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Hands-on Gear Review
Sea to Summit Talus TS III Review
Cons: Not as warm as bags with higher fill power and similar weight
Bottom line: The Talus III is a light and packable winter bag, but not the warmest.
We're most familiar with Sea to Summit for their impressive stuff sacks, and it only makes sense that they make an excellent bag for stuffing humans in and keeping them warm and dry. Designed in Australia, the Sea to Summit Talus III is a comfortable, lightweight model that is ready to go on backcountry trips and alpine adventures - all at an affordable price. It's loaded with extra features like a zippered internal stash pocket, a draft collar, and a snag-free zipper.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Winter Down Sleeping Bags of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Sea to Summit Talus walks the middle road of weight, warmth, packability, and price. The 750+ fill power duck down insulates better than our testers expected, but still doesn't achieve the lofty warmth (or lofty price) of 850+ power goose down. While lighter than the Best Buy Award winning Rab Ascent 900, our testers didn't think it was quite as warm. If you're not attached to features like a full draft collar or an internal stash pocket, check out the loftier and less expensive REI Co-Op Magma 10.
Next to the zipper, there is a chart indicating a "comfort" temperature rating of 16º, a "lower limit" rating of 1, and an "extreme" -35º. We're a bit confused by the extreme rating, and while we try not to speculate too much at OutdoorGearLab, our testers agreed that taking this bag out into the -35º arctic tundra would be a bad idea. While the 750+ fill power water-resistant duck down creates a nice four-inch insulating barrier of loft, this simply isn't enough for sub-zero temps. At the "lower limit" temperatures, we recommend sleeping with a down jacket on to help keep your core warm. For our slimmer testers, there is plenty of room in this bag to accommodate a down puffy without compressing it so much that it's ineffective.
Tipping the scales at 2lbs 11oz, the Talus III is just a touch heavier than the Nemo Sonic, and is way lighter than similarly priced bags such as the Rab Ascent 900 and the Big Agnes Storm King 0. While almost as light as the Western Mountaineering Versalite and the Mountain Hardwear Phantom Torch 0, the Talus II isn't as warm as either of those bags.
For our lead tester, who is 5'9" and 140lbs, this bag was perfectly roomy. It allowed him to sleep with one leg fully bent up to his chest when he desired, without being so roomy that he got cold. The Talus III has a drawstring to secure the thick draft collar and prevent cold air from coming in, and another drawstring to cinch the hood tight around the face, so you can turn on your side without covering your nose and mouth. If you're looking for a bag with loads of room and some stretch, we like the Nemo Sonic, our Top Pick For Comfort.
By using the included compression sack, our testers could stuff this bag down to a minimal size, perfect for conserving precious space in your backpack for fun things like food and climbing gear. One of our testers packed it in his carry-on, and it came in handy during a mega layover at LAX. This bag packs down about a small as the Western Mountaineering Versalite and the Mountain Hardwear Phantom Torch 3, and it packs much smaller than the Kelty Cosmic Down 0 and the Rab Ascent 900
Concerning features, the Talus III is loaded. A generously sized pocket with a low profile zipper is located internally on the left shoulder of the bag, and easily accommodates a phone and a headlamp. Sea to Summit produces awesome lightweight compression sacks, and the one included with this bag is no exception. It's constructed of lightweight silnylon, and the compression straps are burly. You can also cinch them down tight without worrying about ripping them off. Sea to Summit included a storage sack that allows you to keep the bag fully lofted in a laundry bag configuration, or in a smaller square duffel travel mode. Most importantly, for the sanity of our testers, this bag has a snag-free zipper operation that is rivaled only by the Western Mountaineering bags.
The Talus III features waterproof breathable 2D Nanoshell fabric, and it does an excellent job of keeping out light rain, snowmelt, and condensation. Water beaded right off this bag in our light rain testing and our testers neither felt nor found any leaks, not even at the seams. A handful of contenders scored higher than the Talus III, and include the Feathered Friends Snowbunting, Marmot Col -20, Brooks Range -10, and The North Face Inferno -20.
Because of its weight and compressibility, we wouldn't hesitate to bring this bag along for climbing missions in the backcountry or multi-day ski tours in the springtime when nighttime temps are hovering in the teens.
This bag is $100 more than our Best Buy award winner, the Rab Ascent 900. For that extra hundo, you get a much more compressible bag that's also a pound lighter. Our testers are impressed that a $450 dollar bag can have such a good warmth-to-weight ratio, and this bag did a number on our bias and snobbery when it comes to duck down.
If you're looking for a bag that can go a little farther than heavier bargains like the Kelty Cosmic Down 0 and the Rab Ascent 900, but can't shell out the megabucks for an alpine chateau of bag like the Editors' Choice award-winning Brooks Range Drift -10, then the Sea to Summit Talus III is a happy compromise.
— Matt Bento
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