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Field Report - Sierra Designs Osage Sleeping Bag - Andrew Priest

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  • Andrew Priest
    Dear Group Please find my Sierra Designs Osage Sleeping Bag Field Report below. The HTML copy can be found at
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2005
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      Dear Group

      Please find my Sierra Designs Osage Sleeping Bag Field Report below. The
      HTML copy can be found at
      <http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/Andrew%20-%20FR%20Sierra%20Designs%20Osage>.

      My apologies for the lateness.

      Regards
      Andrew Priest

      Sierra Designs Osage Sleeping Bag
      (Men's Regular)

      Field Report
      July 26, 2005

      Table of Contents
      * Information about Andrew, the tester and author of this report
      * Information about the Sierra Designs Osage Sleeping Bag
      * My experience using the Sierra Designs Osage Sleeping Bag in the field
      + Testing location overview
      + Weather conditions
      + Field Experience
      + Concluding comments

      Andrew Priest, Tester and Author of this Report
      Perth, Western Australia, Australia
      aushiker@...
      I am a 45 years old male, 180 cm (5' 11") in height, I weigh 106 kg (234
      lbs). I have been hiking in Western Australia for approximately five
      years. For the past four years I have been regularly walking leading on
      and off-track pack carries with the Perth Bushwalkers Club. I am also into
      geocaching. I consider myself as moving towards being a lightweight
      tent-carrying bushwalker with my pack base weight in the 8 to 12 kg (18 to
      26 lb) range. In 2003 I completed my End to End of the Bibbulmun Track. I
      have also thru-hiked the Cape to Cape Track, the Coastal Plains Walk Track
      (numerous times) and the Larapinta Trail (July 2005).
      [Click here to return to the top]

      Information about the Sierra Designs Osage Sleeping Bag

      Description, year of manufacturer and MSRP: The Sierra Designs Osage
      Sleeping Bag being tested is the men's regular size. It was received in May
      2005. A tag attached to the bag indicates it was manufactured in 2004. The
      manufacturer's suggested retail price at the time of writing is US$ 179.95.

      The bag is part of the Sierra Designs Adventure Series range, having
      Powerfill 600-Fill Goose Down insulation. The bag is a mummy design with a
      distinct footbox, goose down insulation with a 40D polyester shell and
      liner material and is rated at 2 C (35 F). The bag is described as having
      the following features:

      * Snag-Free zipper track (full length zipper on the left side);
      * Chest pocket;
      * Glow-in-the-Dark Zipper Pull;
      * Pad locks to attach the bag to one's sleeping mat;
      * Draft tube;
      * Tucked stitching.

      The bag was shipped with a stuff sack and a storage bag.

      Weights and Measurements:


      Measure Manufacturer's Stated Measurement My Measurement

      Trail Weight 1.13 kg (2 lb 8 oz) 1.19 kg (2 lb 10 oz)*
      Bag + Stuff Sack Not stated 1.25 kg (2 lb 12 oz)
      Fill Weight 454 g (16 oz) Not verified
      Inside length 2.02 m (79.5 ") Not verified
      Stuff size 20 cm x 46 cm (8" x 18") 20 cm x 41 cm (8" x 16")
      Shoulder girth 157 cm (62") Not verified
      Hip girth 145 cm (57") Not verified
      Footbox girth 109 cm (43") Not verified

      * I have assumed trail weight to be the bag itself, i.e., without the
      stuff sack.

      My experience using the Sierra Designs Osage Sleeping Bag in the field

      Testing Location Overview: The hiking environment of the south-west of
      Western Australia allows for hiking and backpacking from coastal plains to
      forest. Elevation ranges from 0 to 585 metres (0 to 1,920 feet). Within
      this region, I hike in varying conditions from forestry roads, to sandy
      tracks to single-purpose walking trails, to rock hopping, to beach walking
      to completely off-track walking through open and dense country.

      Specifically the sleeping bag has been used during the field testing phase
      on two walks in the south-west of Western Australia (four nights) and on
      the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia (16 nights).

      Weather Conditions: During the summer period, daytime temperatures average
      30° C (86° F), whereas from March through to December the daytime average
      temperatures range from 15° C to 26° C (59° F to 79° F). During the autumn,
      winter, and spring periods the normal weather pattern is fairly wet with
      frequent heavy rainstorms evident. It does not normally snow in Western
      Australia.

      According to The Times Atlas of the World (Concise Edition - Revised 1997)
      our weather is described as being "Mediterranean - rainy climates with mild
      winters, coolest month above 0° C (32° F), but below 18° C (64° F); warmest
      month above 10° C (50° F)." The atlas depicts the coastal area north of Los
      Angeles as having the same climate.

      The above describes the weather conditions common for the south-west of
      Western Australia. For the Larapinta Trail hike, I took temperature
      readings upon wake up in my tent on 12 mornings (lost my thermometer, so
      missed the final four nights). Wake up time was generally 1/2 hour to one
      hour before sunrise, but long before sun warmth. Nearly every campsite had
      a ridge to the east blocking the sun for extra hour to two after sunrise.
      My average temperature recording was 2 C (36 F).

      Testing strategy

      Over the next six months I will be undertaking number of scheduled weekend
      backpacks (one in May, June, August, September, and October) plus a 17
      night walk of the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory. In addition,
      subject to work commitments I am aiming to fit a few extra overnight camps
      during the six month test period. The backpacks are normally of a duration
      of one to two nights out. Camping is normally tent camping or in three
      sided shelters.

      The Larapinta Trail walk will allow me to use the bag over seventeen
      continuos nights in a tent in a area where the average mean minimum
      temperature is 4 C (39 F). This will be complimented with testing within
      the south-west of Western Australia where the average mean minimum
      temperature during the test period ranges from 4.5 C (40 F) to 7 C (45 F).
      My testing will include a combination of tent camping (warmer conditions)
      and three sided shelter conditions (colder conditions).

      My testing will primarily on testing the ability of the bag to retain and
      provide adequate warmth within its rated range in a range of conditions and
      weather. I will be using a silk liner and also a with the bag and will
      test the use of the bag with and without the liners. In addition I will
      also examine the:

      Field Experience

      My use of the sleeping bag was been with a silk liner (four nights) and on
      the Larapinta Trail I used a Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor liner every
      night.

      Overall I have had a good experience with the bag during the field testing
      phase. I have found it a tight fit around my shoulders, but not so tight as
      to be uncomfortable. I have found the bag when used with the Thermolite
      Reactor reasonably warm. Even on the Larapinta Trail I found I could
      comfortably sleep for most of the night without wearing boxer shorts, a
      thermal top, socks, and a beanie. Mind you because I tended to find the bag
      a bit constrictive around my shoulders I frequently woke up at nights
      finding myself partly out of the bag and getting cold. Snuggling back into
      soon brought the warmth back. I did on a few nights where thermal pants
      (long-johns) but really didn't find that they made much difference to my
      warmth.

      Whilst I do feel that I reached the bags limits in terms of temperature
      range when used in conjunction with the Thermolite Reactor liner which
      claims to add up to 8 C (14 F) of warmth I am happy with the bag's
      performance so far.

      In my Initial Report I referred to a number of factors that I would test or
      comment on over the test period. Those factors and my comments after two
      months testing are as follows:

      Functioning of the "Snag-Free Zipper Track," i.e., is it really snag free?
      Long and short answer is in my opinion probably not. I find the zipper
      snagging at times, but I did find that when in the bag and for example
      un-zipping for a "zipper run" during the night it seemed to function just
      fine, but when say zipping the bag up or unzipping for airing it would
      snag. Nothing serious mind you. I really don't believe that the zipper
      functions any better than other bags I have used.

      Functioning of the Pad Locks. As a restless sleeper I am sure I can put
      these to the test! I lasted about five minutes with the pad locks. I twist
      and turn when sleeping and with this bag being a snug fit, the bag comes
      with me. With the pad in the locks the pad was twisted and in the wrong
      place within minutes. After untangling myself the pad was removed from the
      locks and they have not been used since. Once this test is finished they
      will be removed. They just did not work for me.

      Functionality of the Glow-in-the-Dark Zipper Pulls - do they really glow in
      the dark, does this make them easier to find in the night, does it make
      exiting and entering the bag at night easier? I am starting to feel
      negative about this bag, but this was (it broke on the second nights sleep
      - pulled it a bit hard and it came apart) another gimmick in my view. I
      really couldn't see it easily at night and have used another one that I
      took of another sleeping bag. I find that I feel for the zipper so
      "glow-in-the-dark" is really not adding value.

      Functionality of the Chest Pocket. Is it really useful for me as a restless
      sleeper; will I be able to keep things in it; find those things during the
      night. My last "gimmick comment." I tried using the pocket one night, but
      found that as I twist and turn during the night, find the pocket was just
      not worth the effort. So this is another one of those "features" which for
      me add no value to the bag.

      General durability of the stitching, locking zippers, outer fabric and the
      down. I have used the bag for 20 nights and it is showing no signs of
      problems with the stitching, zippers, fabric or down. I have noticed some
      minor feather lost through some seams, but nothing of significance. Overall
      very happy with the durability of the bag so far.

      Effectiveness of the draft tube in keeping warmth in and drafts out. It
      works from my experience. I never became aware of any drafts via the zip
      area during my testing so far. Very happy with the effectiveness of the tube.

      Durability and effectiveness of the baffle construction. Do the baffles
      break loose? Do they keep in the down in place? No sign of problems with
      the baffles or movement of down so far. As previously indicated I am very
      happy with the bag's durability.

      Compressibility and lofting of the bag, particularly over 16 days of
      continuos use. When I get to my camping spot for the night, I immediately
      set about setting up camp. This includes putting my tent up and where
      possible airing out my sleeping bag. I never had any issues with the bag
      not lofting quickly and lofting back to normal state. The bag has in my
      opinion had no problems with being used continuously over 16 days.

      Effectiveness of the shell material to repel condensation and moisture. On
      the Larapinta Trail I used my Missing Link tent which is vulnerable to
      condensation and the Larapinta Trail was working over time on the
      condensation production, so the bag was exposed to condensation on most
      nights. I tended to sleep in the middle of the tent which kept me away from
      the walls, however some nights I was less than successful and the bag was
      brushed up against the tent walls. It did get noticeably wet on the
      outside, but the moisture did not get to the inside of bag. I am pretty
      happy with the effectiveness of the shell material.

      Veracity of the claims of the shell material being quick
      drying. Related to the previous comment, when the outside of the bag
      got it wet, it was easy to dry. Just leaving it outside had it dry in no
      time. All up I am happy the quick drying of the shell material.

      Effectiveness of the liner material to wick moisture away from my body and
      to prevent static-build-up. I did not experience any static and did not
      notice any moisture inside the bag, so I assume this aspect was working
      effectively.

      Thanks to Sierra Designs and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to
      participate in this test.
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