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Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 Review

   

Backpacking Sleeping Bags

  • Currently 4.3/5
Overall avg rating 4.3 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: December 3, 2012
Street Price:   Varies from $500 - $530 | Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros:  Warm for its weight, good fabrics, fantastic hood design.
Cons:  Does not have continuous horizontal baffles = less versatile and less warm than Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering 3-season bags.
Best Uses:  All-purpose camping.
User Rating:     
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 (4.7 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (3/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ November 10, 2012  
Overview
The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 is a high quality hooded down sleeping bag. It combines 800-fill down with an efficient and comfortable fit. The Phantom is equipped with one of the most comfortable hood designs of any bag we tested. This bag offer campers and backpackers a moderately lightweight bag that's viable below freezing.

Traditional sleeping bags with zippers and hoods have fixed girths that can be a large drawback for backpackers and climbers that cross multiple climates or wear clothing inside the bag. We've found that quilt style sleeping bags are more versatile, lighter weight, and more comfortable in a wider range of conditions. Our testers much prefer quilts for multi-day trips. Compare the best bags that prioritize weight savings in our Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review. If you're set on a hood check out our Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 is one of our highest rated traditional style three-season down bags. It exemplifies a well-designed, comfortable, and efficient sleeping bag, and its significantly more affordable than slightly better bags.

Outside, the Phantom is protected by superlight 15 Denier ripstop nylon. Inside, 800-fill goose down provides a luxurious amount of puffy loft. While weight and compressibility are top factors when choosing a sleeping bag, its fit that separates a good bag from a great bag. Disregarding the stretchy Montbell Down Hugger, the Phantom is the best fitting all-purpose bag reviewed in this category. The Phantom 15 fits a wide variety of body types without being too wide or too skinny for the masses. Its available in a Womens cut, which is shorter than the Regular cut. We prefer the fit of the Phantom to the fit of the Marmot Plasma, which is slightly wider and not available in a Womens cut.

What separates the Phantom from the competition is its comfortable and compact hood. Here, Mountain Hardwear removed excess volume and created a snug fitting hood that doesnt need to be cinched unless temperatures drop close to the bags limit. And this is exactly when the Phantom shines brightest. Unlike all other bags tested here, the Phantom has an asymmetric neck baffle that curves around the front of your neck, keeping warm air in but not choking you to death. The Phantom also has differentiated pull cords. For both the neck baffle and the draft collar, flat webbing tightens the back, while a round elastic tightens the front. This allows you to move about at night without undoing the neck baffles velcro closure a common problem on most bags without elasticized pull cords. All other sleeping bags weve reviewed, except for the Marmot Plasma, have inferior hood and neck baffles. The Plasmas is, more or less, as comfortable as the Phantoms, but its slightly less efficient (heavier). Were comparing minute details here, but theyre important because its what surrounds your face and neck.

The Phantom also addresses a key problem found with most other bags. When the neck baffle is fully closed (on other bags) a foot of pull cord dangles annoyingly around your neck. To remedy this, the Phantom includes a small and concealed stuff pocket by the left shoulder. Simply cinch it and stuff it.

233009
Dislikes
Unfortunately, the zipper on the Phantom is extremely prone to snagging. Like terribly likely to snag. This author once spent 10 minutes freeing a caught zipper in the middle of the night (much worse than most other bags). While this is rather annoying, the problem is akin to a small blemish on a flavorful fruit. You can deal with it.

Like all sleeping bags with fixed girths, the Phantom is significantly heavier and less versatile than quilt style sleeping bags. Our Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review discusses the advantages of quilts, which are found in the Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review.

Best Application
All-purpose multi-day camping.

Value
The Phantom is a great value. Its not as light or as fancy as the Marmot Plasma 15, but its lower price make it a sure bet for someone looking for a quality do-it-all down bag.

Other Versions
The Phantom also comes in 32 and 0 degree versions and is also in available in a Womens cut. Weve tested the Phantom 0, which is nearly identical to the 15-degree version.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 3, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.7)

100% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (2)
4 star: 50%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Dec 3, 2012 - 10:30pm
Sarah Raz · Backpacker · MT
I got this bag for a five month bicycle trip from Alaska to Mexico: I wanted something light, warm, and that would pack down. This bag did all of these things, and I was happy with it. I was afraid that exposure to moisture would compromise the loft, but it stayed fluffy til the end. I'd had a cheaper, thus heaver sleeping bag before and I could not BELIEVE how light this bag was. On a sweet note, it also zipped up with my boyfriend's bag, although we did not have the same sleeping bag. So that was pretty cute.

One thing that worried me a bit-this bag seemed to lose a lot of feathers through the seams. I didn't notice any real difference in the loft, but whenever I'd shake the tent out in the morning, quite a few feathers would fly out. I am a little concerned about how that will play out in the months to come.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Oct 26, 2012 - 11:16pm
MotoKitty · Kayaker · Portland, Or
I bought his bag for all around travel, to take on motorcycle trips and on trips that involve plane travel. I'm a thin built female that gets really cold at night so the bag needs to strike a balance between being really compressible and warm. I think the phantom 15 has done this perfectly.

I just stayed in Bryce Canyon where the overnight temp was at 28 degrees and I was toasty warm and comfy with only a thin clothing layer. I'd be comfortable taking this bag into the upper teens. The hood on this also fits perfectly so a hat isn't needed. Like others have mentioned, the zipper can snag but i got used to it. Bottom line is that I really love this bag!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 3, 2011 - 04:43am
spidey · Climber · Berkeley CA
I have the Phantom 32 for summer use, and Phantom 0 for winter. Both are great bags, so I'm sure the 15 is great as well. Only negative is the zippers do catch a lot. But they are super light, perform well, and very comfortable. Mountain Hardwear makes great sleeping bags. I tried the marmot helium and found the phantom was a lot more comfortable - it just fits better in the hood and the footbox.

If you are only going to have one bag the 15 degree rating is the way to go, and I'd highly recommend the phantom series.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15
Credit: Mountain Hardwear
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