Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30 Review
Cons: Average materials, limited features, basic design
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
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Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30
$235.00 at REI
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|Pros||Decent weight, respectable warmth, awesome bargain||Spacious, reasonable price, versatile||Very generous dimensions, good bargain, decent warmth, nice feature set||Great price, respectable weight, simple design||Inexpensive, burly, decent warmth, roomy fit|
|Cons||Average materials, limited features, basic design||Heavy, bulky, just average down insulation||Heavy, bulky, uncomfortable hood, below average thermal efficiency||Subpar warmth, annoying hood drawcords, no storage sack, mediocre versatility||Heavy, limited versatility, no storage sack, no compression sack|
|Bottom Line||An exceptional deal for a capable and sturdy backpacking sleeping bag for those looking to get outside without breaking the bank||A mid-range sleeping bag that's comfortable but heavy||An affordable bag that's extremely spacious but also big and heavy||An acceptable sleeping bag at a rock bottom price||A bargain backpacking sleeping bag with mixed performance characteristics|
|Rating Categories||Mountain Hardwear B...||NEMO Disco 15||NEMO Forte 20||REI Co-op Trailbrea...||Kelty Cosmic 20|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Features & Design (10%)|
|Specs||Mountain Hardwear B...||NEMO Disco 15||NEMO Forte 20||REI Co-op Trailbrea...||Kelty Cosmic 20|
|Insulation||650 FP Down||650 FP Down||Synthetic - Primaloft RISE||Synthetic - Polyester||550 FP Duck Down (75%) / Polyester (25%)|
|Compressed Volume||7.5 liters||10.1 liters||13.9 liters||9.8 liters||9.2 liters|
|Measured Bag Weight (Size Long)||1.98 lbs.||2.74 lbs.||3.58 lbs.||2.74 lbs.||2.83 lbs.|
|Manufacturer Claimed Weight (Size Regular)||1.79 lbs.||2.69 lbs.||3.13 lbs.||2.50 lbs.||2.63 lbs.|
|Compression/Stuff Sack Weight||1.6 oz.||2.4 oz.||3.2 oz.||1.2 oz.||0.6 oz.|
|Manufacturer Temp Rating||30 F||15 F||20 F||30 F||20 F|
|EN Temp Rating (Lower Limit)||30 F||14 F||22 F||29 F||21 F|
|Fill Weight||15 oz.||22 oz.||35.0 oz.||21.1 oz.||16.4 oz.|
|Compression or Stuff Sack Included||Stuff||Compression||Compression||Stuff||Stuff|
|Shell material||20D Nylon Ripstop||30D Nylon ripstop||Polyester Ripstop (30D)||Polyester w/ DWR||Nylon (20D)|
|DWR Treatment||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes, CO and PFC-free|
|Liner material||30D Plain weave nylon||30D Nylon taffeta||20D Nylon Taffeta w/ DWR||Polyester||50D 300T Polyester|
|Small Organization Pocket||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Zipper||3/4-length / Left Side||3/4-length / Left side||Full-length / Left Side||3/4-Length / Left Side||Full-length / Right Side|
|Shoulder Girth||62 in.||66 in.||66 in.||62 in.||Not stated|
|Hip Girth||53 in.||60 in.||60 in.||56 in.||Not stated|
|Foot Girth||Not stated||64 in.||64 in.||Not stated||Not stated|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Mountain Hardwear offers a nice selection of quality sleeping bags. Although some of their premium models have struggled to stand out in our tests, the bargain Bishop Pass 30 certainly did not. It provides impressive all-around performance that easily surpassed all of its budget sleeping bag peers. Its performance also undercuts the attraction of many mid-tier models--you have to spend considerably more for a premium model to receive significant performance benefits.
The Bishop Pass 30 is stuffed with 15 oz of 650-fill-power duck down. With this mid-tier insulation, it receives a 30F EN lower limit temperature rating. In our tests, this rating seemed accurate and we noticed that the Bishop Pass even felt warmer than a few more expensive bags with identical temp ratings.
The hood cinches down fine, but this bag lacks a neck baffle to really seal heat in on frigid nights. That means it's a sleeping bag that's best suited for warmer 3-season uses. Seek out something warmer for higher elevation excursions or frequent outings in the shoulder seasons.
On our independent scale, a size Long Bishop Pass weighed in at 1.98 lbs. That might not make it the lightest sleeping bag on the market, but it does present considerable weight savings compared to many other models in the same price range.
In fact, it's light enough that this bag should be on everyone's radar who's shopping for a bargain, or even a mid-range, sleeping bag. You will need to spend considerably more money, potentially twice as much, to acquire a bag that can provide substantial weight and performance benefits.
This is a basic sleeping bag that offers similarly basic levels of comfort. Its dimensions are a little larger than average but not spacious enough to be considered luxurious. We think most people will be happy with the interior space, but larger folks or those who like to sprawl may be happier in a roomier model. We can report that the foot of the bag is wider than most ultralight bags. That made it feel more comfortable to some of our testers than several much more expensive, but slimmer, competitors.
The lining materials feel a notch or so below premium. We heard some complaints about a coarse texture to the 30-denier plain-weave nylon. This fabric, however, seems to be standard on most budget sleeping bags so you'll have to spend a bit more if you want to enjoy the plusher materials of an ultra-premium sleeping bag. After a long day on the trail though, most people will be able to sleep in just about anything that can keep them warm.
The Bishop Pass 30 comes with a simple drawstring stuff sack. This sack is pretty light at 1.6 oz but it's ineffective at compressing the bag fully. In a generic compression sack, we squeezed it down to a svelte 7.5 liters.
That's not the smallest we've seen, but it's much more compact than many other sleeping bags in its price bracket. This is a particularly noticeable advantage compared to synthetic sleeping bags that supply similar levels of warmth. However, you will need to get an aftermarket compression sack to enjoy this benefit.
Versatility is another area where the Bishop Pass 30 offers decent but not exceptional performance. Its 3/4-length side zipper is adequate for venting heat on warm nights but too short for sharing the bag between two people during a dire situation. With its interrupted horizontal baffles, it's not possible to move insulation around and extend the usable temperature range.
The down insulation is light and packable, however, it should create concern in wet climates. If these feathers get wet, they will clump and quickly lose a huge portion of their insulative power. In wet conditions, it's extremely important to keep this or any other down bag dry. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, consider a bag filled with synthetic insulation which will maintain much more of its warmth even if it gets soaked.
Features & Design
This bag exemplifies a simple and functional design. Unfortunately, that leaves you with a pretty spartan feature set. It does include a small organizational pocket for keeping your headlamp or phone batteries warm. This minimalist pocket closes with a simple fold of fabric which reduces weight and eliminates a potentially scratchy zipper near your face.
The main zipper is large and sturdy with a Y-shaped slide that does a decent job at preventing snags. The hood drawcord is a basic non-elastic string and our testers noticed it occasionally dangling annoyingly towards their faces. However, the drawcord did prove to be effective at cinching the hood down tight. On the other hand, the lack of a neck baffle limits this bag's usefulness in colder conditions because heated air can still escape out of the cinched hood opening.
Recently we've noticed that many down sleeping bags have steadily increased in price. The Bishop Pass 30 is a welcomed exception to this trend. It offers a respectable quantity of average quality down, along with the weight and packability advantages of this insulation type. Compared to similarly priced budget bags, the Bishop Pass presents an exceptional value. At the same time, it also performs well enough that it should tempt many shoppers away from sleeping bags with higher mid-range prices because those models seem to offer only modest performance advantages at a substantially higher cost.
Backpacking gear can get expensive quickly. The Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30 offers a way to take the complication out of your sleeping bag decision while saving you some extra cash to spend on a nicer tent or backpack. It provides an excellent value when it comes to weight, warmth, and packed size. Although there are plenty of plusher, more feature-laden sleeping bags, the Bishop pass does everything it needs to keep you cozy and warm in the backcountry.
— Jack Cramer
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