Mountain Hardwear Rook 0 Review
Cons: Low end down, substantially heavier than many other bags
Manufacturer: Mountain Hardwear
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mountain Hardwear Rook is an excellent example of a budget-friendly bag using adequate materials and down fill. The Rook is cut generously throughout the bag, yet still retains enough insulation to be able to insulate the user down to 0F. With a price tag well below some of its other competitors and a warmth that surpasses any of the other budget bags, the Rook is a great choice when weight is not of the utmost concern. Occasional mountaineering and cold weather car camping can easily be satisfied with this bag, and its included compression sack.
33oz of 650 fill down fill up a voluminous 30D nylon outer with enough room to store water bottles, camera gear, and whatever else you need to keep warm. Compare this to the competition in the budget bag category, the Thermarest Questar and the Mountain Hardwear has 4 more ounces of 650 fill down at just a slightly higher overall weight. When we say this bag is rated to 0F, we mean it. It also includes an excellent hood and draft collar, which are important in ensuring the warmth that the bag insulates, stays within the bag and close to your body.
The Mountain Hardwear Rook is not a light 0F bag. However, it is not designed to be. Keep in mind this bag uses less expensive materials. For the given design parameters, this bag comes in at a decent warmth/weight ratio and provides cold weather sleepers with a packable option that will get the job done. Potential buyers of this bag will likely not be carrying their kit deep into the mountains often, and thus do not need to have a bag that weighs closer to 2lbs.
We found that this bag was comfortable for users up to 6ft 1inch tall. Taller than that and the foot box begins to get cold due to toes compressing the down in the foot baffles. In terms of width and how much room your upper body has in the bag, we found plenty of room to store water bottles and different gear around the chest area, where it is warmest. We were easily able to dry out boot liners overnight. The hood on the Rook is also well done. While not the most comfortable in the test, it had enough adjustments to seal in all of the warmth, and that is what matters most. Our lead tester was also able to stuff a small puffy inside behind his neck while fully cinched up, which means that you can still use a small pillow and be comfortable.
What can we say, it's a budget sleeping bag and it doesn't pack down very well compared to the more expensive offerings. The saving grace here is that the Rook includes an excellent compression sack. This saves you having to buy a compression bag for your down sleeping bag, which is a must if you are trying to get it compacted into its smallest form factor. Kudos to Mountain Hardwear as this is consistent across their sleeping bag line.
The Rook has several appealing features. A small pocket on the upper portion of the zipper allows you to store small items like earbuds and chapstick. The zipper is backed by a substantial draft tube, and it insulates against your body quite well. The zipper slider itself has a plastic sheath newly developed by YKK and found on a lot of the bags in the test that allows the bag to operate without snagging the zipper on the face fabric or internal baffles. We found this worked adequately but did not create 0 snags like the Western Mountaineering bags. The hood is backed by an insulated draft tube that surrounds your neck and a baffle that insulates your forehead, standard features on most 0F bags.
The DWR on the Rook performed flawlessly in our testing, however once submerged and squeezed in water the bag wetted out very quickly. It's important to keep this bag sheltered in a tent or bivy because it does not have waterproof face fabric or water-resistant down. This isn't to say the bag performed poorly in our weather resistance testing, but if you are using this bag day after day, it does need the protection of a shelter and will become wet if you pack it away with a significant amount of moisture on the face fabric of the bag.
We see the Mountain Hardwear Rook 0F sleeping bag as a great choice for a budget sleeping bag that will be used for cold weather overnight and carried into the backcountry occasionally. Perfect for the camper who will get out only a handful of nights a year in sub-freezing temperatures but could use a warm bag for sleeping at the trailhead in their car or spending the night in a bunkhouse.
While not our top pick for a budget bag, the Rook delivers on everything a 0F bag needs to deliver on for occasional backcountry use.
— Jeff Rogers