Growing up in the Northwest one learns that our weather is rarely dry and never completely predictable. Our winters are wet and cold, but not bitter cold, and our summers are elusive. Because of this, you will often find you need a very flexible and versatile sleeping bag if you want to stay consistently comfortable and safe in a wide range of conditions.

In my never ending quest for lightweight back-country comfort, I purchased the Marmot Pinnacle EQ Regular Down sleeping bag a few years ago. The Pinnacle EQ has a number of remarkable properties that make it particularly appropriate for our weather. First, it is a down bag, using high-loft 800-fill down. This means that despite its 15 F. degree rating, it is still lightweight and packs small. Generally speaking, the higher the loft rating of the down, the lighter, warmer, and more spacious it can be without compromising durability.

One major drawback of down is that if it gets wet, it becomes worse than useless and impossible to dry in the weather that got you wet it the first place. A major advantage of the Pinnacle EQ is that the outer shell is wind and water resistant, which is a big insurance policy for Northwest weather. In my three years owning this bag, I have put it through very tough conditions. I have used it snow-caving multiple times, have camped in the pouring rain, and have “chanced it” by leaving my tent with only a bug screen as light rain refused to stop falling on me most of the night. Remarkably this bag has always stayed dry and warm on the inside, and in most cases remained dry on the outside since most of the water just beads off. The shell of this bag is also slightly tougher and less prone to getting dirty than other non-water/wind resistant bags I have used. There are some drawbacks to the water resistant shell however, and these are foremost additional weight, less breathability meaning you are slightly more likely to sweat while sleeping, and slightly harder to pack away since it takes longer to force the air out to compress the bag.

The Pinnacle EQ is warm and comfortable and more durable than most lightweight bags. It has features such as an adjustable neck baffle which really help when you are testing the cold limits of the bag. I’m just over 6 feet tall, and the regular fits me perfectly. While it is not spacious, it has sufficient room for comfort. In the heart of winter at higher elevations you will be slightly cold with this bag, and in the summer you will need to unzip it, but if you had to choose just one all-around lightweight easy to pack bag for camping in the Northwest, in my experience this one with its special water/wind resistance and high-loft down is it. I don’t often give out 5 stars, but the Pinnacle is a solid 5-star performer.

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