The first thing i'd like to say regarding sleeping bags is that if you're over 6ft tall, don't even look at standard length, get a long bag, it'll change your life. I struggled with standard sized sleeping cocoons for years, now i don't - go for length!
So earlier in the year Marmot sent me a Lithium Ion Long bag for test and review, one of their premium night bags, boasting 850+ fill power - the warmest and best and most expensive you can buy. Marmot claim that their fill power ratings are an absolute minimum, ‘we don't believe in + or - variation when it comes to comfort' and having spent cold winter nights in tents, vans and poorly insulated houses, the ability for the Lithium Ion to keep you warm is undeniable.
However being one of the warmest bags in their range, you'd expect this of it, the EN rating states a comfort temperature of -7.6°C and lower comfort limit of -14.4°C with a staggering extreme of -34.6°C for men.
The reality of this is that it'll (probably) keep you warm in everything that the UK can throw at you, but it will be way too warm for a good portion of the year. Pack size is impressive for the fill weight (870g) and fully weighing in at 1332g for the long version (1225g standard) its stats are impressive.
Marmot outline the bag as suitable for backpackers and mountaineers and comes with all the normal features you'd expect from a premium sleeping bag costing a good deal over £300. The 6 chambered hood stands out as a particularly well thought out feature, offering better fit, whilst a down-filled collar, draw cords and trapezoid foot boxes are standard issue at this price point.
The stuff sack that comes with the Lithium Ion is made from a similar, very lightweight material as the bag, however in my opinion it could be a little too light, to get the bag in to the sack requires some pretty heavy ‘pushing' to keep the pack size to a minimum, however after a few uses the eyelet where the cord is located ripped on mine, I could be heavy handed, but Marmot you could just reinforce this slightly, tweak etc.
Marmot make note of the fact that their bags are ‘Filled and Finished in Santa Rosa, California' stating that their down is ‘Independently tested and certified by the International Down and Feather Laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. Retested at fill time in Santa Rosa to ensure 850+ fill power every time [and] If the down does not meet our in-house test, we send it back.' This isn't a unique selling point as Rab ‘hand fill' all their top-end down products in Sheffield, but when spending this much cash on a sleeping bag you do expect a bit more, Marmot promise dependable warmth, backed up by EN standards.
In my opinion the real selling point - apart from being lightweight and superbly warm - is the fit of the Lithium Ion, which transfers through the whole Marmot range, I am around 6'4 and found there to be adequate length in the bag and enough width in the shoulder. Other manufacturer's long bags that i've tested don't offer enough width at the top. Whereas too much is bad, a lot of other brands seem to err on the side of caution by thinning their whole range, perhaps to shave weight, i'm delighted to say that Marmot has hit the nail on the head here.
Overall a fantastic product from Marmot, they haven't redesigned the wheel and there's nothing ground breaking, but what you do get is a thoroughly tested, dependable goose pocket to spend your nights, fantastically light for its warmth, and fits like a dream, with a lifetime guarantee, whole heartedly a recommended sleeping bag for serious nights in the cold.
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