Wednesday, 05 July 2017 08:02

Rab Neutrino Endurance 600 sleeping bag tested and reviewed

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The Rab Neutrino Endurnace 600 is essentially a more durable and weatherproof version of the classic Neutrino 600, with the benefit of a Pertex Neutrino Endurance shell.

Combined with Nikwax hydrophobic down and Polygenie odour control it's designed for alpine climbers but finds itself equally at home as a 3/4 season trekking bag with its waterproof compression sack and 1100g weight.

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What the manufacturers say:

The Neutrino Endurance 600 is designed primarily for alpine climbers, for use on bivi ledges, light-weight mountaineering trips or general winter conditions.

The Neutrino Endurance 600 features 600g of high quality 800FP European Goose Down and is made in a ‘mummy taper’ style, offering minimum weight and pack size, without compromising on warmth. A combination of light-weight and water-resistant Pertex® fabrics provide excellent protection from both cold and damp weather, creating an extremely comfortable bag. Key features include a close-fitting neck baffle, anti-snag webbing tape and a trapezoidal baffle design to eliminate cold spots.

The Neutrino Endurance range of sleeping bags are temperature tested to the new European standard (EN13537:2012) and are hand-filled in Derbyshire, UK.

Features:

  • Pertex® Endurance outer fabric
  • Pertex Quantum® inner fabric
  • Pertex® Endurance inner fabric in hood and collar
  • 800FP European Goose Down
  • Rab® fluorocarbon free Hydrophobic Down developed in conjunction with Nikwax®
  • Improved close fitting neck baffle design
  • Mummy taper shape
  • Proportionally assigned differential cut
  • Internal YKK 3 coil zipped stash pocket
  • ¾ length YKK 5 coil main zip
  • Left and right hand zips available
  • Anti snag zipper webbing tape
  • Internal collar and hood drawcord
  • Trapezoidal baffle chamber design
  • Angled foot box
  • Dry bag compression stuff sack
  • Cotton storage sack
  • Temperature tested to new European standard EN13537: 2012
  • Hand filled in Derbyshire UK

 Rab Neutrino Endurance 600 on test:

 When it comes to outdoor equipment there's a remarkable amount of brand loyalty amongst users particularly when it comes to insulated products. For years I was an intransigent  Mountain Equipment only customer but the Neutrino Endurance 600 is a perfect example of why my allegiance has switched over recent years. Put simply it's as close as you can get to the ideal UK sleeping bag with hydrophobic down, Pertex Endurance outer, New Polygenie treated liner and tapered fit.

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With a list price of £400 and a street price around £360 a Neutrino Endurance 600 is a major investment and you get the idea that Rab understand this responsibility from the moment you open the packaging. Sleeping bags. and especially down bags, are best stored uncompressed so the Neutrino Endurance comes with a voluminous, white, cotton storage bag.

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and for storage on the trail or mountain there's a dry bag compression sack.

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The biggest issue with choosing a sleeping bag, and particularly one costing upwards of £300, is temperature rating. Temperature rating is subjective because no matter how much you standardise insulation measuring the reality is we all sleep differently and what's perfect for one person can be too hot or too cold for another. Rab use the almost universal system based on 3 ratings; comfort being the lowest temperature an average woman will feel comfortable at, Comfort limit that applies the same criteria to Men and an Extreme rating which is the limit at which an average woman will avoid hypothermia. In reality you build up rough guide of what actually works for you but the ratings do provide a good reference point.

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If anything the design of the Neutrino Endurance makes the rating slightly on the conservative side. It's quite a narrow bag, to the point that turning over inside the bag requires practice, and the hood is quite close fitting. The result, especially with the draft collar pulled tight is a bag that warms up quickly and stays warm. There's even a small zipped, internal, pocket on the opposite side to the zip just below the upper drawstring.

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The attention to detail and build quality are two of the attributes that make people develop brand loyalty and two qualities Rab have in abundance. The choice of materials leaves nothing to chance with the Pertex Endurance fabric used on the outer recognise for its ability to shed water on contact, whether snow or accidental spillage. Inside the 600g of 800fp down is hand blown into each compartment after careful weighing and the stitching is faultless.

The latest bags from Rab, including the Neutrino Endurance 600 are also the first sleeping bags to incorporate a Polygenie liner for odour elimination. A tried and tested treatment in clothing over the last couple of years, it's exciting to see its use in sleeping bags. Traditionally buying a down bag always came with a degree of trepidation at the thought of the occassional, but necessary eventually, washing. Stories of clumps of solid down, however, can be consigned to history with an odour resistant liner and water resistant down.

The zip operates flawlessly, completing 50 up/down cycles, with a person in the bag, without a single snag, and the dual zipper allows ventialtion if you're using the bag in warmer temperatues. Likewise the internal baffle works perfectly, preventing cold spots along the zip side while the shoulder/neck baffle can be be tightened simply using the single drawcord. A second drawcord closes the bag further, above the baffle, and secures in place with a pair of circular velcro pads.

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In practice we've only been able to test the Neutrino Endurance 600 in temperatures between +12 and -6 degrees so far and, predictably, it's been the higher temperatures that have proved more difficult, with the bag almost completely opened up on the warmer tests and even at -6 the bag beniffited from the foot-end zipper opened up a bit and the neck baffle left loose.

When it comes to maintaining sleeping bag performance using a liner bag can seriously prolong the time between washes but when it comes to lightweight backpacking and alpine climbing the extra few grams of a liner are counter-intuitive. Fortunately the Polygenie treatment is about as good as it gets in terms of anti-odour treatments and will keep the bag odour free for prolonged trips without needing a liner

Overall the combination of fill power, hydrophobic down and the tapered mummy shape make the Neutrino Endurance 600 a natural pick for (almost) year round use in the UK, despite its prime target market being alpine style climbing on higher mountains. The temperasture range covers all but the coldest of British nights and the build quality means your investment will last for years. In short it's everything you expect of a Rab bag; top end fabrics and ecologically sourced down treated with a PFC-free Nikwax DWR coating combined in highly detailed and well built product. £360 - £400 is a sizeable investment but as the saying goes "You get what you pay for" and ten years on you'll be able to look back and see that on a cost per use or cost per year basis it's an investment that more gives a great return.

Last modified on Thursday, 06 July 2017 08:01