High Peak has a reputation for producing high quality products with moderate prices which has seen them become one of the top names in Europe for outdoor gear. They are quickly building a loyal following on this side of the pond, too. Their new Alpinismo line is a favorite of the Outsider crew, and anyone else that appreciates affordable quality. By designing these new products to be extremely light weight yet sturdy and functional, High Peak has made a name for themselves with many American backpackers already, and they just keep adding more choices to their lineup.
The Alpinismo Cirque mummy-style sleeping bag is rated at +20°F/-7°C with a weight of just under 3 pounds thanks to the use of Invista Thermalite Extreme insulation. Combining the ripstop nylon construction with the Thermalite makes this bag pretty much windproof and at least a little water resistant. At 32.5” x 80” x 20.5”, it is probably a good fit for most body types, though people with a big frame might be a tighter squeeze. High Peak designed it so that two could be zippered together, providing more room to share body heat with that special someone (or at least that can be your excuse). Speaking of conserving heat, they also included a number of features to keep you warm. A hood with a drawstring, sewn in chest collar, and draft tubes along the zipper all team up to keep more warm air in and almost all cold air out.
This sleeping bag will make you want to bust out your pack and get hiking and camping as soon as possible. With all of the features designed to keep you comfortable and warm, the Cirque is about as cozy as they get without becoming too bulky. It will likely be your companion on spring or fall camping trips, though it is not quite warm enough for winter (at least not Rocky Mountain winters) and may make for an uncomfortably sweaty night during summer outings. High Peak seemes to have thought of most everything with this design; they even added a zippered pocket right below the chest collar that is perfectly sized to fit eyeglass cases. For those of us that don’t use glasses, it could be used to store a wallet, mini-flashlight, or other things that would be nice to have close at hand. Normally, the stuff sacks that come with sleeping bags are boring and very easily ignored, but the Cirque one deserves a bit of attention. It is extremely light weight, easy to put the sleeping bag into, and has some handy compression straps to make it store even smaller inside a backpack. And it’s sturdy enough to take a good deal of pressure as the sleeping bag gets crammed back into it. On the whole, this product is well designed, excellently made, easy to pack around, and feels like it will last a really long time. All of these features make it a great addition to your gear, and would fit nicely in a car emergency kit or 72-hour kit.
If you like the features of the Cirque but want something to use during the winter, consider the Arete sleeping bag. It is pretty much identical to the Cirque (including weight) with the exception of goose down insulation which gives it a 0°F/-18°C temperature rating. High Peak has plenty of other great gear, including the Alpinismo 45 backpack that Brian enjoyed so much. If you’ve got more to carry than the Alpinismo 45 can handle, check back soon for our upcoming review of the Trango 65 backpack.