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Valandre Mirage 20 Review

   

Backpacking Sleeping Bags

  • Currently 3.0/5
Overall avg rating 3.0 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: April 9, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $384 - $480 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
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.
User Rating:     
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 (3.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Valandre
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ April 9, 2013  
Overview
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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  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
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.

Dislikes
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.

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The "double clip-in tanka" pull cords on the Valandre Shocking Blue, Bloody Mary, and Mirage. The middle button (hard to press and even harder to find at night) releases the two units. This is the worst and heaviest hood closure of any bag we've reviewed.
Credit: Max Neale
Best Application
People with broad shoulders or for use with a down jacket.

Value
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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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 9, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jan 22, 2012 - 10:09am
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The Mirage is so wide up top I can comfortably read a novel in it.
Credit: Anna Joseph

This bag is very warm and lofty. I have been using it camping when it gets down to the upper 20's with strong winds outside and have been totally comfortable, I have not even needed to use all my layers.

That being said, there are a few drawbacks. The cord that tightens the hood can get in the way when sleeping, and I'll often wake up to have it hanging in my face and have to reposition. As well, while I am an exceptionally small person (5'1'' and 110 lbs), especially at top the bag is very roomy. As you can see in the photo above I can comfortably read a book while entirely inside of the bag. Despite that, the extra room has not been a problem regarding warmth and comfort at all, but perhaps may be in colder weather.

It's also important to note that I did not pay anywhere near full price for this bag (less than half the retail price), and definitely would not have paid full price for it. So in the end I rated the bag only 3 stars because I think you can get better bags for the same price. I would recommend it to a friend, but only if they were able to get a bargain on it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Valandre Mirage
Credit: Max Neale
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
MooseJaw $383.96  -  13% off!
Amazon $479.95
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