Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mountain Hardwear Switch 20 Review

"Ultra versatile, spacious and warm on all but the chilliest nights"

The Stats:
Price: $130
Temperature Rating: 20 degrees
Weight: 3lbs 10oz
Insulation: Thermic MX (Synthetic)

Pro's: Warm, Zipper Expands the Bag on a Warm Night, Great Value, Very Versatile, Warm When Wet

Con's: No Loft Sack, Not Light, Bulky Even When Compressed, Not Water Resistant.

The Full Story:

The bag could be warmer, it could be lighter, it could be more comfortable, but if it was any of these things it would also be a heck of a lot more expensive! The Mountain Hardwear Switch 20 ends up being a remarkably warm bag able to handle most of what Spring, Summer, and Fall have to throw at a backpacker and a great value buy. Even when snow was still covering the ground in the sierra's I still felt as snug as a bug tucked away in the bag.

The key to this bags versatility though lies in the side zipper which allows the bag to expand a little to prevent overheating and add comfort. When it comes down to it though the Switch 20 ends up not being only a great bargain at $120 but a great bag that you can pack away and not worry too much about the forecast. Even when it gets a little damp the bag will stay nice and warm and makes for a very comfortable nights sleep.

The weight and somewhat bulky dimensions exclude this bag from the kits of Ultralight backpackers but it makes a phenomenal first sleeping bag for a beginner. Unfortunately though the bag does not come with a loft sack and before I was able to purchase one my bag lost some loft being stored away in its compression sack.

Though I've replaced this bag with some warmer, lighter down sleeping bags I still keep this bag around for summer camping trips and warm weather backpacking.

For More:
Mountain Hardwear - http://www.mountainhardwear.com/Product.aspx?top=2038&cat=2101&prod=3444

Test Locations: Mt. Whitney, Lassen Backcountry, Yosemite Backcountry, North Coast Redwoods

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