Hands-on Gear Review

Compare backpacking sleeping bag ratings side-by-side >

Valandre Bloody Mary Review

   

Backpacking Sleeping Bags

  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 1 review. Most recent review: November 17, 2012
Street Price:   Varies from $400 - $525 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  High quality materials, extra space for layering.
Cons:  Complicated and heavy neck baffle, wide in shoulders for trim people, tight in lower legs, expensive!
Best Uses:  Used with down jacket.
User Rating:       (0.0 of 5) based on 0 reviews
Manufacturer:   Valandre
Review by: Max Neale ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ November 17, 2012  
Overview
The Valandre Bloody Mary is a versatile three-season down bag that can take you from the heat of the summer to fast and light alpine climbing and mountaineering. The bag has top quality down and materials, but a disappointingly heavy and complicated neck baffle and a cut that's design for climbers that use a down jacket inside the bag. The bag has a low warmth to weight ratio.

We've found that quilt style bags are lighter, warmer for their weight, and more versatile than bags with hoods and zippers. Our testers prefer them for three-season use. Check out our Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review for details.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
Valandre is a French company that makes top-quality cold weather down garments. The Bloody Mary is their most versatile three-season bag. It uses 850+ fill down from the fat French grey goose and highly water-repellent Asahi-Kasei Ripstop Polymide imported from Japan. The cut is tight in the lower legs and spacious in the upper body, leaving room for storage at the thighs and space for down clothing.

The feature that distinguishes the Bloody Mary from all other bags is its three-piece modular neck baffle. A velcro strip at the back and a zipper on the front allow you to tailor your neck baffle experience to the conditions at hand. The options are: no neck baffle (for summer), a zippered passive front collar (for spring and fall), and a full-blown 360-degree baffle (for winter). The latter attaches with a zipper on the front and velcro on the back. The side closest to the bag’s main entry zipper has two velcro strips that allow you to get in and out, while and the other side opens up with a zipper. There are two small holes on either side that allow you to poke your hands out and adjust things during the night. A “double clip-in tanka” drawstring makes the final seal around your neck. Complicated? Yes. Warm? Yes. Once you’ve inserted yourself, closed up the bag, sealed the velcro closures, and tighten the pull cord, you’ll seal the hot air in and the cold air out. It’s cumbersome, but effective.

We like the simple non-cinching passive collar that zips to the front of the bag. This is cozy and warm and requires much less effort than the larger neck baffle described above. When not in use, this stuffs into a four-inch velcro pocket that sits at the shoulder. The pocket can also be used for a watch, headlamp, or other small items.

Click to enlarge
The Hilleberg Jannu with our top rated Feathered Friends Hummingbird (right) and Valandre Bloody Mary (left) sleeping bags. Note that the bags are not fully lofted.
Credit: Max Neale
Dislikes
Although the Bloody Mary is constructed with high quality materials the bag has several drawbacks. We found the neck baffle is complicated and heavy compared to other sleeping bags. It makes the bag slightly more versatile than others, but we don’t think it’s worth the trouble or the additional weight. Other neck baffles are nearly as warm, easier to operate, and weigh considerably less.

The Bloody Mary's hood could also be more comfortable. Other bags have a small tube of down between the hood draw cord and your face, which creates a better seal around your face and makes the bag more comfortable.

The Valandre Bloody Mary has three options for a neck baffle: none, wr...
The Valandre Bloody Mary has three options for a neck baffle: none, wrap around adjustable, and passive.
Credit: Valandre
Another potential drawback is the bag’s cut. We found the lower leg region to be well sized for summer use, but too small for winter because there’s no storage at your feet. Stowing some items at thigh level works fine, but for longer trips we prefer space at our feet. The upper body is also larger than most three-season and zero degree bags. This gives you plenty of space for layers, but too much for trimmer people without layers. Do you plan to go fast and light with this bag (no insulated jacket) or layer up and take the bag well below freezing? Broad shouldered people will be best for the former and skinny people the latter.

Consider the Western Mountaineering Versalite or Katabatic Gear Sawatch.

Click to enlarge
The Valandre Bloody Mary (red, center) compared to five of the sleeping bags in our Cold Weather Down Sleeping Bag Review.
Credit: Max Neale
Valandre has five excellent videos about their down here:
http://www.valandre.com/graygoose.php

And four about their construction here:
http://www.valandre.com/tubularbell.php

Max Neale

Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >

Where to Buy?


Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 17, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used the Valandre Bloody Mary?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
Valandre Bloody Mary
Credit: Valandre
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Backcountry $399.96  -  18% off!
Amazon $419.96  -  14% off!
MooseJaw $499.95
Compare prices at 5 sellers >

*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
The Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review

The Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review

We tested 34 of the best quality lightweight backpacking bags in a head-to-head competition that assessed the following categories: fit, weight, warmth, packed size, and features.
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Other Gear by Valandre