I recently put Mountain Hardwear’s Wraith SL -20 sleeping bag to a hard test on a two-week trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Although an experienced tent-dweller, I run very cold, especially when sleeping. As such, I spent a great deal of time planning my cold weather strategies for the late fall conditions I would encounter in the Himalayas. I needn’t have worried.
Indeed, thanks to the Wraith SL -20′s 800-fill down and numerous other insulating features, I have never slept better on the side of a mountain. My normally icy feet and chilly core stayed warm and comfortable as the double draft tubes along the zipper effectively prevented drafts and cold spots. These same draft tubes caused occasional zipper snagging, which I was able to forgive given the insulating benefits. The draft collar felt soft and natural, draping easily around my neck and preventing the escape of warm air.
Perhaps the feature of the Wraith SL -20 I enjoyed most was the lightweight waterproof Conduit SL shell. Repulsion of overnight moisture and condensation was a huge issue. Most mornings we had a mini-snowstorm in our tent from accumulated frost, and the ability to simply brush off the bag before packing it away eliminated the need to deal with a damp sleeping bag later in the day. On the grittier side, I was confined to the sleeping bag for a 14-hour period with stomach issues. When our Sherpa guide kindly brought me some soup, I promptly spilled it on the bag. Again, a quick clean-up rather than a catastrophe. You might expect that with such an effective waterproof shell, breathability could be compromised. However, it was never an issue; I always felt warm, dry and comfortable.
The Wraith SL -20 is roomy enough that I didn’t feel claustrophobic, despite the flea market of items I needed to keep warm inside the bag – cameras, batteries, headlamp, clothing, etc.
Although for this particular expedition, my gear was carried by a team of yaks rather than on my back, 4 lb. 4 oz. is a reasonable weight for such a substantial winter bag. Stuffing down to approximately 10 x 19 inches, the Wraith SL -20 also didn’t take up excessive space in my duffle. As the name suggests, the bag is rated to -20 F or -29 C, a designation that I feel to be as accurate as possible given personal preferences and individual thermostats.
I believe that my experience in the Himalayas demonstrates the attributes of Mountain Hardwear’s Wraith SL -20 sleeping bag for all cold weather adventurers, whether they be multi-day snowshoers, cross-country skiers or winter hikers. Further information can be found at www.MountainHardWear.com.
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