Tested and reviewed by Cairngorm Treks through winter 2018/19 in the Cairngorms and surrounding mountainous areas.
Choosing a sleeping bag can be a tricky affair. How each person sleeps can differ greatly so guidelines for warmth can be difficult to follow. We tend to look at the environment we are intending to use the bag then choose a rating as high as possible for the weight we’re willing to carry. Our intended use was for winter camping in the Cairngorms where temperatures often exceed minus double figures. The team at UOG suggested sending across the Lightwave Firelight 750 with a comfort rating of -7C and a comfort limit of -14C. Also just coming in at over 1kg (regular size) we were impressed by the stats and thought it would make a good fit for our upcoming winter expeditions.
Lightwave say the Firelight 750 is“an excellent all-round bag for those who are planning treks in the Himalayas. It is warm enough for year-round alpine climbing up to 3000 metres.” This statement gave us high expectations for the Firelight, and although Scotland doesn’t reach the high altitude of Himalayas, we have our own issues when choosing gear to suit our environment. Damp, cold, and windy conditions are commonplace and is not a friend to down products. Keeping gear free from moisture is a key element to winter camping and Lightwave have obviously considered this in the construction of the Firelight range.
The shell and lining are made of 29 g/m² 15 denier nylon (Pertex Quantum). We are already big fans of this choice of fabric with it becoming more popular amongst items that require a level of water resistance whilst also being extremely breathable. Lightwave have noted that they could have used a lighter weight version of the Pertex Quantum fabric but opted for one which balanced weight and strength. We fully agree with their decision and in use we found this choice to offer great breathability and resistance to moisture penetration, whilst also being free to perform everyday jobs within a tent without worrying about damage.
Lightwave have kept it simple, with the 750 in the title meaning a fill weight of 750 grams with a fill power of 900 EU White Polish Goose Down. Lightwave use Polish Goose Down in all of their bags to a fill power of 900 cubic inches (EU). The down is ethically sourced as it is a collected by-product of the meat industry. Poland is also the only country in the world to ban both the live-plucking and forced feeding of geese.This care and attention throughout the entire process of making a sleeping bag we find to be encouraging, and the quality is noticeable when using the Firelight. A fill power of this level means that once you remove the Firelight from its stuff sac and give it a light shake to start the lofting process it’s important to give it time to fully loft. The Firelight 750 is certainly a grower. After a short while the box wall baffles take shape and it is noticeably quite bulky with plenty of room inside.
Slant box wall construction is used throughout the top and bottom and it is a key feature amongst Lightwave’s heavy duty bags. The inner and outer seams,if compressed, don’t match which mitigates cold spots. We found this to be a clever design and noticed no cold spots especially against our sleeping mat which is where most of the bag will be compressed.
A fully adjustable cowl and neck baffle are simple in design but work perfectly well. An area to note is the full length #5 YKK zipper with an anti-snag baffle. It’s robust, easy to use and only snagged a couple of times which compared to most other bags is a bonus.
Overall comfort is excellent and the choice of fabrics, down, and construction makes the Firelight 750 a hard bag to crawl out of in the morning. This winter season had its moments with ‘in tent’ temperatures reaching around -9C but was generally quite mild compared to previous years. We didn’t get anywhere near the limits of this bag and feel it could go so much further. We are though,very confident it will surpass its -7C comfort rating, with us generally not needing to fully close neck baffles and cowl.
For all of the great elements throughout the Firelight 750 there are a couple of issues. One of which not just Lightwave are guilty of, but if resolved could easily take this bag from being excellent to near perfect. The stuff sac is almost un-usable, and after only being used once we swapped it for a compressible dry bag. The second is the colour choice. We know this shouldn’t be a factor, but the Wild Berry / Anthracite could easily be updated to a more pleasing colour.
The Lightwave Firelight 750 might seem simple to the eye, but it’s packed with clever features and a build of high quality, not only form the materials used throughout but also with the research implemented to acquire them. Weighing in at a lightweight 1094 grams (size medium), we found the Firelight 750 to punch above its given comfort rating of -7C and would happily use it again on future winter expeditions. The slant box wall baffles mitigate any unwanted cold spots.There’s plenty of room inside so overall comfort is excellent. The Pertex Quantum shell and lining is a great choice of material and prevents any moisture from penetrating the down fill whilst also offering great breathability. The colour unfortunately needs to be looked past as the Firelight is a great winter bag,but an updated stuff sac would be a nice improvement.
Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...