Mountain Equipment Co-op Perseus 20 (-7C) Review

March 15, 2013
Mountain Equipment Co-op Perseus 20 (-7C)
Mountain Equipment Co-op Perseus 20 (-7C) 2MEC-Perseus
Warmth to Weight Ratio

The Good

  • Very warm
  • Roomy and comfortable
  • Durable

The Bad

  • Heavy
  • Bulky

This 20ºF-rated bag lives up to its rating, while also offering a remarkable degree of comfort and coziness. The generously cut Perseus was praised by side-sleepers and those of us who doze on our backs thanks to the roomy chest and hip sections. The modest price is a great draw as well, though the weight (more than 4 pounds) and bulky packed size were issues for all of us.


Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) – dubbed the REI of Canada by many Seattle-area adventurers who love them – operates retail stores in Canada and online, and provides some great gear designed in-house and produced under the MEC label. The MEC Perseus series bags address the company’s desires to offer affordable gear that also lasts. The 20ºF version of the Perseus (-7C) proved nearly indestructible, and incredibly warm and comfortable. But it also was the heaviest and bulkiest of the bags we used in this category.

The Hyperloft Eco synthetic insulation – a propriety blend of mixed-thickness fibers heat-bonded into a high-loft fill – utilizes some recycled content and while it is warm, durable and earth-friendly, it does not compress well. The bag stuffs into a fairly large 8-17 sack and additional compression moves it to just under 15-inches.

Warmth to Weight ratio
That durable, eco fill also adds weight to this bag. Though incredibly warm for its rating and roominess, the Perseus does tip the scales at nearly four pounds, making it the heaviest bag in the class. The great warmth does salvage this ratio a bit.

The Perseus shines in terms of comfort, however. Every tester who slept in it, including one consistently hard-to-please side-sleeper, praised the roomy cut. He said the shoulder girth and roomy upper leg section made for a great night’s sleep – one of the best he’s had in the backcountry in recent years.

I also found great appreciation for the hood. It can lays back out of the way when not needed and the bag proved warm enough that I did not need the hood even when overnight temperatures ran in the upper 20s. Indeed, I cinched up the hood only the temperatures approached the bag’s 20º rating, and the generously cut hood kept me plenty warm, though it was a little loose – I found my head turning in the hood when I rolled to my side, rather then having the hood roll with me.

A somewhat heavy 430-denier shell didn’t do the bag’s weight problem any favors, but it did help kick its durability through the roof. And that HyperLoft Eco fill proved to be very resilient. There was no lost loft after repeated use in soggy terrain, and a few washes (this bag actually got three wash cycles rather than planned two due to the incredibly wet and muddy terrain in which it was tested).

One notable problem I encountered was that the draft tube tended to get sucked into the zipper teeth when tugging the zipper closed quickly. But with a little care while operating the zipper, that problem was cured and the bag itself proved stout and durable.

This bag has not been EN rated.


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