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Using the Brindabella sleeping bag alpine climbing

April 04, 2023

Using the Brindabella sleeping bag alpine climbing

Mont Ambassador Matthew Clark

The Mont Brindabella XT 850 sleeping bag is by far my favourite sleeping bag I have ever owned or used, let me explain why....

Many years before I joined the Mont team, I was in the market for a new snow camping sleeping bag for use in the Australian alpine. After an informative discussion with one of the Mont crew in the Canberra store I settled on a sleeping bag that was known then as the Kiandra 820. Think of this as the precursor to current Brindabella XT 850 sleeping bag. I was blown away by the features and versatility of this sleeping bag, I found I could rely on it in some of the worst alpine conditions night after night, but still zip it open and use it as a quilt in the shoulder seasons.

Fast forward a few years, I have entered the world of alpine climbing all over the globe and have joined the Mont Ambassador program, recently upgrading my Kiandra to the newer Brindabella XT 850.

A comfortable camp for two on Cholatse – TheMont Brindabella XT 850 and theMont Krypton tent

The Brindabella range of sleeping bags expanded, replacing what was known as the Tapered Rectangular Series, which over the years have been praised for their versatility across a wide range of temperatures. They have full length side and foot zips, allowing the user to vary the warmth of the bag whilst in use, either opening the foot or side zip for some extra venting, or completely opening the bag out as a quilt in warmer conditions.

The Brindabella sleeping bags have a more forgiving, looser foot shape, giving the user more room than a typical mummy shaped boxfoot sleeping bag. This is often preferred by side sleepers and especially those who toss and turn during the night, but it does come at a slight weight and warmth penalty when compared to a mummy shape. They still have all the features a user would expect from a premium alpine sleeping bag, such as;

  • 800-850 loft premium white down, DWR treated and RDS certified
  • Water resistant, breathable, totally windproof Hydronaute XT shell (20,000mm/ 20,000g/mm2/24hrs rating, PU laminate)
  • Box walled baffles throughout the bag
  • Radial Arc Baffles on horizontal baffles, maximising baffle loft height and user warmth
  • Vertical baffles on torso, maintaining optimal down distribution over the chest
  • double, interlocking draft tubes along zippers
  • 3D shaped oversized hood with unique cordless collar system, comfortably wrapping around the users shoulders and neck, sealing in warmth without the need for fiddly drawcords.

A perfect match:theMont Brindabella XT 850 paired with a Mont Thermolite sleeping bag liner

All these features add up to a sleeping bag that is both warm and comfortable night after night in even the most testing winter conditions, but is still versatile to take along on a shoulder season backpacking trip.

 To show you how versatile my beloved Brindy is, here are some of my favourite ways to use the bag.

  • For the serious bushwalker looking to head out in all conditions:
    - The Brindabella will keep you warm even when the weather forecast isn’t looking favourable.
  • Winter bushwalking sleeping bag for those looking to be warm in even the coldest of Australian winter bushwalking conditions:
    - Think Tasmania in winter or the High Country in NSW or VIC.
  • Winter snow camping sleeping bag, for the Alpine Tourers, Cross Country skiers or just those looking to get out into the alpine and camp in comfort on the snow.
    - My Brindabella 850 has kept me comfortable and warm night after night in the NSW High Country. 
  • Opened up and used as a Quilt, the Brindabella can serve as a comfortable sleep system for two, saving pack weight and maximising user warmth. Paired with an Exped Ultra 3R Duo sleeping mat, I recently used my Brindabella as a quilt with my partner on a 10 day alpine hike in Peru.
    - This has a massive weight saving on our total pack weight, as we only carried one sleeping bag and mat between the two of us. Bonus points is that this is actually warmer, as your collective body heat is together, so there is less chance for heat loss.
  • As an alpine climbing bag, this is my go to and do everything bag for all my alpine climbs.
    - This cuts weight on the approach to climbs as I only have to carry one bag. It is warm enough for basecamp use, but light enough to carry on my climbs to higher camps.
    - The extra room in a looser tapered rectangular shape gives ample room to dry boot inners, socks, gloves and mid layers from the days activities in the bag overnight.

Sunset from camp 1 on Cholatse in Nepal, with views of Cho Oyu and its neighbouring peaks.

Overall I have come to absolutely love my Mont Brindabella sleeping bag. I have other bags, which may be warmer, lighter and more specialised, but time and time again I find myself packing the ever reliable Brindy, and am never disappointed.


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