Feb 1, 2002
Outside Magazine

Marmot Aiguille (down) "Cold spot" is not a term Marmot's designers tolerate. Which is why the minus-5-degree Aiguille ($520) is constructed with such complex baffling—11 in the foot, nine in the chest, six in the hood—keeping its 30 ounces of plump 800-fill down where it belongs. You might expect that all this stitching would translate to a straitjacket feel, but that's not the case. There's a generous 64 inches of shoulder room and 44 inches at the foot (which is lined with heavier fabric for sleeping with boots or liners on). Since wet down—even 800-fill—has the insulative value of sheet metal, the Aiguille's shell is a Dryloft laminate to fend off dew and frost. And the weight penalty for all this performance? Just three pounds, two ounces.

Mountain Hardwear King Tut EX SL (down) The old hot-rodder's axiom "There's no substitute for cubic inches" holds with sleeping bags too. In the case of the King Tut ($525), 37 ounces of 775-fill down—roughly 27,000 cubic inches' worth—keeps you steamy to a numbing minus 20 degrees. When conditions are mild (or, conversely, when they're so nasty you'd rather get dressed inside the bag) the Tut sports a trick expandable pleat: Undo a second side zipper and the bag grows widthwise by eight inches, augmenting its already excellent 64 inches of shoulder room and 40 inches at the foot, and letting more heat escape in the process. The shell fabric is backed by a waterproof-breathable laminate. All that down and extra material adds up, of course, but four pounds, three ounces isn't bad if it means you'll sleep through the night.

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