We’re taking a look at Sierra Designs Eleanor series of sleeping bags. These are mummy shaped with 600 fill power down insulation making them great for backpacking. With the down fill you’ve got lightweight compressibility but there is a treatment on the DriDown insulation in these bags that makes them perform differently than most down bags. Traditionally down bags stand out because they are so lightweight and so compressible that it still beats, on those levels, any synthetic on the market. However, synthetic insulation still performs well if it becomes damp, if it becomes wet and retains its ability to keep you warm. Down doesn’t, so when it becomes wet it clumps and loses its loft, thus losing its ability to keep you warm. DriDown performs very differently. I’ve got a couple of bottles here filled with different types of down. Regular down in my left hand and Sierra Designs DriDown in my right hand. Same amount of water in both, same amount of fill in both and you can see how these are reacting very differently. I’m going to shake these up a bit too just to show you that we are subjecting both of these fills to water. As you can see in the regular down it is clumping and it’s fully saturated and it has lost its loft. Now, the DriDown insulation is still lofty and it’s sitting up on top of the water. We filled these earlier in the day and we’ve shaken them throughout the day and you can see that the DriDown remains resistant and the loft is still there. You can expect that same kind of performance inside the bag and because of that can expect it to remain significantly warmer than a regular untreated down bag would be when subjected to wet conditions. DriDown uses a molecular level of application and that application is actually applied to each individual plume of down. That’s what gives it a hydrophobic finish. Again, basically drives away or resist entirely, water. That end result is retention of loft, faster drying times and resists water entirely, again, resulting in a significantly warmer bag that you can use more confidently in a variety of conditions. The bag I have here in front of me is the 20 degree temperature rating of the Eleanor so it’s ideal for 3-season backpacking. The Eleanor is also available in a 30 degree temperature rating which is a bit more compact and lighter in weight and a better fit for warmer weather or summer backpacking. The bags share features so they have a women specific design with contours to fit the female form and bolstered insulation at key areas of heat loss; the feet and also across the chest area making it a warmer option for women. A 60” side zipper gives nice access to the bag itself but does so in a streamlined manner that maintains a lightweight design. It is double slider which allows you to open it on the other end of venting on warm nights. Each of the bags has Sierra Designs, trademark designed hood which mirrors what you’d find in outerwear; a really nice dialed in fit. The cord lock allows you to fine tune that so it can be just how you like it and a little security pocket on each bag for keeping essentials close at hand. An ergonomic footbox allows you to maintain natural foot positioning at night. Sierra Designs includes both a storage sack and a stuff sack with each of the bags, adding some additional value there. I really like these bags and think they are great options for backpacking since you get that lightweight compressible performance of down but you no longer have to worry about losing performance in wet or damp conditions.
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