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Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30 Review

An exceptional deal for a capable and sturdy backpacking sleeping bag for those looking to get outside without breaking the bank
Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30
Photo: Backcountry
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $200 List | $200.00 at REI
Pros:  Decent weight, respectable warmth, awesome bargain
Cons:  Average materials, limited features, basic design
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2021
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#18 of 21
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Packed Size - 15% 8
  • Versatility - 15% 6
  • Features & Design - 10% 6

Our Verdict

Life is complicated enough. Keep your sleeping bag decision simple with the Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30. This affordable bag comes filled with 15 oz of 650FP duck down. Ordinarily, you could spend a hundred dollars more to obtain similarly light and compressible insulation. Its performance in these areas thoroughly beats the comparably priced competition. Our testers also concluded that this bag lives up to its 30F lower limit EN temperature rating. This is an ideal level of warmth for most 3-season applications. To keep costs down, the Bishop Pass is pretty sparse on features and mildly disappointing in terms of comfort. Still, it does everything most people need from a sleeping bag and at an absolutely awesome price. That's why it's our top recommendation for anyone seeking a budget backpacking sleeping bag.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $200.00 at REI$399.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$199.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$99.95 at REI$129.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Decent weight, respectable warmth, awesome bargainSpacious, decent warmth-to-weight ratio, reasonable priceVery generous dimensions, good bargain, decent warmth, nice feature setGreat price, respectable weight, simple designInexpensive, burly, decent warmth, roomy fit
Cons Average materials, limited features, basic designBulky, ineffective hood closure, limited versatilityHeavy, bulky, uncomfortable hood, below average thermal efficiencySubpar warmth, annoying hood drawcords, no storage sack, mediocre versatilityHeavy, 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 bankA mid-range double bag for weight-conscious and comfort-seeking adventure pairsAn affordable bag that's extremely spacious but also big and heavyAn acceptable sleeping bag at a rock bottom priceA bargain backpacking sleeping bag with mixed performance characteristics
Rating Categories Mountain Hardwear B... Big Agnes Sentinel... NEMO Forte 20 REI Co-op Trailbrea... Kelty Cosmic 20
Warmth (20%)
6.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
7.0
1
3.0
3.0
Comfort (20%)
6.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Packed Size (15%)
8.0
8.0
2.0
5.0
5.0
Versatility (15%)
6.0
4.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Features & Design (10%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Mountain Hardwear B... Big Agnes Sentinel... NEMO Forte 20 REI Co-op Trailbrea... Kelty Cosmic 20
Insulation 650 FP Down, RDS-certified 650 FP Down Synthetic - Primaloft RISE Synthetic - Polyester 550 FP Duck Down (75%) / Polyester (25%)
Compressed Volume (L) 7.5 L 11.2 L 13.9 L 9.8 L 9.2 L
Measured Bag Weight (Size Long) 1.98 lbs 3.25 lbs (size regular) 3.58 lbs 2.74 lbs 2.83 lbs
Manufacturer claimed weight of size Regular (lbs) 1.79 lbs 3.5 lbs 3.13 lb 2.5 lb 2.63 lb
Compression/Stuff Sack Weight (oz) 1.6 oz 1.4 oz 3.2 oz 1.2 oz 0.6 oz
Hydrophobic down No Yes N/A N/A No
Manufacturer Temp Rating (F) 30 F 30 F 20 F 30 F 20 F
EN Temp Rating (Lower Limit, F) 30 F Not rated 22 F 29 F 21 F
Fill Weight (oz) 15 oz 19.5 oz 35.0 oz 21.1 oz 16.4 oz
Compression or stuff sack included? Stuff sack Stuff sack Compression Stuff Stuff
Shell material 20D Nylon Ripstop Polyester ripstop Polyester Ripstop (30D) Polyester w/ DWR Nylon (20D)
DWR? Yes Yes Yes No Yes, CO and PFC-free
Liner material 30D Plain weave nylon Polyester taffeta 20D Nylon Taffeta w/ DWR Polyester 50D 300T Polyester
Neck Baffle No Yes Yes No Yes
Small Organization Pocket Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Zipper 3/4-length / Left Side Dual 3/4-length Full-length / Left Side 3/4-Length / Left Side Full-length / Right Side
Shoulder Girth (in) 62 105 66 62 Not stated
Hip Girth (in) 53 105 60 56 Not stated
Foot Girth (in) 84 64 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.

Performance Comparison


With a 30F temp rating, the Bishop Pass 30 is an ideal, affordable...
With a 30F temp rating, the Bishop Pass 30 is an ideal, affordable choice for most 3-season applications.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Warmth


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.

The hood cinches down reasonably small to seal heat in, but the...
The hood cinches down reasonably small to seal heat in, but the non-elastic drawcord can annoyingly dangle on your face.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Weight


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.

A lot of backpacking sleeping bags taper sharply towards the foot of...
A lot of backpacking sleeping bags taper sharply towards the foot of the bag. Our testers appreciated the extra space from the broader, rectangular foot on the Bishop Pass 30.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Comfort


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.

Packed Size


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 third-party 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.

The Bishop Pass 30 compresses impressively small for such an...
The Bishop Pass 30 compresses impressively small for such an affordable sleeping bag.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Versatility


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.

The 3/4-length zipper on this bag includes a convenient Y-shaped...
The 3/4-length zipper on this bag includes a convenient Y-shaped slide that helps reduce snagging.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Value


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.

The Bishop Pass sleeping bag is seen here with the real Bishop Pass...
The Bishop Pass sleeping bag is seen here with the real Bishop Pass visible on the horizon in sunny California.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Conclusion


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