Home Outdoor Innovation - New Stuff Thermarest Polar Ranger Sleeping Bag

Thermarest Polar Ranger Sleeping Bag

£610 www.thermarest.com/ie

New for 2018, this is a bag spec’d for arctic conditions and designed in partnership with polar explorer Eric Larson. They reckon it’s comfortable to temperatures of -20C, with an extreme or limit rating of -30C. It certainly lofts well, as a result of 850 fill-power RDS certified hydrophobic down, with the water repellancy provided by Nikwax – so no PFC’s here. There are also some really innovative features. First, a ‘snorkel’, or a circular baffle around the face, which keeps the area around your head free from damp. This is synthetic to further shed moisture, and the bag works really well when used fully zipped up like this. Second, there are side vents, which double up as arm holes – so you can eat, drink or read while wearing the bag. These vents, plus the front central zip, are all 2 way (can be zipped in either direction) and are protected by huge baffles to eliminate cold spots. Lastly, there’s a foot ‘pocket’ to provide extra warmth to your extremities.

I used this on several sub-zero nights, and found it plenty warm enough for all, with the possible exception of the bivy pictured (the coldest night in Scotland’s 2017-18 winter season so far), when I added a mid-layer to my baselayers and was fine. The bag sheds moisture very well, lofts quickly, weighs about 1.5kg and will just about squeeze into a 13L drysack. Sizing is a little on the snug side for me in the regular – I could use some more room in the length as well as around the shoulders. If you are taller than 5’8 then go for the ‘long’ size.

► Verdict: It’s expensive, but very warm and an excellent design.

► Best for: Winter conditions specific. Alps, polar, Scottish winter.

Review by David Lintern @davidjlintern