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

Different sleeping bags for different conditions...

I currently have 4 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!

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
Laying in my Packlite, QCT in 2016
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 cold weather bag 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 from 2015-2017.

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.

Using the Escapade at Mid Robinson Hut, 2015

Exped Lite 500 down bag

My newest bag is another down filled one the Exped Lite 500. I brought this bag as a lighter option when section hiking the Te Araroa trail and for more moderate spring and autumn weather.

My new Exped Lite 500 down sleeping bag

This bag weighs 1.02 kgs, packs down very small and is rated to -2 degrees. I often find my Macpac bag too hot unless it is very cold and wet. This gives me a lighter option while still providing some warmth.

Exped bags come with a sil-nylon stuff sack and a large storage bag
I managed to snare mine for $330 dollars in a sale at Bivoauc outdoor, these normally retail for $460 NZD.  Always, always buy new gear when there is a sale on as the normal prices are usually 20-30% higher than the they need to be.

Care and storage of sleeping bags

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 fibres 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.

My Macpac bag airing in Magdalen Hut in 2017

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