Brooks-Range Mountaineering Elephant Foot Sleeping Bag Review:
Want to save weight? Just remove the last quarter of the bag and use a puffy instead. The Elephant Foot has the most unique design of the group, and it gets the job done.
I tested this bag in air temps ranging from 15-30 degrees, with the windchill getting as low as 0. I slept in it under the stars and in a tent.
As suggested, I paired the bag with the Mojave Jacket. With 6 oz. of down fill, the Mojave is a fairly thick jacket. Other jackets could be used, though, to stay warm at 15 degrees I’d recommend a jacket with that much insulation or more.
To test the water repellency of the DownTek I slept under the stars in a light snow. The snow melted on the bag but I didn’t notice a decrease in loft or get cold. I could see people using this bag on snowy trips and the DownTek is a nice addition.
At 5’4” I was able to get fully inside of the bag, which ended up being a great “short person hack.” Being fully inside the bag was much warmer than having my arms out and I tended to sleep that way more often in colder temps.
What I Liked
I appreciated Brooks-Range Mountaineering’s approach to the idea of cutting weight: You’ll have a puffy along on a cold weather trip, so why not make it a dual purpose item?
The bag is plush and feels great climbing into. The materials inside and out are solid and it’s well-made. It was the most narrow of all the bags tested, that meant less dead space to heat up.
There are some definite pros to having your arms free. As a side sleeper, I loved being able to easily put my arm under my head. It also makes grabbing a drink of water or anything else easy. Gloves are definitely needed, which you’d have with you in any 15-degree climate.
What I Didn’t Like
There are a few cons to sleeping with your arms out. Since I’m a cold sleeper, I’d likely bring a heavier fleece or top to stay warm. This extra weight offsets the weight savings of a three-quarter-length bag. I liked having my arms in the bag best, and since I fit, I slept that way most often.
Another strange con was not being able to itch your body from the armpits down. Having gloves on didn’t help either.
At $450 it’s expensive, plus you have to have a $300 puffy jacket to go with it. If you use the Mojave you’re looking at $750, which is a lot of money. I was able to find it on sale at Amazon for $180 which makes it much more enticing.
One last thing to consider is your pillow. A lot of people will use their puffy as a pillow and if you’re wearing the jacket instead you’ll have to find something else.
Who Should Buy It?
This is a spendy, niche bag. It is best used by mountaineers looking to cut weight or who want a “just in case” sleeping bag for the unexpected bivvy. Or, if you’re under 5’4”like me, it can be a regular cold-weather bag.
Brooks-Range Mountaineering Elephant Foot Specs
- Degree Rating: 15 degrees
- Weight: 1 pound 5 ounces (596g) on our scale
- Insulation Type: 850-fill down, treated with DownTek
- Length: 59.5 inches
- Shoulder Width: 55 inches
- Hip Width: 45 inches
- Fill Weight: 15 ounces
- Outer Fabric: 15D Nylon shell fabric with DWR treatment
- Price: $450