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

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.

Monday, 25 February 2013

My Tramping Gear: Sleeping bags: Domex Packlite, Marmot Trestles 15, Macpac Escapade 700 XL, Exped Lite 500

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.

My pit or sleeping bag set up and ready for use at Carrington Hut, 2018

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.