Product reviews/11/26/2023

ISPO Award Winner 2023: Specter by Mountain Hardwear

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With the Specter Mountain Hardwear presents a remarkable piece of outdoor gear. A sleeping bag with an innovative combination of materials and high usability.

Lightweight and durable

The Specter Sleeping Bag is designed to meet the demands of climbers, from hanging on portaledge 1000 feet above the ground to bivouacking at high altitudes or overnighting in the wilderness. Its ultralight yet highly durable Pertex Quantum Pro Diamond Fuse shell, combined with RDS-certified down insulation, offers a unique blend of weatherproofness and compressibility. These qualities are crucial for climbers, where every inch of space and gram of weight matters. “At Mountain Hardwear, we’re lucky to work with some of the most talented and driven athletes in the world. This allows us to really dig into the core needs and demands for every piece of equipment”, says Ben Guthrie - Design Director of Equipment & Apparel Mountain Hardwear. “The Specter series was built to fulfill a need expressed by our athletes, which was a high quality down bag that could withstand the harsh conditions and demands of technical big wall and alpine climbing missions.”

The bag's Performance Mummy shape is available in two user heights: Regular (fits up to 72 inches or 182 cm) and Long (fits up to 78 inches or 198 cm). This thoughtful adjustment accommodates layering apparel while sleeping, addressing the practical challenges climbers face in maintaining warmth during rest periods. It features a combination of down and a microporous PU-coated Pertex fabric, optimizing compression and weatherproofness, making it ideal for big-wall climbing. What sets the Specter Sleeping Bag apart is its innovative design. The Pertex Quantum Pro Diamond Fuse shell, never used in sleeping bags before, ensures exceptional durability and performance. “The combination of a lightweight, durable microporous PU-coated material that, to our knowledge, has only been applied in outerwear with high fill-power down to get the best of both worlds for an alpinist or climber”, says Ben Guthrie. Thoughtful features like a shorter right-side zip allow climbers to stay snug in the bag, with arms free for tasks or running a rope through. The longer left zip provides foot box venting, while glow-in-the-dark and reflective zipper pulls enhance visibility in low-light conditions. “We spent a lot of time exploring different zipper systems to allow versatile rope access for safe sleeping while anchored in on portaledges and bivys. These new zip placements created challenges in efficient baffle constructions, so we experimented with new techniques to remove potential cold spots especially while roped up on cold alpine nights in a bivy”, says Ben Guthrie.

The mummy-shaped Specter sleeping bag is available in regular and large sizes.
Image credit:
Mountain Hardwear / Francois Lebeau

Exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio

The marriage of premium 800-FP goose down with a microporous PU-coated Pertex fabric sets the stage for a gear revolution. This combination not only ensures an exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio but also maximizes compression and weatherproofness. The result is a sleeping bag that stands up to the rigors of big-wall climbing, providing insulation in even the most challenging conditions. “The fit was engineered to accommodate extra gear underneath that our athletes tended to wear or have at hand inside while sleeping. The fabric set was also a priority for us. We worked with pertex to achieve a shell fabric that’s woven with diamond yarns and has a special coating to give it excellent durability and water-resistance, all at a very light weight”, says,Ben Guthrie.

The functional black lining of the sleeping bag serves a dual purpose. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, it actively retains warmth, creating a cocoon of comfort for climbers in the harsh alpine environment. Additionally, the black lining's quick-drying properties are a game-changer, allowing users to face changing weather conditions with confidence, knowing that their gear won't weigh them down. The Temperature Rating offers versatility for various climates, providing options for 15°F/-9°C and 30°F/-1°C degrees. This adaptability ensures that climbers can tailor their gear to the specific demands of their chosen routes.

The Specter sleeping bag is a reliable companion in high alpine terrain.
Image credit:
Mountain Hardwear / Francois Lebeau

Innovative Design

One of the standout features of this sleeping bag is its compressibility, thanks to the 800-FP goose down. This characteristic allows climbers to carry a smaller pack without compromising on warmth or weather resistance. The bag's

design facilitates efficient packing, enabling climbers to streamline their gear without sacrificing essential elements for a successful ascent.

In conclusion, the innovative combination of down and a microporous PU-coated Pertex fabric represents a leap forward in the design of sleeping bags for big-wall climbing. The careful consideration given to compression, weatherproofness, and user comfort makes this sleeping bag a valuable asset for climbers seeking the perfect balance between performance and practicality.

With the Specter sleeping bag, you can enjoy outdoor adventures even in cold outdoor temperatures.
Image credit:
Mountain Hardwear / Francois Lebeau

What the ISPO Award jury says:

"The fact that a sleeping bag with 800-fill-power down can pack down so small is simply astounding. The design impresses with clever features like well-integrated zippers and reflective zipper elements. It's a fantastic product, not just for climbing enthusiasts."
ISPO Award Jury

These features convinced the Jury:

  • Ultralight
  • Pertex Quantum Pro Diamond Fuse shell
  • Dual side zippers
  • Compressible

Product Specifications:

  • Temp. Rating: 15F/-9C
  • Available: February 1, 2024
  • RRP:  Specter 15F Reg: € 610.00, Specter 15F Long: € 640.00
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