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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Sierra Designs Cirque and Mist 2007 > Test Report by Pamela Wyant
Sierra Designs Mist Sleeping Bag
Initial Report - February 2007
Field Report - April 2007
Long Term Report - June 2007
Product Information:Manufacturer: Sierra Designs
Manufacturer Website: http://www.sierradesigns.com
Year of manufacture: 2007
Temperature Rating: 0 F/-18 C
MSRP: $439 US
Manufacturer's stated stuff size: 9 x 19 in (23 x 48 cm)
Measured stuff size: 9 x 19 in (23 x 48 cm)
Manufacturer's stated weight: 3 lb 9 oz (1.62 kg) size long
Measured weight: 3 lb 11.6 oz (1.69 kg) - sleeping bag only
5.6 oz (159 g) - compression stuff sack
3.6 oz (102 g) - cotton storage bag
Construction details: DriZone exterior fabric (40 D nylon)
40 D polyester interior
800 fill power goose down insulation
Welded seam construction
Zippered storm flap
Dual draft tubes
Expedition Jacket Hood
Product Description:The Sierra Designs Mist sleeping bag can best be described with just two words - soft and fat. Fat with down that is. This bag has some serious loft - approximately 6 in (15 cm) at the chest, knee, and foot areas and about 4 in (10 cm) at the hip. In addition to feeling soft because of the lofty down, the interior 40D polyester fabric feels very soft and supple to the touch, and the puffy dual draft tubes along the side zipper, the fat full draft collar, and the double draft tubes around the hood all contribute to the soft luxurious feel of the Mist. The Mist is available only in right zip.
The exterior waterproof-breathable DriZone fabric is light purple in color and has a small, barely visible ripstop pattern. Approximately every 6 in (15 cm) a small variation in color is noticeable - this is where the baffle is welded to the shell. The interior of the bag is a light lime color with a pattern of small darker lime circles with a light purple dot in the center. The baffles appear to be sewn to the interior liner with small even stitches of matching color thread. Although the Mist is supposed to have fixed side baffle construction, I was able to push down from one side to the other easily, so it appears to be continuous baffle construction instead. Manufacturer labeling is modest and tasteful - a small Sierra Designs logo appears on the right side near the foot, along with the model name (Mist), the fill power (800-fill), and the temperature rating (0 F/18 C); and the logo is also printed on the zipper pull.
The Mist has numerous technical features designed to help keep me warm in cold conditions. First are the dual draft tubes - one on the bottom and one on the top of the zipper. The top of the upper draft tube meets what I would call a throat draft tube - a fat tube of down that rests under my chin when the bag is zipped up. The left side of this tube also keeps the toggle for the outside hood adjustment from contacting my skin, and attaches to an "inner" down filled tube on the hood that snugs down around my face. The lower draft tube reaches to the top of the zipper, not quite meeting the "outer" down filled tube on the hood. Both the throat draft tube and the inner face tube meet and overlay the lower draft tube, sealing to keep warmth in and breezes out. In addition to the throat tube, there is an additional full draft collar which fastens on the right side with a wide strip of hook and loop fastener. An additional 'loop' strip is attached to the rear of the draft collar to allow the hook side to be attached out of the way when not in use to prevent it from catching on skin, clothing, or the sleeping bag. Also attached to the upper side of the draft collar is a small mesh pocket measuring approximately 3.5 x 4.5 in (9 x 11.5 cm). I look forward to testing this pocket to hold my contacts in their case, hopefully keeping them warmer and thus more comfortable to insert in the morning after a cold night; and it may also prove a useful place to store my watch if I don't want to wear it at night.
The 'Expedition Jacket Hood' is very ingenuous, consisting of an inner layer that snugs tightly around my face, and an outer layer that poofs up above my face. I'm excited to see if this system will help keep the area of my face that's always exposed (my nose and mouth) warmer in cold weather. I've often felt snuggly warm inside my bag in cooler temperatures, only to be woken up toward morning because my exposed nose feels so cold, so I hope the deep Jacket Hood will help remedy this by keeping the air near my face warmer. The outer part of the hood adjusts with a medium sized round lime green toggled cord which hangs freely, and the inner part adjusts with a smaller black round elastic cord with a smaller toggle that is attached to the side of the inner face tube with a loop of grosgrain ribbon. An interesting feature on the smaller cord is a small clear pony bead. I assume this has been attached to make this cord easier to pull on to adjust, due to the left portion of the cord being fixed in place and only the right side adjusting.
The YKK zipper has a moderate sized top pull made of a sueded material with a smooth back, which is attached to the metal zipper head. This pull is reversible - that is, it can be pulled around to be operated from either the interior or exterior. The bag can also be unzipped from the bottom with a normal metal zipper head without a fabric pull. The catch is that this zipper can only be operated effectively from the interior of the bag. It's a bit of a struggle, but the bag is wide enough that I can reach down into the foot area and unzip it with a little effort. The zipper is near ground level, and runs nearly the full length of the bag, stopping about 9 in (23 cm) from the bottom. The zipper is covered by a 2.5 in (6.5 cm) wide storm flap that fastens closed with 4 small hook and loop tabs spaced down the length of the bag. The zipper is backed by a strip of fabric with a rolled edge that helps prevent snagging, and the teeth of the zipper are positioned to the inside, toward this 'snag free strip'.
The Mist measures approximately 90 in (229 cm) overall length on the exterior, 29 in (74 cm)wide at the chest, 30 in (76 cm) at the hip, and 14 in (36 cm) at the foot. Two lime green colored 'pad locks' are attached to the back of the bag at approximately the chest and hip areas. These pad locks are narrow strips of gross grain ribbon that attach to the sleeping bag via hook and loop fasteners that pass through small cord loops permanently sewn into the bag, adjust by small black plastic slide buckles, and are designed to help keep the sleeping bag in place on a sleeping pad.
A large white care instruction tag is sewn to the bag on the outside of the upper draft tube. The tag contains information for cleaning the bag in three different ways - dry cleaning, hand washing, or machine washing. It specifies that if dry cleaning, use a dry cleaner experienced in cleaning down items who will guarantee their work. It states when machine or hand washing, use mild soap or special down soap, rinsing very thoroughly to remove all soap residue. When washing by machine it states not to use an agitator type machine. The label states to drip dry or tumble dry in a cool dryer, not to use harsh detergent or bleach, and not to steam press or iron. The label also gives the fabric content: 100% nylon shell, 100% polyester lining, and goose down insulation.
The Mist was shipped in a white cotton storage sack, measuring approximately 13 x 30 in (33 x 76 cm). The bottom of the storage sack has an insert of the liner material of the Mist, and the manufacturer logo, model information, fill information, and temperature rating printed in green on the white cotton. I was somewhat surprised with the size of the storage bag, because the loft of the down is compressed a good bit when the sleeping bag is stored in it, and it takes some effort to push the bag into the sack. I typically store my sleeping bags in large plastic totes to protect them from dust and accidental damage from our dog and cat, large enough to hold the bag without compressing the loft, and plan to do so with this bag also. A dark charcoal colored compression stuff sack measuring approximately 9 X 19 in (23 x 48 cm) with four compression straps was also included for packing the Mist for travel. Again, some effort is required to stuff the Mist completely into the sack. When the compression straps are tightened, the bag will stuff down to approximately 9 x 15 in (23 x 38 cm).
Initial Impressions:The design and construction of the Mist sleeping bag both appear to be top quality. I'm impressed with the care that obviously went into designing the bag for optimal warmth in cold weather, and I love the soft feel. The only small nitpick so far is that the Mist is only available in a right zip, which seems a little awkward to get fastened and unfastened since I am used to a left zip bag. I do wonder if all the various cinch cords around the head and neck area and the hook and loop fasteners on the storm flap will make it difficult to get out of the bag quickly for a late night nature call. The bag is bulkier than I am used to when stuffed, so I'm a bit anxious about how well it will fit in my pack, but the Mist has a lower temperature rating by at least 20 F (11 C) than any of my other bags, so this is to be expected.
Field Conditions:In February I used the Mist on two overnight backpacking trips in western West Virginia, hammocking on both occasions. The temperature dropped to around 30 F (-1 C) during the night on the first trip with some snow and light wind. On this trip I used a down underquilt for bottom insulation. On the second trip temperatures were around 35 F (2 C), breezy, and with blowing rain for at least an hour. On this trip, I used a hybrid sleeping pad of closed cell foam with a self inflating section as primary insulation and a thin closed cell foam pad folded and placed on my right side to cope with the typical cold spots caused by the way a hammock wraps around the sleeper. I also used the Mist in March at Girl Scout camp, sleeping under the stars using the hybrid sleeping pad and a plastic drop cloth underneath. Temperatures were around 35 F (2 C) with only a very slight occasional breeze and no precipitation. In April I used the Mist on an overnight backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee, sleeping in Curley Maple Gap Shelter, using the hybrid sleeping pad. Temperatures dropped to around 20 F (-7 C) during the night, with light breezes.
Field Use:On all occasions so far the Mist has kept me sufficiently warm, and I've had to vent the bag a few times each night to keep from getting too warm. On two of the backpacking overnights and the night under the stars I used the pad locks to secure the Mist to the sleeping pad. The pad locks are simple to use and adjust easily, but the positioning of the pad locks near the zipper seems to interfere with zipping the bag, especially near the upper pad lock. The zipper operates smoothly enough, but it takes a lot of pressure to move it past the pad locks, especially the upper one. I found I had to use both hands to operate it, pulling down against the bag with one hand and operating the zipper with the other. I've also found that the hook and loop fasteners on the storm flap slow down my exit from the bag since I have to unzip the bag to the first fastener, pull it apart, zip down to the next fastener and pull it apart, then unzip again before I can easily exit the bag, so no fast night time exits. Still this seems a fairly small sacrifice for the added draft protection of the storm flap.
Most of the time so far I've found the bag too warm to totally snug down the hood and snug the draft collars tight, preferring to keep them loose. Even with the adjustments loose the deep hood with the ample down filled tubes surrounding it provides sufficient warmth for temperatures down to 20 F (-7 C). The few times I've tightened the face and neck drawcords, I've found them a little hard to draw, and the one for the throat draft tube a little difficult to find during the night due to the puffiness of the various down tubes in that area.
On the night I hammocked in the wind and blowing rain, the foot of the Mist got a little wet when the hammock fly sagged from the rain and started flapping around, allowing a little rain to spray in. Exiting the hammock and adjusting the fly stopped the rain spray, and although the surface of the foot area of the Mist appeared 'wetted out', it didn't seem to soak into the down since it remained light and fluffy. On this trip, the bag was still a little damp at the foot when I packed it up, but it was dry before I unpacked it later that day at home to air it out. The foot of the bag also got a little wet the night I slept under the stars, when it slipped off the bottom of the sleeping pad, but this time it dried before I packed it up.
On my last trip, I found the mesh pocket at the chest especially useful. Since the temperatures were well below freezing and the air was dry, I stored a lip balm and my contact lenses in the pocket. I was able to apply lip balm during the night to keep my lips from drying out and chapping, and it was nice to have relatively warm lenses when I put my contacts in the next morning. The hook and loop closure worked well to keep both of these items inside the pocket even though I shifted from side to side several times during the night.
Fitting the Mist into the compression sack still takes a little effort, but I've found it easier when I leave the sleeping bag unzipped and start stuffing the foot end in first, allowing the air to escape out the top as I stuff the bag in. Once inside the stuff sack, the compression straps are easy to operate, compressing the bag several more inches. Even compressed, the Mist is fairly bulky, and it takes a little effort to fit it into the bottom of my pack, which is my preferred place to store it when I'm backpacking. I've also stored it on one side with my clothing and miscellaneous gear and my sleeping pad on the opposite side, but this is less space efficient since there is a lot of space left by the curved shape in the center part of the pack. Still, for the warmth of the bag, the Mist compresses well enough, and losing a little pack space is a small sacrifice for staying toasty warm in sub-freezing temperatures.
So far the bag seems top quality. All the stitching remains
secure and I've only noticed a couple of small feathers escaping the
shell. The down filled tubes make the Mist very cozy and snuggly,
and the warmth the bag provides has been incredible. On
my most recent backpacking trip my companions all said they were cold
during the night, but I was toasty warm. The only improvement I
would suggest so far is to move the pad locks a bit away from the
to make it easier to operate.
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