Did I mention I over ordered a tiny bit? When I get my research head on I just won’t let go. Also of course it benefits you!
When I found the Gelert X-treme range I ordered – and promptly returned – the 800 version for weighing a lot more than the advertised 800 grams. What I didn’t tell you was that I also ordered the 600. The Gelert 600, when it arrived with no answer back from the seller on the weight issue, went straight on to the scales. I was having no more of this misleading weight stuff, so I weighed it first in its compression bag, a total of 626 grams! This seemed very promising. Turns out the bag itself weighed less than the stated 600g at 578g + compression bag 48, and compresses down to an insanely small size. I then checked the washing instructions, in very small print on a tag in the very bottom of the bag, and hurrah! it can be machine washed (warm, not hot) and tumble dried! My only problem with this bag is that the zip is very short and would require quite a bit of top bunk shimmying to get out of to get up in the night. In a bottom bunk I could just stand up and let it fall down (onto the floor, not ideal but doable). The bottom bit is also very narrow and I suspect can feel a bit restrictive. (It went back.)
Still not feeling the love for a synthetic sleeping bag and not too sure about narrow and restrictive leg room I looked on Ebay, as you do, and bagged a very lightly used Snugpak Traveller/Travelpak, the red twin of the khaki or black Jungle bag, with the rectangular shape that can be opened up as a quilt. The stated weight on the website is 850 grams, which is not too bad for a comfort rating of 7C and a limit of 2C. Straight on the scales it went. Good news of the day: I was expecting about 900g all in, but it stopped firm at 837g, minus compression bag at 75g leaves the actual weight of the bag 762g, making it lighter than stated – winner! Next to the washing instructions – safe to wash at 40C and can be tumble dried. Another plus. It is also very roomy, easy to get into and out of, can be turned into a quilt, has a zipped inside pocket instead of a velcro one and bug mesh to keep insects out of your bag when you are in it as well as when you’re not (it rolls away when not needed). Some reviews suggest it is not great at the low 7C temperature but I won’t be using it for that kind of temperature anyway.
However I have found my synthetic Camino bag, a Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45, the lighter version of my Lamina 35, which is very comfortable and handles damp very well. It weighs 710g and has a comfort temperature rating of 9C, and I jumped at the chance when I found it on Ebay at half price. This will make a great Camino bag – there are lighter ones out there, there are warmer ones too, and smaller, but to me this one ticks all the main boxes. I have given it a wash and hung it out to dry to get that lovely fresh air smell, put a pair of ear plugs in the inside pocket and I am ready!
Update to add: After clearing up the washing instruction conundrum regarding the centre zip Highlander bag and giving it two washes, I decided it is too rustly and staticky for me and I will be moving it on. I kept the Travelpak and lent it to my Camino buddy for our April walk, effectively testing it in albergue conditions – which were very, very cold and we both needed three blankets to get through the night. Then again we were in a cold stone room where the door was left open so not the bag’s fault.
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