Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mountain Hardwear Mtn Speed 32

I didn’t want a zipper on my sleeping bag. First they told me that’s not possible. But a zipper is a weak insulation point. So we removed the zipper which saved weight and made the bag warmer. That’s the way to go.
- Uli Steck

First, the Bad:

It appears, in the video above (@2:56) under Uli Steck's guidance, Mountain Hardwear created a ultra-lightweight sleeping bag with no zipper. That is not the Mtn Speed 32. We can only assume that bag never made it to market due to perceived consumer demands. This in itself is not bad.

What is bad, is not product testing. The Mountain Hardwear Mtn Speed 32 a has the most dysfunctional zipper I've ever used. And, seems I didn't just get a bad egg. My best guess is someone at MH HQ freaked on the no-zip feature and there was no time to field test.

On the left: Is it possible for a zipper to get that stuck? Right: unstuck finally.

Now, the Good:

Mountain Hardwear has created the lightest, non-cottage industry, sleeping bag with an EN 32 lower-limit rating. Weight comes in as advertised at 15.7 oz.(446gr). Materials are 850-Fill Goose Down wrapped in 7D x 10D Ripstop.

It's comfortable, warm and has enough room for me to sleep in layers pushing the temperature limit further down. Fabric durability has not been an issue.

Vaude Featherlight 200 on left. Mountain Hardwear Mtn Speed 32 on right.

Conclusion:

I'm a designer. I understand how great ideas are compromised into shitty products. But, know this Mountain Hardwear: You haven't blown it. Listen to Uli and Dave, put out well-tested product, and your bags will be back on the cutting edge. You guys are doing good, and frankly, it's a welcome sight to see a major player going to these lengths to create an ultra-lightweight product.

On the playlist: Zoe Muth - If I Can't Trust You With A Quarter
On the playlist: The Hood Internet - F*ck With Mo' Money
Inspiration: Speed Freak

4 comments:

  1. Hello,
    I just bought this bag, and while I haven't had any issues with the zipper, I did question the insulation. The problem seems to be that if I put my hand down on the bag, I can see where this pushes the insulation to the sides creating an area with no insulation.

    My first reaction was that I got screwed. The more I thought about it though, I wasn't sure if that was the case. I tried the same thing with my MH Wraith -20 and the same thing occurred, but not having the super-thin fabric, you just can't see it happening like you can with the mtn speed.

    Did you notice the same thing with your bag and has that been an issue with retaining warmth?

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  2. I know what you mean, but it hasn't been a problem with my bag. I've had it down below freezing and still was plenty warm with the appropriate clothing on and a bivy. I'm looking forward to really testing out the bag this winter with temps closer to zero.

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  3. Cool video. I can really relate to how marketing screws well designed products - see it all the time. Glad I found your site. I'll be back.

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  4. I agree, Philip. Marketing can really be a 'stick in the spokes'. It is a shame about the zipper, but I'm sure we will see better product in the future.

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