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Totalnewbie
09-13-2011, 17:52
CanMarmot Plasma 15 owners comment on their bag? What do you like and what you donot like about it?
I have had considered Western Mountaineering but their customer service sucks bigtime. Actually I could not believe how bad it is. I am completely turned off. Notto mention that they do not really have contact info on their website. I had todig it out. I guess they do not like people contacting them. Therefore I waslooking elsewhere and I have discovered Plasma 15. Before that I consideredUltralight.
My additional questions:
1. How small is the Plasma 15 once in its stuff bag?
Iread a review that the provided stuff sack is too small for this bag? Is ittrue?

2. What do you think about the baffles? Wouldn't it be better if you could movearound the down to cold spots?

3. How is the zipper?

4.How is the fabric (breathability, water repellence etc.) compared to WM orother bags?

5.How good is Marmotís customer service in case if you have some problems?
Your comments are greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

Totalnewbie
09-13-2011, 18:03
I do not know why some of the words in my post are stuck together. Sorry about it.

STICK
09-14-2011, 00:40
I have not really seen too many reviews on the Plasma bags. I have the Marmot Helium and I am very happy with it.

Here is a pic of the marmot Helium stuffed in the supplied stuff sack and compared to some others:


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On stuff size, I feel it is safe to say that the Plasma 25 ships with the same size stuff sack as does the Helium, so I would imagine it is the same size as in my pic (but this is not verified).

On the baffles, I am curious to see how owners of the Plasma compare them to the horizontal ones on most other bags. The only advantage I can really tell is that maybe the vertical baffles will keep the down on top of you throughout the night whereas maybe some of the down shifts to the sides of the bag on the horizontal baffles from moving around at night. Although, with my Helium, I have not had any problem such as this... so just throwing it out there...

The zipper on my Helium works well. That is not to say that it does not get hung up sometimes. IMO, the more care when zipping (any) zipper the less chance of it snagging. Here again though, I would wager that the zipper on the Plasma is the same as on the Helium...

Concerning the materials, I cannot compare to a WM cause I do not have one. So, again, I will make an effort to compare to my Helium. The Helium uses 20D vs the Plasma's 10D ripstop. IMO, the material on the Helium is pretty wispy so I feel it is safe to assume the Plasma's 10D is even wispier. So, the first thought would be that a bit of care and concern would need to be practiced when using this bag around sharp objects (rocks and wooden splinters, etc...) But, the super light-weight material allows a little weight to be shed and will probably allow the bag to breathe pretty well. However, IME the Helium (Not the membrane Helium, the regular one which is what I have) will wet out fairly easily if much water is concentrated on the shell and I feel like this is due partly to the already thin, light-weight 20D material. If this is true, maybe a bit more time should be spent in considering what type of shelter one will use as well as keeping moisture/rain/water off the bag so that it doesn't wet out too easily. However, I would also imagine that with the thin shell, it should allow moisture to move through it well enough so that it dried out fairly quickly (in the right conditions).

I did in fact call Marmot's customer service when I got my bag. I bought it from REI and when I received it, the weights were off (heavier). I contacted REI and got absolutely no where. So, I called Marmot. I talked with a rep there and got some answers that I was looking for. But thankfully, I have not needed them for any type of warranty issues (cause the Helium rocks!).

Anyway, maybe that answers some of your questions.

In comparison of the Plasma vs the Helium though, I think you will be just as happy with the Helium and will end up with about $100 extra in your pocket. The only plus that I see on the Plasma over the Helium is the lighter weight material and the fact that they use 900 df over 850+ down fill. So, I guess the question here is, are those 2 things worth an extra $100? Of course though the vertical baffles makes one think that it is a new concept so it has got to be better, and it very well may be, but IME, the Helium works out super, and I can definitely say that it is not wrong!

Of course though, the Helium does weigh an extra 4 oz so there is that too...but if you want to cut even more weight, I would suggest looking at quilts using M55 and some 900 df. You will definitely cut more than 4 oz off of the total weight and will probably not spend more than (or even as much as) the Plasma...

EDIT:

I am not trying to talk you out of the Plasma, or steer you away from other bags, or even into buying the Helium. I am just stating my experience with the Helium, and then my assumptions in a comparison of my Helium and the Plasma.

Limeman
09-14-2011, 02:25
Hi. I have a Plasma 15. Have been a long-time Western Mountaineering owner (Ultralite, Summerlite and Highlite) and as nice as the WM bags are, they do not compare to the Plasma in terms of comfort and design. In fact, I was looking to purchase a new Ultralite and had a chance to compare it directly with the Plasma 15. The Ultralight is about 2oz lighter, but the Plasma feels warmer and the hood and draft collar are so far superior in comfort and function to the WM that it is shocking. Additionally, the Plasma is far less restrictive inside and just plain feels better to rest in. I did not pay full price for mine - they were priced $10 apart - so it was a no-brainer to go with the Marmot. I really like the vertical baffles and shifting down is easy once you understand how the flow-gates work. The Pertex shell feels amazing, is surprisingly durable, and has a solid DWR finish, while the 900 power fill down lofts like nothing I've seen before and yet it stuffs down reasonably small for such a warm bag. The zipper is a bit finicky, but once you get the hang of it, it is not problem at all. I do not regret the purchase in any way. It is a fantastic bag, but yes, it is crazy expensive when not on sale.

Oh... IME... Western Mountaineering has always provided me excellent customer service, so I will give them props there. I have not had to utilize Marmot's CS, but I have heard it is very good.

Chubbs4U
09-14-2011, 03:19
Hi. I have a Plasma 15. Have been a long-time Western Mountaineering owner (Ultralite, Summerlite and Highlite) and as nice as the WM bags are, they do not compare to the Plasma in terms of comfort and design. In fact, I was looking to purchase a new Ultralite and had a chance to compare it directly with the Plasma 15. The Ultralight is about 2oz lighter, but the Plasma feels warmer and the hood and draft collar are so far superior in comfort and function to the WM that it is shocking. Additionally, the Plasma is far less restrictive inside and just plain feels better to rest in. I did not pay full price for mine - they were priced $10 apart - so it was a no-brainer to go with the Marmot. I really like the vertical baffles and shifting down is easy once you understand how the flow-gates work. The Pertex shell feels amazing, is surprisingly durable, and has a solid DWR finish, while the 900 power fill down lofts like nothing I've seen before and yet it stuffs down reasonably small for such a warm bag. The zipper is a bit finicky, but once you get the hang of it, it is not problem at all. I do not regret the purchase in any way. It is a fantastic bag, but yes, it is crazy expensive when not on sale.

Oh... IME... Western Mountaineering has always provided me excellent customer service, so I will give them props there. I have not had to utilize Marmot's CS, but I have heard it is very good.

Limeman- This makes me nervous. I just "splurged" on a WM Alpinlite cause I found a great price for it new and heard the WM were the "Rolls Royce" of bags. What I have read, the Alpinlite has a great draft collar and hood, if anyone knows differently please let me know, and the weight, loft and size were great for me. Seemed to great to pass up, please tell me I didnt just make a mistake...

Violent Green
09-14-2011, 13:22
Limeman- This makes me nervous. I just "splurged" on a WM Alpinlite cause I found a great price for it new and heard the WM were the "Rolls Royce" of bags. What I have read, the Alpinlite has a great draft collar and hood, if anyone knows differently please let me know, and the weight, loft and size were great for me. Seemed to great to pass up, please tell me I didnt just make a mistake...

WM didn't get that reputation by accident, their bags are truly excellent. Outside of maybe PHD you will not find a better bag.

Ryan

Totalnewbie
09-15-2011, 00:05
@Limeman
I am happy to hear that this bag is great. You have reinforcedmy already positive opinion of this bag.
How does Plasma’s fabric compare to WM bags in terms of breathability,toughness, water repellence, softness on the skin etc.?
How much did you pay for yours? The cheapest I can find is$375 on Moosejaw,which I think is a good deal.
Thank you.




Hi. I have a Plasma 15. Have been a long-time Western Mountaineering owner (Ultralite, Summerlite and Highlite) and as nice as the WM bags are, they do not compare to the Plasma in terms of comfort and design. In fact, I was looking to purchase a new Ultralite and had a chance to compare it directly with the Plasma 15. The Ultralight is about 2oz lighter, but the Plasma feels warmer and the hood and draft collar are so far superior in comfort and function to the WM that it is shocking. Additionally, the Plasma is far less restrictive inside and just plain feels better to rest in. I did not pay full price for mine - they were priced $10 apart - so it was a no-brainer to go with the Marmot. I really like the vertical baffles and shifting down is easy once you understand how the flow-gates work. The Pertex shell feels amazing, is surprisingly durable, and has a solid DWR finish, while the 900 power fill down lofts like nothing I've seen before and yet it stuffs down reasonably small for such a warm bag. The zipper is a bit finicky, but once you get the hang of it, it is not problem at all. I do not regret the purchase in any way. It is a fantastic bag, but yes, it is crazy expensive when not on sale.

Oh... IME... Western Mountaineering has always provided me excellent customer service, so I will give them props there. I have not had to utilize Marmot's CS, but I have heard it is very good.

STICK
09-15-2011, 19:38
If you are interested, here is a thread that has been going on over at BPL about the Plasma 15 bag...


http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=39960

jeramie75
09-15-2011, 20:22
I have the Plasma 15 and used it for the first time last weekend. Night temps were only down in the forties. One thing is for sure, I would freeze in this bag if I took it anywhere near 15 degrees. I have a preference to sleep on the toasty side of things. My Helium seems to provide more warmth with only a slight amount of added bulk and weight. I have had it out in the 20s and was reasonably comfortable. I dont use the stuff sack included as it is more difficult to stuff than my Sea-to-Summit Ultra sil compression sack. I just dont like the time and effort factors involve with the lighter, supplied ones. The weights on my scale for the Plasma 15 and Helium 15 (used with the same S2S sack) are: 2llb 3/4oz and
2lb 4.3/4oz. Fit on both bags seem to be the same. Zipper on the Plasma is more generous in operation. Bang for buck goes to the Helium. Hopes this helps.

Limeman
09-16-2011, 15:39
@Jeramie75.... Wow! You were feeling chilly in the 40's in the Plasma 15? Really? Yikes. I had to open it up in the low 30's. For sure the Helium is the value leader when comparing the two. That just makes commons sense, but are you saying you found your Helium bag warmer than your Plasma?

STICK
09-16-2011, 18:06
I have the Plasma 15 and used it for the first time last weekend. Night temps were only down in the forties. One thing is for sure, I would freeze in this bag if I took it anywhere near 15 degrees. I have a preference to sleep on the toasty side of things. My Helium seems to provide more warmth with only a slight amount of added bulk and weight. I have had it out in the 20s and was reasonably comfortable. I dont use the stuff sack included as it is more difficult to stuff than my Sea-to-Summit Ultra sil compression sack. I just dont like the time and effort factors involve with the lighter, supplied ones. The weights on my scale for the Plasma 15 and Helium 15 (used with the same S2S sack) are: 2llb 3/4oz and
2lb 4.3/4oz. Fit on both bags seem to be the same. Zipper on the Plasma is more generous in operation. Bang for buck goes to the Helium. Hopes this helps.

I have used the Helium cowboy camping into the teens and been comfy. I used a NeoAir with a 1/8" GG Thinlight pad on top for bottom insulation.

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jeramie75
09-16-2011, 19:42
I wouldnt say I was chilly, but I sure I would be if I took out in the teens. I do feel like the helium is warmer with the extra 4 ounces of filling. I would gladly carry the extra weight if it means a better nights sleep.

FamilyGuy
09-16-2011, 21:14
As mentioned in the BPL.com thread, the Plasma is pushing it with respect to rating. It does not appear to have sufficient down fill nor loft to attain the rating (it's EN rating support the overstating). The Helium has a better EN rating so I am not surprised at jeramie75's experience, although it is a marginal increase in rating....

STICK
09-16-2011, 23:42
I wouldnt say I was chilly, but I sure I would be if I took out in the teens. I do feel like the helium is warmer with the extra 4 ounces of filling. I would gladly carry the extra weight if it means a better nights sleep.

According to the site, the Plasma has 17.64 oz of 900+ down fill and the Helium has 19.5 oz of 850+ down fill. I would imagine most of the additional weight of the Helium is from the slightly heavier material it is made with.

FamilyGuy
09-17-2011, 00:12
According to the site, the Plasma has 17.64 oz of 900+ down fill and the Helium has 19.5 oz of 850+ down fill. I would imagine most of the additional weight of the Helium is from the slightly heavier material it is made with.

And the wider cut. And the fact it simply has MORE down.

STICK
09-17-2011, 00:48
And the wider cut. And the fact it simply has MORE down.

Yep, I mentioned the fact that the Helium has slightly less than 2 oz of extra down than the Plasma. However, the rest of the weight is probably due to the heavier material (20D vs 10D). And according to the Marmot website, the Plasma has a wider foot box but the hip measurements are the same on both bags. I really don't get why Marmot does not list shoulder girths...

Limeman
09-17-2011, 10:48
It may not be much, but 900 down does have higher lofting potential (ability to trap heat) than 850 down per ounce. It would seem that the 17.64 oz in the Plasma compared to the 19.5 oz in the Helium is roughly a proper ratio for the lofting differences between the two sources of down. Really, the loft should be about equal. Saying that the Helium has MORE down is accurate from a weight perspective. More loft? Not necessarily. If the amount of weight in the fill of a bag was all that mattered, then heck... a cheap 600 down bag with 22 ounces of fill should beat both of these "over-priced" sacks, right? :D

All I know is that I've been a WM Ultralite bag user for the past 10 years. It has proven to be a warm bag, able to keep me comfortable to the low 20's and slightly below. I have found my Plasma to be a bit warmer.

STICK
09-17-2011, 13:38
Then again, the Plasma's EN rating is not as warm as the Helium, so I would imagine another oz of 900 df would have to be added to get a more even rating... which would considerably lessen the difference in amounts between the two... Also, the Plasma does in fact have a true draft collar whereas the Helium has a passive draft collar. I wonder how they would compare with the same draft collars... Then again, I also wonder if the slightly heavier material on the Helium contributes to the warmer EN rating...

Also, I am not sure if only 22 oz of 600 df would beat or even match either of these bags. Of course it would come down to cut though, but just assuming that a 600 df bag with the same cut as these...

For example, the Pinnacle is listed as having 22.58 oz of 800+ df and it is rated at 10 F, but the Pinnacle has a heavier shell than either of the wispy shells on the Helium or the Plasma.

Makes me wonder if 2 oz of down were removed from the Pinnacle if it would be closer to 15 F EN rating, which would only make it have 1 oz more down than the Helium. And if 1 extra oz of down were added to the Plasma then maybe it would be closer to the 16 F EN rating, and would be slightly less than 1 oz less down than the Helium...

So, I wonder if this would be more true of each bag:

Plasma: 18.5 oz of 900 df = ~ 16 F EN rating
Helium: 19.5 oz of 850 df = 16 F EN rating
Pinnacle: 20.5 oz of 800 df = ~ 15 EN rating

Then, the only real differences that would make up the rest of the weight changes would be in the weight of the materials...

Of course, I am just thinking out loud here and obviously cannot prove any of it... (I am sure someone will come in and tell me how I am wrong... :) )

hike500
09-17-2011, 13:48
Play it safe and go with WM, you know exactly what you get with them. The highest quality bag made! I have the Alpinlite and couldn't be happier.

Limeman
09-17-2011, 15:45
@ Stick... I was just kidding about the 22oz of 600 down... was being felicitous! LOL... wink, wink!

STICK
09-17-2011, 17:37
@ Stick... I was just kidding about the 22oz of 600 down... was being felicitous! LOL... wink, wink!

I got you... :)

Texico
09-18-2011, 07:46
If you are interested, here is a thread that has been going on over at BPL about the Plasma 15 bag...


http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=39960
Hey, I started that thread at BPL last year! They still haven't convinced me the Plasma is worth the price. If I get a 15* bag for my thru next year it will be the MHW Phantom 15. But I'm a smaller guy so it fits me well.