Showing posts with label Sleeping Bags. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sleeping Bags. Show all posts

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Tramping Equipment: Exped Lite 500 down sleeping Bag

My new lightweight pit for thru hiking

As part of my quest to lower my tramping weight I have invested in a new lighter weight sleeping bag. This is the Exped Lite 500, a sub 1kg down sleeping bag rated to -2 degrees. This bag will be good for spring/summer/autumn use and is a long size. 

The Exped Lite 500 down sleeping bag

I would have liked to go ultra lite unfortunately bags of this type are prohibitively expensive (more than $800 NZD) or unavailable in New Zealand. We really need a local quality cottage manufacturer of light weight gear...someone like Western Mountaineering, Golite, Gossamer Gear or ZPacks.

Western Mountaineering Ultralite: rated to -7 degrees at only 880gms total weight...!

Exped Lite 500 down sleeping bag

The Exped Lite 500 is a down bag, in this case it uses 800+ lofting goose down with a anti moisture coating. The material on the bag is lightweight nylon again with an anti moisture coating. The dimensions of the bag are:

Length: good to 195cm tall (long size)...I am 193cm!
Shoulder width: 79cm
Foot Width:53cm
Weight:1 kg 
Performance: down to -2

The Exped Lite 500 down sleeping bag

Exped are a well regarded Swiss company who manufacture a wide range of outdoor gear including packs, sleeping bags and sleeping mats. I brought this bag from Bivouac as part of a clearance sale, it cost me $340 NZD rather than the usual $450.

 There is a nicely thought out baffle along the side zipper to stop heat escaping through the zipper area.

Detail of the Exped Lite 500 zipper and draft blocker

The bag has a nice neck baffle system to hold in heat, something that is missing from my current winter weight bag and synthetic summer bag. Even though I use my bags as quilts this will still come in handy. 

Neck draft baffle on the Exped Lite 500
I could have saved another 100gms if I went with the ultralite version of this bag but I tried one on for size and it was far too constricting for my oversized frame. The lighter bag is cut super tight mummy style, not my thing at all.  This bag is a good compromise between price, weight, size and durability.
Exped Lite 500: the hood arrangement

The bag has a continuous baffle system through the bag to stop down from migrating between the chambers leaving cold spots in the insulation. Here is a review of this bag on the Wilderness magazine site.

Exped Lite 500: the down fill baffle system

Exped Lite 500: detail of the internal baffle system

You also get an airing/storage bag and a sil-nylon stuff sack with this sleeping bag. 

Exped Lite 500: An airing bag and sil nylon stuff sack are included

Once I have used the bag on a tramping trip I will post some photos on this blog.

Note: I went up the Waimakiriri River to Carrington Hut in February 2018 where the new pit was put to the test and performed very well. Light, easy to pack and warm, it is going to be a winner!!!

The Exped Lite 500 at Carrington Hut, February 2018
My Exped 500 pit set up and ready to go in Speargrass Hut, February 2018

Monday, 1 September 2014

Tramping Equipment: My summer and winter sleeping bags

New winter weight sleeping bags for Jon

I've been saving my shekels so I could buy myself a 3-4 season sleeping bag. I have Summer and Base Camp bags but needed one for winter and the shoulder tramping periods from May-September.

My summer sleeping bag: Domex Packlite (large size)

I wanted a down bag as I will be mostly in huts over these periods and they are so much warmer and lighter than comparable synthetic bags. Alas, they are very expensive, with prices ranging from $400-$1200 depending on brand and what type you buy.

The Macpac Escapade 700 XL

Recently Macpac had a 60% clearance sale so went down for a look at their wares. Macpac is one of the better New Zealand outdoor clothing and equipment firms. I brought one of their Escapade 700 series sleeping bags for a very reasonable price. Normal retail is $540 but on sale I managed to buy it for only $275.

Macpac Escapade 700 XL

XL sized for comfort and fit...

 The bag is an extra long, dimensions are 242x86x56, weight is 1.3kg. The outer cover is Pertex with a 80/20 blend of duck down as the filler. The loft rating is 600, which means it should be good for temperatures down to -2 degrees Celsius. 

Big Blue Escapade at Nina Hut, Summer 2016

With my silk bag liner and the addition of thermals as sleep wear it should be good to -6 or-7 degrees at least. One good feature is the ability to unzip this and use it as a quilt, which is what I often do over the Summer. 

Escapade 700 XL
Being realistic, buying a $1000 ultra light sleeping bag just isn't on my books, that's more than I spent on gear, food and trip cost for ALL of last year. This is not the cheapest, lightest, smallest or warmest down bag but I think it has a fair mixture of all those attributes. 

Update 2017: I have been using this bag for a couple of years now and have few complaints about it.  This is a high quality bag which fills its role well, it is now my 'go to' bag. It packs down to reasonable size, it is roomy and for around the same weight as my Packlite is immeasurably warmer.

My Escapade in Mid Robinson Hut, 2015

The Escapade on a trip to Magdalen Hut, Winter 2017

The Escapade is good but I'm currently researching sub 1 kg down bags as I transition to ultralight tramping gear.

My Te Araroa Trail sleeping bag

I'm section walking the Te Araroa Trail so I wanted a much lighter sleeping bag to fill the niche for those kind of trips.  Late last year I took advantage of a sale at Bivouac Outdoor to buy a lighter weight down bag.

My new sleeping bag is an Exped Lite 500, weight is 970 grams, temperature rating down to -4 degrees and packs down to a smaller volume than my Macpac bag.

My new Exped Lite 500 at Speargrass Hut, March 2018

Here is a blog post about my Exped Lite 500.

The Exped Lite 500 down sleeping bag

This has now become my defacto go anywhere bag.