The Marmot Hydrogen sleeping bag is probably the best balance of quality, performance and cost. We do think the Western Mountaineering MegaLite was slightly nicer, but it was also $120 more expensive.
Check out the following Overall Performance chart to get an idea of how well the Hydrogen stacked up to its competition in the backpacking sleeping bags category.
The Marmot Hydrogen is a 30°F bag that uses 11 ounces of high quality 800+ fill-power goose down for insulation. This was more or less in line for the volume that was created among the insulation of similarly rated 30°F bags on the market. In our real world testing, we thought that the Hydrogen was pretty accurately rated. It was also comparable to the Nemo Salsa 30 and was not quite as warm as the Western Mountaineering MegaLite or the 20F rated The North Face Cats Meow.
Marmot Hydrogen features 11 ounces of 800+ fill-power goose down for insulation and in our real-world testing found it's rating pretty right-on.
Our testers loved the design of the Hydrogen's hood and felt it added significantly more warmth when used with a design that effectively captured the heat near our head. This was especially important when we tested this bag on a handful of below-freezing nights, as it helped keep us warm.
The Marmot Hydrogen offered our favorite over-all designed hood in the review. It snugged-up around our head nicely to very effectively keep warmth in, but never felt claustrophobic.
Checking in at a scant one pound, eight ounces, the Hydrogen is among the lightest of bags in the review. It weighed the same as our Editors' Choice award winner, the Western Mountaineering MegaLite (also 1 pound 8 ounces) and is only a couple ounces heavier than the Sea-to-Summit Spark III (1 lb 6.5 oz), which was the lightest overall bag in our review.
The MegaLite is a little roomier with slightly larger dimensions and is a touch warmer for ringing in at the same weight. However, the Hydrogen offers a "beefier" Pertex 20d shell fabric that is slightly more durable than the 12D shell used on the MegaLite (or the super thin feeling 10D fabric used on the Spark III). Nevertheless, the Hydrogen is a lighter than average bag that is offered at a very good price. It was lighter than all of the other bags we tested and weighs less than a majority of the 30°F bags on the market.
The Marmot Hydrogen is among the most pack-able sleeping bags we tested and its included stuff sack does a far better job than most at compressing the sleeping bag to help the user maximize room in their pack.
This Best Buy Award winner packs up very small, only bested by the Sea to Summit Spark III in this metric. Many bags with a similar temperature rating were double the size of the Hydrogen.
This award-winning bag even compressed down slightly smaller than our Editors Choice' Western Mountaineering MegaLite. The Hydrogen's stuff sack is also our favorite non-compression model in the review. No need to go out and buy a new/better one. However, if you did use a different compression sack, you could make the bag roughly 25-40% smaller with an appropriately sized compression (when compared to the volume it uses with its included stuff sack).
The Marmot Hydrogen (third from the right) is among the most pack-able sleeping bags in our review with the only option that packed slightly smaller being the Sea to Summit Spark III.
Comfort, Spaciousness, and Fit
Besides offering such a fantastic packed size and low weight, it doesn't sacrifice much in the way of interior room (to achieve that minimal weight). Overall, the Hydrogen features a pretty average fit among comparable mummy-style bags; nearly all of our testers found it to be comfortable. It wasn't quite as spacious as the slightly oversized MegaLite or Nemo Salsa 30, but was far bigger than the Sea To Summit Spark III, and slightly roomier than the Western Mountaineering UltraLite and REI Igneo 17.
Reference the chart shown here to see how the Hydrogen fared in the Comfort category compared to its competitors. While the Hydrogen looks to be towards the bottom of the bunch, a score of 7 out of 10 still ranks as a pretty comfortable bag!
The Marmot Hydrogen (center) offers pretty average dimensions for a performance oriented mummy style bag (61"-56"-39"). It offers a more spacious cut that the Western Mountaineering UltraLite or the Sea to Summit Spark III (right) but wasn't quite as spacious as more comfort-orientated designs like the Nemo Salsa 20 (left) or the Western Mountaineering MegaLite.
Our testers loved the feel of the soft-brushed nylon that was featured on the interior, making it one of the coziest
in the review. In fact, we thought that the only nylon that felt better against our skin was the Western Mountaineering MegaLite and Western Mountaineering UltraLite
. Do note that the REI Igneo 17
was pretty comparable to the Hydrogen in terms of comfort. We also appreciated that Marmot uses slightly thicker and more durable 30D nylon on the inside of the bag (compared to 20D fabric on the outside).
The Marmot Hydrogen features a full-length zipper on one side and a shorter 12" or so zipper on the other. This helps facilitated easier entry and exit from the sleeping bag as well as superior ventilation on warm nights.
The Hydrogen is a very versatile bag, it's lightweight enough for extended or long-range backpacking trips, yet has enough insulation (with enough extra room in the shoulders area). It also offers the ability to add an additional layer for colder trips, summertime mountaineering, or late spring ski touring trips. Conversely, the additional 13" zipper allows the bag to be opened up for warmer nights. When compared to the Sea to Summit Spark III, which was only two ounces lighter, we like the Hydrogen for most purposes, as it offers a wider, more comfortable cut, as well as a full-length zipper (which allows for better ventilation on warm nights).
Features and Design
This award winner doesn't have a ton of "extra" features or bells and whistles. Instead, the Hydrogen's primary advantages are its above average versatility while being among the lightest and most packable sleeping bags in our review.
The one exception is the fairly unique secondary shorter (13") zipper, which is opposite of the main full-length zipper. This zipper allows for increased ventilation and comfort on warm nights and makes getting into, and out of, much easier. This bag comes with a nicer than average storage sack, and an adequately-sized stuff sack.
The Marmot Hydrogen is easily one of the most versatile sleeping bags in our review. Its light and compact enough for any backpacking application, from short overnights to extended week-long journeys, in addition to facilitated venting or added layers for a wide range of conditions.
Along with the Western Mountaineering MegaLite, the Hydrogen is one of the most versatile bags in our review. It's perfect for both general backpacking or extended long-range trips alike and is a solid option for mid-summer mountaineering, car camping, or even late-spring ski touring trips.
Value and the Bottom Line
This award winner is the perfect balance of performance and price. It's one of the lightest and highest performing bags in our review, but it still maintains a reasonable price. Compared head to head, we would choose the Western Mountaineering MegaLite. However, it's important to note that it's $100 more and did not exactly blow away the Hydrogen. If we're going to choose the best bag for $350, among any on the market, this would be it. We were nearly as impressed with the REI Igneo 17. If you're considering the Hydrogen, be sure to take a peek at that as well.
The Marmot Hydrogen inside the included storage sack; shown here.