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Sleeping

Alpkit Double Dozer Sleeping Mat

I’m a big fan of Alpkit Sleeping Mats, they are great quality mats, reasonably priced and have never failed me.  So I’m excited to hear and that they are extending their range with the Alpkit Double Dozer.  This is a double bed sized version of their Dozer (coincidentally the one I own).

doubledozer.174939

The Double Dozer is almost the size of a standard Double bed!  It is 196cm by 129cm which is just 10cm slimmer than a standard double mattress and a 7.5cm thickness which will ensure there is air space between you and the ground.

As you’d expect though from a double mattress sized sleeping mat the luxury of a comfy mat comes with a larger pack size.  I won’t be hiking with one of these, but if you take the car to your basecamp it’s actually smaller packed up than you would expect.  The Double Dozer packs down to 115cm in length and a circumference of 121 cm.  The mat weighs in at 4kg.

double_dozer_rolled_1200_800autoThis is what Alpkit say about the Double Dozer –

Dozer is an institution. Known for its unrelenting pure comfort and hours and hours of blissful sleep. It has converted many an apprehensive camper into a zealous regular. Double Dozer is double the comfort and double the fun. In fact, it is just double the everything.

For unadulterated comfort, Dozer is designed for those people who want to share the comfort around- sharing is caring, you know? But also ideal for those that don’t want to share and just want to starfish. Perfect for those who want optimum comfort and weight is not an issue. The foam has been cored laterally to reduce weight and die cut in at less load bearing areas to reduce pack size. Composed from soft-touch polyester for that extra ‘ah’ factor when you settle down for the night.

The Double Dozer is available to Pre Order now for £90 (£30 more than the single), if you’re looking for a double sleeping mat definitely check out the Double Dozer and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Sleeping

Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite

Thermarest NeoAir XLite

The Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite as the name suggests is an extra light mattress from Therm-a-rest.  The NeoAir technology was new in 2012 and changes what you expect from a hiking mattress.  It’s warm, comfortable but extremely lightweight.  the X-Lite is the next generation of NeoAir which delivers greater performance than the original with a streamlined shape which is ultra light and highly packable.

Key Features

  • Lightweight: Advanced fabrics and a tapered design make this the lightest mattress in the NeoAir™ collection – almost 15% lighter than the original.
  • Warm: Improved reflective layer recycles body heat and creates dual air pockets that conserve warmth.
  • Comfortable: Patent-pending Triangular Core Matrix™ construction provides unrivaled stability and support.
  • Ultra-Packable: Low-bulk materials make the XLite mattress the most compact NeoAir mattress ever – as packable as a water bottle.
  • Weight: 350g
  • Dimensions: 183 x 51 x 6.3cm
  • Packed Dimensions 9 x 4.0 in / 23 x 10 cm (regular size)
  • Stuff sack and Repair kit included

The following video is a great video to see how small the Therm-a-rest packs up to and is a handy guide as to how to inflate and most importantly fold back up!

 

 

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Sleeping

Klymit Inertia X Frame Sleeping Pad

Generally in the Camping Gear market we see a lot of evolution but not much revolution.  Until Now!  Klymit have completely turned sleeping mats on their head with the Klymit Inertia X Frame.  This is an inflatable sleeping mat but without the unnecessary material. This makes the Klymit Inertia X-Frame extremely light weight with a tiny pack size.

As the above image shows there is padding for shoulders, head and hips, but unnecessary padding is removed.  This makes the sleeping mat super light at just 9.1 oz, That is only 258 grams.  It also rolls up to the size of a coke can.  So this is a super lite and super small camping accessory.  Since it does have gaps the Inertia X Frame is only rated for 3 season use.

You can either place the sleeping mat inside your sleeping bag or below, its recommended you put it inside, it’s shaped for a mummy bag, and the sleeping bag fill will actually loft up through the holes allowing extra insulation.

We found this great walk through video from Danny at trail and mountain, it’s a little long but if your interested in the Klymit Inertia X Frame it’s essential.  Danny takes you through the product from “unboxing” to deploying and usage, he gives some great tips, and with a product like this you really need to watch to understand it rather than read about it!

Specifications

  • Weight: 9.1 oz, 258 g
  • Dimensions: 72″ x 18″ x 1.5″, 1.8 m x 0.45 m x 3.81cm
  • Type: inflatable Sleeping Pad
  • Packed Size: 3″ x 6″, 76mm x 152 mm
  • Includes: Dry Air Pump, Stuff Sack, Patch Kit

Have you used the Klymit Inertia X Frame Sleeping Pad?  Leave a comment below and let us know how you found it!

 

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Sleeping

Should I buy a Synthetic or Down Sleeping Bag?

When choosing a sleeping bag an important decision that can help you narrow down the range is whether you should pick a synthetic or down sleeping bag.  But what is the difference?  We’ve put together this guide to help you choose.

When we talk about Down vs Synthetic we are referring to the filling within the sleeping bag.

Synthetic Sleeping Bags

Synthetic Sleeping bags have a filling made from layers of fibres sewn to inner and shell fabric to keep them in place. These fibres can be hollow like animal fur trapping in warm air.  Most Synthetic Sleeping bags are generally more bulky for the same warmth rating as the comparable down sleeping bag, so they can be good if you’re camping with the car as they are generally cheaper than down sleeping bags and they’re easier to care for and will cope with more wear and tear.  If you have a family to kit out they can be a cost-effective easy care solution.

Benefits of Synthetic Sleeping bags

  • Synthetic (Man-made) sleeping bag fills are water-resistant so will even keep some insulation when wet.
  • Synthetic Sleeping bags are generally more durable and tolerant of damage; ripping the outer doesn’t mean that the fill will spill.
  • As well as being water-resistant synthetic sleeping bags will dry much quicker than down bags as the moisture is between fibres rather than being absorbed into then.
  • Synthetic sleeping bags are easier to care for, always follow the washing instructions!  But generally synthetic sleeping bags are easier to clean.
  • Being Man-Made Synthetic sleeping bags are hypoallergenic so safe for allergy sufferers to use.
  • Synthetic sleeping bags can be considerably cheaper than Down sleeping bags.

Down Sleeping Bags

Down sleeping bags are filled with natural feathers, down is the very fine feathers found in adult ducks geese and water birds under the outer layer of their feathers.  Down makes an excellent insulator, additionally it is light and highly compressible while still being able to quickly regain its loft quickly.

Benefits of Down Sleeping Bags

  • Down Sleeping backs have a much better warmth to weight ratio than Synthetic bags due to Down being much warmer.
  • Down Sleeping Bags can be compressed much more than synthetic sleeping bags making them great for lightweight small backpacking sleeping bag.
  • Down comes in a number of different grades/qualities. As an example, 90% Goose Down will consist of 90% down and 10% feathers.  The higher the % of down the lower the weight and bulk, but the better the insulation.  However the higher the grade the higher the price.
  • Generally Down Sleeping Bags are more durable than Synthetic so if cared for well they can last considerably longer, which may make the extra expensive worth while.

So which is best?

Both are Down and Synthetic are great choices what makes one better is how you will use it, here is a summary of what you should consider

  • Weight / Size – Down – If you are concerned about weight (perhaps you are backpacking) Down will be significantly lighter and pack smaller as the same warmth rate synthetic bag.
  • Warmth – Down – Down is much warmer than Synthetic.  The Bulk/Weight to Warmth ratio will be much lower than a down sleeping bag.
  • Price – Synthetic – A Synthetic Sleeping Bag will generally be cheaper than a Down bag, but long-term it may not be the best value
  • Washing – Synthetic – If you have a family and may be needing to clean sleeping bags regularly you may find a Synthetic Sleeping Bag easier to care for.  But every sleeping bag is different so check the washing instructions.
  • Wetness – Synthetic – It’s never good to get a sleeping bag wet but a down sleeping bag will take much longer to dry and will not provide insulation while wet.  A synthetic sleeping bag will dry quicker and still provide some insulation while wet
  • Resilience – Down –  Despite Down appearing to be more fragile, it’s loft and insulation will last much longer than a synthetic bag.  As much as 2 – 3 times as long.

Our Final Thought

The phrase “Nature knows best comes to mind.  We would pick a down sleeping bag for the warmth to weight ratio and the easy pack size.  But if price is an issue or you may be in conditions where the bag could get wet then Synthetic is still a good choice.  Synthetic technology is always moving forward.

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Sleeping

Robens Downlite 700 Sleeping Bag

The Robens Downlite 700 Sleeping Bag is a high performance duck down sleeping bag.  The Downlite 700 has comfort tempuratures for Ladies of -2 Celcius, or for men of -9 Celcius.  If you’re not sure what Temperature rating you’re looking for read our guide to sleeping bag temperature ratings.  To give you an idea the Downlite 700 would make a good all round 3 season sleeping bag.  ( Sleeping bags are which are considered 3 Season have a comfort rating of around -5 degrees Celcius)

The Sleeping Bag is 1300g so fairly light weight and contains 80/20 duck down (500 fill power).  The 80% Duck down is much lighter than similarly priced synthetic bags. The bag is a mummy shaped design at a length of 195cm.

The bag has a packed size of just 33 x 17cm.  Though when you’re not out camping you will want to keep your sleeping bag out of the bag, to aid this the bottom of the bag has hanging straps.

Useful additional features include a Thermo collar, an easy-close hood, storage pockets, a low pack size and light weight.

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Sleeping

What do Sleeping Bag Season and Temperature ratings mean?

A sleeping bag could be one of your most important camping purchases, it has a major part to play in how much of a restful night you will get and your energy for the next day!  We’re here to help you understand what the gobbledegook means and how to pick the right sleeping bag for you.  However its worth pointing out that everyone sleeps differently, some are warm sleepers, and some sleep a bit cooler.  Also your tent, sleeping mat, even metabolism and  calorie intake will be factors that affect your body heat/

There are lots of things to consider when buying a sleeping bag, Synthetic vs Down, Shape, Weight, but perhaps the most important consideration is Temperature rating!  How warm will you be in your sleeping bag?

So what do Sleeping Bag Temperature ratings mean?

Temperature rating

There is a European Standard for Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings EN13537.  Key to this rating is that it is now legal (in the EU) for sleeping bags to be labeled in a specific way.  The standard requires that manufacturers run a thermal manikin test on their sleeping bags to measure four temperature ratings (in degrees celsius).

  • Upper Limit — the temperature at which a standard man can sleep without excessive perspiration. It is established with the hood and zippers open and with the arms outside of the bag.
  • Comfort — the temperature at which a standard woman can expect to sleep comfortably in a relaxed position.
  • Lower Limit — the temperature at which a standard man can sleep for eight hours in a curled position without waking.
  • Extreme — the minimum temperature at which a standard woman can remain for six hours without risk of death from hypothermia (though frostbite is still possible).

For the purposes of the manikin test a standard man is 25 years old, with a height of 1.73 m and a weight of 73 kg; and a standard woman is 25 years old, with a height of 1.60 m and a weight of 60 kg.

So with these temperatures you can pick the perfect bag for your expedition.  However for the more casual camper you may want a less technical guide to sleeping bags to find something that will be a good all rounder, that’s where seasons come in…

Seasons

Seasons are a less technical rating system for bags, all sleeping bags must contain the above temperature ratings by law (in the EU) but for marketing or guidance the retailer may also use a season rating system.  As this isn’t regulated there may be different interpretations of seasons, and assumptions have been made into weather, type of person, tent etc.  The below is a generally accepted guide.

  • 1 Season – +5 – A One Season Sleeping bag is only good for Summer use.  It is comfortable in a temperature above +5 Degrees Celsius
  • 2 Season – 0 – A Two Season Sleeping bag is for Spring Summer Use, this will be comfortable right down to 0 Degrees.
  • 3 Season – -5 – The Three Season Sleeping bag is perhaps the most popular, comfortable to -5 Degrees it is a good all round sleeping bag choice which fits the needs of most campers.
  • 4 Winter – -10 – A Winter Sleeping bag will be comfortable as low as -10 degrees Celsius
  • 5 – Expedition – -15 – An Expedition Sleeping bag is used in extreme conditions, it is comfortable as low as -15 Degrees.

My Advice?  Use both these sets of information together.  Firstly think about when and where you are likely to camp and use your sleeping bag, this will give you a season guide.  Then you can identify from this the temperature specifications you need.  Just remember if you do go for a Winter bag / one with a low limit remember to check the comfort limit too, if it’s too low you may get very hot if you do a lot of Summer camping as well.  If this is the case consider a lighter sleeping bag and a fleece liner for the colder months.

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Sleeping

What is a Sleeping Bag Liner?

One of our readers has dropped us an email and asked “What is a Sleeping Bag Liner?” and should they get one.  We’re happy to help!  Firstly a sleeping bag liner is exactly what it sounds like a liner that you put inside a sleeping bag, they are often made of silk or fleece.  There are several reasons you would want a sleeping bag liner.

1 – Extending the life of your Sleeping Bag

If you have a mid range or premium sleeping bag you’ll know the washing instructions say that each time you wash it, you limit the life of the sleeping bag as the fill is and fabric of the sleeping bag is delicate.  So by using a sleeping bag liner within your sleeping bag you can wash the liner regularly but you won’t have to wash the sleeping bag as often, hence prolonging the life of the sleeping bag.  Also if you’re camping for an extended period it is a hassle to wash the whole sleeping bag as they are thick, heavy and take a long time to dry, whereas the liner will protect the bag and be quick to was and dry.

2 – Keep you warm

Fleece liners can provide extra warmth on those cold nights.  Some can even add 25°F of warmth to a sleeping bag!  Just watch out though as some fleece liners can be quite bulky.

3 – Keep you cool and even save you money

As well as keeping you warm they can also keep you cool too!  If your camping in a hot Summer you might not want your thick 3 season sleeping bag so just a liner would be perfect, or if you stay in Hostels you may find yourself being charged for sheets and not allowed to use a sleeping bag, but a liner should be ok.

So there you have it, 3 uses for a sleeping bag liner.  If your serious about preserving the life of your Sleeping Bag or want the extra warmth a sleeping bag liner is a must have item.

If you have a camping question, or just something to share please get in touch – email hello@procamping.co.uk

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Sleeping

Therm-a-rest ProLite

The Thermarest Prolite is a must for anyone camping, when I was a young scout I survived with foam roll mats but these days I want something a little more comfortable and thats where the ProLite comes in.  The Prolite is designed for 3 season comfort and is a balance of minimal weight, pack size and performance.  Fully inflated its an inch thick.

Specifications

  • Self-inflating
  • Dimensions: 183 x 51 x 2.5cm
  • Stuff sack
  • 3 season use

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Sleeping

Rab Infinity 300 Sleeping Bag

The Rab Infinty 300 Sleeping Bag is a super-lightweight sleeping bag filled with high quality 850 fill European goose down and using very light Pertex Quantum GL fabrics.

The Infinity 300 is a very lightweight sleeping bag at just 656g offering very impressive weight to warmth ratios. Filled with 300g of high quality 850 fill power European goose down.  Aswell as being light the sleeping bag packs small with a pack size of 30 x 19 cm

An all new Trapezoidal vertical baffle system with Flowgate technology that has been uniquely customised for Rab is used to provide very efficient warmth and the best possible use for the 850 fill European goose down. The proportionally assigned differential cut means the down can loft to it’s full potential when removed from the stuff sac.  The superlight Pertex Quantum GL fabric allows the down to hug the body providing maximum levels of warmth and minimum ‘dead-space’ in the bag.

The Infinity 300 is an ideal sleeping bag from anyone who’s prioritys are maximum warmth and light weight, whether its backpacking, adventure racing, mountain marathons or more!

Specifications

    • Weight: 656g
    • Comfort Lower Limit -2°C
    • Pack size: 30 x 19cm
    • 850 Fill Power white goose down
    • Trapezoidal vertical baffle system
    • Proportionally assigned differential cut
    • Pertex® Quantum® shell & liner fabrics
    • Internal collar & hood drawcord
    • Compression stuff sack