Sleeping bag manufacturers provide technical and durable features at a reasonable price point. - SNEWS

Sleeping bag manufacturers provide technical and durable features at a reasonable price point.

In the SNEWS Outdoor 2009 Magazine, our coverage of the hardgoods market included a trends and product report on tents and packs debuting for the spring 2010 season. Below, is the latest on the sleeping bags segment that was not included in the magazine. As with tents and backpacks, weight remains a key selling point for sleeping bags. Keep your eyes peeled for new collections, as well as updates to lines that have sold well for the past few years.
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In the SNEWS Outdoor 2009 Magazine, our coverage of the hardgoods market included a trends and product report on tents and packs debuting for the spring 2010 season. Below, is the latest on the sleeping bags segment that was not included in the magazine.

Sleeping Bags

As with tents and backpacks, weight remains a key selling point for sleeping bags. Keep your eyes peeled for new collections, as well as updates to lines that have sold well for the past few years.

Chris Hilliard of Mountain Hardwear said that designers have put a full zipper on its extremely popular Phantom bags without changing the weight. "I scrutinized every gram," said Hilliard, explaining that weight was reduced by replacing the nylon zipper snag guard with soft, three-quarter inch grosgrain fabric. The bags also have lighter drawcords and cordlocks, and the bag tag is no longer made of a woven fabric, but perforated Tyvek that's attached to the footbox.

Mountain Hardwear is also continuing its efforts to woo the family camping market with aesthetic improvements on its best-selling Lumina line of synthetic bags. "The idea is take a product doing well in the marketplace, and make sure its visual appeal is in line with its technical merits," said Hilliard. Also, look for a new Extra Lamina bag, which is more rectangular than the previous Lamina and Performa bags.

While developing its new line of ultra-light sleeping bags, Marmot had a central mission. "Our goal was to reduce the weight of a core, synthetic sleeping bag by a pound," said Greg Houser, Marmot's vice president of design. "The first temptation is to reduce the zipper size, but for safety and ease of use we didn't want to do that." Instead, designers knocked off a pound by using 20-denier and 30-denier fabrics for the shells and liners, plus they tinkered with the shingled construction to make the bags more compressible while maintaining their warmth rating. As we went to press, Marmot was putting the final touches on a 45-degree bag that should weigh 700 grams to 800 grams and retail for $159-$169, as well as a 25-degree bag that will weight 900 grams to 1,000 grams and retail from $179-$189.

While GoLite built its reputation on featherweight gear, this year the company is clearly emphasizing its dedication to green products. Its new synthetic bags in the RS Series include the same proprietary 100-percent chemically recycled polyester used in its backpacks. In fact, this material is used in the shell, lining and insulation of the new RS 3-Season mummy bag. This is not only a good choice for eco-conscious backpackers, but also those who tend to feel constricted in a mummy bag, because it's relatively roomy at the shoulder, hips and legs. The footbox is reportedly forgiving, as it's angled and shaped like a trapezoid. Beyond the RS line, you'll also find the recycled polyester material in the shells and linings of bags in the Adrenaline Series, as well as the linings of bags in the Ultralite series.

Another positive trend we've noticed with core hardgoods is that companies continue to broaden their offerings of women's gear. For example, Big Agnes is launching three new superlight 800-fill down bags for women. The Divide SL women's bags are fully outfitted, sporting zipper tubes and collars to block drafts, and pillow pockets built into the hood. The shells are a nylon microfiber ripstop material with a water-repellent treatment. The new line includes petite and regular sizes for the Amber SL 30 (regular: 2 pounds, 2 ounces, $260); Peggy SL 15 (regular: 2 pounds, 8 ounces, $300); and Edna SL –5 (regular: 3 pounds, $400).

--Marcus Woolf

As we went to press on the magazine in May, some manufacturers were simply not prepared to announce their product line-up for Summer Market. But this sneak peak should give you a good idea of the major themes that will be presented for spring 2010.

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