Name: Fuzzy Monkey (David)
Date of Review: February, 2012
BACKGROUND: I’ve successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. I also have numerous other backpacking trips under my belt. The weather conditions I’ve dealt with range from the desert heat to snow-packed mountains. I’ve dealt with thunderstorms, hail, extreme winds and most conditions in-between. I choose to carry a MontBell Down Hugger Super Stretch #5 sleeping bag for my 2007 Appalachian Trail hike, and the reason for this review.
DISCLAIMER: Readers should know there has been some time between when I initial purchased this item and the time I’m actually performing this review. Whenever I talk about my AT hike, people always end up asking me what type of gear I took with me. This review is to answer those questions and to further expand how it worked for me. I still own and use this sleeping bag. In fact in order to inspire me while writing this review I went and crawled into it and wrote this review.
Manufacturer: MontBell (MontBell Co Ltd.)
Product Information: Super Stretch Down Hugger #5 Sleeping Bag
REVIEW: The MontBell Down Hugger #5 is a mummy shaped sleeping bag. This particular bag has the zipper on the right side of the bag. The color is hard to describe, but for the purpose of this review I’m describing it is as a purple, aqua color. The interior of the bag is grey. The bag appears crunched and this is for a reason. It’s designed to stretch once inside the bag. This is MontBell’s patented feature on their line of sleeping bags.
The first time I used it was in 2007 on the Appalachian Trail. Since this was my first long distance hike I was unsure how well it would perform. When I initially did my research there were various opinions regarding sleeping gear. I choose the 40 Degree bag and choose to supplement my sleeping gear with a sleeping bag liner and clothing. My Super Stretch #5 has served me well hundreds of nights backpacking. The weather conditions I have dealt with also varied from hot summer nights to cold nights on snow packed mountains. I’ve also used this bag in wet damp weather.
When I utilized the shelters on the Appalachian Trail, I rolled out my sleeping pad along with my sleeping bag on the floor of the shelter and this particular MontBell Super Stretch worked well.
Other times I’ve used this sleeping pad are in tent situations. I’ve used several tents, but my MontBell Super Stretch #5 has been used most often with my MSR Hubba. A sleeping bag in addition to your shelter and pad are all important factors when attempting to shield the cold ground from your body. I highly recommend a good sleeping bag when backpacking and a MontBell would be a great option.
The Super Stretch #5 packs really small which is one of the prime reasons I choose to carry this bag. I like that I’m able to physically place this bag almost anywhere in my packs and not have it take up too much room. It really compress well.
The second reason I choose this bag is for the stretching ability. At the time the only other sleeping bag I had used were mummy in shape. Since I toss and turn when I sleep I’m often not comfortable in straight mummy style bags. When I was planning on hiking the AT, I did not want to take my older confined mummy bag. So after doing some research I choose to purchase MontBell Super Stretch. And Yes, I’m happy I did. It is really nice the way the bag forms to your body. Imagine slipping your entire body into panty hose. The material surrounds your entire body leaving little room for air pockets. This is very similar to slipping into a the Down Hugger bag.
The only dislike if I had to mention one is that it is only a 40 degree bag. Some of the trips I have taken it on I’ve ended up getting really cold. Again this is not the fault or performance of the bag. Some of the weather conditions of my trips I should have had a lot warmer bag. I still have this bag and use it more for summer camping than for more rugged backpacking trips. I like to be warmer and more comfortable now that I’m getting up there in age.
CONCLUSION: Overall the MontBell Super Stretch Down Hugger #5 is an excellent piece of equipment and worked well for my AT thru-hike and multi-day backpacking adventures. I recommend adding any type of inflatable sleeping pad to your sleep system for warmth and comfort.
Fuzzy Monkey Likes:
Super Stretch Style (Comfort)
Fuzzy Monkey Dislikes:
40 Degree Rating (Used only in summers now)
Some cold Spots
Fuzzy Monkey Approved: YES