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The swing tag on this bag reads 'We have endured sleepless nights so that you don't have to'. This vividly recalled to mind my earliest camping experiences with every night spent shivering under starry skies. I'm happy to say that there's very little chance of that scenario with the black bear. In fact, it's hard to imagine how cold it would have to be in UK conditions to really test this bag. Sleeping bag dimensions are critical - too narrow and the bag can feel warm but uncomfortably constricted, too wide and the bag can feel roomy but potentially draughty. I would think that the sizing of the black bear would be close to perfect for most people. This bag is an excellent compromise, roomy but snug and warm. I've always hated the feeling of getting tangled up inside sleeping bags when turning over, so the first thing I did with the black bear was to put on some base layers, get inside and turn over multiple times. I'm delighted to say that while I was moving around, the black bear certainly wasn't, and it consistently avoided twisting around in the way that many bags do. The loft of this bag is amazing. When it arrived, I was expecting a tiny parcel meaning that I would need to lay the bag out flat for a few days and shake it regularly to redistribute the down, but it arrived in a huge cardboard box, uncompressed in the storage sack, which is typical of the care and attention to detail which Woodlore put into their products and whole mode of operation. The main body of the black bear rises approximately 7' from ground level, which gives an idea of the thickness and warmth. In terms of specification, it contains 750g of high quality goose down. Consider that for a moment. Imagine getting a big handful of goose down and feeling the warmth of it, considering how light that handful actually is. Now imagine the amount of down that would be needed to weigh the same as a large loaf of bread, surrounding and cocooning you in a sleeping bag, and that will give you an idea of the warmth of the black bear. As a lifelong sufferer of cold feet, I'm delighted to say that the extra filling in the footbox works brilliantly and means blissfully warm feet. Because of the centre zip, it also works well flipped over and used as a quilt, being significantly wider and roomier than a conventional backpacking quilt, although for this use a slightly longer zip would make it absolutely perfect. Inside the compression sack, my black bear weighs close to 1.5kg on my scales, but unless I was bivying on a Scottish mountainside in January I would be happy and confident to use it in any UK conditions, although it would probably be overkill for warm summer nights. The build quality is superb, with a strong and free running zip. One of the annoyances of down sleeping bags is feather shedding, but I can't imagine that this would be an issue with the black bear. I thoroughly recommend this bag as a high quality, luxurious sleep system on which you can rely.
Barry Cheadle14th December, 2020