I wasn’t going to blog on this as I’ve not used it yet and Rab have stopped making it. However, there’s been quite a lot of interest on Twitter, so I thought I’d better do a little “first look” post.
Why buy yet another sleeping bag? Well, I’ve been looking at quilts and top bags for a while. I rejected the idea of a quilt as I’m a restless sleeper and the likely problem of draughts. I also don’t like the idea of strapping the quilt to a mat so it’s impossible to sit up. Top bags have more appeal as they are enclosed like sleeping bags but only have insulation on the top. Given that the insulation on the the bottom is largely superfluous, this seems like a good, weight saving idea. The Neutrino SL has been around for a while, but Rab have decided to discontinue production, so it was now or never.
I was also prompted by some favourable comments by Martin Rye who bought one recently. Martin alerted me that Ultralight Outdoors Gear only had one bag left in stock, so I took the plunge. Interlink Express failed to deliver it on time, claiming that I was out when I was in, but finally it arrived yesterday. My first impressions are highly favourable. Unusually, it weighs slightly less than the advertised weight at 573g versus 588g. I hope they’ve not skimped on down! The loft is very good and the down quality compares well with my Western Mountaineering bag. The material is very soft to the touch.
The bag is quite long at 210cm, 15cm longer than my Alpkit Pipedream 400, so it should suit tall people. The foot and underside has some Primaloft insulation that extends for 65cms to just above the back of the knees. The underside then extends for 95cms without insulation but with a sleeve for a sleeping pad and an additional four loops for shock cord. As I intend to use the bag with my Exped mats (Synmat UL and Downmat UL), I’ve attached some shock cord to the lowest pair of loops, using a small carabiner on one side for ease of attachment.
Moving up, there is a very plush down filled hood. The baffles around the hood appear to be overfilled to form a kind of collar. I experimented with a Thermarest (old style) in the sleeve and it was a very tight fit. I don’t think I’d like to use it like this as you would have to unzip it to sit up. I’ll either not tether it or I’ll use the piece of shock cord.
The Neutrino has a half zip which is double ended but has no zip pullers. I rectified this using a bit of grey cord that I had. Zip pullers make it much easier to keep the zip away from the draught tube. The draught tube is quite narrow but adequate and has a Primaloft fill, which is more sensible than down in my view as it is stiffer. Unlike some bags, the hood velcro closure keep the zipper end away from your face. Lastly there’s an elasticated draw cord to cinch the hood. The hood itself is a good shape.
The Neutrino comes with a cotton storage bag and a very well specified dry bag which has an internal drawstring and roll over top, but is a bit heavy at 67g. All in all, it seems to be a very good bag and should probably match my Alpkit Pipedream 400 for warmth (assuming a good insulating mat). At 573g, there’s a useful 167g weight saving and it packs down into an appreciably smaller package. The proof of the pudding will be when I use it, which is unlikley in the short term as we are still nursing our dog, who is doing well, but will need another month or so of care.