Outdoor Vitals Summit 15 Review
Cons: Warmth doesn't live up to temp rating, uncomfortably narrow, unpleasant hood closure
Manufacturer: Outdoor Vitals
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Outdoor Vitals Summit 15
$274.97 at Amazon
|$330.70 at Amazon|
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$349.00 at REI
$235.00 at REI
$99.95 at REI
|Pros||Tempting price, nice venting possibilities, decent weight and packed size||Spacious hourglass shape, innovative venting "gills", waterproof footbox, sturdy compression sack||Lightweight, small packed size, quality down, nice zipper, cozy fabric||Decent weight, respectable warmth, awesome bargain||Great price, respectable weight, simple design|
|Cons||Warmth doesn't live up to temp rating, uncomfortably narrow, unpleasant hood closure||Below average warmth-to-weight ratio, bulky packed size||Moderate warmth||Average materials, limited features, basic design||Subpar warmth, annoying hood drawcords, no storage sack, mediocre versatility|
|Bottom Line||A tempting sleeping bag deal that doesn't quite meet the advertised performance||Premium down in an hourglass shape that offers the roomiest lower body dimensions||An awesome bag at a fair price||An exceptional deal for a capable and sturdy backpacking sleeping bag for those looking to get outside without breaking the bank||An acceptable sleeping bag at a rock bottom price|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Vitals Summ...||NEMO Riff 30||REI Co-op Magma 30||Mountain Hardwear B...||REI Co-op Trailbrea...|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Features & Design (10%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Vitals Summ...||NEMO Riff 30||REI Co-op Magma 30||Mountain Hardwear B...||REI Co-op Trailbrea...|
|Insulation||800+ FP Down||800 FP Down||850 FP Down||650 FP Down||Synthetic - Polyester|
|Compressed Volume||9.5 liters||7.2 liters||6.7 liters||7.5 liters||9.8 liters|
|Measured Bag Weight (Size Long)||2.08 lbs.||1.91 lbs.||1.39 lbs.||1.98 lbs.||2.74 lbs.|
|Manufacturer Claimed Weight (Size Regular)||1.93 lbs.||1.80 lbs.||1.24 lbs.||1.79 lbs.||2.50 lbs.|
|Compression/Stuff Sack Weight||0.6 oz.||2.4 oz.||0.4 oz.||1.6 oz.||1.2 oz.|
|Manufacturer Temp Rating||15 F||30 F||30 F||30 F||30 F|
|EN Temp Rating (Lower Limit)||Not rated||29 F||30 F||30 F||29 F|
|Fill Weight||20.6 oz.||10.2 oz.||9.7 oz.||15 oz.||21.1 oz.|
|Compression or Stuff Sack Included||Stuff||Compression||Stuff||Stuff||Stuff|
|Shell material||10D Nylon Ripstop||Ripstop nylon (20D)||Pertex ripstop nylon (15D)||20D Nylon Ripstop||Polyester w/ DWR|
|Liner material||10D Nylon Ripstop||30D Nylon Taffeta w/ DWR||15-denier ripstop nylon||30D Plain weave nylon||Polyester|
|Small Organization Pocket||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Zipper||3/4 length/ Center||3/4-length / Side||3/4-length / Side||3/4-length / Left Side||3/4-Length / Left Side|
|Shoulder Girth||68 in.||62 in.||63 in.||62 in.||62 in.|
|Hip Girth||Not stated||54 in.||57 in.||53 in.||56 in.|
|Foot Girth||38 in.||59 in.||Not stated||Not stated||Not stated|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Outdoor Vitals is one of a few companies promising high-performance sleeping bags at bargain prices. During testing, we were pleasantly surprised to find the Summit 15 was a capable sleeping bag for backpacking, but we were somewhat disappointed with its overall value.
The Outdoors Vital Summit 15 is advertised with 20 ounces of 800FP premium down. Although GearLab is not able to test the actual fill power of down, we couldn't help but notice that this insulation did not appear to achieve any more loft than a competing model from another brand with 15 ounces of 800FP down. Ordinarily, we would expect to see substantially more loft from a bag with 33% more of the same insulation.
We were also disappointed because this bag was not able to live up to its 15F temperature rating in our tests. Instead, we believe that it provided warmth similar to the average bag with a 30F rating. It's worth noting that, unlike many sleeping bags, this model is not temperature rate according to the industry-standard EN test. Instead, its 15F is merely the best estimate by that manufacturer. After our testing, we think that estimate is inaccurate.
This model tipped our scale at 2.08 pounds for a size long. Although that would be a fairly impressive weight for a 15F sleeping bag, the actual warmth we observed seemed closer to most 30F bags. When compared to bags with that warmth, the Summit 15's weight becomes rather disappointing. It's certainly still light enough for backpacking, but there are other models that offer a better warmth-to-weight ratio for less money.
Our testers appreciated this bag's smooth 10-Denier Nylon lining and fluffy down insulation. Together they combined to provide a soft feel to the sleeping bag's material. On the other hand, our testers didn't like the tight sizing of the hood and the pair of hood drawcords which are positioned to dangle right on your face. Opinions are more split about an unusual chest baffle secured across your chest using a pair of velcro patches. Some felt that this created a cozy 'hug' that helped seal heat inside the bag. Others, however, found the operation of this baffle awkward and the rough cut edges of the velcro irritating.
The Outdoor Vitals Summit 15 comes with a simple drawstring stuff sack. This sack is extremely lightweight at just 0.6 ounces, but many of our testers worried that the 10-Denier material it's made of might not hold up for very long. With our personal aftermarket compression sack, we could pack it down to a volume of 9.5 liters. That's not particularly impressive for a 15F down sleeping bag and a rather large size for a model that seemed to perform more like a 30F bag.
One area where this model did impress was when it came to versatility. A couple of design features help it achieve a wider range of usable temperatures. For hotter nights, the center zip design is more effective at venting excess heat than the side zipper found on most sleeping bags. We only wish the center zipper extended a little farther so we could open the bag more. On cold evenings, we think the unusual chest baffle does a good job at preventing heat from escaping out of the hood of the collar of the bag.
Features & Design
This bag includes most of the features you find on a backpacking sleeping bag including an anti-snag zipper, an accessory stash pocket, and a mummy hood. We really like the operation of the zipper and found that the Y-shaped slide and stiff adjacent fabric were effective at preventing snags. We were disappointed, however, with sharp velcro on the edges of the stash pocket and the poor fit of the hood.
The primary draw of the Outdoor Vitals Summit 15 is its low price. Essentially it's advertised as a premium sleeping bag at a bargain price. Unfortunately, our tests revealed that it performs closer to an average, or even below-average, backpacking sleeping bag. With that level of performance, we don't think it equates to a great value for the price.
The Summit 15 is an intriguing sleeping bag entry by a less established company. We found a few things to like about it including a versatile center zipper, a unique chest baffle, and a soft nylon lining. However, we found it hard to get past a level of warmth that did not seem to live up to its 15F temp rating. Some testers also complained about discomfort from a tight hood and narrow foot box. Nevertheless, this bag may still be worth considering, especially if you're able to find it on sale.
— Jack Cramer
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