Cumulus Mysterious Traveller 500
Best uses: 4 season camping in the UK lowlands. You may want the 650 for higher up
Likes: For the price and weight it is pretty good
Dimensions: 190 x 80 cm. Packed size 27 x 15 cm
Feistiness rating: 5/5
This sleeping bag is a cracking piece of kit. It weighs 880g packs down to the size of a four pack of lager, and is ridiculously warm. Although it is labelled as a three season sleeping bag, the comfort rating of -4C means that you can bask in shorts and T-shirt in a hard British Winter. Add another few degrees by the time you put on your sleeping bag liner and another 2C if your in a small tent or bivvy and -10C comfort rating, here we are!
First of all let’s talk about the outer. This is made of pertex which gives a goodly amount of water resistance and will protect the occupant from a bit of condensation or dew (but not an outright downpour). Interestingly the inner is also made of pertex which should stop odour and sweat penetrating through to the down. It is filled with 700 cu.in. of goose down.
The zipper has two zips to allow ventilation to the feet if needs be and there is a down filled zipper baffle which protects agains zipper related drafts. Cumulus says the system is anti-snag but I have never found a sleeping bag zipper that doesn’t snag and the Mysterious Traveller is no exception. It’s just something you have to put up with. There is also an inside collar with a nominal amount of down and an elastic draw cord which you can tighten around your shoulders to reduce heat loss and drafts. This is complimented by a capacious hood with down and draw cord which can be tightenned around the face. The design is completed with an inside pocket, a stuff sack and a loft bag.
Another genius thing about these sleeping bags is that two sleeping bags, regardless of model can be zipped together to make a double bag, a really useful thing if you want a cold weather snuggle with your partner (or if you’re just built for comfort rather than speed).
In summary this is a good, lightweight bit of kit that will not take up much room in your back pack and is a go-er for a British Winter. A worthy long term investment as long as you take care of it.
Rab Infinity SL
Likes: Super light weight
Dislikes: No zip (to save weight)
Season: There is no temperature rating for this product but we estimate a lower comfort rating of 7C
Feistiness rating: 5/5
Holy moly, if you want a super light weight bag then this puppy is for you. Rab, a British company, started out as a sleeping bag manufacturer and they really know their stuff!
The Infinity SL is astonishingly light and perfect for adventure races, or light weight mountaineering. It is a “topbag” so there is no down filling on the bottom side and they have done away with the hood to reduce weight. However this bag is supposed to be used in conjunction with a good sleeping pad to mitigate any loss of thermal performance. As such the bag has straps so that you can attach the bag to your pad.
150g of ethically sourced 850 fill goose down keeps this bag warm, and they have also added Primaloft under the hood and legs. This stops it getting too chilly especially if you are using one of the ¾ length sleeping pads.
To save even more weight, Rab have done away with the side zipper, so getting out for that merciless 2am piss is even more tricky – result. Seriously though this is a stripped back bag that offers high performance but does away with some of the usual frills you expect from a sleeping bag.
There’s no denying this is a feisty bag, it won’t be to everyone’s tastes but it’s such a great idea and is fantastically well made you can’t help but admire it.
Crux Torpedo 500
Likes: warm, waterproof and will last you 30 years!
Dislikes: Fairly heavy for a bag that goes down to -6C
Comfort limit: – 6C
Pack size: 21 x 30cm
Price: £499.99 Feistiness rating: 4/5
Crux were founded by a Kiwi who now lives in France and their design philosophy is simple – they make functional, tough, lightweight kit for mountaineering and they don’t market their kit towards the light weight wild camper. However we should all be checking out their website to see what they have to offer because the kit they produce is fantastic quality and designed to be bomb-proof!
Their Torpedo range of sleeping bags are all waterproof, yet lightweight with low pack volumes. They have an eVent waterproof shell which is heavier than many ultra light weight fabrics. However the Torpedo is much tougher and should last you a good 30 years with moderate use. There aren’t many bags on the market that could make that claim!
I used it at our secret testing facility in Wales – a place we call Criers Cavern, where you can sleep in a cave that overlooks the Wye Valley below. Surrounded in waterproof material I thought I might get some condensation issues particularly around the feet but everything seemed fine and I’m happy to report no dampness. In fact I had a cracking night’s sleep. The inside of the bag is very comfortable, not that I guess it really matters if you use a silk liner. The hood was also well fitting and snug.
There is of course a full length zip with baffle and a shoulder baffle too to keep heat locked in.
The bag has 46 individual baffles in total holding 500g of 850+ / US 925+ Polish goose down. Having so many baffles ensures that the down is evenly spread across the whole bag and stays that way so that it remains as thermally efficient as possible. The bag should take you easily down to -6C but there are bags out there that will do it for less weight and much less expense. That said, the lighter the bag the less durable it is and you have to bear in mind that when buying this bag, although expensive, you are unlikely to need to buy another one in its thermal class again for the rest of your camping life. That’s not bad eh?
A great deal of the cost of this bag is in the fabric that makes it water proof. You should ask yourself whether you need it. If you spend the majority of your time in a tent then perhaps not. This is a hardcore bag designed for the extremes of mountain use. However if like me you, on occasion you sleep without a tent and really rely on decent kit then you should definitely explore buying one. There’s also no denying it looks outrageously good in black!