Showing posts with label Macpac Escapade 700. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Macpac Escapade 700. Show all posts

Monday, 25 February 2013

My Tramping Gear: Sleeping bags: Domex Packlite, Marmot Trestles 15, Macpac Escapade 700 XL

I currently have 3 different bags, usage depends on the conditions I expect to strike and if I am staying in huts or camping out.

Considerations regarding weight and down vs synthetic

Usually I find I am far too hot in a closed sleeping bag so I usually use mine unzipped as a quilt.

There are two types of bags: down and synthetic. Down is lighter but losses all of its insulation potential if wet. Synthetic will lose some of its warmth if wet but the water can be squeezed out more effectively and is much easier to dry.

Goose down sleeping bag fill

Synthetic polyester sleeping bag fill

New Zealand is wet, so I generally favour synthetic bags but it is impossible to overlook the weight savings using a down bag. The Packlite is about as lite as you can go in synthetic and still have a decent bag, but there are down bags with the same or better insulative qualities that weigh in at 600gms!

I am currently in the market for a sub 1 kg down bag to cut further weight from my pack load.

Domex Packlite XL (2013- )

My summer bag is a synthetic Domex Packlite, 1.2kg, and compresses to a very small size. It is, as the name implies light, so only for warm weather and hut stays. With a thermal bag liner it is good down to 0-5 degrees.

Domex are the original kiwi sleeping bag manufacturers they have been around for nearly 60 years now and make quality products. When i was in the Army back in the late 1980's we used Domex sleeping bags and I believe they still do today. 

I will eventually replace my Packlite with an equivilant down bag, as finances allow, something around the 600-700 loft level and less than 1kg.

The Packlite in use, Wharfedale Hut, 2014
As I mostly tramp in the summer and stay in huts this bag is used 80% of the time. Retail these go for around $150 NZD.

Marmot Trestles 15 (2012- )

My first multi-season bag was a Marmot Trestles 15, rated to -9 degrees C. It is significantly heavier at 1.8 kg, but it is beautifully warm, and long at 6'6". I would use this in very cold conditions and if I expected to be tenting in snow, it is overkill as I will never be in -9 degree conditions, but man is it comfortable.

The Marmot Trestles 15

These normally sell for $300 NZD, there is also a Marmot Trestles 30 which weighs 1.4 kg and is good down to about -2 degrees.

Magdalen Hut, Marmot Trestles waiting for Jon

Update 2016: This bag is awesome but too heavy for my evolving style of tramping so has been relegated to a base camp role, at which it excels.

The Marmot bag being used at the campsite near Ryde Falls

Macpac Escapade 700 XL (2015- )

My newest bag is a down filled one, it is a Macpac Escapade 700 which I brought in 2014, it is an XL size, rated to -5 degrees and weighs in at 1.25 kg. Normally these retail for $485 NZD but I got this in an Autumn sale for $275.

This is my Winter bag and was used several times in 2015 and 2016.

Macpac Escapade 700 XL

This bag is very nice; it is warm, light, roomy and comfortable to use, my only concern is the weight which at 1.25 kgs is moderate. I am currently in the market for a sub 1 kg down bag as I gradually evolve into an ultra light tramper. I am investigating options but cost remains the problem as one of these bags often retail for up to $1000 which I just cannot justify for a weight saving of 300-500 gms.

To break that down;  that is 2 pairs of high end boots, 4 pairs of tramping shoes or a top quality 2 person alpine tent. In fact I spent less than $1000 on all the tramps I did in 2012/2013. 

Using the Escapade at Mid Robinson Hut, 2015

I have my sleeping bags hanging in a dry, dark closet which is the recommended way to store them. It is also ok to store them in a large mesh bag if one has been provided when you buy your bag. If you store them rolled into their stuff sacks you are compressing the fibers which degrades the insulation very, very quickly. 

Acceptable ways to store your sleeping bag

Here is a very informative article from Outdoor Gear Labs about choosing the right sleeping bag for your needs.

So there you have it, three different sleeping bags for very different conditions.