The Mountain Hardwear Hotbed Torch is a comfort-designed sleeping bag for those camping in cold climates on a budget. While the company website says otherwise, the size and weight of this bag preclude its usefulness as a backpacking tool for long distances or extended trips. This bag shines as your car camping companion in relatively cold places- it’s warm, it’s spacious, and it doesn’t cost a lot to get you outside in the winter.
The loft of the Hotbed Torch kept me warm at -10°C, the end of the temperature range for optimal comfort. As a cold person, -10°C would be as cold as I could cozily sleep in this bag without adding layers. I suspect that this was partially due to the extra room in the sleeping bag, which increased the amount of space my body was trying to heat. The insulation is well-distributed, with an extra cylinder of insulation along the zipper to prevent cold air from seeping in. The polyester shell felt softer than the slippery material used on lighter sleeping bags, and minimized the swishy sound of turning over on a sleeping pad at night.
The extra space afforded in the footbox allows feet to point skyward without restriction.
The welded Lamina construction is designed to reduce the possibility of cold spots. Traditionally, sleeping bags have had sown baffles to prevent the insulation from sliding from one end to the other, but as a trade off the seams pinched the fabric together without any insulation in between. The Lamina system, however, welds the insulation into place so that there are no areas without insulation, and the
bag has continual coverage everywhere.
The photo below shows how much extra space there is compared to some other bags, especially for someone my size, this bag is especially wide in the shoulders. The width is highly recommended for claustrophobic sleepers.
Insulation - Thermal Q Thermic MX synthetic insulation
Shell - 75D Polyester Taffeta
- Lamina welded construction
- Vertical baffles for minimal cold spots
- Footbox allows for upright foot position
- Microfleece lined stuff sack doubles as a pillow
- Comfort Mummy Cut
- Draw cord at hood opening prevents heat from escaping
- Two way full length #5 YKK zipper
- Stuff sack and mesh storage bag
Elasticized draw cord with pull tab for a single handed cinch.
Zipper garage and velcro closure.
Velcro overlay tucks the zipper away nicely, although it is an extra step when fumbling the bag open at night.
YKK zippers at both ends allow for custom ventilation.
Hotbed Torch comes with a mesh storage bag.
The microfleece lined stuff sack is a nice idea, although it’s barely noticeable when the mummy hood is on. The two way zipper allows ventilation in warmer temperatures, and the bag works nicely as a blanket when it is fully unzipped. For those who enjoy cuddling at night, two Hotbed Torches (a RH and a LH) can be zipped together easily to form one mega bag, which would be plenty of space for two adults and even a small child, depending on how cozy you like to be.
Soft microfleece covers one half of the inside of the stuff sack.
As one can see from the dimensions, the stuff sack size is huge and the Hotbed Torch fits in there tightly. It was too large for any of my compression sacks so I tried lining the stuff sack with a garbage bag to see how much air I could squish out, but the results were about the same. The reality of a sleeping bag this large is that it would be tough to find enough space for it and all your other gear without an 80+ litre backpack. Based on the dimensions provided, I calculated that it would equal roughly 28L or the size of a daypack. That's big!
The Hotbed Torch is best suited for people who want to get out winter camping while on a budget, and who ideally aren’t carrying their gear very far. While the design of the bag itself is good, and it is warm, the heavy weight and low compressibility have resulted in a lower overall rating. Keep in mind that the Hotbed Torch is on par with synthetic bags in the same temperature range from competitors such as the North Face, Marmot, and MEC. For anyone who is interested in alpine climbing or backpacking long distances, consider it this way: down fill bags are friendly to your back, synthetic fill bags are friendly to your wallet, and if neither suits you, there are a few hybrids out there on the market. Bottom line is that your tent should hopefully weigh about this much, not your sleeping bag.
For other three season sleeping bag reviews be sure to check out our sleeping bag review page here and for and four season sleeping bag reviews click on over here.
The behemoth stuff sack.
Price: $210 CAN / $189 USD
Weight: Reg. 2.08kg / 4lb 9oz
Temp Rating: Comfort -10°C / 14°F, Lower -18°C / 0°F, Extreme -38°C / -36°F
Fill: Thermal Q synthetic insulation
Bag Loft: 6cm / 2.4"
Stuff Sack Size: 28 x 46cm / 11 x 18"
Quality / Price 2/2
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