The Marmot Pounder is a 40 degree sleeping bag filled with synthetic Primaloft, intended for summer camping. This is a very simple sleeping bag with few frills. It has a full length zipper, a mummy hood, and a slinky nylon shell. When you lie in it or on it, the fill has very little loft. In my experience, I believe that the bag’s temperature is over-rated: I’ve had some cold nights sleeping in it in 50 degree weather, wearing long underwear.
In addition, despite its name and product descriptions written by the manufacturer, the Marmot Pounder does not weigh 16 oz (in 2008). Try 20 oz. I personally have a problem with this discrepancy, but I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
I bought this bag last year during a period when I was fanatically obsessed with getting my base gear weight under 13 lbs, and chopping 12 oz off my gear list by replacing my 20 degree down bag with a lighter 40 degree bag seemed like an easy win. At the time, I was also smitten by Primaloft, a great synthetic insulator that was becoming very popular among manufacturers of ultralight gear. Primaloft is great stuff. If is highly compressible, very warm, and retains heat even when wet.
When my Marmot Pounder arrived in the mail and I weighed it, I was disappointed that it was much heavier than advertised, but I figured I was still ahead weight wise and decided to keep it. On hindsight, that was probably a mistake and I should have saved my money. The reason is simple. You don’t need a 40 degree bag summer bag. A 20 degree, 3 season goose down bag is completely sufficient for spring, summer, and autumn camping if you understand some of the finer points of temperature management and thermoregulation.
For example, if you have a 20 degree bag and its 80 degrees out at night, sleep in a well ventilated shelter like a tarp tent. Make sure to position your tent so that the night time breezes flow through it. Evaporation will cool you off, even if your skin is not noticeably wet. Next open up your bag and sleep on top of it or use it as a quilt. Also, reduce the thickness or length of your sleeping pad, so that more of your body heat is sucked into the ground. It took me a long time to understand the dynamics of sleeping pad thickness, but this one variable can make all of the difference in your comfort level, regardless of the season.
This weekend I’m going backpacking with a 20 degree goose down bag in what is predicted to be very hot weather, and I am going to manage these exact variables to stay cool enough for a good nights sleep. Oh, and my base weight is now under 12 lbs, even with a sleeping bag that is almost 9 oz. heavier than the Marmot Pounder.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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