For adventure racing often a small lightweight sleeping bag is required. As with any adventure racing gear it needs to be as lightweight as possible. I chose to get a Macpac Escapade 150 as my go to sleeping bag for expedition races. It is lightweight, packs down small and provides some warmth. Its not quite as good as some of the more expesive lightweight sleeping bag options in terms of warmth but it good value for lost cost. Sleeping in Adventure races is always bit problematic, its more of a case of sleep where you can, so for stopping in a hut its pretty much perfect, but sleeping out in the open its a little bit on the cold side for most times of the year in NZ. The Macpac Escpade 150 offers a lot cost, 600loft down bag that will do the job…just!
Where to get in NZ: Macpac, Various other Outdoor Stores
Typical Retail price: $229.99
In an adventure race, sleeping is a valuable commodity so when you stop to sleep you want it to be efficient. This sleeping bag is small and lightweight the two most important factors in its design. The bag can be packed down pretty small and fits into a pack of any size easily, perfect for staying in huts, and summer tenting in hot climates. One good feature of this bag is the stuff sack sewn into the side of the bag. Very handy when racing as a small bag like that can go missing very easily! Funnily enough it can be quite hard to find sometimes when you are in a tired state trying to pack it away in the dark.
It has one zip (keeping the weight down), a dome to lock the zip in place and a bungy to tighten the top of the bag and keep the warm air in. Unfortunately the lack of a hood means that you can only really tighten the bag around your shoulders leaving your head exposed. The zip can be completely undone and can be used as a quilt if you so desire, handy for traveling but probably not really a function that is very useful in an adventure race.
The pertex outer allows the bag to be breathable, but also keeps the dampness out. The benefit of having a dry bag, means that it will stay lightweight too when packed back down. The cut of the bag is square, it could be improved for racing if it was a mummy shape which would likely reduce the weight and improve the warmth a bit too.
This sleeping bag has a loft rating of 600, a comfort rating of 16°C and a survival rating of 13°C. So its best suited to hut type travel, and not really adventure racing at all. When I have slept out in the open I have needed to wear a down jacket inside the bag to make sure I didn’t get too cold during sleep. Using the combination of a synthetic down jacket with the sleeping bag does increase the versatility of your options.
As far as comfort within the bag itself, it does have a lot of space inside due to the square cut. Having a lot of space inside allows you to toss and turn without getting too tangled. The downside is of course that there is a big gap between the your body and the sides of the bag, allowing for cold air to gather and reducing the overall warmth of the bag.
The bag has good breath-ability and with the pertex outer, even with a bit of condensation on the outside the bag you will remain dry inside.
This bag has been pulled out and packed down a number of times, washed another couple of times and it still going strong. It is now starting to lose a few feathers, which may just be a function of age. The pertex outer has been fairly durable when used out in the open and within a tent. The zip is of good quality
There is not a whole lot to say about the appearance of a sleeping bag. The color is relatively plain and doesn’t cause any fuss, it just looks like any old sleeping bag. The shape is a little bit different, but again the design has gone for function over making a statement on looks.
For a 600 loft down, lightweight sleeping bag the cost is pretty good at $229. For a similar weight mummy bag, with a better temperature rating you can expect to pay in the $6-800 range. So for a versatile and cheaper option for racing with this bag will work well at doing an alright job. If you are a warm sleeper, you can probably justify spending a little bit more for better comfort, and a better night/hours sleep