Does the thought of frozen toes give you sleepless nights? Perhaps that’s the biggest worry you might have when looking for the right sleeping bag. Remember what grandma used to say – you fall asleep faster when your feet is warm. And she’s right! And when it comes to my sleep, I don’t go for less. I took a closer look at Mountain Equipment’s Starlight III, a synthetic Sleeping bag warm enough for 3 Seasons.
I have been using a down sleeping bag for as long as I can think of. Nothing warmer than down. Down has been always reliable. The more down the better, the warmer. Not a problem – even in minus 10° C. But then came the rainy days that don’t disappear on your road trips, and after a couple of days, you have wet, damp feathers that clog together and your down sleeping bag starts to fail on you. That was when I started thinking about using a synthetic sleeping bag instead. One for 3 seasons. And Starlight III walked into my life.
The sleeping bag comes in a mummy form, with zippers available either on the left or right, and 3 different sizes to fit you. There’s a 3 dimensional neck collar that prevents heat loss around the neck, 2 pull cords at the neck and face area when you want to be sure no warmth is getting out. The zippers are florescent and enables easy finding in the dark, YKK quality zippers ensures that coming in and out of the sleeping bag is easy. A small pocket on the inner side of the bag is available for you to keep important little things while you sleep and the Velcro fastenings ensures that nothing slips out while you sleep. The hood has an anatomical fit and is insulated. The sleeping bag is tagged with a comfort zone of -1°C. And there’s extra isolation material at the feet area to keep your little toes from feeling cold. The Shark Toe design makes it anatomical and comfortable. Designing a sleeping bag that has enough space to move around at night means enough of space for the legs too. Too much space between you and the sleeping bag (if the bag is too big for you) would mean more air that you will have to warm up as well. So it’s better to look for a sleeping bag that fits well to your size, not too big and not too small. Extra isolation at the feet is great for people who are prone to cold feet, like me. The Starlight 3 comes in a stuff bag that takes up 26cm x 38cm space and pull cords to compress the sack.
Total weight: 1830 g (Size S)
Packed size: 26cm x 38cm
Extreme Temperature: minus 25°C
Comfort Limit Temperature: minus 7°C
Comfort Temperature: minus 1°C
Sleepzone: 10 to minus 12°C
Performance – Sleeping it out
The cooler days finally came, after an awesome summer. The road trips to the Alps became more bearable at night where temperatures drop below 5°C. We are a dedicated car camper, without the comforts of heating. The rear door stays usually open for ventilation, which also means that we are somewhat exposed to the conditions outside with dew, winds and light drizzle. Of course, the most logical thing to do when it gets really uncomfortable, is to close the doors. The open door policy varies, depending on the situation, location and temperatures. The 100% Polyester filling – Polarloft Micro, keeps you sensationally warm even when it’s damp outside. Very surprised how well it performed compared to down. Thanks to the DWR impregnation, heavy condensation, dew and mists makes it indifferent to sleep it out. No frost bites, no feeling cold and damp in the mornings, and the toes are all warm. The double and triple shingle construction ensures that no cold spots occur and key areas are filled with more insulation filling .
Comfort and design
The Starlight III warms you up within seconds. I slipped into the soft nylon lining inside and was warm in a jiff. I thought it warmed up even faster than my down sleeping bag. It was easy to slip in, the zippers ran smoothly without getting stuck all the time. The anatomical hood fits well like a baby over the head. The 2 pull in cords with an integrated bubble around the head and collar closes all openings around the face and keeps the warmth in the bag. The bag is comfy and roomy. So there’s enough space if you like curling up.
What to wear in a sleeping bag for best results
What I liked most:
- great even on rainy trips or dewy mornings. I felt like a baby and didn’t want to get out
- warm feet and sufficient space, but never a problem with frozen toes in the morning. Woohoo!
- Durable non rip outer layer.
- Comes in different sizes: Small, Regular and XL, so you can choose one that fits you best.
What could be better:
- The bubble to the pull cords could be placed in another position. I hate having the bubble or cord flying around the face at some time in the night.
- Loops at each end of the sleeping bag so you could hang up the bag to dry, were missing.
- The neck collar had an odd shape and didn’t close up nicely causing some cold spots
- Weight. It could generally be lighter, but since I wasnt carrying this in a backpack, it was ‘t a big problem for me.
Ownership and conclusion
The Starlight III accompanied me on a months road trip to destinations in Middle Europe in early autumn. As we were often in the Alps, the nights were much colder and we had more dews with almost too much shade in the mornings to our taste. This sleeping bag has been in use ever since. The Starlight III is not a lightweight champion with its 1830 g. Too heavy for the backpacker to carry around on long hikes, but perfect for all those where weight is of no importance. Priced at 159,95 EUR with Bergfreunde.de this sleeping bag is a good buy for all campers at entry-level wanting a safe warm night to sleep out.
You can check the other Starlight Models for the summer, here and here. I have tested each model and found the Mountain Equipment Starlight 3 to be a great 3 Season synthetic sleeping bag that deals very well with moisture, condensation and warmth.
[Disclosure: I have received product samples for my time and efforts in reviewing this product and creating this article. I am under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own ]