Patagonia 850 Down 30 Review
Cons: Mummy design isn’t super versatile, can’t open up like quilts
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag 30 is markedly warmer than some fully hooded mummies we tested. We also thought it fit very nicely, and wasn't as short or narrow as warmer competitors. Almost no other bag we tested had an as refined and highly thought-out feature set like this one, so we give a tip of the hat to Patagonia for getting it right the first time. Of course, this bag was quite heavy compared to most of the competition, and also suffered from an inherent lack of versatility in its design.
This bag is rated to 30F by Patagonia, but curiously does not have an EN standard rating even though it has the requisite hood. Regardless, we felt that the rating was quite accurate, and this bag will keep you reasonably warm down to that low temperature, and potentially quite hot at temperatures above 40F. It uses 850 fill-power traceable down contained in skinny, vertically oriented sewn-through baffles in the torso and legs, and horizontally sewn-through baffles in the foot box. Sewn-through design means that the exterior fabric is sewn through to the interior fabric, creating a thin point where there is neither space nor insulation to trap heat. This often isn't as warm as box baffles, but it seemed plenty warm on this bag
This bag used a number of other design elements that help keep one warm, such as a fat draft tube along the half zipper, a deep and spacious hood that easily covers the top of the head and forehead, and a cinch system that closes off the gap around the face nicely. These features help it to feel far warmer than some similarly rated products.
Our Regular sized bag weighed in at 26.2 ounces (1 lb. 8.2 oz). The included stuff sack, which features two separate drawcords at the top for helping it pack down super small, weighs an additional 0.8 ounces.
Besides using less insulation, the only obvious design choices meant to help keep the weight down is a half-length zipper and the lack of a draft collar. There is no doubt that this bag is a bit material heavy.
This was one of the most comfortable bags that we tested. The size Regular was plenty big enough for a person 6'0" tall, with some room to spare, something that certainly could not be said about its closest competition. We really loved the cut of the foot box, which was roomier than the width of the legs, acknowledging that feet are indeed different shaped and bigger than calves and lower legs. While all mummy bags have a tendency to feel a bit restricting once you are all zipped up tight inside, this one had enough space to move the arms around, alleviating midnight fits of claustrophobia.
If we had one complaint when it came to comfort, it would be that using the Houdini shell fabric for the inside lining of the bag was a wrong choice. While it isn't specifically uncomfortable, it certainly doesn't feel as nice against the skin as some fabrics we've used. That said, we have to give props for the hood drawcords that live on the outside of the bag, meaning when tightened there are no dangling cord ends hitting you in the face or wrapping around your neck.
The hooded mummy design does not naturally lend itself to versatility. In fact, that is probably why so many other lightweight options, such as quilts, came about in the first place. With only a half-length zipper in the front, it is impossible to open this bag up to fully ventilate on a warm night. With the short zipper, there is not even the option of unzipping it all the way and pulling out the feet if they get too hot. For that reason, it scored a paltry 5 out of 10 points when it came to versatility. This bag must be used in temperature conditions within roughly 20 degrees of its minimum rating or it will be too hot.
We must point out, however, that this bag does have one feature that adds to its versatility — the two-way zipper. This allows one to have an open gap in the zipper, even when it is drawn all the way up to the neck. Besides allowing the hands out to perform whatever tasks may need to be done without fully unzipping, this feature is especially useful while big wall or alpine climbing, as it allows the most convenient way to remain tied in overnight, and alleviates the need to have the rope running down to the harness through the neck opening.
Besides the two-way zipper that we just mentioned above, this bag has some great features, enough to make it one of the highest-rated bags in this metric.
We loved the use of recessed cord lock buckles that live on the inside of the neck fabric, much like the design sometimes seen on puffy jackets. This means no buckle for the face to rub against, and the design also keeps the ends of the neck drawcords on the outside of the bag, rather than dangling around inside as most bags do. We found the hood on this bag to be nice and deep, making the additional weight seem worthwhile. We also liked how it has a zipper draft tube on the inside, but noticed that the zipper itself seems to often get caught on the fabric of this extra baffle.
Since we think that this bag is top quality and is backed by the legendary Patagonia guarantee, it presents a good value, and is very unlikely to be money wasted if it suits your intended uses.
The Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag 30 is a high quality, fully hooded mummy bag that is never-the-less impressively lightweight. Although it is among the heavier bags deemed ultralight for our testing purposes, it is particularly warm and has a great set of features that are both useful and function exactly as they are designed. While it will make a good three-season bag for just about anyone, it will particularly shine for summertime alpine and big wall climbing.
— Andy Wellman
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