Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Lightweight, 850-fill down.
Cons: Wide in shoulders, “double clip-in tanka” cinch mechanism is harder to use and heavier than other hood adjustment systems, hood can be uncomfortable when fully cinched.
Best Uses: Three-season backpacking, alpine climbing.
The Valandre Mirage is a very high quality three-season down bag with a with cut int he upper body and a troublesome hood closure. Consider this bag if you have broad shoulders or plan to use it with a down jacket. Average and skinny people may find it too wide. Although the Mirage only weighs 27 ounces its material weight is higher than many other bags, which means that others are warmer for their weight.
One downside of the Mirage is that it is not widely available for purchase online. For shopping convenience consider the Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 which is widely available and rates higher in our tests.
If saving weight is a top priority check out out Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Top quality 850-fill down, an ultralight shell material, and a half-length zipper make the Mirage the second lightest three-season down bag we've reviewed. 27 ounces makes this bag a pleasure to carry. It also packs down super small and fits perfectly in the bottom of a 30 Liter alpine climbing backpack. Although the fit may not be ideal for the majority of body types (see below), the extra space in the chest and shoulders make it excellent for alpine climbers who want to take a lightweight sleeping bag and sleep in a down jacket.
The Mirage has three important drawbacks: fit, features, and price. It's fit is suitable for use with a down jacket or by people with broad shoulders. Those on the smaller side will find themselves swimming inside the large chest and shoulder area. The bag's hood closure system, a "double clip-in tanka", (identical to the company's Bloody Mary and Shocking Blue) is poor at best. Most hoods found on other sleeping bags have a drawcord that's fixed to one side of the bag and cinches on the opposite side. The Mirage uses a continuous cord that's not attached to anything. Instead, it has two cinchers (that aren't connected to the bag) at both ends and a snap-like connector that attaches the two parts. The cinchers can be used connected or not, but our testers preferr to use them when connected. Unfortunately, the small spring-loaded button makes it difficult to separate the two parts, especially in the dark. This whole system is harder to use and heavier than traditional cinching mechanisms found on all of the forty plus sleeping bags we've reviewed.
Looking at the numbers in detail, the Mirage's low weight is less stunning than at first glance. Its 27.3 oz. total weight comes from 12.9 oz. of down and 14.4 oz. of other materials (shell, zipper, hood closure). The latter number is most instructive; other bags are better at shaving weight. The Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15, for example, has an 11 oz. material weight (even will a full length zipper!) and the Sierra Designs Cloud 15 has a 10 ounce material weight. The Mirage's extra material weight comes from its wide cut, which requires more material than skinnier bags and makes it less warm for its weight.
Finally, the Mirage retails for a whopping $440!! It's not a good value.
People with broad shoulders or for use with a down jacket.
The Mirage is a poor value. Spend your $440 on a custom bag from Feathered Friends (warmer for weight) or get a Summer Weight Down Bag (cheaper and lighter). Comparing this bag to the forty plus others we've reviewed, this author believes a fair price (based on its performance) is around $300.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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Most recent review: April 8, 2013
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