This item has been supplied by Adam Smith, representing Go Outdoors.
The first thing to report is what this item's like straight out of the packaging... it's different. There's no traditional strappy compression sack, instead there's a drybag with a roll-top closure and an
air-valve air-vent and stopper. The bag has welded seams and the fabric appears to be quite durable with a woven outer face and a coated inner face. Once filled, the drybag is as airtight as any other roll-top drybag - I sat on it and it didn't squeak or leak. I'm not ready to do an immersion-test on it just yet though. When I removed the stopper it was easy to expel the excess air and the contents compressed well to form a shape that would easily slip into a pack, or into a larger mesh pocket on the outside of a pack. When stuffed with clothing the drybag makes a useful pillow which fits neatly in or under the hood of the sleeping bag.
After taking out the sleeping bag and giving it a shake and a rest to allow the fill to loft, I stuck it on the lawn and took a few pics. My observations from this, and a few other notes, are listed below.
For the full spec I'd advise going to the Lifeventure site, but here are some of my observations:
- The head-end is not cowled but it's still a nice fit around the face with the elasticated drawcord. There's also a down-filled neck-baffle with a non-stretch drawcord. Both drawcords have captive cord-grips on the side opposite to the main zip.
- There is a small (about 5" x 4") zipped pocket on the outside and two Velcro-closed internal pockets (about 4.5" x 4.5") on the inside - one near the chest, one near the ankle.
- The 2-way main zip is unbranded but seems to be the same as the YKK zips in my other sleeping bags. The zip opens 3/4 of the way across the foot end which allows for the user to sleep with feet out of the end (rather than out of the end of the side). It also allows the sleeping bag to be opened fully for use as a blanket. The zip has a corded pull-tag on the top puller and there is a Velcro-closed puller cover at the top end of the zip. The full-length down-filled zip-baffle has a woven anti-snag strip.
- The foot is oval, allowing the user's feet to fit without restriction (but if you've got absolutely huge feet, YMMV).
- There are two pairs of hanging-loops at the foot end - one pair inside, one pair outside.
- It has single-layer box-wall construction with a lightweight ripstop outer and a Tactel nylon and micro polyester inner. The stitchwork is good - I've found no bad bits and no loose ends.
- The outer fabric has "Ex3" treatment - see the Lifeventure website for details of this.
- The fill is "high quality duck down", I've yet to find a proper fill-power figure in the blurb but the swing-tag says that there is 300g of the stuff in there.
- The claimed length and widths are about right.
- The claimed weight is 900g, I measured this one and found that the sleeping bag weighs 970g, the drybag adds another 110g. It's worth noting that with the drybag, unlike when using a standard compression bag, no additional waterproof outer bag is required.
- The claimed "packed size" is obviously dictated by the drybag length and width, I managed to compress the filled drybag to an average thickness of 3cm with ease. I'll try the sleeping bag in a standard compression bag sometime soon and report back with the critical measurements.
- Compared to other "mummy-shaped" sleeping bags this one has more width in the leg area, this makes it quite easy for the user to move around inside it.
All things considered, this looks like a nice bit of gear and I hope it performs as well as it looks. I was tempted to set up a tent in the garden so I can give this kit a night out, but I've been told that I'm too busy this weekend. Next week, maybe?
UPDATE (7th June, 2011):
I knew that there was something bugging me about what I'd claimed to be an air-valve on the drybag. Eventually the penny dropped and I realised that it's not a valve at all - there's no diaphragm in there. What I looked at and thought was a diaphragm is actually an internal baffle-plate to prevent the fabric of the bag from being pushed through the hole during compression - think of the cargo-hold window scene at the end of Alien Resurrection and you'll get my drift. Without the stopper in the hole, air can flow in or out depending on the pressure-difference. I'm sorry for any confusion caused by my error.
UPDATE (20th June, 2011):
Incoming information provided by Andy Howard (Product Designer, Lifemarque Limited)...
Please find some spec. details for the Downlight 900 that you are interested in:
Shell fabric: 300T nylon diamond ripstop and 290T nylon 6 corner ripstop
Lining fabric: 300T nylon diamond ripstop
Filling: 80% grey duck down, fill weight: 300g, fill power: 500g/m2