PHD Minim 300: Zip or no Zip

20 messages
10/03/2009 at 13:33

What do people think re adding zips to the PHD bags?

 I sleep on the warm side and am a bit concerned that if I go without zips that during the warmer months the bag will be too hot, but dont think that the weight of the zip will be too much additional load in the OMM.

 Views much appreciated.

10/03/2009 at 13:53

Not remotely an expert on this Several seem fine without zips but if you want it a 300 as your main summer bag and sleep warm then it may well make sense to have one. To me its light summer bags (ultra, minimus etc) where zips really don't seem to make much sense. 

The weight of zips is surprisngly large though - additional zip weights from the dyo programme: short zip = 55gm,  full zip = 110g.

10/03/2009 at 15:51


I just ordered a Minim 300 without a zip. It'll be the first bag I've owned that doesn't have one so I can't answer your question from experience, but to my mind the weight of a zip took a lot away from the merit of the Minim design. There are several manufacturers (especially US based) offering high spec quilts which evidently save a lot of weight and can be adjusted for summer use; but if you want a full bag then it seems a bit of a shame to add as much as 25% extra weight for the zip alone.

How did I come to my answer? Well, I have a light synthetic which is a similar weight to the Minim 300 (I think about 700g) with a zip already; this is my summer camping bag as the inevitable sweat in the summer means that going synthetic has made it easier to wash the thing. When I'm down to carrying summer clothing & summer sleeping kit... the major weight tends to be water anyway (as I'm in the South of France and don't often find reliable water sources).

The Minim 300 is probably going to be warm enough for the rest of the year for me. Users who sleep warm (as I tend to) have claimed it's ok to -5; plus I have a Yukon down smock that I can use inside to take it further. And most of the time outside summer the sleeping bag zip remains firmly shut!

My reasons won't necessarily suit your needs; but I'll let you know how I get along with it once it arrives!


10/03/2009 at 16:07
I got a Minim 300 and got a short zip. I like the extra flexibility in varying temps as well as ability to use in cold tents pulled over me when cooking etc. I see John's point too. It will be up to you! Is it your only sleeping bag? is the smallest, lightest, warmest bag most important to you? For me I wanted a bit more than just lightweight.
10/03/2009 at 16:22
Glad to have the short zip on my Minim Ultra, makes it much easier to use and nice to have the cooling flexibility.
10/03/2009 at 16:25
I have a Minum 500 with a full zip. I've not used it yet and when I order my next bag it won't have a zip (if I have the choice).
10/03/2009 at 16:31
Hi Criag, do you use your minim 500 in summer only and that is why you don't need a zip?
10/03/2009 at 16:50
I've compromised and ordered my Minin 500 with a half zip. Had full zips on all previous bags, but wanted to save a few grams without losing the flexibility of zips.
10/03/2009 at 16:55
If you are too warm, does opening a half or one third zip cool you any more than wriggling a little further out of the bag?
10/03/2009 at 17:16

Yes wriggling out of the bag means your whole upper body is out of the bag while if you had a zip/part zip then you can ventilate without uncovering your whole upper body. Uncovering you whole upper body could cause you to be too cold, part covered uncovered I would think would probably allow you to get to a comfortable compromise easier. Also, at home if too hot , I often stick my leg out of the bed - can't do that without a zip.  Can the halve zip come at the bottom of the bag for this ?

10/03/2009 at 17:21
Just ordered a minim 300 with a full zip - would have been far too hot in summer otherwise. Still will only weight a smigeon over 700g so can't say it's a heavyweight and I'd rather have the option of unzipping.
10/03/2009 at 17:30
Alastair Soutar wrote (see)
Hi Criag, do you use your minim 500 in summer only and that is why you don't need a zip?

I don't use it so much in summer. I sleep colder than most but a Minum 500 is normally a bit too warm in summer even for me. The 500 is mainly used for spring and autumn. I find if it gets warm I just slide the bag down a bit.

One thing that just occurred to me, PHD bags are regarded as being fairly slim fitting so if you're of slim build they're easy to get in and out of without a zip. If you're more solidly built then a zip might make it easier.

10/03/2009 at 17:57
I like the 'solid' word... better than the fatty I get at work!
Edited: 10/03/2009 at 17:58
10/03/2009 at 18:02
Alastair Soutar wrote (see)

Yes wriggling out of the bag means your whole upper body is out of the bag while if you had a zip/part zip then you can ventilate without uncovering your whole upper body.


......... only if you wriggle a long way out of the bag.  A small wriggle will expose no more extra body than undoing a zip.

11/03/2009 at 10:01

I thought hard before taking the plunge of a zipless bag. And I really couldn't remember when I made much use of zips in sleeping bags during the night... except to open up at the feet to let them air. And as nobody is offering a 30cm zip in the feet, especially not in a sale item, I thought I could live without it.

I agree with Frum; if I'm too warm I just take my head out of the hood (and remove any hat I might be wearing); then arms; then remove spare clothes etc. I find myself more often than not struggling to keep a bag zipped up as it starts to slide when it gets a bit older!

The only caveat to all that is that it's hugely easier to air out a bag in the morning if you can fully unzip it. You effectively halve the depth of insulation between the innermost surfaces and the outside air as well as doubling the effective surface area so you get the bag dry many times faster. I guess time will tell whether I've made an error... and I suppose I could always get a zip added retrospectively in future. But for now I'm game to give it a try!


11/03/2009 at 12:05

At 61 years I tend to stiffen up quite easily especially after a long day's walking so I opted for a M 300 with a short zip, easier to get into you see. In warmer weather, the bag closed is far too hot for even a cool summer night and I tend to open the zip, turn the bag over, stick my lower half in the lower half of the bag and drape the unzipped top half over me like a quilt. I get a very comfortable night's sleep that way. Alternatively, I use my Tesco down bag in high summer or even my Vango Ultralite 100 when it's really warm. Within the broad constraints of season and ambient temperature I sort of chop and change on a whim.

In my late teens and twenties I carried a Lofoten down bag which had no zip and at around 2 Kilos was considered the lightest of lightweight bags. I had no problem getting into it then but that was over 40 years ago when I was young, supple and agile. I had that bag until the cotton, yes cotton, inner just wore too thin and rotted away. It was imported from Norway, cost me a fortune, about £35 I think, and lasted a good many years even though it had loads of hard use in my halcyon days

"...the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy the handicapped and submariners. " ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

Edited: 11/03/2009 at 12:08
11/03/2009 at 13:09
I'm a hottie at night so I went for the zip, figured it was still lightweight enough. Allows  it to be used as a quilt.
13/03/2009 at 14:40

Thanks all for responses.

Still unsure whether to go for the zip, as I seem to be constantly hot in bed, in an ideal world, would go for the minimis (without a zip) which is rated +5deg and then can add clothes / downie to provide flexibility (this would also be lighter as I will almost certainly carry the downie when doing the OMM), but its not in the sale.

Getting the Minim 300 with a zip will add flexibility. Think I seem to be talking myself into a minimus out of the sale.

13/03/2009 at 22:39

I think PHD may have altered the cut of their Bags.I have a design your own Baltoro which is my all year round light bag,with a full zip.Iam about 44inch chest and it is quite a tight fit.

  Then this summer i ordered the new lightweight PHD bag with the best fill they were advertising was it 900.With great trepidation i did not get a zip.I use it for 12 days backpacking in the Pyrenees inSeptember and it was plenty wide enough across the chest.

  This is my first zip less bag for 48 yrs[that one was and still is an original Pete Hutchinson].

  It is a bit of a pity that no one stocks samples of PHD bags so one could get an idea of width.

13/03/2009 at 23:39
When I enquired about bag width recently (the one hard-to-find measurement on the otherwise very informative PHD website) I received the following advice from Peter Hutchinson:

"...a 42" chest is about the limit of comfort for the Ultra. And that would just allow a fleece, not a down vest. If you want to be able to use the down vest inside, I would suggest we make you a Wide version, which adds 18cm at chest level."

Of course, that doesn't mean that other bags in the range have the same cut as the Minim Ultra.

"We wade in imperfect solutions" - The proprietor of the Penguin Café

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