Rab have certainly made a name for themselves for offering high quality sleeping bags with a focus on warmth and weight, matched with a build quality that stands the test of time. This updated Rab Neutrino 200 we received is one of the ‘Pro’ versions. This is because the Pro version is made using a Pertex Quantum Pro outer fabric which offers better protection in damp conditions when compared to the regular Neutrino 200. We are big fans of this material and have found it to work very well on many other products we have used in the past. It’s thin, tough, and breathable material which is why Rab have stated the Neutrino Pro 200 to be “perfect for everything from big wall bivi ledges to summer trekking.” With many bivy treks lined up for the coming season we are eager to see how it performs.
Hand filled in Derbyshire the Pro 200 packs in 200g of 800 Fill Power Hydrophobic Down. As usual with Rab’s range of sleeping bags the fill is of high quality, ethically sourced, European Goose Down. With a Comfort rating of 4°C and a total weight of just 594 grams the specs suggest this to be a suitable 2/3 season bag for use in the UK. Rab included a storage bag to keep the Pro 200 lofted and in great condition when stored at home. When it comes to life in the outdoors the included stuff sac is one of the best we have seen, being well built and it has packed the Pro 200 compact for travel. Out of personal choice we tend to use our own storage bag as the shape is better fitting for placement in our pack although, we certainly cannot knock any points away from Rab in this department.
The colour pattern might not be to everyone’s taste as the bright yellow outer over time will inevitably start to show signs of wear, especially if you intend to use this bag within a bivy or without any protection. Saying that, it is a decent looking bag and the Pertex fabric appears to be currently doing a good job at mitigating dirt and is easy to wipe down. Some will argue that there are currently lighter bags on offer with an increased warmth to weight ratio, although there is a counter argument to the longevity and price of these alternatives. The Pro 200 certainly is not a heavy bag but what it does retain compared to its lighter rivals is a solid build that’s packed full of features. For most of us a sleeping bag will be considered one of the more expensive parts of our kit so purchasing one that is very liveable and will stand the test of time is an important factor.
The classic mummy tapered design is well fitting but also roomy enough to accommodate a range of body shapes and sizes. In a regular size it is quite generous in length and should suit anyone under 6 foot. There is also a longer size available with an increase in weight of 64 grams. Trapezoidal baffle chamber design allows the down fill to loft to its fullest whilst eliminating cold spots by preventing down migration. We have used many bags with a similar approach and we can happily say that the Pro 200 down kept in place, with little to no cold spots being noted. The loft is impressive and enhances the quality of using 800 fill down effectively. The soft inner lining making this a very pleasant place to spend the night. The Internal 3D collar and hood drawcord kept warmth trapped inside on those particularly cold nights whilst the 1/2 length YKK anti-snag zipper can be opened for ventilation if needed. This combination meant we could efficiently regulate the warmth of the bag throughout the summer season, this was especially important in Scotland this season as we often noticed a fluctuation of temperatures throughout many of our extended multi-day adventures. Large drawcords meant that you were not rummaging around on a morning trying to find a way out. The anti-snag zipper is large in size and can be regarded one of the first we have used that has a correct claim to be ‘anti- snag.’ Add to all this a robust stitch and you can see why many of Rab’s sleeping bags just live on for years with minimal repairs needed.
Seeing as the Pro 200 should stand up better against damp conditions we used it a lot for many of our bivy adventures. This lightweight set up has an obvious issue with a build-up of condensation usually being inevitable. Condensation will, in turn, dampen a sleeping bag and thus reduce its thermal efficiency. Using a synthetic bag will remove that worry but is often at the expense of weight and bulk. Rab claim that the use of Pertex Quantum Pro paired with Hydrophobic Down developed with Nikwax should hold up well to these conditions. Dampening was commonly noticeable around the foot box and hood. When damp we did not notice much of a decrease in warmth and were impressed with how it performed. We decided to have a little test and matched the Pro 200 next to a similar bag without a Pertex Quantum Pro outer fabric to see how the performance differs between the two. Although both bags did become damp in areas, the Pro 200 developed noticeably less clumping and when airing out in the morning took considerably less time to dry out. We found the Pro 200 being a better performer when a bivy bag or a single skin tent is the choice of shelter. A build-up of moisture over several days is always a concern and time needs to be set aside to properly dry out gear. The less time we need to dry our kit makes for better efficiency of travel, with more time to spend knocking off kilometres.
For all the praise of the great build and protection the main area of concern is that the Pro 200 is just not very warm. The comfort rating of 4°C was fairly accurate for our use, although we can be considered as warm sleepers, and often we find we can push a bag past its usual limits and still have a comfortable night’s sleep. Outside of the summer months we had to boost the Pro 200 with an added liner. They are relatively cheap to buy, but do add weight and bulk to your kit and if you happen to be a particularly cold sleeper it would be advisable to purchase the Pro 400 with a comfort rating of -1°C. This would push further into the colder months, especially for use in the Scottish hills in which temperatures can vary quite dramatically.
There is no denying the quality of materials used throughout make the Rab Neutrino Pro 200 a very comfortable and well-designed sleeping bag. It may not be the lightest or most compact bag on the market for its stated weight-to-warmth ratio, but with its solid build it will probably out live many of its competitors. The ‘Pro’ version which has the addition of the Pertex Quantum Pro outer fabric certainly added a noticeable difference in mitigating a moisture build up and down clumping, making it a perfect partner for bivy bags and lightweight single skin tents. It does have to be noted that the Neutrino Pro 200 is a bag on the cooler side of its stated comfort rating and if you are a particularly cold sleeper it would be best to purchase the warmer 400 version. Overall, we have really enjoyed the Neutrino Pro 200 and it can be considered another great addition to Rab’s fantastic line up of sleeping bags.
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