High Gear: Peregrine Saker 0 degree sleeping bag
Peregrine Saker 0 sleeping bag
Comfort rating: Zero degrees Fahrenheit
Sizes: Regular (up to 6’3”) and long (6’4” and up)
Carry size: 15.5x11 inches
Carry weight: Regular (4 pounds, 3 ounces) and long (4 pounds, 13 ounces)
Fill weight: Regular (59 ounces) and long (69 ounces)
Outer shell material: 30D 360T Micro ripstop nylon, treated with DWR (durable water repellent) coating
Inner liner material: 30D 360T smooth weave nylon
Fill material: Synthetic fiber
Features: Internal mesh pocket, seam-taped nylon stuff sack, large cotton storage bag, neck baffle, zipper baffle, hood, locking YKK zippers
Everyone wants a zero-degree sleeping bag.
Call it the Big Gulp syndrome: For whatever reason, when a manufacturer gives a mummy bag that sexy, four-season rating, it implies that you’re buying a high-end piece of gear, rather than a cut-rate piece of garbage (you know, like all those chintzy above-zero bags). The number isn’t solely a marketing strategy, sure, but chances are a zero-degree rating makes a bag more appealing to high-adventure types. Why settle for less when you can get more? 7-11 figured that one out ages ago.
Truth is, a comfort rating (that’s the official name) is more of a guideline than a measurable spec. Some folks shiver through the night with anything less than a liner and three layers of clothing, while other folks stay uncomfortably hot no matter what they do. It’s tricky to predict how you’ll sleep in the wilderness — nearly as tricky as predicting Colorado weather.
Which brings us to the Peregrine Saker zero-degree sleeping bag, one of three in the Utah-based manufacturer’s Saker line. The bag line is touted as the ultimate in affordable mummies, with a combination of high-end materials and no-frills design. Combine those two perks with an asking price under $100 for all three models and the Saker bags are sexier than anything from The North Face, Mountain Hardware and the rest, comfort rating be damned. Why settle for the same when you can get nearly the same for much, much cheaper? Again, 7-11 already proved that holds true in the marketplace.
In a nutshell, the Saker zero-degree is a mummy for the masses. It takes everything you want from a four-season bag — hood, neck baffle, zipper baffle, quality fill and outer shell — and puts it together in an attractive package. The continuous fiber synthetic fill is nearly the industry standard these days (no down option from Peregrine), and the outer material is hefty ripstop nylon to protect against scratches and rips. I don’t recommend taking it into the field without a tent, bivy sack or a durable sleeping pad at the least, but it’s nice to see the designers put effort into a long-lasting bag made like a jacket shell, not a silken robe.
The DWR (durable water repellent) treatment on the outer ripstop is another nice addition, but, again, don’t take the Saker camping without a bona fide waterproof covering. DWR is better suited for morning dew, not a legitimate downpour.
Then, there’s the fit. Mummy bags can be claustrophobic — it’s no mistake they’re named after a coffin — and not all are made the same. The Saker zero-degree is roomy at 86x32x20 inches in the regular size, but it’s still compact enough to serve its purpose as a bag for hut trips, car camping, low-key backpacking and just about anything else Colorado has to offer. In other words, it’s the perfect mix of form, function and affordability for just about anyone.
That said, the Saker zero-degree isn’t for absolutely everyone. It might not even be for most Summit County locals. Let’s start with the truly important number: weight. At 4 pounds, 3 ounces, the Saker zero-degree is a beast of a bag. Granted, that’s still lighter some zero-degree models — the 5-pound, 4.7-ounce Marmot Trestles is a full pound heavier and sells for $140 — but it’s heavier than the majority of its peers by at least a pound, like the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF at $595. The Saker also packs down to the size of a microwave at its most compressed. There aren’t even cinch straps on the stuff sack.
So. The question with the Saker zero-degree is more about real purpose than comfort rating: Where are you taking this bag? I’m a backpacker, and anyone who’s spent 8-plus hours on the trail for a week at a time knows every ounce and inch counts. The 3-pound, 9-once Saker 20 ($89.99) is a better option for three-season (and occasional four-season) treks.
But, if you simply need a bag that’s warm enough, sleek enough and affordable enough to handle just about everything — here’s looking at you, young campers — the Saker is second to none. You’ll even have cash left over for a Big Gulp.
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