The Mountain Equipment Starlight II is a light and packable 3-4 season synthetic bag which provides weatherproof warmth and great value for money. Synthetic bags are inevitably heavier and more bulkier than those which use down. In the Starlight range that disadvantage is minimised through the use of high quality Polarloft insulation and a lightweight Polyester / Nylon blended outer fabric to give a superb entry-level backpacking and mountaineering sleeping bag. The Polarloft insulation makes the Starlight range especially good for bivvying as it will keep you warm even if it gets damp.
The Starlight II is in the middle of the Starlight Range and is suitable for for 3/4 season UK use in the valley or as a bivi sleeping bag for mountaineers, but those who feel the cold might want a slightly warmer bag in winter.
|Reg||3°C||-2°C||-17°C||212cm||76cm||59cm||185cm||PolarLoft||-||1415g||22 x 29cm|
|XL||3°C||-2°C||-17°C||227cm||78cm||60cm||200cm||PolarLoft||-||1455g||22 x 31cm|
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I've come to the conclusion over the years that if there is any objectivity in "comfort" and "extreme" temperatures, with cheaper bags it's related optimistically to the known insulating properties of the materials used, with minimal regard for the design and manufacture.
I do find it difficult to keep warm. (I've been known, when the temperature was sneaking close to freezing, with a bag rated at -2, to resort to sleeping fully clothed, wearing two pairs of socks, and with the tail end of the bag shoved deep into my rucksack.)
On the other hand, the first outing of this bag, with a comfort temperature of +2, was on a very frosty night in the Peak District, with condensation frozen on the inside of my flysheet, and I was as snug as the proverbial bug.
This is a synthetic bag with a lot of loft. The collar is an effective heat baffle, the anatomical hood completes the job, and the anti-snag zip lived up to its name. There's no doubt in my mind that the Starlight II is now my instinctive first choice bag for a very wide range of conditions, with my silk liner - which, improbable as it sounds - does provide effective extra insulation when needed in the very depths of winter.
Why not the full five stars?
I have a very justified bee in my bonnet about declared weights. Just for the record, I checked my electronics scales with a 1kg weight, and they under-weigh by 1g.
Printed on the Starlight's stuffsack is the claim: "Total weight 1415g". That, to be polite, is a terminological inexactitude. The TOTAL weight is 1548g, of which the stuffsack accounts for 127g, making the NET weight 1431g.
So if you choose to leave your sleeping bag uncompressed, and half-fill your backpacking rucksack with it, the load is only 16g more than billed. It has to be said, however, that the stuffsack confines the bag very well, and tightening the straps does little more than distort the shape of the package, so you could probably save 50% of that excess weight by removing the straps and buckles.
Facewest Note: Sleeping bag temperature ratings are very difficult to compare. Please read our articles How to Choose a Sleeping Bag and Understanding Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings for more information.
The ME Starlight II sleeping bag is a synthetic bag padded with Polar Loft Micro, a synthetic insulation made from a combination of 3D long filament fibres and micro fibres, similar to the Primaloft padding. It's constructed with a durable ripstop outer fabric that is light and slightly waterproof. Despite being padded with synthetic, the weight is quite low, about 1500g (good warmth to weight ratio). The cap covers the head well and the inner collar prevents the escape of heat.
The inner fabric is supersoft presence very soft to the touch and prevents sticking to the skin even when wet. The bag is very compressible. A great sleeping bag, ideal for mid-mountain or camping in the intermediate seasons with presence of moisture. As always, the service is great from Facewest.
I bought this for 3 season hiking and camping all around in Finland. I haven't really tested it in extreme conditions but had no trouble sleeping below zero degrees although I had not more than a modest sleeping mat. Hard to find a better sleeping bag with this price. The packing size could be smaller but is bearable.
I bought this bag for use in Scottish winter bivvies and Alpine summer bivvies. The temp range is great - comfortable from 10C down to -5C with a weight and price that is very agreeable.
I have used this down to -10C although with a Thermarest as insulation off the ice, and although it was a cold night it held up.
The only downside to the bag would be it's pack size, it is not the smallest thing on the planet, but it's significantly cheaper than the alternatives.
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