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Review – Cumulus 1200 Sleeping Bag Winter Use

Feb 24, 2014 5 Comments by

For this current Siberian winter bike trip I’m using a Cumulus down sleeping bag. It’s the one I used in Scandinavia last winter. It worked great then. But I didn’t get the opportunity to really test it to it’s extreme. Now I have.

The bag I’m using is the Cumulus Excuistic 1200. It’s made with 1200g of 850cuin polish goose down, weighs just 1770g and is rated at -21C comfort, -32C limit and -46C limit.

Cumulus Excuistic 1200 sleeping bag

Cumulus Excuistic 1200 sleeping bag

In Scandinavia, it got a lot of use, down to -30C and I slept very well. Much milder than -15C and I was too warm and had to unzip it. For more on my sleeping set-up (with vapour barrier and bivvy) - see the earlier review here.

In Siberia, I have now bivvy’d out at -50C. I was not cold. Well, my little toes got cold, but I guess I could have just worn a thicker pair of socks. I always have cold feet. So, no tent, just a bivvy bag (no vapour barrier sack – mine split) at -50C – and it was fine. Note that camping at -50C is not generally pleasant – being inside the bag was the only time when I wasn’t struggling with cold hands (or feet)!

The bag is thicker on the top side, with less down on the underside where it would only get compressed anyway. This is to save weight. It is also thicker at the feet, which tend to get colder. All-in-all, this bag is one of, if not the lightest, cheapest bags on the market for it’s temperature rating.

I would say that the rating is conservative considering what I have slept in it now.

For the details – you can choose whether you want a left- or right-sided zip. The hood is cozy and there is a toggle to tighten up. A baffle velcros around your neck so that all your body heat is contained within the bag – that, afterall, is how the sleeping bags keep you warm; by using your own body heat. My only complaint, and it’s a minor one, is that the velcro on the baffle could be wider as sometimes it comes unstuck during the night if I have tightened up the toggle (too much).

There is very little more I can say – it does exactly what it is meant for. It does it well. And what’s better, it comes with a 10-year warranty.

For me, I want gear that works well. I don’t want to have to think or worry about it. So if you know what temperatures you will be sleeping in – head straight for Cumulus and select the one at the required rating and you won’t go far wrong.


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5 Responses to “Review – Cumulus 1200 Sleeping Bag Winter Use”

  1. Nigel says:

    I’ve recently purchased the Cumulus Prime 400 -7.

    Must say, a very comfortable bag against the skin… luxury! Yet to go anyway near the -7. But, would expect to need a few base layers too!

    Will probably compliment it in the future for greater warmth if needed with a Alpkit Hunka.

    Nice Bag :-)

    • Helen Lloyd says:

      Yeah, I’ve got the Quantum 200 too – rated to 0C, but have camped down to -13C in it by wearing a lot of clothes and with a fleece liner too… but it wasn’t fun!

  2. Nigel says:

    Ps. very strange why there is a UK manufacturer and a European one?

  3. Meatballzulu says:

    I own the Panyam 450 and the Quilt 250 – both bags are super on their own and deliver well in accordance with the company’s claimed specs.

    To boot, my Quilt 250 slips into my Panyam 450 making these two products a fearsome combo for outings outside the temp range of either bag.

    Customer service is amazingly responsive considering how small the company is.

    Oh–and I just have to share a little piece of amazement here. When I unboxed my Panyam 450 and layed it out on the floor I could have sworn there was an intake fan somewhere inside the bags matrix of baffles as the bag quite magically seemed to bloat up right before my very eyes. Wow!

    It’s inherent the dynamics of cottage industry production that quality control of product is seldom as tight as it is for large scale manufacturers. This was noticeable on one of my bags, albeit in a minor way and come unboxing time of my first Cumulus product I was a bit let down after my initial enthusiasm as I discovered a bit of a seemingly sloppy finish of a seam. Nevertheless, I brought the minor flaw to the attention of Cumulus and they immediately offered to rectify the glitch as well as cover all postage. Nice! After that (and after field testing my bag) I purchased yet another of their products.

    Now I’m set to purchase two more of their sleeping products as well as one of their down sweaters. They build with the best of materials, and their engineering and workmanship have thus far delivered excellent results that perform solidly in black swan extremes while being a breeze to use/carry when the weather remains as tame as the meteorologist predicted.

    My profile as a consumer of backcountry gear is one who scours the market for gear with the best specs (solid while light)–and then I hunt for the best price. This has left me with gear dominated by brands such as Arc’teryx!, Hilleberg, Patagonia, Rab, Osprey, Black Diamond, Sawyer, Source, Platypus, MSR, Inov-8, Meindl, Optimus, Smartwool, F√§llkniven, Petzl, NeoAir (Cascade Designs) and a few others. Cumulus is now my sole source of sleeping bags. having edged out the most excellent line of products from Western Mountaineering (this due to Cumulus’ markedly better MRSP as well as their excellent customization facilities–both my bags are non-standard sizes and the extra cost such customization incurred was embarassingly modest. Yes, I sound like an obnoxious fanboy. I’m just a fanboy, yet as such I remain brand-fickle in the hunt for the best.

    As a side note: I’m still missing a top spec’d belay jacket in my gear list and the Polish heritage of Cumulus got me foraging around in the Polish neck of the woods for a supplier. I believe I have now found one such outfit whose catalgue seems to be right up my alley of demands–Roberts. Before Roberts I was nearly set to go with one of PHD’s highly touted products.

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