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Mourne Mountain Marathon

Mourne mountain marathon The Mourne Mountain Marathon is a two-day event held in Northern Ireland. Teams of two people must be totally self-sufficient for the two days. Expect early autumn mountain conditions, but, as always, you can encounter tough-going mountain weather. A good night's sleep can make all the difference to your results.

Sleeping Bag Choice

The two PHD sleeping bags most suitable for the Mourne Mountain Marathon are the Ultra K and the Minimus. Both are very lightweight. The Ultra K excels at saving weight and bulk in your pack, while the Minimus provides extra warmth.

For mountain competitions, particularly where only one or two night's camping are involved, there is a strong incentive to travel as light as possible. Combining the Ultra K sleeping bag with the Ultra Vest K is another potential option to secure a good night's sleep.

The basic figures for the standard models:

S-bagTOT (Min Temp)WeightPacked size
Hght x Diam (cm)
Minimus5414651621 x 13284
Ultra K8463301221 x 13317

Additional points:

  1. TEMPERATURE RATING: Put simply, these are the temperatures at which you should be able to get a night's sleep in normal circumstances. For fuller details about the TOT rating see this Technical Briefing.
  2. LINERS: A liner will add to the insulation if you choose the Minimus or the Ultra K, but want more warmth. As always it is a trade-off between the extra weight and bulk and the warmth you gain (maybe 2C). Silk liners at 140gm probably give the best value.
  3. CLOTHING: Thermals (if you are taking them) and/or other clothing obviously help to keep you warm. If choosing the Minimus or the Ultra K, an Ultra Vest K at 150gm is an optional addition for minimal weight.
  4. FABRIC OPTIONS: The Minimus comes as standard with M1 outer fabric. MX and Drishell are the other optional outers. MX is our lightest fabric and reduces the total weight by about 18gm. Drishell is highly wind/water resistant and adds about 40gm to the total weight.
  5. ZIPS: None of these bags has a zip. Zips are an option, but most competitors don't ask for one. A short zip with draft tube adds about 50gm (2oz): a full zip and tube adds about 110gm (4oz). Zips also add to the packed size.
  6. PACKED SIZE: PHD stuff sacs tend to be on the loose side. All these bags can be compressed further in your sac, particularly the Ultra K.

Figures for Fabric options:

S-bagMaterialsTOT (Min Temp)WeightPacked size
Hght x Diam (cm)
MinimusMX outer5414471621 x 13307
MinimusDrishell outer5415051821 x 13316

Down Clothing Selection

The Mourne Mountain Marathon weekend commits the racer to a quite considerable time at the evening campsite after the first day's racing. Temperatures in the mountains can drop more than expected, making warm, compressible and lightweight down clothing a good choice.

The use of down clothing as a layering system while in your sleeping bag and for wearing around camp is worth considering for ultimate weight saving and provision of warmth. Our ultralight range of clothing was designed with this need in mind. The Ultra Vest K weighs only 150gm, which is lighter than most T shirts, yet it will provide real warmth down to approximately –5C. The Ultra Pullover K is, for the same reasons, another good option. At 230gm it's about half the weight and bulk of a conventional fleece jacket and 100% windproof as well. Along with these our new Minimus down trousers and Minimus down socks will add considerably to the performance of your sleeping bag.

The next Mourne Mountain Marathon takes place 15/16th September 2018.

Photo: Anthony Fryer