Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

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Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 1:06 am

I have been looking for a new lighter 3-season sleeping bag
Saved up enough for the MH Hyperlamina Flame and it is now discontinued
Some interesting LW designs coming from China but none of them big enough to fit me.
I thought that Cumulus did one but when I checked the website it appears I misremembered or it has been DFR'd
The Chouinard/Patagonia is OK but I think it would be a bit tight and more than my budget as is the Nunatak since the Australian dollar plummeted,
Does anybody know of a LW centre zip sleeping bag suitable for somebody XXL in clothing and rated to a reasonable temperature; say 5C to freezing?
One that will let me keep my arms and legs/ kidney??
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby ribuck » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 6:48 am

Does the zip need to be directly in the centre, or just somewhere on top?

Lightwave Firelight bags have their zip towards one side but still on top, where it's super easy to operate. They come with a choice of fill, from 150 to 750 grams, and three sizes. It's 900-loft down (970 on the US scale) so it's great warmth for weight. The internal width is 80cm - I don't know whether or not that's big enough for XXL in clothing.

The only downside: they're not cheap.

https://www.lightwave.uk.com/sleeping-b ... eping-bags

The Firelight 450 (450g of down) has a comfort limit of freezing (lower limit is minus 5), and weighs 750g for the 180cm length. I took the Firelight 650 to the MacDonnell Ranges in May and was too hot every night.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby north-north-west » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 9:46 am

Nice looking bags, but that pricetag . . .

Still, one must approve of the company's attitude: "The extreme limit is a nonsense and best ignored. We really don't see any usefulness in this measure."
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 9:46 am

For my simple needs it has to be right in the centre.Googling late last nite I found a Hyperlamina in a Large so I may have to buy it if i can't find something using dry down
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Zapruda » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 10:11 am

The actual effectiveness of DriDown and similar is still up for debate. Some reports are positive and other aren’t. Things such as loss of loft and clumping because of the treatment are widely reported.

It is my understanding that down has natural water repellent properties anyway.

I noticed significant loft reduction in a Enlightened Equipment quilt that I owned. I have never noticed any loss of loft in my non treated Western Mountaineering bags.

Probably not what you are after but an interesting design - https://featheredfriends.com/collection ... eeping-bag
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 11:03 am

I have never had any effects from using Nikwax on any of my sleeping bags. It was Steve Jamieson of J&H who recommended that I treat my Ultra when I first bought it and at first I was reluctant to do anything to 900FP down but in the end I am glad I did, it is the accelerated drying time I find significant The treatment process at home did take a week in a very hot summer followed be several hours in a commercial tumble dryer on very low heat, I think most people who home treat do not tumble for any where near long enough and that can indeed cause clumping
I have looked at the Winter Wren [ and the discontinued Rock Wren] but thought that the Vireo made more sense to me if I was going to buy from FF but then I bought the Red Rabbit half bag which was much cheaper because it was on clearance
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Zapruda » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 11:57 am

Moondog55 wrote: have never had any effects from using Nikwax on any of my sleeping bags.


We might be talking about different things. I am talking about Down-tek pre treated down - http://down-tek.com/

Here is what WM have to say about down treaments

We have found in our own testing that the performance enhancements of hydrophobic treatments on high quality down are widely overstated. High quality untreated down already has naturally water repellant oils on it left by the geese (makes sense since geese spend a lot of time in water). These oils help repel water and keep down lofted. More importantly is that these oils last indefinitely. Hydrophobic treatments wash out like a DWR and remove the natural oils during the application process. Because of this, and the water resistant capability of our shell fabrics, we feel that hydrophobic down does not provide a considerable impact on performance and could actually inhibit performance over the lifetime of our products.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 12:37 pm

I know that Nikwax owns one of the major treated down products brands. I actually don't know which brand it is. Nikwax did tell me once that the treatment lasts for "several" washes using their down wash product and as I only wash a bag every 3 to 5 years I thought it would do for my lifetime. I lived longer than I had thought I would hence the factory rejuvenation. 30 years ago the shells fabrics didn't have a DWR treatment and the Nikwax added that as part of the process, this also was important. With modern shell fabrics it may be less important
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Lamont » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 3:26 pm

Zapruda wrote:The actual effectiveness of DriDown and similar is still up for debate. Some reports are positive and other aren’t. Things such as loss of loft and clumping because of the treatment are widely reported.

It is my understanding that down has natural water repellent properties anyway.

I noticed significant loft reduction in a Enlightened Equipment quilt that I owned. I have never noticed any loss of loft in my non treated Western Mountaineering bags.

Probably not what you are after but an interesting design - https://featheredfriends.com/collection ... eeping-bag

Interesting. Jan at Nunatak said roughly the same thing to me a couple of years ago. Said in words at the time roughly -it was the consumer demand which made them provide it, the WP treated down that is. He was happy to sell it to me if I wanted it. He lead me to believe though the so called 'normal' down they use was fine and he recommended I use that. I did. He could have got more money from me quite easily. My daughter still curses me for selling her quilt. It was a lofting beast.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Zapruda » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 3:47 pm

Lamont wrote:Interesting. Jan at Nunatak said roughly the same thing to me a couple of years ago. Said in words at the time roughly -it was the consumer demand which made them provide it, the WP treated down that is. He was happy to sell it to me if I wanted it. He lead me to believe though the so called 'normal' down they use was fine and he recommended I use that. I did. He could have got more money from me quite easily. My daughter still curses me for selling her quilt. It was a lofting beast.


They are a great company like that. I just bought a synthetic jacket from them and Jan was incredibly helpful. He told me to visit the shop when I am in Moab early next year. It will be great to put a face to the name.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 4:03 pm

I thought Jan was a female? Certainly the person I spoke to on the telephone when I ordered my overquilt was a woman.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Lamont » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 4:17 pm

Zapruda wrote:
Lamont wrote:Interesting. Jan at Nunatak said roughly the same thing to me a couple of years ago. Said in words at the time roughly -it was the consumer demand which made them provide it, the WP treated down that is. He was happy to sell it to me if I wanted it. He lead me to believe though the so called 'normal' down they use was fine and he recommended I use that. I did. He could have got more money from me quite easily. My daughter still curses me for selling her quilt. It was a lofting beast.


They are a great company like that. I just bought a synthetic jacket from them and Jan was incredibly helpful. He told me to visit the shop when I am in Moab early next year. It will be great to put a face to the name.

Excellent. You shall have a grand time. Don't forget-please send me a photo. Hell he might even remember my order. :lol: I drove him crazy with questions and I love my Skaha Apex at app 310 grams-which he discounted for me a wee bit. Where else can you customise a jacket with heavier grade apex in the body than the arms? A model business.
JMT at app 200 grams? I'd love one. Is that it? No wait now for you I suppose-do you get the special treatment :wink:
I have many times put the JMT hoody in the cart.
MD says he thinks Jan is female-I got the impression he was male and I know he/she is Norwegian, discussed everything in metric thank goodness.
Zapruda can you enlighten us?
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby ambrose47 » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 5:35 pm

Lamont wrote:MD says he thinks Jan is female-I got the impression he was male and I know he/she is Norwegian, discussed everything in metric thank goodness.
Zapruda can you enlighten us?


Jan is male I just ordered a Nebula quilt from him. Great guy to deal with now the waiting begins before it is delivered
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Zapruda » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 6:23 pm

Haha, Jan is definitely male.

Lamont - I ended up with the a Skaha/PCT. 3.6oz apex throughout. Should come to about 360g in a medium. What size did you end up with and what is the fit like? What Apex weight is your Skaha? Warm at 0 stationary?

Great minds eh :)
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Zapruda » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 6:32 pm

ambrose47 wrote:Jan is male I just ordered a Nebula quilt from him. Great guy to deal with now the waiting begins before it is delivered


Let us know what you think of it when it arrives, ambrose. It have always had my eye on a Nebula. I have ordered a few things from Nunatak in the past and they have all been worth the wait.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Lamont » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 6:53 pm

Zapruda wrote:Haha, Jan is definitely male.

Lamont - I ended up with the a Skaha/PCT. 3.6oz apex throughout. Should come to about 360g in a medium. What size did you end up with and what is the fit like? What Apex weight is your Skaha? Warm at 0 stationary?

Great minds eh :)

Just checked, my review is still on there from Feb last year. The Skaha yes, is now called the PCT. I have the 3.6 body and 2.6 arms, integrated hood, roo pocket. 10D shell. I will never sell it. 320 grams. A work of art. Perfect fit for layering. Ha ha you will be warm at zero. I'll wager a slab of Melbourne Bitter on that. With the 3.6 Apex all over you will be golden easy under zero and more.
Take care equating you mind to my addled noodle.

Edit Zapruda forgot to say my size is M/L one inch longer at the front and back from memory. Perfect fit.
Last edited by Lamont on Wed 24 Jul, 2019 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby ribuck » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 6:55 pm

north-north-west wrote:. . . one must approve of the company's attitude: "The extreme limit is a nonsense and best ignored. We really don't see any usefulness in this measure."

Agreed. I think of the extreme limit as being the temperature at which 50% of people would not survive the night in that bag.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby ithomas » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 7:14 pm

Cannot help you in your quest to find a centre zip sleeping bag. However, the best bag I that have ever owned was a Swiss made Egge expedition bag which consisted of two sewn through bags; an inner and an outer, both with boxed feet. Extremely fine down was held in place with a square quilt pattern with the seams on both bags offset from each other. Either bag could be used by itself in milder conditions. Bright red in colour, the combination was unbeatable. I foolishly loaned mine to Lincoln Hall who absconded with it to the Himalaya. History shows that it served him well!
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 23 Jul, 2019 8:47 pm

Jeez talk about Deja Vu I also had one of those. Wonderful UL bags although mine was slightly different in that the outer bag was a double I sold the outer in England and the inner was loaned to somebody by my ex-wife and it was never returned
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby north-north-west » Wed 24 Jul, 2019 11:18 am

Moondog55 wrote:Jeez talk about Deja Vu I also had one of those.


Serious question:
Is there any brand or any kind of gear you haven't had?
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Wed 24 Jul, 2019 11:37 am

Lots NNW
Really and truly Lots
But back in the late 70's when I was preparing to go to the UK; BushGear in Melbourne [ anybody remember BushGear?] recommended this bag as the lightest for the warmth. At the time Loch Wilson was selling some really State of the Art gear and Egge was right up there. Also I was young stupid and working 80+ hours a week in the Outback and had more money than common sense and tried a lot of gear without actually seeing it. All mail order and trunk telephone calls [ anybody remember trunk calls before the internet] and I've had a lot of time to trial stuff and wear stuff out
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby ambrose47 » Wed 24 Jul, 2019 5:50 pm

Zapruda wrote:
ambrose47 wrote:Jan is male I just ordered a Nebula quilt from him. Great guy to deal with now the waiting begins before it is delivered


Let us know what you think of it when it arrives, ambrose. It have always had my eye on a Nebula. I have ordered a few things from Nunatak in the past and they have all been worth the wait.


I will indeed, everything I have read about Nunatak points to a fantastic product so im sure I wont be disappointed.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Mon 05 Aug, 2019 8:48 am

After posting the same question over at BPL the consensus seems to be a combination of buyer inertia [ we tend to buy that which is familiar] and cost; It is more difficult and more therefore expensive to make a centre zipper work well
Last edited by Moondog55 on Mon 05 Aug, 2019 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby ithomas » Mon 05 Aug, 2019 1:28 pm

Haha. Maybe I gave you some half-baked advice back then! I worked full-time at Bushgear in 1976 and 1977. The mountaineering gear selection was propelled by a bevy of rock climbers who were all gear freaks. We climbers worked upstairs where we could ignore maps, boots with welts, wooden shirts and bushwalkers while having the freedom to play with brand new gear all day long. Generations of bushwalkers and climbers owe Loch Wilson and John Siesman a vote of thanks because of their commitment to the hard-core outdoor pursuits of walking, climbing and cross country skiing.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Mon 05 Aug, 2019 1:35 pm

Wooden shirts is an appropriate description for those heavy Kiwi jackets.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby ithomas » Mon 05 Aug, 2019 2:43 pm

Wooden shirts - still a favoured style down here in Tasmania.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby north-north-west » Tue 06 Aug, 2019 1:03 pm

Although the politicians prefer wooden heads...
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby ambrose47 » Thu 26 Sep, 2019 6:27 pm

ambrose47 wrote:
Zapruda wrote:
ambrose47 wrote:Jan is male I just ordered a Nebula quilt from him. Great guy to deal with now the waiting begins before it is delivered


Let us know what you think of it when it arrives, ambrose. It have always had my eye on a Nebula. I have ordered a few things from Nunatak in the past and they have all been worth the wait.


I will indeed, everything I have read about Nunatak points to a fantastic product so im sure I wont be disappointed.


My package arrived today, I ordered the Nebula along with a set of PCT pants and PCT Plus Apex jacket.

The quality is second to none I am absolutely blown away with the workmanship. Jan certainly has attention to detail.

I got the Edge Tension Control system on the Nebula quilt and having a quick play with it on the bed its a very well thought out system, brings the edges of the quilt right under me and stays in place even when moving around. Would highly recommend this feature if ordering from Nunatak.

The jacket hood design is one of the best I have come across, good snug fit doesn't fell like it is pulling your head down and still gives you good head movement. The arms are also well thought out, gives full arm movement without riding up your arms.

The pants are pants a good simple design well made and will give good warmth.

Now to take them out on there first proper outing and give them a good workout. Also have to decied what to do with my montbell gear.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Zapruda » Fri 27 Sep, 2019 8:33 am

Thanks for the feedback Ambrose.

My PCT jacket arrived the other week and I echo your thoughts. An absolutely brilliant piece of kit and fits me perfectly.

I am currently testing a quilt for Jan that has ECT and of all the ways to secure a quilt this is the best I’ve come across. Still not a quilt fan unfortunately, even after all these years.

I am waiting on an Alpinist 18 now. Can’t wait.
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Re: Why so few centre zip sleeping bags?

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 27 Sep, 2019 8:51 am

Looking forward to your in depth report on the Alpinist
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