Reviewed Feb. 2016
Portland Oregon based photographer and cyclist, Daniel Sharp, recently wrote about the Down Hugger 900 #2 and its place in his bikepacking sleep system setup. Here is what he had to say, "This is a bag that is warm and extremely comfortable. It’s a bag that I can’t wait to crawl into. It’s just that comfortable."
Montbell Athlete Whitney "Allgood" LaRuffa's Review and Recommendations
Review Date: August 2015
The Down Hugger 900 #2 is the most comfortable and roomy sleeping bag I have had in years. After 7 years of sleeping with an Ultra-Light Quilt by the now defunct GoLite, it was time for a new quilt as mine had lost its loft. Going back to a sleeping bag from a quilt was not an easy choice, and I feared it would be an uncomfortable and slightly claustrophobic experience, but after the first night in the bag my mind was changed.
The Down Hugger allows for natural movement throughout the night, the stretch baffles allow you to turn over easily and even accommodate sleeping on your side. The stretch baffles allow enough space that I can sit up in by bag crossed legged and be warm and comfortable while I relax in camp or write in my journal.
The DWR coating on the outer fabric resisted condensation well; this is a very good thing when sleeping in a single wall shelter which tends to produce a large amount of condensation. The bag also does well transferring moisture from your body to the outer layer during the night. Like all Mont-bell products this bag combines an ultra-light weight with a good value price, making this a great choice for the weight and budget conscious backpacker.
Overall if you are looking for a good down bag for 3 season use that is less than 2lbs, I highly recommend the Down Hugger 900 #2.
Washington Trails: Editor's Choice Best New Hiking Gear of 2015
Reviewed in May/June 2015
Washington Trails magazine recently reviewed the Down Hugger 900 #2 in their 2015 New Gear Guide. Here is what they had to say.
"Recently, I attended the ALDHA-West Cascade Ruck, where PCT thru-hikers gather to get information, share ideas and plan their treks. At the event, Mont-Bell was showcasing their Down Hugger bag, a 2014 Backpacker Editor's Choice award winner, and favorite bag of long-distance hikers. I had to try one. And after my own experience with it-in the chilly Northwest winter- Mont-Bell can add another feather to their cap with a WT Editor's Choice selection. Simply put, this bag is amazing. It features a stretchy spiral construction that allows you to toss, turn, curl up and roll without getting all twisted up. Then, when you settle into a comfortable position, the bag cinches in to elimnate open space and air pockets-it's like a big, warm full-body hug. Plus, a neck baffle and draft tubes minimize cold air leakage to keep you comofrtable through the night. This is the bag that will be with me on the PCT this year."
Gear Pick: MontBell Down Hugger 900 #2
Review Date: August 29, 2014
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved the experience of snoozing in a sleeping bag. There’s something wonderfully comforting about climbing into, and zipping up, that cozy, cushy bag of slumber bliss. Whether it’s camping in the backyard or the backcountry, sleeping bags usually accompany some kind of out-of-the-ordinary adventure.
When I moved to Aspen from the Midwest after college I was introduced to the wide array of sleeping bags. Until then, I had only been accustomed to using the heavy, WalMart variety for 4-H camp, car camping and sleepovers. After a climbing harness, a synthetic, 0-degree Marmot bag was my second purchase. Twelve years later I still have, and love, that bag, but as my summer backpacking activities kicked into full gear over the last couple of years, I needed something a little lighter and not rated for such a low temperature.
The Japanese company, MontBell, received rave reviews a few years ago for its Spiral Down Hugger that applied an old tailor’s trick of a bias-cut design allowing the bag to utilize more of the interior space. Fabric is usually cut when the material’s threads run vertically with perpendicular cross-threads; bias-cut is simply cutting the same fabric on a tilt of 45 degrees. This bag is also stitched with elastic on the bias at a 45-degree angle, so it ends up with more stretch and room from the same amount of fabric.
The Down Hugger 900 #2 is the updated version of that design, but with even more stretch and unparalleled comfort. MontBell increased the stretching capability from 1 to 3 inches to a ridiculous 18 to 22 inches. You could almost do your morning yoga in this thing. However, when moving around, the bag literally “hugs” your body so that cold pockets of air are eliminated and it only expands where you need it. I tend to be somewhat of a restless sleeper when camping, but have already had some nights of quality sleep since using this bag. The expansion makes it possible to sleep in any position without feeling constricted.
Not sold yet? The Down Hugger is made with ultra-light, 900-fill goose down with a durable water repellent that translates to it weighing less than 1½ pounds and stuffs to approximately the size of a Nalgene bottle. Most bags fall into the 650 to 800-fill range, so this is another area where MontBell steps it up a notch. The 900-fill down has more fill power, which means it keeps you warm while having excellent compressibility and loft. However, the higher the fill power, the higher the price. The price tag on this thing is not for the faint of heart.
There are a two temperature ratings from which to choose. I have the 25-degree version and it’s proven ideally warm for summer backpacking in the cool nights of our Colorado mountains. I’ll switch back to my 0-degree bag for winter camping, but this will be my ultimate go-to for hut trips, shoulder seasons and the summer. Time will tell how it performs once the temperature starts dropping, but I’m optimistic that it will function well in relation to its rating. I’ve only tested it in the high 30s and have stayed perfectly toasty without being too hot.
This bag is a dream for everything from multi-day backpacking trips to river trips to overnight jaunts up to Lincoln Creek. The price is hard to swallow, but the Hugger has all the attributes you could want in a three-season bag: packability, comfort, warmth and high-quality construction.
Montbell Down Hugger 900 #2 Sleeping Bag Review
Review Date: June 10th, 2014
An ultralight sleeping bag in the 20 to 25F (-7 to -4 C) range is a good choice for backpacking in the shoulder seasons, and a good mountain summer bag for cold sleepers. If you were to buy just one ultralight sleeping bag, one in this range would be ideal for many hikers because it keeps extra weight to a minimum while providing extra warmth. Montbell, a leader in down-insulated garments and sleeping bags, has introduced the Down Hugger 900 #2 for spring 2014. As the name implies, its insulated with 900 fill-power down and features Montbell's Super Spiral Stretch System (described below) which contracts the bag around your body and expands to provide loads of girth when you need it.
MONTBELL DOWN HUGGER 900 #2
Review Date: March 2014
Innovative sewing techniques deliver a whole new level of ultra-light comfort.
We gave MontBell’s Spiral Down Hugger an Editors’ Choice Award back in 2009 for a novel design that added stretch to the bag shell for unparalleled comfort. The new down Hugger 900 #2 takes everything we liked about the previous bag and adds a new level of stretch that elevates it a cut above anything else we’ve tested, including the original award winner.
Exhibit A: MontBell increased the stretch* from 1 to 3 inches to a whopping 18 to 22 inches. “It’s nothing short of brilliant,” says one 6-foot tester. “I can comfortably sit in full lotus position, but when I’m in repose, the bag snugs up around me to eliminate pockets of dead air.” Plus, by stretching only where you need it (let’s say you want to splay your lower legs a bit), the insulation stays close to your body in other places, which increases overall bag warmth. “I slept directly on a sheet of snow after my sleeping pad failed, and even with temps in the upper teens, I stayed warm enough to get a decent night’s sleep,” says one tester after a weekend in Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo range.
The icing on the cake? Thanks to 900-fill down and 8-denier nylon fabric, all of this comfort weighs less than a pound and a half and pack down to the size of a honeydew melon. Yes, we know it’s expensive, but the Hugger has everything you want in a bag: warmth, comfort, packability, and top-quality workmanship. $519; 1lb.8oz.; 25F; montbell.us
from Backpacker Magazine
MONT BELL DOWN HUGGER 900 SLEEPING BAG
Review Date: June 2014
Having already bestowed rave reviews on the Mont Bell UL Spiral Down Hugger 1 Sleeping Bag a few years back, I was looking forward to testing out the new Mont Bell Down Hugger 900 sleeping bag. The Down Hugger 900 uses the same “bias-cut" technique to improve interior space as the Mont Bell UL Spiral Down Hugger 1 Sleeping Bag. “Bias Cut” sounds like a fancy-pants terms but it simply means that fabrics are cut in a way that utilizes the greater stretch in the bias or diagonal direction of the fabric. The gathered stitches are also elastic, which allows them to expand and contract as the sleeping bag moves with you when you change positions throughout the night. This flexibility creates a better contour for your body position. Keeping the 900 fill goose down closer to your body helps eliminate those drafty spaces.
The down is held in place by multi-tube construction which is industry standard these days but the added flow gates throughout these tubes ensures that the down stays put and evenly distributed. The end result is greater thermal efficiency in a really comfortable bag with no weight penalty. Top this all off with a Polkatex DWR (durable water repellent) treatment helping the Down Hugger 900 to repel water and ensuring that condensation from your tent walls does not compromise the insulation.
The Mont Bell Down Hugger 900 Sleeping Bag comes with a cotton storage bag so that the bag can be stored in an expanded state to promote high loft, which means more warmth in the backcountry. A stuff sack is also provided to reduce overall volume and help maximize the space required in your backpack, however a compression sack would yield much more impressive results in this department.
A full length zipper with an auto locking feature limits zipper ”creep” and dual insulated draft tubes keep out cold drafts. The fabric closest to the zip is slightly thicker and designed to ensure that the draft tubes don’t end up getting caught up in the zipper while using it in either direction. To further keep the cold at bay the Down Hugger 900 has an adjustable tunnel hood. The draw cord allows you to customize the face hole to minimize cold air getting in and ensuring your moist breath gets out. The neck baffle and shoulder collar also help reduce the amount of cold air which can enter the bag through the top opening.
The Mont Bell Down Hugger 900 Sleeping Bag gets the ‘900’ moniker from the fact that is uses 900 fill power goose down which is very rare compared to other sleeping bags on the market. 650 - 800 fill power down is more commonly used given that it’s less expensive in this day where down prices are on the rise. 900 fill down keeps you warmer and compresses better than those with a lower number but 900 fill down is also at the premium end of the price range - hence the Down Hugger 900’s hefty price tag. Lets look at some features and photos shall we?
I tested the Mont Bell Down Hugger 900 Sleeping Bag on several colder spring nights in April where the mercury dipped down to 0°C. There were no winds and I was not in a tent so that I could experience a true zero degrees. With only a base layer on I found that the Down Hugger 900 bag kept me warm but it did have some cold spots on occasion. After putting on some additional clothing I was able to get a truly restful sleep. The biggest thing I noticed aside from the comfort and loft of the Mont Bell Down Hugger 900 was the room. There is a lot of unimpeded room to roll around and get comfortable. I like to put my knees up and spread out my legs to keep my back from seizing up through out the night and the Down Hugger allowed for this and then some. I would confidently say that the spiral design easily provides twice as much internal room as other traditional bags and allows for a really restful sleep if you like to be able to move around in your sleeping bag freely.
While the black exterior fabric colour is ideal for hiding dirt and accelerating dry times in the sun it is does show every little fibre and hair on the bag thanks in part to the static electricity generated.
The full length zipper has very little extra durable fabric to prevent zipper snags but it seems to work really well. This minimal design affords no snags and keeps weight down. My favourite feature of the zipper and where most companies save a few cents and grams is the double zipper pulls. These make it super easy to get in and out of the sleeping bag as most bags only have a single zipper pull which is always on the outside of the bag when you are on the inside. With two zip pulls you can always find one on the inside and one on the outside, which are well worth the added costs and weight.
The only real gripe I have with the Mont Bell Down Hugger 900 Sleeping Bag is not with the bag at all but rather with the stuff sack. First off, it’s not waterproof and offers little to no compression. I immediately swapped mine out for a better compression bag to make things super-small and easily saved half the compressed volume. For a sleeping bag in this price range it would be nice to have a better stuff sack provided.
Overall the Mont Bell Down Hugger 900 Sleeping Bag provides a comfortable, warm sleep at a very reasonable weight and size given its -3°C rating. Make no mistake - this is a high end sleeping bag so if you have the extra cash and want the best, I would say that this is it.
- All the features you want in a quality three season bag
- I tested the long version and there was lots of extra space. I am 6’1” and 170lbs and found it had more than enough room for my size.
- Black is not the most exciting colour for a sleeping bag when stuck in a tent for multiple days compared to orange or red but it hides the dirt and dries much quicker.
- Compresses really well for a -3°C bag and is on the light end of the weight spectrum.
- Pricey, but quality ain’t cheap.
- No internal pocket for storage of small items you may want at night like a headlamp, ear plugs or tissues.
- A simple stuff sac is included and for this price tag it would be expected that a waterproof compression sac would be part of the deal.