Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Cumulus Down Gear

I first came across this manufacturer over a year ago on the website Ten Pound Pack, Cumulus doesn’t seem to be very well known in the UK but has a very good reputation amongst European backpackers and climbers.  There are a few outlets that stock a limited range of Cumulus products in the UK but my experience is that these appear to be significantly more expensive than buying direct from Cumulus or from a European shop.

Cumulus’s business is top end sleeping bags with 850+ down fill (European scale which is around 900 US), they do manufacture a couple of bags slightly cheaper bags with 700 fill, the shell materials are 100% Pertex Quantum, all in all it makes for quite lightweight and good quality products, can’t say they’re cheap but they seem to offer very good value.

The Cumulus Panyam 600  was my first purchase from them, at -14C comfort rating and only 1010g (my weighing) it’s my winter bag.  I was pretty impressed when I unpacked it and it inflated before my eyes, thanks to the 600g fill of 850+ down, it looked as though there was someone all ready inside it!

I’ve found the bag very warm having slept very comfortably down to -8C without the hood up (I was wearing a hat); the hood is quite well shaped and pulls snugly around the head and the neck baffle works effectively.  I’m only around 1.7m tall and 68kg so found the bag quite roomy, I could easily see it being large enough for someone 15cm taller and 10-15kg heavier.

IMG_0815 comp

The Cumulus 250 Quilt  was my first experience of using a quilt for backpacking, is now my favourite 2+ season bag, well it not really a bag.  At 470g  it’s very light (300g less than my Alpkit Pipedream 400) but the 250g of 850+ down has kept me cosy to around +5C and I’m convinced that with a fleece or down jacket I could comfortably stretch to around freezing.  Being a quilt it’s easy to vent on warm night and at around 120cm wide (at the shoulders) I’ve found it quite roomy.  I also found the feet do find the foot pocket without conscious thought if it turns a little chilly but I think I would prefer a short zipper down the pocket so it could open out more and I may add myself.

The quilt did come with many metres of shock cord and a few cord locks for attaching it to the mattress (IMO a well insulated mattress is a must with a quilt) but with no instructions on a suggested method.

After a bit of experimentation I came up with my own method; basically two loops of shock cord around the Exped with a mitten hook (4) at each side; the quilt has 4 shock cord ‘tails’ attached each with a cord lock.

I attach the quilt to the mat in two ways;

Option 1 is simply clipping the tails into the corresponding mitten hook and tension with the cord locks to snug the quilt down to the mat side.  I found that I’d normally cinch down the ‘off side’ and leave to other loose, or on warm nights not even bother clipping it.

IMG_0433

Option 2 is the ‘cross over’, clip into the opposite sides mitten hook, this has the effect of snugging the quilt around the body, not something I’ve had to do yet but the option is always there.

IMG_0434

There is also a flat quick release buckle at the neck line that does effectively snug up ‘wings’ around the shoulders to reduce drafts when it’s chilly.

Have more recently worked out an improved attachment system for the quilt which can be found HERE

Cumulus Incredilite Endurance jacket is the latest addition to the lightweight backpacking arsenal, X-mass came early!  At 325g (medium) it certainly is very light but also very cosy (distinctly warmer than my Rab Generator) and in comparison with mainstream manufacturers jackets the specification is impressive for around £165 including delivery.  I can’t wait to try it out in action on a winter backpacking trip.

Alas if you want one the current batch sold out in a week!

jacket 2

The jacket contains ~ 110g (medium) of top grade 850+ Polish goose down while the shell is made from Pertex Quantum fabric with an  Endurance membrane which while increasing the weight by a whole 3g is supposedly 1000 mm waterproof, I thought it was worth the ~£15 premium over the base fabric.

Update:

I tried the Incredulite out on a recent 3 day winter trip in the Cairngorms (Beinn A’ Bhuird Bimble) and was very pleased with the warmth, definitely reinforced my first impressions that it was a lot warmer than my Rab Generator Smock.

You could safely say I’m very pleased with ALL of my Cumulus purchases to date.

Note: These products were purchased with my own funds and I have no connection with the manufacturer or distributors.

Long term: 2 years on what’s the verdict?

The Panyam 600 probably has seen over 30 nights use & it still lofts like new, for me it’s a very cosy bag never pushed its limit but have slept through in -8C wearing a thin base layer (far prefer base layer than getting tangled up in a liner) & hat as I don’t like sleeping bag hoods. Really too warm a bag for me at temps above zero though the full length zip can be use to vent or turn it into a quilt; I’ve taken to switching to the Alpkit PD400 for the shoulder seasons, warm enough to -3C & 250g lighter.

The 250 Quilt has had very heavy use, well over a hundred nights & still lofts well, has turned out to exceed expectations.  I’ve found this idea late Spring to Autumn trekking ‘bag’, comfortable to 2 or 3C with a thin base layer; experienced -3C & had to don the fleece & down jacket sometime in the very early hours.

The Incredulite Jacket seems to get packed 75% of the time, only on the summer trips in Scotland does it seem to get left behind, so it’s probably seen 150+ days on the trail & still performs well.  Has proven warm enough to sit it the tent on a winter’s night  & comfortable for the frosty mornings when packing up. Even after spending a week scrunched up in the pack a quick shake out & it’s back to life.

The only slight criticisms for me would be: the lack of a detachable hood which could have provided sleeping headwear for the colder nights though I then may not have found the Black Rock down beanie, amazingly comfortable & warm for the tiny weight, <30g. The zipper has developed an annoying tendency to not want to engage properly so have taken to leaving it partly zipped up & treating it like a smock (which I prefer), if I have to replace the zipper I’ll probably just go with a half zip.

 

 

Advertisements

3 comments on “Cumulus Down Gear

  1. Logan
    April 24, 2016

    Hi, I have the Panyam 450 and so far it’s been fantastic. What if the fit like on the incredilite jacket? I’m thinking of getting on so some pointers would be useful. Thanks, Logan

    • Paul Atkinson
      April 24, 2016

      I got the Medium which is a good fit on 38″ chest with base layer & Rab micro fleece, I can easily pull on / off over the head with the zip half closed, hope this helps.

      • Logan
        April 26, 2016

        Thanks Paul.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on December 16, 2013 by in Gear, Reviews and tagged , .
justanothertrail

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

The Mountain's Silhouette

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Nielsen Brown Outdoors

experiencing the outdoors wherever we are

Must Be This Way

Chat about backpacking, trekking and hiking

Daunerin' Aboot

Ian Sommerville's writing and photography

OutdoorsMH

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

alan sloman's big walk

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

secretmountain.co.uk

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Land Matters

........ the blog and website of Andy Wightman

blogpackinglight

another backpacking blog

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

cairngormwanderer

Wandering in the Cairngorms and other lesser ranges, by Neil Reid

ness64

Hillwalking and Backpacking Trips in the Scottish Highlands

Section Hikers Backpacking Blog

Hiking and Backpacking for Beginners and Experts

%d bloggers like this: