Eddie Bauer has typically been known for turtlenecks and flannel. That is, until they branched out into the technical apparel and gear market with their new brand, First Ascent, which is “Guide Built and Guide Tested.”

First Ascent released the Igniter 0° sleeping bag this spring. Seattle Backpackers Magazine was given a pre-production model last fall to conduct a long term, in-depth assessment. After an extensive test, my conclusion is that the Igniter 0° is a quality sleeping bag.

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The bag features a Pertex® Nylon shell, which has a very high quality feel and is also very durable. Did I mention that I love the bright red and blue color wave?

The outer fabric does make it harder to compress, however, as it takes awhile to squeeze all of the air out of the bag. Conversely, when you pull the bag out of its stuff sack, it takes a while for the bag to fluff out. If you give the bag a few quick shakes this does help to expand it back out more quickly.

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The Climashield® Apex Synthetic Insulation fill is VERY warm. The loft it provides is incredible. The bag has so much loft that the 0° rating seems conservative to me. However, I could not find temperatures below zero degrees in my area to test this hypothesis. As the fill does feature quite a bit of loft, it also makes the bag less than compact. Inside of my 60-liter pack it takes up almost half of the main compartment! Uncompressed, the stuff sack measures 22”x12”x12” and when compressed it measures 14”x12”x12”.

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I have never been able to sleep through the night while camping. I wake up numerous times all night trying to get comfortable, struggling to stay warm, or wondering what that noise was. Not so in this bag. The best nights’ sleep I have ever had were in this bag. I felt so warm and comfortable that it felt like being home in my own bed. I would be remiss if I did not mention the vivid dreams I have only had while sleeping in this bag – they were out of this world! I battled aliens, ran from giants, and swung through Amazon jungles like Tarzan. When I woke in the morning I felt super-human and tackling the day’s objectives seemed trivial compared to my accomplishments while sleeping in my Igniter 0° bag.

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Pros

  • Warm
  • Comfortable
  • Great color
  • Synthetic insulation is warm even when wet

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Bulky even when fully compressed
  • Does not have a zippered pocket
  • No draft collar

This is a perfect bag for someone looking for an extremely warm sleeping bag on an expedition-style trip. The Igniter would make a great base camp bag or for a similar trip (ski touring from a hut for a week, laying siege to a mountain over several weeks, etc.) where you are only carrying a full load in and out. This is mainly due to the Igniter’s burly stuffed size, which would warrant carrying a very large pack.

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Tech Specs

Manufacturer: Eddie Bauer First Ascent

Date available: Currently available

Manufacturer’s Website: Eddie Bauer

MSRP: $279

Listed Weight: Not listed

Actual Weight: 3lbs 14oz

Materials: 20-denier Pertex® nylon, Climashield® Apex synthetic insulation

Warranty info: “100% unconditional lifetime guarantee. Every product we sell is designed to be the best and built to last. If anything you buy falls short of those standards, you’re invited to return it at any time.”

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