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Mountain Hardwear Phamtom 15 ° Sleeping Bag: A Good Reason Not to Leave Your Tent

For my trekking trip in the Himalayas of Bhutan this spring, I needed a serious, lightweight sleeping bag that would protect me from the high altitude chill.  

I brought along the Mountain Hardwear Women's Phantom 15 ° sleeping bag, designed especially with the needs of women in mind and insulated with 800-fill down. I was very happy with my choice.

My envious tent mate Valerie exclaimed "I've never seen such a small bag with such great loft!" Small and loft are the operative words here. I got the regular length bag (the bag is also available in long), which fit me great--no swimming around in a too-large bag that requires more of my precious energy to heat.  Because Mountain Hardwear designers know that women need extra warmth in colder conditions, they have added additional insulation in the torso area and around the foot of this bag for us.  

Based on my history of getting cold during night camping, I brought along a silk liner, too, and started out with it in my bag at 12,000 feet elevation. Midway through the night I peeled down the liner because I was too warm. When I had to get up in the night to pee (darn! gotta stay hydrated at altitude), there was a thick layer of frost outside and frozen dew on the roof of the tent. Cold! But I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't left my bag.

At our next camp, at over 13,000 feet near the Bhutanese-Tibetan border, I decided to forego the liner. I slept in just a pair of lightweight long johns and a long-sleeved, lightweight top, and was sweating by morning. I noticed that my tent mate was wearing lots more to sleep inside her bag--fleece long underwear, fleece top, and even a down vest!

One of my favorite features of the Phantom bag is a down cuff around the neck area inside of the bag that keeps cold air from seeping in around my neck and shoulders.

I also discovered halfway through the trek that this mummy-style bag has a small, triangle-shaped, zippered pocket near the neck cuff for storing small things that I tend to lose track of in a tent, like earrings or Kleenex. This bag also stuffed down into a smaller stuff sac (provided of course) than any of the previous sleeping bags I've had over the years, making it ideal for weeks-long trips like mine.

Bottom Line: Search no longer--this great all-around bag will keep you cozy and comfortable in all but the most extreme cold.--J.I. (June 07)

Price: $350

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