Raku was selected for Backpacker Magazine's
Editor's Choice Award in 2002.
'..the most mobile sleeping bag I've ever tested..' says
John Harlin, Northwest Editor.
Like most alpine climbers, traveling light and fast is important.
With the Raku, I’m able
to accomplish this while maintaining a high degree of comfort
during those freezing cold nights. On a recent climb of
Mount Foraker (17,400 feet) in the Alaska Range, I purchased
a Raku bag and left my down jacket at home for the trip. My
goal was to make the Raku function as both a bag and jacket
while climbing Foraker. Well, it worked! The true test was
passed at 14,000 feet when my Raku performed FLAWLESSLY.
It kept me warm during sub freezing temperatures outside while
saving me weight and space in the pack. Since that night,
I’ve been hooked. Now I reliably use the Raku for alpine ascents
throughout the Cascades, Sierra's, and in particular, on Mount
Rainier. Thanks Tom for making such a great bag. The Raku
is now my primary sleeping bag AND down jacket these days!
Park Ranger, Mount Rainier, Washington
Back-Country Blanket and
I are off for Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday. I am
traveling very light and I think the bag will be perfect with
my bivy. I plan on climbing a couple of 13,000 foot peaks,
not particularly technical. We should camp at about 10,500
and it could get pretty cold overnight. I'll let you know
how the bag performs. -Glenn
Tom, Just a quick note to report on the BC blanket.
In short, it is tremendously versatile piece on gear. I compressed
it down to nothing and I saved myself at least 2 pounds over
my normal down bag. The weather at 11,000 feet was miserable,
60-70 mph winds and temperatures in the 30's at night. I did
throw in a bag liner which improved my comfort level. The
combination of the BC blanket and bag liner was perfect---I
was warm and I'm often a "cold sleeper".
Tom, your gear is top quality. I will look forward to talking
with you about a complete "winter system" in the near future.
Take care and let me know if you have any "super specials".
Glenn Roesler, Denver, Colorado
got back from the Redoubt/Spickard area. We had a wonderful
3 days of solstice climbing. I would have to agree with the
description of the approach (i.e. strenuous and athletic),
it was the crux of the climb. We climbed Spickard on Friday.
Set off some 1-2 inch slides on the descent. Snow on south
facing slopes was awful. We had planned on attempting Redoubt
Saturday, but the snow was so bad that we skipped it. I used
my back country blanket and
kobuk as my sleeping system. After 3 weeks in the Sierras
late last season and some time in the cascades early this
season, I would have to say that the combination is THE best
system I have found for conditions other than deep winter.
You can't beat the weight/warmth ratio. I'm definitely what
one would call a 'gear freak'. Nunatak gear ROCKS!!!
Chris Kilmer, Seattle, WA
booties worked great! I used them for the first time a couple
weeks ago while on a ski trip in the Talkeetna
Mountains. The snow was rather deep and dry so the booties
inside a pair of Neos were my choice of footwear at camp.
I would say the temps dipped to about 0, yet my feet never
felt chilled....your booties are just simply WARM!
Burrell Lindell Nickeson
time Chad and I go alpine climbing we bring our Dual
Person Alpine Bag, it's incredible for lightweight alpine
Lara Kellogg, Seattle, Washington
I'm happy with my Arc
Alpinist already, and am looking forward to pushing it
further with the additional down, and possibly a baffled parka
w/hood. The strap system works great under a
closed cell foam pad, at 7+ oz. it's super light and reasonably
comfortable with a little extra padding under the hips. For
colder applications, I will use 2 or add an ultra light thermarest.
We'll see what works best after I get the warmer bag back.
The one thing I was a little bummed about that I wasn't really
aware of at the time of order was the lack of a differential
cut in the foot box, and my toes compress the insulation down
to pretty much nothing when lying on my back in a relaxed
'corpse pose'. I would have wanted this as a custom option
had I known it wasn't standard (I assumed it was standard
because all of my other bags have had it). It might be worth
noting to customers when they make their initial order. Unfortunately
I won't be able to give you too much more feedback in the
near future because I'm studying for a professional engineering
license test and can't take the time to have fun for a while.
But after April I'll be enjoying my further enlightened pack
(I'm down to 12.5 lbs with everything - even a tent - but
not food, fuel, water, and additional climbing gear) - alot.
Thanks again for helping me lighten my load while staying
I wanted to let you know that I had a chance to try out my
Quilt in the New Mexico Sangre de Cristo's. The custom
sizing is perfect and the manufacturing is outstanding. I
really enjoyed the flexibility, and especially comfort, of
this sleep system compared to a typical bag. The quilt method
brings my down jacket into the system rather than being used
just around camp. To keep my legs warm I just wore thermals
and my homemade silnylon rainpants as a vapor barrier.
You have my highest recommendation. It's fun being different.
Thanks again Tom,
once again from Okinawa. I used your Arc
Alpinist through the entire Eco-Challenge in New Zealand
last October. It was great! What a really neat, useful design.
Since I was a videographer assigned to stay with a team throughout
the race I had to go extra light. My camera weighed four extra
pounds the teams weren't carrying, but your bag helped lighten
my load and still sleep well... when we slept:) I frequently
used your bag without a tent, shook off the morning dew, stuffed
the bag and took off. It's a super flexible design. I apologize
for not sending this feedback sooner.
In a couple weeks I'm guiding a couple of newspaper reporters
up Japan's Mt. Fuji for a story about what winter looks like
at the top of Japan. Normally people only climb it during
a two month window in summer. Then next month I'm doing a
story on a Navy Corpsman who's soloing Mt. Whitney's mountaineer's
route to prepare for bigger adventures.
Not a bad job, eh?
Kindest Regards, MSGT Al Moore, USMC
I want to
tell how much I love my Raku
bag. I ordered a customized bag over the summer which
was worth the three month wait. It is very nice to be able
to have a bag specially made to suit my specific needs. I
recently tested the bag during a trip to the Absaroka Range
in Montana. The weather was unusually cold for early November,
the nightly low was -15° F and very windy, not to mention
a good snow fall. At first I was very concerned about staying
warm at night as my particular Raku bag is a +40° F weight
bag; however, my concerns quickly diminished when I had to
strip down to boxers and a t-shirt in order to stay cool enough
to sleep. I awoke warm in my bag every morning despite the
-5° F temperature inside my tent. Fortunately, having customization
my bag by adding 6” to the girth, I was able to dress in the
bag and emerge warmly adorned. I would like to make a few
recommendations to you which may be of interest to you. I
think that a longer zipper would be a benefit, perhaps 12”-18”
longer, it would make it easier for taller people to enter
and exit the bag. Also, a zipper with a pull on both sides
of the zipping mechanism would make it easier to unzip if
you have your arms in the bag and are using the sleeves as
a neck gaiter. Finally, a small mesh “chest” pocket on the
inside of the bag would be a great place for lip balm and
Thanks for making the best bag on the planet!
Beau Bisso, New Orleans, LA
offers unconventional solutions to the weight issues that
have plagued climbers since........
I'm really into the Dual
Person Alpine Bag, which my wife Lara and I use. Weighing
in at two and a half pounds it's ultra light and packs amazingly
small. While we were on "Mt. Triumph" in the Washington
Cascades we brought the DPAB, where weight and performance
were crucial to the success of our trip synonymous.
The bag was a perfect compliment to our custom made tent by
Designs, which enabled us to individually carry under
Chad Kellogg, Seattle, Washington
A quick note
on my recent trip to Aconcagua Being a full-time guide, I
have to keep my personal gear as light as possible, so that
there is room in my pack for ropes, first-aid kit, radios,
etc. The Akula
half-bag, Kangri Mukluks, and the Torre Parka, worked
exceptionally well! They allowed me the comfort of a warm
sleeping system without the bulk of a giant sleeping bag.
I spent five nights above 18,000 feet, warm and comfortable.
This allowed me to accommodate extra equipment, and keep my
clients packs at a reasonable weight throughout our expedition.
Thanks for providing a functional quality product that is
filling the needs of today's light and fast alpine ascents.
Assistant Director Sierra Wilderness Seminars
Mt Shasta, California, 1-888-SWS-MTNS
of the Back Country Blanket
makes it practical for light alpine ascents. I carried the
BCB up the North Ridge of Mt. Stuart because it weighed in
at a pound. Due to the lightweight nature of the bag I don't
have to trade safety for climbing equipment. I would not hesitate
taking the BCB for emergency purposes because it is so light.
I also have a pair of Nunatak booties that I use in base camps,
again essential. I am sold on the innovative Nunatak designs
and promote any endeavor to save weight without sacrificing
quality or durability.
It was my good fortune to purchase one
of your Skaha Down Sweaters last year and this garment is
a very warm, very cool addition to my layering system. I have
used the Skaha under my rain shell as well as with my foul
weather synthetic fill jacket. It really takes the sting out
of those cold, blustery days when I really need to trap the
warmth next to my core.
It also makes a great "knocking
around town" layer that is both light and warm. I often
catch myself asking the question, "why am I so warm on
such a foul weather day"? I will continue to watch for
new products, there is no question that they will be superior
in every way.