- Build Quality
- BEST VALUE CHOICE UK WINTER BAG
- RRP £165
- Rated to -16c
- 650 fill power down
- Longer version available for those over 6′
- There’s actually not a lot of note … wider fit, but the higher quality Pipedream model is slimmer if you are of slim build
650+ fill power down, side baffles, YKK zips, duraflex buckles, shoulder baffle, passport/ipod pocket and a lightweight micro ripstop DWR nylon fabric. Not the kind of spec you expect for £165 but you better believe it because that’s what you get.
We admit that having not tried any of the Alpkit product before we were a little skeptical of the quality before Col from Alpkit arranged delivery of our sample bag. First impressions were good and it was clear that there was plenty of loft in the bag right from the start.
There are three models within the SkyeHigh range and the SkyeHigh 1000 is the warmest with a lower comfort rating for men of -16C. As of yet I’ve only had it down to -8C quite simply because the weather has been too warm!
Out in the field the bag performed well. We have spent 8 nights in this bag so far broken up over two trips and we have found it to be comfortable and warm. The bag is cut quite generously so is ideal if you are bigger built, or if it’s really cold and you want to wear an extra layer or two whilst in the bag. I’m around a 50″ chest and can fit into this bag fine though I wouldn’t be able to layer up too much. One of our smaller female testers likes extra room in her bags for drying off boots and keeping her extensive camera kit warm. Just goes to show how personal preference makes a big impact on reviews and of course you have to find product that fits your specific needs. But generally it does suit a slightly bigger build and comes with a couple of length options unlike the Pipe Dream models. For most female you’d be better looking at the slimmer fit PipeDream model.
The hood tightens down nicely and the full-length zip is well positioned though I did manage to snag the material in it a couple of times. The material seems strong enough not to cause any damage though. There is also an effective drawcord on the shoulder baffle that keeps as much heat in as possible. Although it isn’t as good as some of the other models on test the hood and neck baffle are certainly better than some far more expensive choices.
The bags are a relatively simple construction but we never experienced any real cold spots during the night and despite being an active sleeper the down stayed pretty much where it should throughout.
At the end of the day the Alpkit Skyehigh doesn’t have the same quality of materials and spec as some of the best winter bags available but it definitely isn’t a budget bag despite having a budget price. I’ve got to say I’m more impressed than I expected to be. In my opinion the bag is a match in some ways for many bags costing much more. It isn’t the lightest bag, weighing in at 1680g but for an extra £25 you could invest in the Pipedream model with 750+ fill which weighs in at only 1150g. The Pipedream wouldn’t be the choice for me, simply because of build but if you are a slim and not too tall then I would expect that it’s something you really should be checking out. Of course you can’t do that in the shops which is one of the only downsides of buying from Alpkit, however you can of course return any item you buy online under the Distance Selling Directive.
In reality though this is genuinely a bag that you can use in pretty much any UK weather and it will do the job of keeping you warm, at a similar price to a synthetic bag but with less weight and easier packing. Even if you are a regular visitor to the mountains you wouldn’t feel too short changed with this bag. That said there are some improvements that Alpkit could make within the range. Bear in mind that the PipeDream model saves some weight with a tighter fit (great if you are a slim or female) as well as better quality down, and unlike the SkyeHigh series isn’t available in longer or shorter sizes. Alpkit need to rectify this as the PipeDream and the better quality down are definitely worth the extra cost. A longer and shorter option in the PipeDream and perhaps a model that offers more interior space for bigger built people would give them a really comprehensive selection that would suit most people’s needs.
As for now though we have to rate this as the BEST VALUE bag simply because no matter what your size you are likely to fit into one of the Skyehigh series. You will get years of use out of the bag and you won’t be disappointed with what you get for your £165 investment.
BUY THIS IF …..
- You are bigger built
- You are tall and won’t fit into the PipeDream series
- Your bag is unlikely to get wet
- Budget is a primary consideration
Check out the PipeDream series of bags if you are a a slimmer fit or are below 6’2 in height
Visit www.alpkit.com for more information