PHD Special Editions, Minim 300 and Minimus Jacket

Just in from PHD are a couple of slightly unusual items from their current range of limited run items made for their winter sale.
Above is the Minimus jacket, a simple stitch-through construction jacket with two handwarmer pockets, a weather resistant Drishell outer, a stud-off hood and elastic hem and cuffs. It’s warm, soft and light, light enough in fact that I’ll be able carry it to camp, or even just on the hill, at this time of year and beyond instead of a synthetic top.
I love the teal bluey-green colour, it’s retro for sure, but it looks different and fresh as well.

Below is a Minim 300 with a short right hand zip. Why the zip, and why on the right for a right hander? Because the Big Agnes Three Wire bivy specifically, and the Lasercomp conveniently, work well with a right zip. Now, it’s not necessary to have a zip as we know, but will it be nice to have it? Hard to say, but time will tell. I hate reaching a conclusion and then sitting with in a tupperware box, so it’s good to keep trying other stuff.
I’ll probably philosophise on that notion later, but for now we’ve got the usual standards of stripped down functionality and light weight. The Drishell outer is worth that wee bit of extra weight, and the M1 inner is soft and comfortable against the skin. I’m hoping this will be a great Spring/Autumn bag or an alternative the the Minim Ultra when the weather is looking a little iffy during the summer.

There’ll be more later I’m sure.

35 thoughts on “PHD Special Editions, Minim 300 and Minimus Jacket

  1. How close to the advertised temp ratings do the PHD bags come? I realize there are a great many factors involved. The bags made by Western Mountaineering here in the States are typically conservatively rated. What`s the general feeling?

  2. As the owner of a mere *SIX* PHD bags(!!) I’ve always found them conservatively rated. (But it is a personal thing, obviously). My first was the Minimus (+5C) which has regularly taken me to 0 and on occasion to -4 with baselayers and a thin fleece worn. My winter bag is a Minim 400 (rated -5C) and I used that this winter to -10, again with only a baselayer to help.

  3. Hawkins, we’ll ned to lean on them and get that purple on a sleeping bag!

    Bag ratings are indeed a hard thing to quantify. I find PHD to be warmer than other bags of a similar rating, and equal to others. So for me personally, I think they’re slightly conservatively rated.
    I think in the lightweight range, the slimmer shape, basic design and high quality down get the best from the design and the components.
    It’s such a minefield, I think picking a sleeping bag has to be the hardest thing to get right.

  4. Intrigued about your comment that a right-hand zip suits the Laser Comp. Does that mean you sleep in a specific orientation in the tent…and if so, why??

    Anyone any idea how much weight a zip adds to the Minim 300?
    I’m tempted by the Minim 300 in the PHD sale, but it’s a toughie to get choose…will it be warm enough early spring/late autumn versus will it be too warm in summer. I can’t afford one bag per season!

  5. nodger, I’ve got a sleeping routine now, whereas I used to just orientate myself to the ground angle inside the tent.
    Looking at the door from the inside I can cook, see out and get to my pack in the left of the porch easier from the sleeping bag.
    With the short zip I can just stay lying down and stick a hand out now!

    FRom experience 300/400g od down fill does do for most sitiations, but at the extremes of it’s range you’ll suffer a bit. Too cold and you can stick some more clothes on, to hot and without a zip you’ll be a sweaty misery.
    Oddly I find camping higher on the hill easier as the temperatures are always that bit cooler, and I can plan for that. Sheltered camping for all its advantages always has me hot or cold.

  6. From you experience is there much difference on the cost vs quality curve for similarly specc’d bags, e.g. Pipedream 400 vs PHD Minim 300 vs ME Xero 350??

  7. I tried a while back to make sense of that very thing with a view to writing it up, but I couldn’t, just too many variables and too many subjective opinions involved.

    Fabrics, design, down fill, down quality, temperature ratings, weight…it’s a nightmare.

    Are all the bags mentioned above worth the money? I’d say yes, from different points of view.
    It comes down to personal factors, what you want or need. The PD 400 is fine, but it is a budget bag and it’s larger pack size speaks something of the down quality and neatness of the construction. The PHD has great down inside it, with a minimalist construction. The Xero is well developed and well made, sitting somewhere between lightweight and well-featured.
    And, I’ve been warm in them all.

    Ach!

  8. Deary me – another design flaw with the Laser Comp!

    The Akto of course is designed to best accommodate a bag with a zip on the left, so that a gentleman’s comfort is not compromised by anything as tiresome as a ‘south paw’ sleeping bag.

    I’ve just got the two PHD bags (rated cold and not so cold), so I’m not sure I can contribute much in this thread.

    Finally: Oi – having just persuaded me to sell my Minimus jacket with this down-gillet-over-primaloft-jacket vesratile combo malarky, what’s with this buying a Minimus yourself lark?

  9. The extra door isn’t worth the extra kilo :o)

    I usually sleep ojn my right side I think, so I could be right handed standing up and left handed when I’m sleeping?!
    I’ve got a couple of tents coming in with side doors, I’ll see how that goes.

    As you’ll see below the synthetic/gilet combo is alive and well as recent as last week!
    I was going to buy a couple of items from the sale, but these were factory samples that they sent up for test.

    I can’t see a jacket ever being as good for camp comfort and mobility as the top/gilet, but it’s always nice to update once in a while. And, it’s actually the lightest down jacket I’ve ever had.

    Photobucket

  10. The minim 500 comes in a warm orangey-yellow. Goes brilliantly with the purple stuff-sack :-)
    I got the ‘half’ zip. Quarter zip might be more accurate. Helps a little with wiggling out of the bag, but I have to say I prefer a full zip.

  11. The Minimus is (was) a great jacket with fantastic warth to weight.

    But my one was in M1 microfibre. Fine for the Alps but nae use as an over-jacket in wet/sleaty conditions. So I had to bring my Primaloft one anyway, then take it off once the tent was up and put on the Minimus. Not very efficient.

    The down gillet with a bit of water resistence over the primaloft jacket is much more elegant and versatile (and lighter). Good tip my man.

  12. Regarding sleeping orientation. I invariably sleep on my left, which is why I like a slightly roomier bag so that I can lie on my side inside the bag, rather than the bag rolling round with me. If the latter happens, I end up sleeping on the zip (a cold spot-tastic experience)

  13. Wetness and down, the eternal struggle isn’t it?
    Drishell makes a difference, I think eVent or Gore on down isn’t the best idea, so a compromise is fine for me.
    I’m never that careful at camp and I’ve had no down disasters…yet.

    I turn with the bag most times, unless it’s really cold then I turn inside it. I’m sure it’s just my subconscious mind trying to get my face out of the cold.
    Top Bags are the best for this, just like being on a mattress with a duvet over you.

  14. I’m feeling really done down – my Minim 500 came in an orange and black stuff sack :-(

    The full length zip does mean I don’t boil in the bag though. I also haven’t had any issues with the M4 outer (yet!).

    Having seen an Alpkit bag at the weekend I’m just glad I went for the PHD option. That’s not to knock the Alpkit bags too much, it’s simply my Minim is a bit warmer, lighter, smaller packing etc. for much the same price.

  15. More-On, that’s kind of what I say about Alpkit, it’s just being realistic. Not a popular opinion though!

    Interesting Martin, I hadn’t spotted that. It must be the mini baffles in the Yukon that make the weight difference?
    I’ll bet it’s a shitload warmer though.

  16. I’d rather have honest over popular any day!

    I just think some people have got carried away on the ‘it’s from company X – it must be great’ bandwagon and forgotten to look at the kit on its merits and their intended end use of it.

    At least Nick from Alkpit was happy to discuss their gear (and its limitations) at the Outdoor Show. A few other companies would do well to take note.

  17. They’re a good bunch and they are trying.
    I’ve had some pre-production kit here for a few months putting some miles on it, and I know that behind the zaniness there’s business brains hard at work.

    They have put the wind up a good few folk.

  18. I’m devastated. Put the Minim 500 in its purple and black stuff-sack last night and the sack split :-( Too small an amount of material on one of the seams. Not sure whether I can bother sending it back for a replacement given that it’ll live an unsquished life at home and travel in an event compression sack, but I am disappointed with the lovely purpleness.

  19. Anyone have a stuff sack handy for their minim 500 (Drishell) ? I’ve just taken delivery of my PHD bag. The bag itself is a beauty, the stuff sack however seems very undersized. The wrong one has probably been popped in with the order so I’m going to give them a call.

    There’s a little tag on the inside with a number “1” on it and the sack is black/yellow – anyone have the same bag but different stuff sack?

  20. I’ll need to check my rucksack, I hate to admit it, but all my gear is still in there from last night, I was way too tired to sort it. Another cuppa and I’ll sort it out…

    Give them a shout, they’re a good bunch of folks to deal with.
    Mind you, I do often use compression stuffsacks when nobody is around to criticise me.

    I had the Minim 300 and Minimus jacket, both with Drishell, away during the week and the Drishell was the saviour of the day in a condensation saturated tent.
    I like the short zip on the 300 as it turns out, and even the hood on the jacket.
    I’ll get another couple of trips with them and do an update.

  21. @Kev (and others).

    Cheers for the feedback. I’ll get a replacement stuff sack sent out I’m sure though it’s not the end of the world :) I tend to pack my bag in a reasonably sized dry bag and cram it around other things anyway. Back in the lakes in a couple of weeks for a couple of days walking + wildcamping so hopefully use it then unless the weather’s too warm.

  22. That’s a good point of debate that. Packing, do you compress to a solid lump or leave loose and fit stuff around it?
    I do both and there’s advantages to each, the weight’s the same but the volume can change an awful lot.
    A tent can be crushed really small, but loose in it’s bag it can be quite fluid and fits into corners.
    During the week, when I repacked after breaking camp I lost about a quarter to a third of my volume just by re-arranging my kit.
    Which was both joyous and annoying.

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