The REI Co-Op Magma 10 is a good bag for the minimalist backcountry adventurer on a budget or the reluctant winter camper who wants to spend a few nights out this season without leaving their wallet as cold and empty as the arctic tundra. For the price, this bag is extraordinarily lightweight and compressible. Our testers agreed that the 10º rating was a little generous and felt that this back is much better suited for temps in the low 30s and upper 20s.
REI Co-Op Magma 10 Review
Cons: Not as warm as other bags with similar temperature ratings
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Magma is the lightest in our review by a full 12oz, but it's also less warm than similarly priced bags, especially when compared with our Best Buy Award winner, the Rab Ascent 900. The Western Mountaineering Versalite is rated to 10º, and it feels much warmer than the Magma. Out the box, this bag impressed our testers with its loft, rivaling the Western Mountaineering Bags, for around half the price.
The 10º rating on this bag is representative of the lower limits of this bag. The Western Mountaineering Versalite is also rated to 10º, but it has 2.5 more ounces of down, making it loftier and providing a thicker layer of heat-trapping feathers. If your winter climate is typically mild and dry, and temps aren't dipping below the mid-teens, this bag is a good super lightweight choice. For summertime alpinism or "alpine-light" adventures in the Sierra, this bag has a great warmth-to-weight-to-price ratio.
Weight is this bag's strong suit, and rarely have we seen an 850 fill power down bag at a sub $400 price range. 17.6oz of the total weight of the bag is down, leaving 12.4oz dedicated to the material weight. The shell is comprised of lightweight Pertex Quantum, which feels so thin and light that one tester commented that she felt like she was sleeping in a garbage bag. The Magma is available in three sizes, fitted, regular, and relaxed. This means that you can trade comfort and space inside the bag for even more weight savings. The Magma and Western Mountaineering Versalite were the two lightest bags in the fleet.
Our test model is the "regular fit" version of the Magma. We like the roomy foot box, where you can relish in the extra space for your tired feet, or store a hot water bottle or some clothing that needs to stay warm. The shoulder and hip girth measurements on the Magma are wider our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Mountain Hardwear Phantom Torch 3, but the taper of the Magma is different, making it more difficult to bend our legs up to our chest, and generally making this bag feel a bit narrower.
This bag packs down smaller than all the other bags in our review, making it great for alpine adventures, backpacking, bike touring, traveling, or any activity where space is a premium. It packs down pretty small in its included stuff sack, but in a proper compression sack, it compresses to the size of a cantaloupe. Similar packed sizes are found in models like the Sea to Summit Talus III, Mountain Hardwear Torch 3, and Nemo Sonic.
We feel like a lot of the price, and weight savings comes from a lack of features. The Magma has one cinch cord for the hood and collar that slips open too easily when we jostled around and didn't seal up all the way over your face. This is important for sleeping out in the wind, and all our favorite bags close up so that only your nose sticks out. Instead of a full draft collar that encircles your neck, the Magma has an "insulated yoke" that hangs down under the chin and doesn't keep out the cold air as well as a collar. The Magma has a sweet zipper that has a guard on the top of it, ensuring snag-free operation.
The Magma stays dry with the best of the fleet in our light rain testing. Water beaded up and eventually puddled on the shell of this bag. The Pertex Quantum shell kept the interior dry, even at the seams, just as well as more expensive bags, but not as well as the super burly Marmot Col or the Feathered Friends Snow Bunting.
The Magma is a great contender for summer alpinists on a budget, as it is super light and compressible, barely taking up any space in your pack. For mild winter activities when it doesn't get colder than 20º, the Magma is good to go, but for true winter expeditions that involve long stints in your bag while temps hover around zero, we recommend a burlier, warmer bag like the Brooks Range Drift -10, or the Feathered Friends Snow Bunting.
For $350, this bag is an awesome value. You won't find many bags this lofty with 850 fill power down for that price, especially with such lightweight and weather resistant shell materials.
If you're looking for something lightweight and easy on the wallet, the REI Co-Op Magma 10 is a solid choice, especially if you consider yourself a warm sleeper. Available in three sizes, there's something for everyone, whether your top priority is weight savings or comfort.
— Matt Bento