sleeping bags


High altitude expedition - General expedition use - Winter alpine climbing
-22°F/ -30°C
Valandre Odin

How can you be so sure, that the wonders you make in your life will be seen, by the millions and millions, who follow to visit the sight of your dreams?

A high altitude sleeping bag is key to success and survival. Unproven gear cannot enter adventures near limits, The Odin from Valandré is the proven reference, that climbers worldwide have trusted for years. (Well, we are not a new kid on the block!)

The Odin sleeping bag, and as a matter of fact Valandré, have their roots in the last french national K2 expedition in 1979.

The French Alpine Club (CAF), wanted to make France the fourth nation to summit the K2 after the Italians in 54, Japanese in 77 and the Americans in 78.

Chamonix is known as the Mecca of alpinism and in this valley, the French alpinist had and still have the best training ground for vertical granite, ice, and "Mix"! (Down in town, go to Snell Sports and ask Yas to sharpened your crampons without overheating the metal)

So, the CAF called in 14 of the "creme" french alpine climbers with the aim of climbing the south-south-east ridge of K2, which after C2 (6.500m) represents a series of 3 rock parts. The most challenging being the one after the overhanging glacier (7.500m), where you have a 1200m rock barrier to pass.

14 experienced high altitude climbers is a big bunch of boys. This number is explained by the fact that the locals in high valley in Pakistan did not have the experience, like the Nepalese Sherpas do, to carry out high altitude portering, so the expedition needed 14 men to carry 260kg (TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY KILOS!) up to C6, for the final assault.

To get 260KG up to C6, you need 14 climbers, who need oxygen, food, and equipment.....and to get all the gear into BC, you need porters who also need food and you need 1200 porters to transport 12 tonnes of equipment into the K2 BC. - The French expedition did not summit and was a total failure.

The K2 expedition was followed up the same year by a "semi-light" expedition leaded by a South-Tyrolean climber, who climbed Everest the year before, without oxygen: Reinhold Messner. (Stroh rum Reinhold) Reinhold used the same route as the French, but traversed to avoid the third rock wall, to join the italian ridge, and summit this way!

During the expedition, several climbers doubted that lifting 260kg to C6, needing 1200 porters, had any sense as Reinhold Messner climbed Everest the year before without oxygen. One of these climbers was: Maurice Barrard, President of the Himalayan section of the French Alpine Club. - It simply had to be: "super light, non ox - alpine style expeditions".

Broad peak: 6500m (2009)

Back in France, Maurice contacted a "Tech-guy" André Vandeputte, who was working on a new revolutionary baffle system that would increase the insolating capacity and at the same time knock off 30 to 40% of the total weight (The passage from a "double stitched though system" to a "compartment (H-box wall) system"). Exactly what Maurice needed for his own Himalayan ambitions. So Maurice "helped" André develop the full line of ultra light down equipment (jackets, pants, mittens, booties, and sleeping bags) that he needed for himself and his wife Lillian.

From scratch, products were directly developed to serve in the most severe conditions, so André and Maurice needed a name.....Valandré or the Valley of André.

Maurice developed a sleeping bag, that could be used with an expedition down parka. The cylinder was constructed using 4 panels. One on the top, another on the back and two lateral panels. One of the more interesting features in this bag was (and is) that the compartments on the back are open and connected to the compartment in the lateral bands. The advantage is that once in the bag, that you "press-out" the down, filling the lateral compartments. As a result, they are filled "under pressure". Hence an excellent lateral insulation. This bag was filled with 1000g of the gray goose that Maurice and André sourced in the South West of France and was launched under the name: Makalu 1000.

When the first lightweight fabrics were introduced on the market, Valandre made an improved version of the Makalu 1000 (named Lhotse 1100), by using the lightest fabric available, which allowed the addition of 100g extra down, increasing the total weight with 50g only.

In 95 a "Super Makalu" was introduced under the name Odin 1150. Maurice's Makalu was stream lined by adding the first generation Tubular Bell technique (see Freja page), to his compartment system, introducing the first micro-lights, 3D draft collar system and an anatomy three dimensional shape. Once again, a new reduction in fabric weight, allowed a 50g increase in fill weight, reaching 1150g (42.3oz/1198g in reality) with an identical total weight.

As the initial Makalu is a rectangular 4-piece bag consisting of one top layer, one back layer, and two side bands, the anatomical shape is made and obtained by shaping the 4 pieces simultaneously.

The "half moon" hood, developed in the Shocking Blue concept, was adapted to the Odin in 2003. This hood offers a maximum insulation to the very extreme forehead and the incorporated static draw cord system offers the ultimate precision. A precision as sharp as a razor blade - thanks!

The draft collar is a 3D development. It is anatomical in the sense that it compensates for the different lengths needed to protect the shoulders, and at the same time has less width on the neck and on the throat.

Now we are getting to the Barrard point of how a technical high altitude expedition bag should be: A bag of volume (offering a possibility of layering), side-raised compartments (offering optimal side insulation), 27 straight H box wall compartments (optimal down fixation/instantly operational), total weight of 64.7oz/1836g, easily capable of standing a negative forty (F and C). And finally an unbelievable compressibility that will decompress within minutes once removed from the compression bag. (Speed is safety!)

The Odin is a well-proven Valandré expedition bag for"le connaisseur". (POINT)

The video at the top of the page gives a full tour of the Odin’s features. (Listen to the sound, as it lands on the table!)

Comfort : -22°F/ -30°C
Outside fabric : 100% Polyamide Nylon 6-6 Ripstop 40.7g/m2 DWR treatment
Inside fabric : 100% Polyester 40.8g/m2 DWR treatment
Compartments :

27 compartments mounted using straight H box wall baffles, manually shaped into a anatomical shape. (First generation tubular system)

Down quality : Goose Down 95/05

Filled with our 95/05 "fatty" gray goose from the South West of France. A unique and totally mature down quality, that has a fill power of 800+ cuin (EU Norms) 850+ (US Norms). A strong long lasting quality down with excellent moisture resistance.

Length(out) 200cm 78.7in 215cm 84.6in 230cm 90.6in
Length(in) 170cm 66.9in 185cm 72.8in 200cm 78.7in
Shoulder 143cm 56.3in 153cm 60.2in 164cm 64.6in
Hip 131cm 51.6in 140cm 55.1in 150cm 59.1in
Foot 87cm 34.3in 93cm 36.6in 99cm 39.0in
Total weight 1.99kg 4lb 6oz 2.14kg 4lb 11oz 2.28kg 5lb 0oz
Down load 1.31kg 2lb 14oz 1.42kg 3lb 2oz 1.52kg 3lb 5oz
Customer reviews | Post a review

Enjoying Odin I hate cold! I love alpine climbing!

Quite hard to reconcile the two and quite a lot of misery to have been through to do what I love. That until recently

Everything about going to climb in Alaska sounded exciting and fascinating. Everything in pictures looked cool and inviting. Everything but the dreadful it'll be cold as hell' (well, if hell would be in reverse, but you get the point

Arriving at home in two big boxes an Odin sleeping bag, a Sirius jacket, booties and mitts put a massive smile on my face. The warm sunrays of a beautiful spring day looked like the best omen.

The Odin began its business as soon as ten days after being born, and it was a busy month. For thirty straight days it lay, literally, in between the cold and me.

The bag weighs 1836g and packs incredibly small. Changing the original compression bag with one with stronger straps meant the Odin fit perfectly at the bottom of my 32L lightweight backpack with plenty of room for shelter, gear, clothing and food for a lone climb of Denali's Cassin Ridge.

But while the numbers are abstract things, direct, in the field use provided me with continuous amazement.

Of course the bag was warm as I expected. The quality of the down (more important than abstract fill numbers) did exactly what I hoped and slightly more. I slept all the time in light thermals with a lightweight upper mid-layer and with the down booties on. It felt like in a wellness center. In the 5200m camps of both West Buttress and Cassin Ridge with storm kicking outside I added a lightweight fleece and that was enough.

Thirty days of continuous use and abuse of the bag, including spilt tea, sweat and rock and roll on top of it would be quite rough. However, what I noticed was that the bag was never damp inside even after a full night of being covered in frost. Moisture moved away from the body and outside keeping the bag's loft and a dry inside. Twenty minutes in the sun, on the top of the tent dried out a mug-full of tea spilt on it. Thirty continuous days of heavy use and the bag was never damp. That's a major accomplishment in my experience.

Speaking about the loft: well, it is there and it is huge. Makes the bag cushy whether you're sitting on top of it or in it, warm and cuddly. The physiological effect of having something soft, warm and light embracing your body at the end of a hard climbing day is tremendous.

Another feature that I noticed within the first couple of days was, besides the total lack of draft in the zip area, the fact that the zip never pinched the fabric. I could open and close the bag swiftly without once having the zip stuck on the fabric.

The draw-cords seal the bag perfectly around the face and even overhead (sometimes I slept fully immersed) and due to the special design of the cord-locks that come undone with a light pull and can be easily clipped back together.

No need to talk about baffles. The Valandre site has it all explained in detail. For my part, whatever they do my experience is this: never any cold spots!

All in all this was the best sleeping bag I have ever used. On a diet of freeze-dried food I expected to be even colder that I usually am but the bag performed amazing in all areas where I expected it to and still managed to surprise me.

Photos of gear in action here: