Stone Glacier’s New Chilkoot 15F Sleeping Bag test

robby denning

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Hey Roksliders,
Long-time sponsor Stone Glacier has now expanded their business into sleeping bags with their new Chilkoot bag, among other backcountry products. I successfully ran their EVO 3300 pack since last May (video review here) and can see why these guys are at top choice for the backcountry crowd.

They asked me to give their new sleeping bag a test run and post up my experiences here. All the bag features and specs are here

They sent me a pre-production prototype model, so the first thing you’ll note is the color is blue. The production bag is offered in the gray shown at that link above.

They also sent me an email about this bag with this note: "That is a hand sewn prototype. The production bags will be much tighter."

I decided to test the temperature rating first. So Friday afternoon on 2/1, I set up my Cimarron tent in my backyard in 20-something degree temps. Although there is 6” of hard-packed snow back there, the afternoon sun had melted off some bare grass under my Colorado Blue Spruce trees, so I was able to set up on dry ground.

Although I have the Stone Glacier Skysraper (that mulit-author review is here), I wanted to test the bag in a floorless tent as that is what I’d likely be running in weather where I’d use a 15-degree bag, i.e. when the bugs are gone. I’ll run it in the Skyscraper at a later date, and post it up on here.

The ground was frozen solid, so I only pounded the tent stakes in a few inches (that will play right into this test later on as you’ll see).

I set up my E-Kot and a thermarest-knock-off pad inside and laid the bag out.


Temps were forecasted to be in the low 20’s.


At 10:30 PM, the outside temp was 25-degrees. I kissed the wife goodnight and headed outside. She shivered at the thought of me sleeping out there but those are mild temps compared to late October in the high country, so I wasn’t worried.

I wanted to test the bag in what I’d typically be wearing when I knew the forecast called for temps in the mid-teens. I donned my First Lite Fuse LS top, the Furnace Long John on bottom, and the new First Lite Sweater prototype (it’s a light weight down jacket with hood) and a pair of Smart Wool socks. I also wore the First Lite prototype work glove, and a fleece beanie.

I crawled in the bag for the very first time and zipped in. I found there was plenty of room around my shoulders (I’m 5’9”, 180lbs). I could clasp my hands together across my chest and spread my elbows out fully, just touching the sides of the bag.

The 2/3 zip formed a foot box around my feet with some wiggle room for movement but not too big so my feet could get cold.


I had a light down pillow in the hood of the bag that didn’t quite allow me to zip the hood completely closed, but the collar inside the bag kept any drafts from sinking into the bag (there is a magnet closure on the collar, but I didn’t use it). I fell asleep to the sound of the horses eating from a hay bale a few yards away.

I woke up around 1:00AM. Outside temp was still in the mid-20’s as it had clouded over a bit, keeping the temps up longer than I expected. I hadn’t gotten cold at all and only woke up because I had to take a leak. Back in the bag, I was asleep in minutes.

I had the alarm set for 6AM and heard it go off, but laid in the bag for a bit longer. I was still warm but had woken up in a semi-fetal position on my side (bag is roomy enough to allow a guy my size to roll around—nice!). I wasn’t as warm as I had been earlier in the night, but never got chilled. I headed in the house and checked the outside temp: 21-degrees.

Pretty close to the rated 15-degrees.

The forecast said the next few nights were only going to get down into the high twenties as a snowstorm was rolling in with some warmer temps. I decided to just leave the bag out there until the temps dropped again in a few nights. This is where the real test was about to begin and I didn’t even know it!

3/7/19 Update. Looks like Stone Glacier just released this Chilkoot to the public and is taking orders. Got this email this morning: https://mailchi.mp/stoneglacier/new-chilkoot-sleeping-bags-are-in-stock-shipping?e=f329aad5c8
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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So Saturday night, I stayed in the house as it was going to be warmer than the previous night, so nothing really to test.

Sunday morning, I was making coffee and remembered the tent was still outside. It had rained and snowed over night and the wind was blowing, so I was curious to see what “camp” looked like. I noticed it was already above freezing at 8AM.

I went outside and this is what I found:


I forget that I live in the Snake River plain, one of the windiest places in the West. That storm had ripped the tent from the ground and blew the bag, pad, and cot out into the rain.

I later checked the rain gauge and we’d got 0.12” at the airport, 10 miles to my west and in the desert. I always get more rain than the airport as I’m at the base of the foothills. I’m betting closer to 0.25” fell on my new bag!

The bag had several large puddles several inches deep in water and spanning across the seam of multiple baffles. “No way this bag isn’t going to be soaked through,” I muttered to myself.


Yet when I zipped it open, I found very little water inside. Mostly water beads and just a little dampness in the bag, but nothing soaked. The down was not clumped at all as I expected. Remember that this is the prototype bag and as Stone Glacier told me " That is a hand sewn prototype. The production bags will be much tighter." So I might even expect better leak protection through the seams in the final production bags?



I was imagining if I was deep in the backcountry and what I’d do if this collapse had just happened.

I realized this was the PERFECT test for this new bag and committed to sleeping in it tonight. Although there was a clothes dryer 30 yards away in the house, I wanted to only use the resources to dry the bag out just like I was in the mountains.

The wind was still blowing in the 20’s, making it hard to set the tent back up. I noticed as I reset the stakes, that the ground had thawed significantly.
That is what allowed the stakes to pull-up, causing the collapse. I was now able to pound the stakes all the way to the collar.

Once the tent was set up, I shook the bag free of all standing water and set it up over a post to let the wind have at it. I did the same thing with the cot and the pad.



There was a little rain falling but the bag was able to shed that and actually dry out in the wind. After the first hour, the outside of the bag felt dry to the touch just about everywhere I felt it. So I turned it inside out and put it back on the pole.
It had quit raining but the wind stayed in the 20s. The temp was in the mid-thirties. Another hour passed and I checked the bag’s inside. It was virtually dry to the touch, with just a few water beads here and there.
I shook it off, put the cot and pad (both now 95% dry) and the bag in the tent, then closed it back up.

The storm is supposed to continue tonight, so temps will still be above freezing, but I’m sleeping in the bag anyway, just to see if it could recover from this event.


I see Tuesday night that the temps are supposed to back in mid-teens and that will really test the bag after all that happened. Stay tuned.
(Use our new “watch” button, upper right of lead post to get a PM or email-your choice- when I update or someone posts)
 
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Steve O

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I like the “watch “ button! Great set of circumstances for your review boss man. Everything SG makes performs top notch so I am expecting good things.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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I like the “watch “ button! Great set of circumstances for your review boss man. Everything SG makes performs top notch so I am expecting good things.
I’m impressed so far, will see if I freeze to death tonight


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Stone glacier seems to be headed In a great direction. The fact that it's all hunter minded is awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience up to date. And also, I really appreciate you not taking the bag in to the dryer. I think your 100% right, Yea the possibility of it being damp may suck for you but it doesn't get much better as far as field simulation for a true circumstantial test of the product. Come to find out it shed most the water anyway. Looking forward to the next update.

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robby denning

robby denning

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Stone glacier seems to be headed In a great direction. The fact that it's all hunter minded is awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience up to date. And also, I really appreciate you not taking the bag in to the dryer. I think your 100% right, Yea the possibility of it being damp may suck for you but it doesn't get much better as far as field simulation for a true circumstantial test of the product. Come to find out it shed most the water anyway. Looking forward to the next update.

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Thanks Nick

I just checked the rainfall total for last 24 hours and it was 0.42”. Since I don’t know what time the tent collapsed, hard to say how much of that hit the bag but by the puddles, I’d say a lot of it.


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robby denning

robby denning

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Hit the sack at 10pm. Bag was dry to the touch and I felt no wet spots when I got in. Amazing considering the bag was soaked 14 hours earlier. Temp was in the low thirties and held steady all night as I got blasted by rain and slushy snow.
As it was 10 degrees warmer than the first night, I ended up zipping the bag open in the middle of the night and removing my gloves.
Got up at 6. Outside of bag was damp due either to condensation in the tent (it’s near 100% humidity) or moisture being forced from the bag by my body heat. Either way, the bag did it’s job


Here’s some weather checks taken after I got up.



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jlhois

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Looking great so far. Setting new standards for gear tests. From here on out I expect all tests to be done in the most miserable circumstances possible! The theme can be, “Robby gets miserable so the rest of us don’t”.

This is the year of the new sleeping bag for me. Have had my eye on the Western Mountaineering Ultralite for while, but knew these were coming to market from a Meateater podcast awhile back.

This 15 bag looks to be slight heavier but hits a more appealing temperature zone for me. Looks like great balance of weight to temperature.

Impressive on the water. My biggest fear in a down bag is getting it wet and ruining my hunt.

Can’t wait to see more in cooler temps.

What are your first impressions on pack-ability?


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robby denning

robby denning

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Looking great so far. Setting new standards for gear tests. From here on out I expect all tests to be done in the most miserable circumstances possible! The theme can be, “Robby gets miserable so the rest of us don’t”.

This is the year of the new sleeping bag for me. Have had my eye on the Western Mountaineering Ultralite for while, but knew these were coming to market from a Meateater podcast awhile back.

This 15 bag looks to be slight heavier but hits a more appealing temperature zone for me. Looks like great balance of weight to temperature.

Impressive on the water. My biggest fear in a down bag is getting it wet and ruining my hunt.

Can’t wait to see more in cooler temps.

What are your first impressions on pack-ability?


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hey man, I took it straight from the box to the tent, so haven't packed it down yet. But I will let you know. By the size of the box and the fact that the bag was far from crammed in there, I believe it will be good.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Got home from work about 630 and checked the bag. It rained and snowed almost all day but all that dampness that was on the outside if the bag (see pic above) was gone.



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huntstrong2850

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Got home from work about 630 and checked the bag. It rained and snowed almost all day but all that dampness that was on the outside if the bag (see pic above) was gone.



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Are you by chance going to test their new down pants and coat?


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doverpack12

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Great review so far Robby. Just want to confirm what you were wearing the first night in mid to low 20’s. Merino too and bottom, lightweight down jacket, socks, fleece beanie and gloves? 15 degree comfort rated bag.

I would typically start with merino top bottom socks and beanie but have my jacket next to me if I got chilly during the night.

Just seemed like a lot of clothing for a bag rated based on base layers from my understanding of their descriptions on the website.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Great review so far Robby. Just want to confirm what you were wearing the first night in mid to low 20’s. Merino too and bottom, lightweight down jacket, socks, fleece beanie and gloves? 15 degree comfort rated bag.

I would typically start with merino top bottom socks and beanie but have my jacket next to me if I got chilly during the night.

Just seemed like a lot of clothing for a bag rated based on base layers from my understanding of their descriptions on the website.
Yes on the clothing you listed. Those are the layers I’d sleep in on a hunt where I’d take a 15-degree bag. I learned to use my clothing that I’m packing along anyway to add insulation rating to my bag, rather than have a pile of warm clothes laying on the tent floor while I sleep in a heavier bag. I’d also rather only have to unzip if I overheat rather than lay there for an hour talking myself into waking up to put more clothes on.

Bag ratings are a starting point for me because everyone sleeps differently (some are cold sleepers, some are hot) making it very hard to objectively test any bag (see Wymer’s Bag Rating articles below on why that is).

Personally, I’d have gotten cold on that first night when it hit 21 had I not been dressed that way, but the next guy might have been fine. I’ve seen that play out with friends over the years.

I have an extreme military down bag that is rated below zero (weighs over 6lbs!) Yet I can’t get below zero without dressing like that either.

So take my findings on the temp rating for this bag as a guideline. They may not apply to everyone.

It’s supposed to hit 15 tonight so more to come on this subject.

Here’s Wymer’s article, part 1
https://www.rokslide.com/understanding-sleeping-bag-temperature-rating-part-i/



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