Montane Minimus Sleeping Bag ReviewJune 4, 2015
- Great warmth-to-weight ratio
- Comfortable fit, without extra "dead air"
- Very compressible
- Waterproof shell
- Limited availability at brick-and-mortar stores
The Montane Minimus may be the best sleeping bag in our test, but it can also be the hardest to find. The British brand lacks the broad distribution of bigger, better known US brands, but the Minimus is worth tracking down. The Minimus proved the most comfortable bag I tested, as well as one of the lightest, most durable, and warmest. Only the feather-weight Sea-to-Summit bag was lighter, but it lacked the comfort. And while the REI Lumen and Big Agnes Lost Ranger impressed our test team with similar comfort, they were each nearly a pound heavier that the Minimus.
With its 800-fill goose down, and a wispy 15-denier Pertex shell, the Minimus packs smaller than most other bags in this range—only the Sea-to-Summit went smaller. We stuffed the bag into a compact 6-inch by 9.5-inch stuff sack for easy packing.
I spent a few nights in a tent set up on the Muir Snowfield in January, with temperatures dipping into the low 20’s and slept comfortably. The waterproof shell and the deep pile of the 800-file down insulation created a warm, comfortable cocoon.
As a side-sleeper, my favorite feature was the half-length zipper that angles up from the hip to the front of the shoulder. This offset placement meant I didn’t have to sleep with the zipper digging into my arm or shoulder all night. Other testers praised the microfleece patches at the tops of the zipper and along the hood cinches that replaced scratchy/hard surfaces with plush, comfortable ones. I also became fond of the glow-in-the dark zipper pulls during long, dark winter nights when slipping out before daybreak to take care of business was essential.
As someone who tosses and switches sleeping positions frequently through the night, I also appreciated the small silicone nodules imprinted on the bottom surface of the bag. These little nubs gripped my sleeping pad just enough to keep the bag on the pad, but not so much that repositioning myself was bothersome.
Finally, the hood proved to be one of the most comfortable bag hoods I’ve every used in 23 years of sleeping bag testing. It fits like a premium jacket hood, and thanks to its well-engineered design, it’s down fill stayed in place to ensure consistent warmth throughout. Best of all, the fit could be adjusted from inside the bag—no need to stick an arm out into the cold night air to tweak the fit.
With its outstanding hood design, roomy cut and well-shaped foot box, the Montane Minimus proved itself one of the most comfortable bags I’ve ever slept in (again, 23 years of bag testing has required me to sleep in several hundred bags throughout my career). The only knock on comfort came from the half-length zipper, which reduced ventilation options when nighttime temperatures were more moderate.
Though the Minimus utilizes a lightweight shell—15 denier Pertex—it proved remarkably resilient. It resisted catching and tearing on common camp obstacles—rocks, roots, branches—when other bags succumbed. That’s not to say it’s indestructible, but with minimal care, the Minimus should last many long seasons of use.
The Montane Minimus easily earned the respect of myself and my entire test team as a comfortable, durable, warm bag that’s light and compact. But that all comes at a cost—a whopping $649 price tag.