Update: During 2014 Cumulus was rebranded as Criterion Sleeping Bags, as such references in this article which were orginally Cumulus have been changed to Criterion.
Gathering together various bits of results from Criterion Sleeping Bag tests that we’ve carried out, we’ve compiled an overall review of their ability to discover why people like them so much…
Criterion Ultralight 200 Sleeping Bag Review
Firstly, here’s the specification break-down for the Ultralight 200 features:
- Criterion’s lightest down sleeping bag after the Quantum 200.
Extremely light; warm; packs down to almost nothing.
- 200gms of 92:8 Polish Goose Down insulation with 680+ fill power;
- Fill Volume: >4533 cubic inches;
- Pertex Ripstop Microlight Shell – 46gms/m², with DWR+ treatment;
- Top side construction: Boxwall;
- Weighs 590g. Packs down to 11 x 11 x 25 cm.
- Length: 217cm;
- Width Shoulders / Foot (cm): 75/50;
- Comfort Temp. = +3°C
(Temperature rating confirmed by independent lab testing at Leeds University)Features common to all Criterion Sleeping Bags:
- Full length YKK two-way zip with zip together compatibility (even different models);
- Anti-snagging, insulated zip baffle;
- Cowl hood and 1 hand operated drawcords;
- Inside pocket & hanging loops;
- Compact fully-featured stuff sack;
- Mesh storage bag.
Sleeping Bag Purpose
Sleeping bags are not designed simply to keep you warm at night. They are also designed to be durable, fit people of different sizes, be lightweight, water-resistant at times, and more. They naturally need the right properties for the right tests. Somebody going backpacking in Asia needs a different form of sleeping bag to someone who is going camping in the Lakes during mid-winter. So for this reason we would like to highlight the core purpose of the Ultralight 200, as we see it.
The Criterion Ultralight 200 is a sleeping bag for those looking for the benefits of a lightweight sleeping bag but do not need it to reach especially low temperatures. If you’re looking for a warmer sleeping bag that is extremely light too, the Criterion Quantum range is probably best. The Criterion Ultralight 350 however does reach a comfort temperature of -3°C, but as a comparison, the Quantum 450 reaches -10°C at a marginally lighter weight of just 770g. These figures are helpful when considering what your purposes and priorities are, as they do not include budgets.
Microlight Ripstop Pertex
The choice of outer and inner is the Pertex Microlight, a very lightweight form of Pertex that is soft to the touch and provides hard durability for its weight. Using tightly woven yarns the Pertex can actually retain more heat when used in sleeping bags, and thus reduces the need for additional down. And, if that wasn’t enough, it also packs down to a very small size too and is soft to the touch, creating a cosy warm sleeping bag. Microlight Pertex is downproof, it has a water repellent treatment and is incredibly durable.
Testing the Ultralight 200
In UK conditions, it’s a really good test when you use a bag throughout the summer. The following sumary has been taken from a culmination of results from: May right through to late October, really testing a 200 weight bag in the full spectrum of British weather conditions!
Test 1: Great Hill, West Pennines, 22nd July, Minimum Temperature: 10-12°C. Sleeping in a Bivi Bag on a Karrimat.
Great conditions for bivvying: dry, light breeze and only slight rain overnight. In fact, if anything the sleeping bag began to get too warm, so had to be unzipped half-way during the night, although was perfectly comfortable by then. Used the Ultralight’s hood as an extra pillow too – bonus!
Test 2: Pendle Hill, Trough of Bowland, 9th September, Minimum Temperature: 10-12°C. Sleeping in a Bivi Bag on a Karrimat.
Some gusts and low-lying mist but toastie warm. No need for layers, liner or need to draw the hood. Very comfortable indeed.
Test 1: Loch Enoch, Scotland, 6th May. Minimum Temperature: 3-5°C. Sleeping on a Thermarest in a 2 skin tent.
In the worst of conditions the Ultralight 200 can deal with temperatures of +3°C, but add a gale and it is being tested to it’s maximum. In this case, it was being tested as Loch Enoch in a tent with a mesh inner which naturally reduces it’s insulating properties and can create an extra chill factor from the wind. It was tested almost to it’s limit in these conditions, but still hung-on in there and provided a good night’s sleep. Other feedback from this test arrived at the conclusions of simplicity in style, the stuffsac creates an incredibly compact sleeping bag pack-size and has an excellent shape for all-night comfort.
Test 2: Stoodley Pike, Pennine Way, 28th October. Minimum Temperature: 8°C or less. Sleeping in a Bivi Bag on a Thermarest.
During this test, there was no rain but incredibly strong winds – likely to be gale force. The sleeping bag was perfectly comfortable throughout the night though, once shelter from the winds had been found! Being inside a bivi bag in the Ultralight 200 was a great way to test it in such poor conditions as 8°C when the winds up can make it feel like 0°C at times!
The key success to the Criterion Ultralight 200 is in it’s simplicity. This is not a sleeping bag for expeditions, nor one for those wishing for a multi-season sleeping bag, but for 2 season use, it provides an excellent lightweight option, great for backpacking and those wishing to keep their pack weight down to a minimum, whilst being comfortable and warm over night. Thumbs up from the Cheap Tents team!
Criterion sleeping bags are incredibly well known now for their excellent insulating properties, incredible lightweight features and are great choice for people looking for excellent quality at an excellent price.