Help with my old Mountain Equipment bags

Discussion in 'Sleeping Bags & Quilts' started by Stuart, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. Stuart

    Stuart Ultralighter

    I've got a couple of ME bags that I bought 2nd hand around 12 years ago. I was wondering if anyone recognises these and knows anything about them, especially about the temperature rating.

    They both still loft well on the top side but they, the second one in particular, are really "flat" on the underside. This is a problem for me as I'm a side sleeper and regularly have a cold backside even at temps around 5 degrees.

    I'm toying with getting a new bag but want to get something that would perform better than these and not knowing about their specifications makes this a bit difficult. Or I could just make some insulated underpants!

    Anyhow, here they are:

    First is labelled Glacier 500g ClassII

    [​IMG]

    This one is Extreme Sleeping Bag Lightline Class II/III

    [​IMG]
  2. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    If you fully unzip them you might be able to shake some of the down across to the underside. Depends how the baffling's been done. The Lightline is a good quality bag, don't know about the other model.
  3. OwenM

    OwenM Section Hiker

    Get them professionally cleaned, you'll be amazed at the difference. I don't know whether ME can do it or not but there is a firm in Sheffield that does. I got their address from Rab's website.
  4. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    A quick google:
    Mountain Equipment Glacier 500: 500g of 725 FP DUCK down, Weight = 1260g
    Comfort: 2°C/36°F
    Comfort Limit: -5°C/23°F

    Mountain Equipment Lightline: 550g 0f 700 FP DUCK down, Weight = 1215g
    Comfort: 1°c
    Comfort limit: -5°c


    They seem to be very similar spec bags & IMO they may have been a reasonable SB's 20+years ago but they're not exactly lightweight for the temperature rating (they probably have a very heavy cover material).
    IME the base (back) of a SB is usually the first are to suffer from sweat/ body oil accumulation so it may be that the down is well & truly stuck together.
    The SB's probably only have a resale value ~£100 & commercial cleaning would be >£50 so perhaps a home wash in the bathtub? Even if you end up going the professional cleaning route it would act as a pre-wash (overall result may be better).
    Diddi likes this.
  5. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    I'd save the money on having them cleaned and put it towards a lighter Cumulus AND give the ME bags a home wash and lay flat over a whirly line to dry. Give a good shake every now and then.
    cathyjc and Diddi like this.
  6. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Elite Rotherham they do a postal service. They took over from a long standing company that Rab used to recommend on their old bags.
    I've used them in the past. My experience was Very good. If the bags have damage, they usually won't clean them.
    Diddi likes this.
  7. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    I'd get some Grangers/Nikwax down wash and do them at home in the machine & using a tumble dryer on cool settings.
    Did this with an old Alpkit bag and the loft was greatly improved.
    Then if not happy still get them on fleabay cash in and buy a new bagfrom the likes of where @Baldy said.
    Nothing ventured nothing gained.:thumbsup:
  8. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    I wouldn't recommend washing a down SB in a domestic washing machine, especially a modern SB with very lightweight fabrics, too high a risk of damaging the internal baffles IMO. Similarly, care is very much needed when handling a slopping wet SB. Don't spin but place on a drying rack outdoors until it just feels damp, then it goes in the tumble dryer (with a pair of old, but clean, trainers).
    Robin likes this.
  9. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    I wouldn't wash my down quilt at home.. The washer drum is too small to make it effective. Some garages have massive washers and driers... If I didn't go down the professional route.. That's what I'd look for.
  10. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

    I’ve used Elite and can recommend them. Worth getting them to proof the down as it will help with loft.
    Chiseller likes this.
  11. Charlie83

    Charlie83 Section Hiker

    If it gets to the stage of needing a wash, just get a new one.





    And sell the old one on ebay mentioning that of course its only ever been used with a liner
    WilliamC and Chiseller like this.
  12. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I don't think it's worth paying to have them professionally cleaned given their likely worth.

    I'd wash them in the bath at home, allow to drain (-hand 'squeeze' without pulling the baffles) then if you can part dry in a dryer - some garages have big ones on site.
    Finish drying at home over several days - hand 'loosen' the clumps of down (on the sofa watching the TV :) ), until it's as fluffed up as possible.

    Then you can sell them on ebay as recently cleaned - will get a better price.
    NB. ebay has gone very quiet ATM - you may have to wait until Covid-19 has stopped "frightening the horses"

    Put the money into a better spec bag.

    PS. We had 2 ME Glacier bags (750 and 1000) - I sold them on as I didn't think they were doing the job I thought they should.
  13. Foxster

    Foxster Section Hiker

    I'd wash in the bath, dry flat outside (on a rack for ventilation if you have or can make), finish with a tumble and then donate to a local homeless charity. It will make you feel better about splashing out on a shiny new one.
    Baldy likes this.
  14. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

  15. Stuart

    Stuart Ultralighter

    Blimey, thanks everyone. Just popped out for our daily exercise and came back to all these helpful replies.

    I'm inclined to wash them in the bath. Apart from nikwax, what else can I wash them with?

    And would tumble dry in a launderette be ok? We don't have one at home.

    Amazing internet searching @Whiteburn I only got the modern bags when I searched. Those specs sound about right. Weight has definitely been an issue when I'm on a longer trip.

    Thanks again everyone.
    Chiseller likes this.
  16. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    You could use something like Liquid Soap flakes (if you can find it) but I'd recommend sticking with downwash.
    Launderette dryers are generally good as they're a bigger drum than domestics, just check its set for warm NOT hot.
    I'd still suggested it's best to dry on a rack first, only use the tumble dryer for finishing & don't forget to chuck in a couple of clean trainers to help break up the clumps of down.
    cathyjc likes this.
  17. Foxster

    Foxster Section Hiker

    Tennis balls or anything similarly a bit squidgy will do too.
  18. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    Top tip, remove your bag/quilt from its stuff sack under water in the bath, much easier to handle than try to wrestle a dry one into submission
  19. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Good idea, my mudclaws should be great for the job :wacky:
  20. Stuart

    Stuart Ultralighter

    Cheers, just give them a good wash before you send them over.
    Chiseller likes this.

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