How did I get here? I want
to learn about the Arc line.
Okay, then this is
where you want to go. But you better read on a bit here for more
general information about all our sleeping bags, including things
pertaining to the Arcs.
What is down, and how is it rated?
Down is a fluffy, intricately formed material
found under the feathers of birds, where it insulate the carrier
from extreme temperatures. It is all natural, long lasting, very
light and breathable. Mother nature at work doing her best.
Goose down is especially fine and the most commonly harvested type
for use in sleeping bags and garments.
Quality can be quite variable, and largely a function of the balance
between feather and down content. More feather: Heavier, bulkier.
More down: Warmer, lighter.
A scale illustrating the expansion of the mixture tells the consumer
of the insulating properties, with a low number such as 550 relating
to down of average quality, and 850-900 close to the limit of what
the finest bird can grow.
Nunatak is only using down rated 800 or higher.
Down seems like a very fragile material,
and expensive. Can I expect much life from it?
Despite its ephemeral appearance, down is actually
quite tough and durable. If you don't abuse it beyond just plain
hard use, it will easily outlast all synthetic fills on the market!
See here for more on care and maintenance.
But there must be drawbacks to having
down in my sleeping bag as opposed to synthetic fill?
Okay, it's time to list the pros and cons of
these two options. First synthetics: Quality is predictable, with
computer controlled manufacturing equipment rolling out acres of
uniform material. It does not absorb much moisture, and dries quick.
On the other hand, synthetic fill is heavy, bulky and its high loft
life is relatively short. It breathes poorly, and can feel very
unpleasant in warmer conditions.
Down: Its hygroscopic nature is the main drawback. During prolonged
damp conditions, down will slowly absorb moisture and loose loft.
If down gets really wet, drying it out in the backcountry can be
difficult. But to most users the light weight, compressability,
pleasant feel and long life makes up for this issue.
Does Nunatak make products with synthetic
No, not at this time.
What are my custom options on Nunatak
sleeping bags and what do they cost?
The most common custom feature we provide is
overfill. This mean boosting the chambers with additional down to
meet a customers need for a warmer sleeping bag. We charge $15.00
per ounce for this service.
We can also make a bag even warmer by building it with taller baffles
(the light scrim material that separates the down chambers). This
increases the loft and allows for substantial overfill. It is best
combined with a differentially cut liner and other features, so
now we're talking about a major rebuild and pricing is applied on
a case by case status.
More moderate customizations that happens on a regular basis are
adjustments in size, i.e. length and width of the bag, to accommodate
different body sizes. These are often accomplished without any cost
How far apart do you space the baffles
on sleeping bags?
Baffle spacing, which is the horizontal distance
between the individual down filled chambers, is standard 5"
on all bags including the Arc Line.
Baffle height, on the other hand, determines the vertical size,
or thickness of the insulation and is also known as loft. This measurement
can vary from bag to bag.
All your bags are kind of different from
what I've seen down at REI or EMS. Why?
We make innovative products that stems from
years of experience in the back country and a desire to improve
Big companies produce large batches of bags. This makes it very
risky for them to break the well established parameters for certain
products. What if it fails in either design or mass appeal? Big
loss for the stockholders.
Nunatak on the other hand being a small business with an even smaller
inventory can take advantage of this by experimenting. Many of these
radical concepts are still too exotic to market but the ones that
really work are represented here on this site.
I'm just looking for a regular old sleeping
bag. Do you have any?
Well, most of our designs are yet far from
mainstream, but if you're looking for something that comes reasonable
close, check out the Alpinist.
With its sculpted hood and center zip it is still a bit of a fringe
product, but it does have some commonly recognized features.
Do you try out your designs yourself?
Oh yes! We spend countless days dragging these
products around the mountains before they are published here.
Is that foot box on the Raku
and Back Country Blanket with
the draw cord closure really warm enough?
It is. We have full confidence in that method
of sealing off the opening to the point of offering the Raku in
a custom 0 degree F and -30 degree F version. When the cord is pulled
tight the liner fabric bunches up and inwards, creating a really
fat down filled barrier.
It sounds like you really like using the
Akula Half Bag and Torre
Parka together as a sleep system. Sleeping in a jacket? No Thanks!
Yes, it is not for everybody. It is primarily
an age old mountaineering concept for cramped, sitting bivouacs,
using a bivy bag. After some further refinement of the involved
components we also adopted it as a great winter camping set-up on
fast and light trips in the nearby hills. The Torre
Parka has incredible loft and is plenty warm for sleeping in.
It goes inside the Akula,
which then cinches tight around the torso. Arms can stay in sleeves
or you can drag them inside. We typically leaves them in the sleeves
and keep the hands warm inside the Half Bag.
Can you wear boots inside the Akula?
The cut is generous enough to enable wearing
your boots directly in the Half Bag. This makes brief brew stops
during all night climbs or hikes far more enjoyable. You simply
slip into the Torre Parka as soon as stopping and when ready to
hunker down for an hour or so you stick your legs into the Akula
and doze off.
What's the appeal of the Back
Well, the Blanket part of the name implies
just that: A comforter for the hills. Simple and foolproof. But
the full length velcro instantly converts this sprawling cover to
an effective sleeping bag. And with two put together you have possibly
the most versatile couple bag available.