment to various size pads (see photo on right). Unlike the pad locks on certain other Sierra Designs models, these are not removable.

At the foot of the bag, there are two nylon loops to use when hanging the bag to dry or when storing. There is also a loop at the end of the zipper in the footbox.

The bag came with a white 100% cotton, storage sack and a nylon stuff sack. On the bottom of the storage sack, there is a color swatch, which happens to be the bright-orange primary color of the bag. I like that little extra touch of quality. The black stuff sack has drawcord with cordlock on the open end and an integrated 4 in (10 cm) wide handle made from the same material as the stuff sack on the closed end. This handle extends across the diameter of the stuff sack, which is 7 in (18 cm). The Sierra Designs logo is printed in grey on this handle. This handle should provide utility when removing the bag from the stuff sack. There is also a tag sewn in the vertical seam of the sack. This tag has "SD" on one side and "Sleep Better Perform Better" on the other side. There is another tag just above it with the words "Made in China" on it.

Initial Impression:

The bag came stuffed inside its cotton storage sack. It did not come with an attached product card. This, I believe, is due to the fact that it is a "Sales Sample" as indicated on one of the two tags sewn into the footbox. As I began pulling the bag from its storage sack, I was immediately impressed, I really liked the color combination. I also noticed only two very small stray feathers.

The next thing that caught my attention was the feel of the fabrics; both exterior and interior are smooth to the touch. These fabrics felt very thin. Consequently, the question of durability immediately ran through my head. Testing will tell how well these fabrics hold up to normal wear and tear.

Holding the entire bag in my hands, the actual weight of this 30 F (-1 C) bag impressed me. From reading the information n the website, I expected a lightweight bag and that is exactly what I received.

When examining the hood, I liked the fact that it is roomy; it should be large enough to accomodate my backpacking pillow. This bag does not have a draft collar.Stuffed

Initial Testing:

My initial testing consisted of a thorough examination of the material, zippers, buckles, cords and cordlocks. I then proceeded to weigh and measure the bag. Next, I put the bag in its stuff sack to check on the stuffed size. I was able to compress it to a slightly smaller size than listed by the manufacturer. With a compression sack, it should compress even smaller. Finally, I climbed inside the bag to see how well it fit. Lengthwise it is great, but to be honest, it is fairly snug across my chest and shoulders. This is due to the taper from the shoulders to the hood. Hopefully this will not make me claustrophobic. Nevertheless, I can hardly wait to take this bag out into the backcountry.

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FIELD REPORT
August 22, 2008

Summary:

During the Field Test Phase, I slept in the Arrow Rock fifteen nights. Over the fifteen nights, temperatures ranged from 27 - 42 F (-3 - 6 C). I normally sleep in just my underwear. However, on the coldest nights, I needed to add an additional layer. On the two coldest nights, my feet felt a bit cold during the night, but not unbearably so. To date, I have been quite pleased with the temperature rating of this bag. I have also been very impressed with the benefits provided by the Flex Technology utilized in this bag.

Pros:

  • Temperature seems accurate
  • Flex Technology

Cons:

  • Based on my size, I am unable to easily zip the bag fully with the pad locks cinched snugly to my pad.
  • Despite Snag-Free Zipper Tracks, I caught the zipper a couple of times on the draft tube.

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

I slept in the bag two nights while on a church youth retreat near Hebgen Lake, Montana from June 5 - 7. Hebgen Lake is 10 mi (16 km) northwest of West Yellowstone, Montana at an elevation of 6,547 ft (1,996 m). The sky was overcast and we had rain, snow, and hail. Temperatures ranged from a low of 27 F to a high of 49 F (-3 to 9 C).

On June 13 and 21 - 27, I slept in the bag eight more nights while serving as a Scoutmaster at the BSA Grand Teton Council’s Cedar Badge National Youth Leadership Training at the base of the Teton Mountains approximately 10 mi (16 km) east of Driggs, Idaho. The elevation is approximately 6,500 ft (1,981 m). In nearby Driggs, the recorded nighttime temperature on June 13 was 28 F (-2 C) and there were 3 in (8 cm) of snow on the ground. I believe the temperature in our camp was approximately four degrees colder or 24 F (-4 C). From June 21 - 28 the nighttime temperatures in Driggs ranged from 37 - 46 F (3 to 8 C). Again, I estimate our temperatures were about four degrees colder or 33 - 42 F (1 - 6 C). Daytime temperatures were much warmer and therefore, the snow was gone.

During July 8 - 11, while on a BSA High Adventure with my two oldest boys, I slept in the bag four additional nights. We were in Saint Charles Canyon approximately 6,300 ft (1,920 m) in elevation. The campground is approximately 26 mi (42 km) from the North Beach area of Bear Lake State Park located in the far southeast corner of Idaho. Straddling the Idaho / Utah border, Bear Lake is 20 mi (32 km) long and 8 mi (13 km) wide. Bear Lake is 20 mi (32 km) south of Montpelier, Idaho at an approximate elevation of 5,900 ft (1,798). Recorded nighttime temperatures in nearby Paris, Idaho ranged from 45 - 47 F (7 - 8 C). However, I believe the temperatures at our campsite were likely five degrees colder or 40 - 42 F (4 - 6 C).

August 8, at a family reunion, I slept in the bag one night. We were near Garden City, Utah which is close to Bear Lake at an elevation of 5,965 feet (1,818 m). The nighttime low temperature was 47 F (8 C). Winds were 17 mph (27 km/h) with gusts up to 20 mph (32 km/h). There was also thunder, lightning, and a little rain.

Observations:

During the Field Test phase, I slept in the Arrow Rock fifteen nights. I have been very impressed with this bag in terms of its warmth. For all but the very coldest night, I was completely comfortable. However, on the coldest night in mid-June, I was a little cold, especially my feet. However, donning a light base layer and a pair of merino wool socks took care of that. On the warmest nights, I was never uncomfortably warm during the night. I was impressed by the fact that after the fifteen nights, several of them consecutive, the bag had not developed a funky smell.

The Flex Technology keeps the bag fairly snug, thereby enhancing the insulating value of the bag. With my 56in (142 cm) shoulder girt, the bag is fairly snug across my chest and shoulders. However, I have been impressed with the additional room the Flex Technology provides as I move around in the bag. If I cinch the pad locks snug to my sleeping pad, even with pads of different thicknesses, I have not been able to easily zip the zipper the entire length. This has not posed a real inconvenience for me, but an extra inch would be nice.

The zippers and drawcords continue to work smoothly. However, for whatever reason--possibly my haste and lack of attention, the snag-free zipper tracks did not prevent me from catching the lightweight outer material in the zipper on several occasions. Fortunately, none of were severe enough to compromise the fabric. I was able to quickly and easily remove the fabric from the zipper.

Thus far, the bag continues to loft well and shows no adverse affects from being compressed multiple times.

When I awoke the morning of my last outing, I noticed several small feathers on the tent floor. I was somewhat alarmed by this and quickly checked all seams. I found no problems with any of the seams. In fact, they appeared to be as new. This was the first night that I had slept in this tent, which I bought used at nearby used gear store. Therefore, it is highly possible that the feathers were from the previous owner. Nevertheless, I will be paying particular attention to see whether I experience any loose feathers during the Long Term phase of the test.

I have been very pleased with the Arrow Rock thus far, and look forward to using it a few more nights, temperatures permitting, during the Long Term phase of the test.

Likes: (thus far)

  • Roominess created by the Flex Technology

  • Compressibility/Lofting

  • Temperature Rating Appears To Be Accurate

  • No Funky Smell Thus Far

Dislikes: (thus far)

  • When using the Pad Locks, the interior shoulder width is a bit tight for my liking

Top of Page


LONG-TERM REPORT
October 27, 2008

Summary:

During the Long-Term Test Phase I slept in the Arrow Rock two nights, for a total of seventeen nights in the bag during this test series. Nighttime low temperatures ranged between the mid 30's to upper 20's F (2 to -2 C). On these nights, I wore mid-weight baselayer top and bottom and medium-weight merino wool socks. I continue to be extremely pleased with this bag. I really like the benefits provided by the Flex Technology and the temperature rating of seems to be spot on (based on my sleeping preference). The pros and cons remain unchanged from my Field Report.

Pros:

  • Roominess created by the Flex Technology

  • Compressibility/lofting

  • Temperature rating appears to be accurate

  • No funky smell thus far

Cons:

  • When using the Pad Locks, the interior shoulder width is a bit tight for my liking

  • Despite Snag-Free Zipper Tracks, the zipper has caught on the draft tube a few times.

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

The two nights I spent in the bag during the Long-Term test phase were near Idaho Falls, Idaho at approximately 4,700 ft (1,433 m) above sea level. Nighttime low temperatures ranged from the mid 30's to upper 20's F (2 to -2 C), winds were calm and there was no precipitation.

Observations:

On both nights during the Long-Term Test phase, the bag performed flawlessly. I slept both comfortably and warmly each night. I slept with my pants and shirt in the bag with me on both of these nights without any discomfort.

The overall fit of the Arrow Rock is great for me in length, shoulder and hip girth, and the footbox comfortably housed my size 10.5 US feet. The size of the bag and added room offered by the Flex technology has allowed me to toss and turn during the night. The Flex technology has enabled me to comfortably pull my knees up to a semi-fetal position, and move my legs a bit to find a comfortable position when my lower back was hurting. The only issue I have had with fit is when using the pad locks. As stated earlier, with the padlocks cinched around a sleeping pad, I was unable to easily zip the zipper the entire length. This did not pose a real inconvenience, but an extra inch in girth would have been nice for me. The Ergonomic Hood fits me nicely.

The temperature rating seems accurate to me. I believe I could be comfortable into the mid to low 20's in this bag provided I was wearing some additional layers. The draft tube effectively kept the cold from sneaking in along the zipper. I was able to cinch the hood around my head and thereby keep the cold from creeping in that way as well.

I did not really have any chance to test the moisture repellency of the shell fabric. However, I believe this bag breathes as well as any bag I have owned.

The bag compressed well and fit nicely in the sleeping bag compartment of my backpacks. Although I did not use a compression sack, I believe the bag would compress even smaller had I done so. Throughout the test series, I did not notice a problem with lofting. The bag lofted well after being pulled from the compression sack and did so in fairly short order. I always store my down bags in cotton storage bags. Such is the case with the Arrow Rock. Consequently, I have seen no degradation of the down in any way from being compressed multiple times.

The down has stayed in place and has not clumped. The seams remain tight, with only a few feathers having escaped through the seams. The drawcord continues to work smoothly. The zippers also work smoothly. However, they have gotten caught on the draft tube on several occasions. I believe most of these were when I was either in a hurry or was not paying attention while zipping the bag. Both exterior and interior fabrics have held up well during the test series. The fabrics have resisted soiling during the normal use I put bag through. The bag has aired well and has not retained any funky smells.

At 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) and 235 lb (107 kg) with a 49+ in (125 cm) chest girth, I have been very pleased with fit, comfort, and warmth of the Arrow Rock 30 sleeping bag. I will continue to use it as my mild temperature bag for years to come.


This concludes my Test Series. Thanks to Sierra Designs and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test the Arrow Rock 30 sleeping bag.


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