Sleeping bags

I have a K-Way Zermatt 950 Eco Sleeping bag which is suitable for 3 seasons in South Africa. I am now looking around seriously for a bag which will take me into the mountains in winter.

I still have to make a decision on the down versus synthetic bag issue. I think the traditional thinking was that the more expensive down bags were warmer, lighter, and packed smaller than synthetic bags, whilst synthetic bags were cheaper, dried quicker if they got wet, and were easier to maintain.

Update [01/09/2016]: I see K-Way has released K-Way Hybrid 2 Sleeping Bag that combines down and synthetic materials: the top half is duck down and the lower half is hollowfibre padding.

Features to consider:

  • The cowl feature is super for keeping your head and neck warm and preventing warm air from leaving the bag.
  • Mummy shaped bags offer a closer fit than traditional square bags, reducing the amount of air that needs to be warmed. The shape also means a slightly smaller, lighter bag.
  • The left / right feature means that if you have a left and a right bag that you can zip the two together to make a double bag (this works very well as you share body heat).
  • Quality of zipper.
  • Baffle on zipper to prevent zipper allowing cold air in.
  • Bags that have a zipper feature that allows the bottom of the bag to be opened independently of the main zipper help with comfort, especially for mummy-shaped bags where foot room is fairly restricted.
  • Internal pocket for valuables, batteries etc.
  • Non-slip strips or dots to keep bag from sliding on mat
BrandModelFillingDimensionsRatingWeightLeft / RightAdditional
Union Mart
Mail Order
first Ascent
first AscentBlue WolfGoose 92/8 (1.2kg)225 x 82/55 *-252.0kgYes5995.005999.00
first AscentFusion 900Goose 92/8225 x 90/60-151.8kgYes2735.003995.003999.00
first AscentFusion 600Goose 92/8 (600g)225 x 82/55-51.4kgYes2795.002799.00
first AscentAdventure LightGoose 92/8225 x 78/50+50.550kg1699.00
first AscentIce Breaker Goose 92/8 (850g)225 x 82/58-81.4kgYes2199.002995.002599.952999.00
first Ascent Ice Breaker XL Goose 92/8240 x 90/65-8Yes2499.003395.003399.00
first Ascent Ice NinoGoose 92/8210 x 80/52-51.2kgYes2795.002799.00
first Ascent Explorer 850Goose 92/8225 x 82/5801kgYesFoot-friendly zipper 2295.002299.00
first AscentIce Hollowfibre CowlThermo-Shield225 x 80/60-51.9kgYesFoot-friendly zipper
Zip-off cowl
first AscentPackliteThermo-Shield225 x 82/52+50.795kgNo835.00899.95
first AscentAmplify 1800300g/m² Thermo-Shield insulation & 1 x Layer Illuminate 220 x 80/57-51.893kgYesElastic (Amplify) stitching1599.00
first AscentAmplify 1500200g/m² Thermo-Shield insulation & 1 x Layer Illuminate warmth reflector220 x 80/55-21.525kgYesElastic (Amplify) stitching1299.00
first AscentAmplify 900100g/m² Thermo-Shield insulation & 1 x Layer Illuminate 220 x 80/55+20.975kgYesElastic (Amplify) stitching999.00
K-Way Zermatt 950 Eco1x133g/m2 Primaloft Eco Insulation220 x 82/560.950kgYesMummy shape699.00
K-Way Kilimanjaro 2 ThermaShiftGoose 650g225 x 80/50-81.45kgYes1999.00
K-WayHybrid 280/20 duck down 600+ Cuin 200g / 125g hollowfibre225 x 82/55-51.66kgCowl1599.00
* Available in large size (10cm longer and 8cm wider)

From Wikipedia:

EN13537 requires a thermal manikin test which produces four temperature results — upper limit, comfort, lower limit and extreme. These temperatures were worked for normal consumers.

The standard measures four temperature ratings:

  • Upper Limit — the temperature at which a standard man can sleep without excessive perspiration. It is established with the hood and zippers open and with the arms outside of the bag.
  • Comfort — the temperature at which a standard woman can expect to sleep comfortably in a relaxed position.
  • Lower Limit — the temperature at which a standard man can sleep for eight hours in a curled position without waking.
  • Extreme — the minimum temperature at which a standard woman can remain for six hours without risk of death from hypothermia (though frostbite is still possible).

For the purpose of these measurements, a “standard man” is assumed to be 25 years old, with a height of 1.73 m and a weight of 73 kg; a “standard woman” is assumed to be 25 years old, with a height of 1.60 m and a weight of 60 kg.

First Ascent logo K-Way logo


Outdoor adventure enthusiast living on the Garden Route.

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