Welcome to Cal’s Mountain Equipment Earthrise 400 Sleeping Bag Review. This is one of the products in Mountain Equipment’s Earthrise range featuring products made from recycled fabrics and down. We hope you find her detailed review helpful.
For anyone passionate about outdoor adventures, the drive to protect the wilderness areas is our highest priority. We can be guided by Leave No Trace principles and be pro active in our actions, but there is still the requirement for specialist equipment to help facilitate our adventures.
Fortunately, there is a huge drive by outdoor manufacturers to produce sustainable products and we are really lucky to have so much choice available. Whether it is clothing or many items of equipment, we can make informed choices about what we choose.
Mountain Equipment (ME) has led the way in clothing and equipment for many decades, and recently they have been doing the same with the manufacture of products made from recycled materials. I’ve been testing one of their impressive Earthrise 400 sleeping bags and here is my review.
The Earthrise range features both sleeping bags and clothing. In this case my Mountain Equipment Earthrise 400 Sleeping Bag review features a bag they describe as ‘a light and highly packable bag constructed from recycled fabrics and down’. Put simply, the shell is 100% recycled and the down is too. This is such a great innovation and even a few years ago this just wasn’t a possibility open to consumers. This is also a first for Mountain Equipment.
Perhaps the most important element of any sleeping bag is it’s insulation, so let’s consider that first. The 400 is filled with 367 grams of recycled down with a minimum fill power of 700. Some sources seem to suggest a minimum fillpower of 650 but I’ve taken this stat from the ME website .. The down comes from post consumer waste which is washed, sterilised, dried and sorted. Then, the highest quality down is separated for use in the Earthrise products. Down which doesn’t make the cut is used for products by other manufacturers. The production cycle aims for minimal waste.
The inner and outer fabrics are also produced from totally recycled materials. The outer is a tightly woven 20 denier ripstop material. The inner features a softer and lighter fabric for comfort. The bag is of slant box wall construction. This means the insulation chambers are essentially individual boxes which helps to keep the insulation from moving within the bag. This construction also eliminates cold spots. The slant walls ensure the down falls to the inside of the bag next to you. Slant wall construction also helps to minimise weight and allows better compression for storage.
The insulation is also optimised by the way the bag is constructed. What that means is there are narrower chambers near the lower part and larger ones towards the top of the bag. This ensures the insulation can perform best according to the way our body moves and to maximise insulation where it is needed. Around the feet and lower legs we want narrower chambers to ensure the down won’t shift and in the upper bag larger chambers allow maximum expansion.
The foot box is designed to be as thermally efficient as possible. Mountain Equipment have constructed the bag with a 4 baffle anatomically shaped and offset foot box. This, to the end user, is designed to allow space for the feet without compressing the down. It also minimises down migration. This is especially important in a part of the body prone to getting cold.
An anatomically shaped hood allows good head coverage. It is constructed with a 5 baffle construction for fit and is designed for easy use when you are lay in the bag. There is also a large insulated neck collar to minimise the escape of cold air. This closes with a drawcord but on the zip opening side there is a neat closure called a Lode Lock. This combines a press stud style closure with a magnet to make it easy to locate the two sides. It also has to be secure enough incase of body movement once inside the bag. The other key feature of this is that, if in a rush, the Lode Lock can easily be pulled apart.
The bags also feature a full length side zip. This is also cleverly designed as Mountain Equipment have deliberately positioned it further to the upward side of the bag. This mid-level side seams system eliminates cold spots and ensures the zip can be easily accessed without it being trapped underneath. A great design innovation.
A double overlay zip baffle also helps avoid cold spots. One side of the baffle is lightly insulated and stiffened to avoid it getting caught in the zipper teeth.
Mountain Equipment have different fit options for different sleeping bags in their range. The Earthrise products are from their technical range and so features their Alpine Fit. This includes their zoned EXL system which means a narrower lower section tapering from the hips into the lower legs. This is designed to keep the down close to the body and maximise thermal efficiency. It also helps reduce weight. Finally, the Earthrise range come with a dry bag style stuff sack and a ventilated asking cube for home storage.
The 400 model has a claimed good night sleep temperature of -2 degrees (28 Fahrenheit). However, in line with many top end manufacturers, Mountain Equipment do offer a range of temperature calculations. They say the comfort temperature is 3 degrees (37 Fahrenheit), the comfort limit is -3 degrees (27 Fahrenheit) and extreme temp rating of -19 degrees (-2 Fahrenheit). They come with left or right hand zips and in regular or long length. The weight is 850 grams.
In their description for this bag Mountain Equipment say ‘with sufficient warmth for cooler Spring nights or varied trips with periods at higher elevation, it’s a perfect choice for backpacking and cycle touring.’ So, in completing this Mountain Equipment Earthrise 400 Sleeping Bag review, this is the benchmark I’ve considered.
So, these are technical bags. The addition of their Alpine fit, the lightweight materials and the use of high fill power down really makes this a bag suitable for a wide range of applications. It isn’t the lightest and doesn’t have the highest Fill Power down available, but it can certainly hold its own in comparison to other models.
So, let’s consider temperatures first. For my testing the Earthrise has been used a number of times in temperatures down to -2 degrees and to a more balmy temperature low of 7 degrees. It has also been carried into a few wild camps and used for car camping.
Manufacturers are trying hard to give users realistic information on how a particular sleeping bag will perform at different temperatures. It is great to have a more reliable system than the older season description. However, it will still vary user to user. I am a notoriously cold sleeper and can sometimes be complaining of cold when others in my group are roasting. So, everyone is different.
With that in mind, on the couple of nights I have used the bag at temps of -2 degrees I was chilly at times. This is no criticism of the bag though. When my partner used it in similar temps he was toasty throughout. So, all I can offer is that the temp ratings have to be a guide. In all other situations I found the Earthrise to be plenty warm enough.
Next, let’s look at styling and features. The Earthrise 400 is a great looking bag. It comes in a darker bluey purple colour described as Opulence. ME have then contrasted that with a yellow zip and a lighter grey interior. In line with all other ME products I’ve used, the quality and finish is superb. Neat stitching and great attention to detail are clear everywhere you look.
But, above all it is the carefully considered design features that are most noticed when the bag is in use. When you climb into the bag, everything just works. The bag is also well shaped – snug fitting but not restrictive. The foot box is also perfectly shaped.
The zip is easy to operate and I’ve had no problems with it getting snagged. This is undoubtedly helped because of its position higher up the side of the bag. A great design. The stiffened zip baffle obviously also helps. Lastly, the combination of the neck collar and hood finish the package. The neck collar is generous and the drawcord and clever Lode Lock closure makes it simple to get it snugged around the neck. The hood is really well shaped and can be easily adjusted with the drawcord adjuster. It all just works.
So, in every way, the bag performs really well. I finally want this Mountain Equipment Earthrise 400 Sleeping Bag review to consider the environmental aspects. Well, firstly to say a massive well done to ME on creating this range. Consumers have to play a role in choosing sustainable products, but this needs suitable items to be available. With products like the Earthrise on the market making a sustainable choice is much easier. This sleeping bag offers a comparable price and certainly comparable performance to other sleeping bags. What would we not choose a product made entirely from recycled materials? It is a major step forward.
The Earthrise 400 Sleeping Bag has been an absolute pleasure to review. It is a high performance bag with lots of innovative features. It lives up to Mountain Equipment’s legacy of producing top quality products and will become a trusted adventure companion.
There is something more though. We need industry leaders like ME to show us what is possible and to offer products that can helps us reduce our impact. But, they can also guide the rest of the industry to also follow suit. Everyone wins – especially the environment.
Finally, there is something really special about travelling into the wilderness using a product you know has had minimal impact on the environment you want to preserve. It is very empowering. The Mountain Equipment Earthrise 400 retails for £270 and details can be found on the ME website here. Please do give this product serious consideration when you next need a new sleeping bag. The Trekkit video below gives a great over view of its features.