Hot Night Lights

Aug 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Named after a hairy alpine route in the Canadian Rockies, the ANDROMEDA STRAIN by INTEGRAL DESIGNS is ideal for fastpackers going high, low, or anywhere in between. The PrimaLoft Sport polyester stuffing resists water and can withstand punishment from your Maytag. Because seams create cold spots in insulation, ID topstitched the shell sparingly, and the bag's body-hugging "floating" liner is sewn only at the edges. If nights in your area run warmer than the 40-degree rating, just yank down the full-length zipper. ($170; 403-640-1445,

Can a one-pound-five-ounce bag really keep you warm? Tests confirmed that the MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR PHANTOM pulls it off. The footbox smothers your toes in lofty 800-fill down, while long internal chambers known as continuous baffles allow you to shift the feathers topside, for nippy nights, or beneath, for a plush nest on warm ones. A three-quarter-zippered opening shaves ounces and gives the 32-degree mummy-shaped Phantom a friendly summer-to-fall comfort range. ($240; 800-953-8375,

WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING's MEGALITE is so barely there that the company includes a disclaimer in its catalog: "Not intended for general field use." But when treated with care, this mummy bag is a solid alpine performer. A wispy nylon shell fabric allows the 850-fill down to loft like a thunderhead. Minimalists will comfortably snooze in temperatures at least ten degrees below the 30-degree rating; continuous baffles produce a generous warmth range—just wiggle the down around to where you need it. ($295; 408-287-8944,

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