Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: One of the warmest bags in the test, excellent color scheme
Cons: Lack of hydrophobic down, missing top hood cinch
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Mountain Hardwear is one of the premier manufacturers of outdoor equipment for athletes pushing the limits of what's possible. Their gear has been to the top of the world and to the ends of the earth on a variety of expeditions. Represented here is their flagship 0F sleeping bag, the Phantom 0. It is a bag designed for frequent trips to the alpine, where weight and warmth are crucial to success, and the cut of the bag maximizes this philosophy of use as much as possible while remaining a fully protective and warm sleeping bag. Read below to find out more about what makes this bag one of the best.
The Phantom 0 is filled with 30oz of 850 fill down. This model is the Pertex quantum shell version and not the Goretex Windstopper version. However, when our testers used this bag on a windy summit bivy, they found that the Pertex fabric was plenty windproof and water-resistant while coming in at a lower weight. What this means is that the bag was plenty warm down to 0F and the lack of the gore-tex windproof membrane didn't seem to have much detriment on performance. Each tester felt this bag was warm! Being a warm sleeper and wearing a down parka, you could probably push this sleeping bag past its 0F rating.
2lbs 10oz is an excellent weight for a true 0F bag. Anything in a sub 3lb package will rank near the top of our scores, the difference in weight is usually found in the amount of down fill in this kind of class. All of the higher-end bags use excellent face fabric and trim weight where they can, both in size of the bag, size of the zipper, amount of stretch cord and toggles, etc. Considering this bag does a great job of allowing you to sleep at 0F, it ranks very high on our weight rating metric.
Some users may feel as though the bag is too tight. However, it fit all of our testers who tend to be on the taller and lankier build well. Our lead tester who has a much wider chest, still fit well and slept quite warm, an advantage to having a tight cut for the bag. As far as the hood and its cinch design goes, we noticed a lack of an upper cinch cord, which made it more difficult to fully seal up the bag. The saving grace for this was the impressive neck baffle. Even though a little air was able to get in around our head (which is almost always in a wool beanie) it was unable to get past our insulated necks. With a slightly tighter fit than most 0F bags, we recommend you head over to a shop and lay in this bag before you buy it.
Another excellent score for the Phantom. Again, Mountain Hardwear includes an excellent compression stuff sack. This is a real value to the customer as with any winter down bag, the key to maximizing packability is a high-end compression sack. As far as sleeping bags go, this is about as close as you can get to the smallest packing true 0F sleeping bag.
An insulated small pocket is found on this bag that will allow the storage of small items like ear pods or a granola bar. The bag also has an excellent hood and draft collar, with the only downside being the lack of an upper drawcord. We found this odd as the previous year model had both. It's likely an attempt to save weight. We found that the hood worked fine despite the lack of this cinch, and was likely due to a more contoured cut of the baffles by Mountain Hardwear.
The Phantom did quite well in our weather testing despite having the lighter of the two face fabrics available and no water-resistant down. We think removing the water-resistant down this year was a misstep by Mountain Hardwear, and could make this bag really shine on a single night open bivouac. Despite this, we were able to sleep comfortably outside and brush off the frost that accumulated on the top of the bag from our body heat/moisture.
We think this is a great value for a high-end winter bag that will see a lot of overnights in the alpine. If you are an occasional winter camper, this bag may be a little overkill. If you see yourself sleeping out on a variety of climbs, ski tours, and cold weather excursions, the high-end materials and construction make sense to spend the money on. After all, this option shaves over a pound off your back versus budget competitors.
The Phantom 0 is an extremely warm, snug-fitting, light, and weather-resistant down bag that packs down small. Without water-resistant down and an upper head cinch, this bag comes close to perfect but just barely misses the mark. You can't go wrong with the Phantom 0 if you fit in this bag comfortably.
— Jeff Rogers