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Winter sleeping bag review: the outstanding Valandré Odin Neo

When pushing the limits it is critical to have tested and proven equipment

In their headquarters in Belcaire in the French Pyrenees, the designers at Valandré dedicate themselves to the design of some of the finest sleeping bags in the world. Valandré declare that “if you are looking for a philosophy in Valandré, you came to the wrong place.

Valandré has no philosophy at all…producing technical high altitude expedition gear is not a little dream world, where the designers float around idly dreaming.”  This French existentialist approach to sleeping bag design yields incredible results, of which the Odin is one.

The Odin is a serious lightweight winter bag that has seen service in the Himalayas on K2 and other peaks. It can keep you warm at -30, which is colder than most folks want to be out camping in, anywhere.

Despite weighing less than some three-season bags, the bag is highly featured. There is a three-quarter-length zipper, making the lower legs and feet better insulated, and let’s face it, for the temps this bag is designed for, that’s good. The bag is fairly roomy, especially in the shoulders and hips and footbox.

Two cordlocks allow the hood to be finely adjusted. The cordlocks clip together so that you won’t have to search for them separately in the dark. An ingenious shoulder baffle system allows you to hook-and-loop the baffles together on the zipper side and zip together the baffles on the other side.

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This makes a more positive seal against heat loss, but it can be awkward to adjust while you are in the bag. A down stuffed side baffle and a flap on the outside of the bag prevent airflow through the zipper.

Valandré have always prided themselves on selection of materials. The outside of this bag is made of 6.6 Nylon ripstop polyamide with durable water treatment Japanese Asahi-Kasei yarn. It is a stronger fabric than that used in most lightweight bags and provides a measure of toughness in expedition settings. The liner is a lighter version of the same material.

Down selection for Valandré bags is rigorous to say the least. Only grey geese from southwest France raised just for down are used to source down, and all down comes from the fourth moult, when the goose is preparing for its first migration and storing fat and the down is strongest.

In the opinion of Valandré, claims of down lofting beyond 800cubic inches (European) 850cubic inches, US, cannot be backed up by evidence, except in small individual batches. Therefore, although Valandré bags do not claim the spectacular down loft of some bags that can go as high as 1000 cubic inches, they are at least equal to the best around and superior to some that claim a higher rate of loft.

This one of the best winter bags on the market. If you are a winter camper or go on cold-weather expeditions, this may be the perfect bag for you.

Comfort Rating:-30
Fill: 850 fill “fatty” grey goose down from southwest France
Weight: 1.63 kg (medium)
Shell: Nylon polyamide with DWR treatment
Price: $1,000 USD