The photie at the top of this months column is from my South Glen Shiel Ridge bivvy trip. I used the Big Agnes Zirkel top bag and Two Track sleep pad there (at over a 1000m in February, plenty warm), so it’s relevant to the text. It was a revelation moving to top bags, warm, more comfortable and less restrictive. I know some folk have issues with them as they expect the bag to move with them in the night, but at home your duvet doesn’t revolve with you all night, so I think a top bag is a much more natural sleep. The other side is the stretch seamed bags from MontBell that I’ll be writing up soon. It’s another comfortable, unrestricted sleep.
It’s also nice to have a bit of lightweight thinking that naysayers can’t criticise. You might not like the concept, but you can’t say it’s losing weight at the cost of performance. It actually extends it’s use. I took the Exped Synmat on the WHW and was happy as it was snowing and the ground was cold, last week for the lightweight camp with the Trail guys I took a plain air-filled Exped mat at less than half the weight. I used the Rab AR bag both times and it was all good: comfy and warm enough.
I really like the new look of the column as well. Having the photie makes a big difference. Me grinning away in the bottom corner is definitely a better idea that that gormless buffoon of previous months turning folk away from the important messages below.