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  • Expeditions & Adventures

    Posted by Will

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    TAGS

    epoch, seal, penguin, antarctica, spindrift, kayak, geoff murray

    BGLE 80th Anniversary Sea Kayak Expedition Antarctica 2017. By Geoff Murray

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    Expeditions & Adventures

    Our expedition was called the BGLE 80th Anniversary Sea Kayak Expedition Antarctica 2017. BGLE stands for British Graham Land Expedition. This expedition took place in 1934-37 and was led by Australian John Rymill. The expedition performed valuable scientific and exploratory work in this relatively unknown region with the northern base being on Argentine Island which was our expedition’s final destination.

    Rymill was also the surrogate leader of a previous expedition in East Greenland in 1932 whose aim was to investigate the possibility of establishing a transcontinental air route between England and Canada. They were sponsored for this expedition by PanAm airlines. 
    The Greenland expedition was based in Tugtilik (also known as Lake Fjord) which is 100kms north of the nearest tiny settlement of Sermiligaq pop. 230. Sermiligaq is in itself a very remote location and Tugtilik is extremely remote. Rymill had to take control of the expedition after its leader, Gino Watkins, died in a hunting accident very shortly after reaching Tugtilik.

    Camp at Wordie House, Winter Island, Antarctica, 2017 by Geoff Murray

    I paddled to Tugtilik with a small group in 2016 and we became only the 4th kayaking expedition to reach this location in the last 84 years. Hence, there was a tangible link between my East Greenland expedition and this latest Antarctic expedition.

    Humpback Whale, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

     

    "... a stunning yet at the same time, deadly coastline. Landing places are few and far between with huge, unstable ice cliffs or vertical rock faces between."

    The distance between the start point, Enterprise Island, and Argentine Island was 300km and this involved paddling a stunning yet at the same time, deadly coastline. Landing places are few and far between with huge, unstable ice cliffs or vertical rock faces between. Icebergs are an ever present threat as they can capsize without warning and glacier faces can be equally unstable, calving spontaneously. Likewise the weather was a serious consideration, with the possibility of violent katabatic winds always in the background (as we found out one day!)

    But the rewards were immense, as we sighted whales, seals and penguins in one of Earth’s most spectacular locations as we paddled the Antarctic coastline.

    Fur Seal, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

    I took a new Mont Epoch tent with me, slept in a Mont Spindrift sleeping bag and kept warm during the day wearing Mont Polartec Power Stretch Pro fleece under my Icicle jacket. This stuff works and I was not once cold.

    A wonderful trip to an awesome location!

    Geoff Murray
    Mont Ambassador, wilderness and landscape photographer, explorer

    Goeff Murray, Antarctica 2017

    Emma Island Camp, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

    Winter Island Camp, Antarctica 2017, by Geoff Murray

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  • Product spotlight

    Posted by Will

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    TAGS

    4 season, spindrift, kiandra, alpine, sleeping bag, Hydronaute XT

    Sleeping Bag Comparison: Kiandra Tapered Rectangular vs Spindrift Mummy Boxfoot

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    Product spotlight

    The Mont Kiandra and Spindrift are two sleeping bags regularly considered for 4 season and alpine camping trips. Both sleeping bags are rated from -9ºC to -15ºC, both sleeping bags are made from highly water-resistant and extremely breathable Hydronaute XT fabric, both are filled with super-high loft down (between 785 & 850), and they're within 100grams of each other in weight.

    So how do I choose which is right for me? Read on...

    Kiandra and Spindrift Sleeping Bags side by side
     
     
    The Kiandra Sleeping Bag
    The Kiandra is part of the Tapered Rectangular Series which are often praised for their versatility across a wide range of temperatures.

    The Tapered Rectangular series sleeping bags have full length side and foot zips allowing you to open them out flat in warmer conditions, and close them up in colder conditions.

    The Kiandra Sleeping Bag has full length side and foot zips so you can open it out flat in warmer conditions

    In addition the Tapered Rectangular sleeping bags have continuous baffles (down chambers) from top to base. You can see the direction of the baffles in the seams across the sleeping bag, they start at the zip, run across the top, around the side to the base and finish on the other side of the zip. Continuous baffles allow you to distribute down according to the temperature; in warmer conditions move down from the top to the base, and in colder conditions move more down to the top.
     
     
     
    The Spindrift Sleeping Bag
    The Spindrift is part of the Specialist Boxfoot Series which are specifically designed for alpine and winter conditions. The Spindrift, and all Specialist Boxfoot, are less versatile than the Kiandra, but for that lack of versatility comes a significant increase in efficiency.

    You will notice right away the narrow and very tapered shape, this is called Mummy shape. A Mummy shaped sleeping bag is the most efficient because it minimises unused space that your body must warm up.
     
    Spindrift Boxfoot with no zip is much more efficient and warmer
     
    You will also notice that they do not have a foot zip, rather they have a 'boxfoot'. A boxfoot provides significantly more efficient warmth because of 1) the lack of a zipper and 2) the down chambers underneath the soles of your feet when you're lying on your back. The boxfoot prevents the sleeping bag opening out flat, but makes huge improvements in warmth efficiency.
     
    Spindrift sleeping bag with vertical baffles prevents down shift to reduce cold spots
     
    Another significant feature of the Spindrift is the vertical baffles around the torso. Rather than continuous baffles as seen on the Kiandra, the Spindrift's vertical baffles prevent down movement and maintain even down coverage around the entire torso. These vertical baffles are significantly warmer and more efficient in trapping warmth. You can see these baffles by the vertical seams on the chest (and base) of the Spindrift.

    In Short
    If you find it very hard to stay warm in sub zero conditions or if you're buying a sleeping bag purely for temperatures of -9ºC to -15ºC then the Spindrift will be your best option.

    If you're buying a sleeping bag for occasional adventures in –9ºC to -15ºC but predominantly temperatures up to 0ºC or just above then the Kiandra will be a much better match.

    At Mont we always suggest taking a sleeping bag that is rated to at least 5ºC below the forecasted weather, as it is much safer and easier to cool down if you're too hot, than to warm up if you're too cold.

    See the Kiandra Sleeping Bag

    See the Spindrift Sleeping Bag

    If you need anymore assistance with your selection of a sleeping bag or any other equipment please do not hesitate to contact Mont today.

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