Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $480 - $530 | Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros: Superlight, comfortable hood seals in warm air, best lightweight hooded bag tested.
Cons: sewn-through bottom is not as versatile as continuous baffles = reduced warmth to weight ratio, zipper catches easily, slim cut is for skinny people only.
Best Uses: Summer backpacking.
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
The Mountain Hardwear Speed 32 is the best hooded summer weight sleeping bag we've tested. It narrowly swipes this title from the Western Mountaineering Highlite because it is slightly warmer and has a more comfortable hood. Both bags weigh a touch over one pound. But other types of sleeping bags weigh nearly the same and offer more warmth and more versatility. See our Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review to compare bags with attached hoods. If saving weight is your top priority see our Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Speed 32 is the lightest sleeping bag Mountain Hardwear has ever made. It clocks in at an impressive 16.3 ounces on our scale, which makes it the the second lightest bag we've tested. The bag uses top quality 850-fill down, the same superlight fabric found on the company's Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket, and saves weight by using sewn-through construction on the bottom of the bag. As with their Phantom bags, Mountain Hardwear uses a small and comfortable hood on the Speed 32. This is a fully-featured mummy bag with a very trim cut. The Speed 32's next closes competitor is the Western Mountaineeering Highlite. Our testers prefer the Speed because it is slightly warmer and has a more comfortable hood.
Although the Speed 32 is a top-tier traditional style mummy bag, it's not as warm for its weight or as versatile as other bags we've tested. For backpacking and fast and light climbing our testers prefer hood-less sleeping bags and, ideally, hood-less quilt style bags. Both offer more versatility, and more warmth for their weight than traditional bags with fixed girths and hoods. For example, the Speed 32's cut is too trim for both broader shouldered people and for use with a moderate down jacket because there's not enough space for the jacket to loft properly. The Speed 32 is an exceptional bag, it's the best in its class and the lightest non-cottage industry bag available, but we've found that other types of bags offer more warmth and are more versatile yet weigh only one to two ounces more. A minor drawback: the Speed 32's zipper catches easily. But the same grosgrain strips that catch easily also help to seal in warm air
Check out our Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review to compare other hooded bags and, if you are searching to the best bag that prioritizes weight savings, check out our Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review.
The Speed 32 retails for $400 but can often be found for less. The ZPacks 20-Degree bag offers more warmth and versatility for the same weight and costs around $360. We believe the ZPacks bag is a better value. Again, see the Ultralight Bag Review to compare the best light three-season bags.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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Most recent review: June 25, 2014
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