Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Lightweight, very comfortable hood.
Cons: Heavier, colder, and less versatile than quilt style bags.
Best Uses: Luxurious summer activities.
The Marmot Plasma 30 is a luxuriously comfortable high performance summer weight down sleeping bag. It boasts top quality 900-fill down, a hyperlite Pertex Quantum shell material, a cut that accommodates a variety of body types, and a supremely comfortable hood. This the most luxurious fully featured leightweight bag we've tested.
And that's exactly the problem. Other bags in the same class are warmer for their weight and we believe that for backpacking it more comfortable to carry less than to carry a heavier bag that's slightly more comfortable. We've found that quilt style bags are the lightest, most versatile, and warmest for their weight. Our testers much prefer quilt style sleeping bags for weight conscious three-season applications. See our Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review for details.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Marmot Plasma 30 is the most comfortable hooded summer weight bag we reviewed. Itís made of 900-fill down, superlight Pertex Quantum shell material, and has vertical baffles, which make the bag more comfortable. (Vertical baffles make it easier to design a comfortable hood and toes box, both of which the bag has.) The Plasma 30 is cut to fit a wide variety of body types and will likely fit you well.
Quilt style bags are warmer for their weight, lighter, and more versatile than traditional bags. We highly recommend quilts for all weight conscious three-season applications.
The Marmot Plasma 30 is best suited to lightweight camping trips where you walk for a few hours and spend the rest of the day reading the New Yorker in your tent (see photo below). Other bags are cheaper, lighter, and more versatile.
The Plasma has a full neck baffle with two snaps and a drawcord. Althogh this feature is well designed we donít believe it belongs on an ultralight summer bag. Similarly, the hood is very comfortable, but almost too comfortable. Marmot stuffed extra down into the back of the hood to make a mini pillow. These features donít add too much extra weight, but they illustrate that the bag is designed more for comfort than for performance.
Another potential drawback is the shell material, Pertex Quantum. Though superlight and surprisingly durable for its weight the material offers virtually no water resistance. Other materials, such as the Pertex Endurance UL offered on the Feathered Friends Merlin, are nearly as light and more water resistant. You canít go wrong with the Plasma 30, other bags just perform better.
See the Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review to compare the best bags that prioritize weight savings.
$440!! Very poor value.
— Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 17, 2012
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