Mountain Hardwear Phantom and Phantasia 32 Sleeping Bag Review

Mountain Hardwear Phantom and Phantasia 32 inside a Marmot Force 3P tent at Glacier Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness - WA
Intro:
As a gear junkies, my wife and I have been trying to reduce our pack weights this summer. One of the biggest areas to shave weight and carry smaller packs was with our sleeping bags. I've been using a Marmot Plasma 15 sleeping bag while my wife has been using her Marmot Xenon Sleeping bag. Combine weight is roughly 4.5lbs and is usually overkill for summer activities. This review covers not only the Phantom and Phantasia bags, but extensively the use of two mummy bags zipped together for backpacking.

Construction/Material:
Mountain Hardwear Phantom and Phantasia series use 800-fill Q.Shield™ down, which is essentially their proprietary hydrophobic down. In the 32 degree models, the Phantom and Phantasia 32 in regular uses 10 oz of down. Compared to other UL sleeping bags, the fill power is a little low. Usually 850 to 900 is what I would like to see in these UL bags considering it would add more warmth to bag without any additional weight.
Phantom 32
Phantasia 32
The sleeping bags are constructed with an extremely light weight 10D fabric which is slightly translucent. To cut even more weight, the bags use a lightweight two-way #3 zipper. This zipper is smaller than most zippers used on sleeping bags. Some people have complained about the zippers getting stuck on these bags,but from my own experience they don't get caught any more than any other sleeping bag I've used. The nice thing about the Phantom and Phantasia series is that they come in either a left or right zip option allowing for zipping two bags together.
#3 zippers being shown zipped together with a Phantom and Phantasia
Inside the sleeping bag there are two pockets. One is a small zippered pocket and the other is a velcro pocket. I don't normally use pockets in my sleeping bag but I have used it to store my headlamp which is quite useful.
Interior Zipper pocket
Velcro pocket underneath the zipper pocket

How it Fits:
The ultralight Phantom and Phantasia sleeping bags are cut fairly slim. The best way to compare how the bag fits compared to other sleeping bags is to compare it against a few other UL sleeping bags.

I would classify the Phantom and Phantasia series as a narrow/slim fit mummy. If you happen to be narrow/slim fit than the sleeping bag is thermally more efficient but for those broader folk, the sleeping bags may feel confining.

Performance:
The Phantom and Phantasia 32 bags have been the primary bags this summer for my wife and I. We've been fortunate enough to take the bags out on several awesome trips including the sections of the PCT and wonderland trail in Mt. Rainier National Park. Total weight for both sleeping bags are 2 lbs 11 oz! I still can't believe how small these bags pack up.
Phantom/Phantasia compared to a Exped Synmat 7 Pump Pad
As a standalone sleeping bag, either Phantom and Phantasia have a fairly accurate temperature rating if one goes by the comfort rating. My wife and I generally sleep cold so we go by the EN-Comfort ratings. For the Phantom, that is 37 degrees, the Phantasia's EN-Comfort rating is 32 degrees. In all sleeping bags I prefer to have chest draft collars simply to avoid any additional draft or loosing precious heat when changing sleeping positions. This is important whenever you are getting close to the temperature limit of the bag. The 32 degree models of the Phantom and Phantasia models do not have these features, only the colder temperature rated models do.
Top view comparison
In warmer weather the bags are fantastic when unzipped and thrown over you like a blanket. When zipped together with just one zipper, the sleeping bags make for an extremely nice "comforter" over two pads. To keep the sleeping pads together I improvised by using a 1" quick release buckle with 5/8" webbing. I use two of these homemade sleeping bag straps to keep the pads from separating from each other. Just remember to rotate the quick release buckle underneath the pads or to the side so you're not rolling on top of the buckle.

When using the sleeping bags closer to their cold weather limit, several issues arise. When someone is sleeping on their side, it creates a big air draft in the middle of the bags where they are zipped together. Dedicated double bags like the Big Agnes Saddle Mountain SL 15 have a center no-draft flap to alleviate this problem. This isn't an issue only for the Phantom and Phantasia bags but for every individual mummy bag zipped together. My wife and I had this issue on the wonderland trail at Mystic Lake with temperatures in high 30's to low 40's.
Sunset on Mystic Lake - MRNP
I'm thinking it may be actually warmer to have only one side zipped and use it as a "comforter" and tuck the sleeping bags underneath you and between the two sleepers to minimize draft. The draft was so significant that it probably would have been warmer using the bags individually. This issue may be less of a problem for mountaineering as I usually carry a big puffy or parka. Wearing those to bed would take up a lot of extra dead space and might even prevent any draft by simply taking up most of the upper interior volume.

Currently, there aren't many options for UL sleeping bags for couples. Big Agnes has their Saddle Mountain SL 15 but it weighs nearly 4lbs while Feather Friends has their Spoonbill which is probably the closest thing out there for couple wanting a double UL sleeping bag. Only Problem is that if you go without your spouse or significant other is that you're stuck carrying the extra weight. The nice thing about the M.H. Phantom and Phantasia sleeping bags are that they can be used as a dedicated solo bag or a double bag and come with different temperature degree models. If  M.H. could simply add a small velcro down collar, to minimize draft,  it would help make the Phantom and Phantasia bags become the most versatile UL bag on the market. 

Summary:
The Phantom and Phantasia 32 bags are outstanding summer weight sleeping bags (at least for WA). They compact so small that they are often smaller than many sleeping pads but provide great warmth. Anyone looking for a through-hiking, summer mountaineering, or those wanting the lightest and best sleeping bag should seriously consider the Mountain Hardwear Phantom and Phantasia 32 bags. I especially recommend these bags for couples looking for an UL sleeping bag but would like the option of zipping them together for a modular double bag when temperatures are well above the temperature ratings of the bags.
Pros:
  • Extremely lightweight:1 lb. 6 oz for Phantom, 1 lb. 5 oz. for Phantasia, 2 lb 11 oz for the set.
  • Offered in Left and Right zip for modular double bag
  • Comes with decent compression sack and storage sack
  • Accurate temperature ratings
  • Competitive pricing for UL bags 380$
  • 10D fabric makes the sleeping bags compress ultra small
Cons:
  • No chest draft collar like the 15 and 0 degree models
  • A little under-filled, an extra oz of down would be worth paying extra for
  • would like to see 850+ fill power.
M.H. Phantom and Phantasia at Big Heart Lake.

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