Marmot Phase 20 Review
Cons: Expensive, frustrating zipper, narrow fit, limited ventilation options
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Phase 20 is one of the warmest 3-season bags we tried. Its 16.3 ounces of lofty 850 fill power down earn it a 22° EN lower limit temperature rating. It also includes a hood that cinches down to a tiny, but comfortable, opening to seal heat inside. Overall, our testers thought it felt a little warmer than its EN rating.
This bag features thin Pertex Quantum shell fabric and a tiny ¾-length zipper to minimize weight. On our scale, it weighed in at 1.65 pounds for a size Long. This compares favorably with other ultra-premium bags. We believe it provides nearly the same awesome warm-to-weight performance as its Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends competitors, which share the gold standard in this aspect.
The Phase 20 features silky smooth interior fabric and lofty premium down. Together they create an incredibly comfortable interior feel. We also love this bag's hood, which unlike a lot of others, remained comfy even when cinched down fully. The narrow dimensions, however, harmed its overall score. The lower leg area, in particular, felt constrictive and so much so that we can't recommend this bag for side sleepers.
Despite its low weight, the Phase 20 didn't display an especially small packed size. Using a third-party compression sack, we measured its minimum compressed volume at 8.9 liters. This is markedly larger than the most compact bags but on par with other comparably warm models. Unfortunately, this bag doesn't come with an effective compression sack so you'll need to upgrade from its simple stuff sack to enjoy its maximum compressibility.
Like some of the other ultra-premium down bags, the Phase 20's down is contained inside continuous horizontal baffles. These allow you to move feathers to the top or underside of the bag to adjust the amount of insulation. Its ¾-length zipper, however, gives you only mediocre opportunities to vent excess heat on warmer nights. Together these features counterbalance each other to give this bag moderate versatility across a range of temperatures.
Features and Design
This bag includes a convenient internal stash pocket for keeping your phone or headlamp batteries warm. As we mentioned before, we also really love its hood design and drawstring closure.
The main zipper, however, was a consistent source of frustration. To save weight, it is particularly small, but this seems to make it prone to snagging. Several online customer reviews also describe the zipper slide outright breaking or zipper snags that caused the thin fabric next to the zipper to tear. We didn't observe these problems in our tests, but they are concerns you should be aware of.
The Phase 20 is as expensive as other down bags with 850 or more fill power. For this price, you certainly get a high-quality bag that is exceptionally warm and light. The drawbacks, however, with comfort and the frustrating zipper are hard to look past. For these reasons, we believe there are several similar bags that provide an overall better value.
It's clear that the Marmot Phase 20 wants to compete with the best sleeping bags out there. With its 850 fill power down and feather-light fabric, it offers similar warmth and lightweight performance as the nicest Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering bags. However, the Phase 20's uncomfortably narrow dimensions and finicky zipper ultimately spoil the potential competition. In our direct comparison tests, the Feathered Friends Hummingbird and Western Mountaineering MegaLite both proved themselves to be better designed at a similar price point.
— Jack Cramer
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