My Thoughts on the Expedition 1000 series Sleeping Bag by RAB
- For amateur enthusiasts like me , the thought of preparing for a medium size trek into winter regions can be quite mind boggling. What needs to be taken and what need not is one aspect of the entire picture but then there is also the fact as to which brand or model should be the item that one is carrying. By using the term “Brand” I am not implying making a fashion statement rather it means the capability of that item to perform the function that it is supposed to do .
- A few thoughts on “Sleeping Bags “before I come to what I use. We first need to understand that a right sleeping bag can make all the difference to a peaceful restful sleep while one is on the trek whether it is in wintery conditions or in the tropical forests. Please try to understand the following terms which are the Qualifying Criteria to selection of a sleeping bag:-
(a)Temperature Rating. One of the most important factor. The rating decides where the sleeping bag can be used and what temperature will be comfortable for you. A sleeping bag used for the tropics will definitely be different from the one used for Everest.
As can be seen the sleeping bags are across a wide range of temperature. Out here too there is two factors to remember. One is “Comfortable Rating” which as the name suggests implies the temperature limit which makes an individual to be comfortable. The other is “Survival rating”, which simply stated is the temperature limit at which the sleeping bag will keep you alive as the temperature falls lower and lower.
(b) Season Ratings. This implies the following:-
|Season||Perfect for…||Temperature Range|
|Season One||Summer camping where weather is mild. Indoor use.||+5 degrees|
|Season Two||The late spring to early autumn temperatures.||+0 degrees|
|Season Three||Autumn/Winter. Mild to cold nights, without frost but feeling chilly.||0 to -5 degrees|
|Season Four||Cold winter nights where it may even be frost/snow.||–12 and lower to +8 degrees|
(c) Down. This term implies the fine under feathers from ducks or geese. This is the best option for high altitude treks. Alternate to this is synthetic insulation made from poly fibres. Either Down or synthetic, these are used to fill the sleeping bag and it is this material that gives you the warmth that is needed. Hence this factor needs careful consideration while opting for a sleeping bag.
|Excellent heat retention||Loses heat insulation ability when wet|
|Lightweight- better warmth to weight ratio||Takes a long time to dry out when wet|
|Wider comfort temperature range- making it suitable for cold and warm temperatures||More expensive|
|Long lifespan if looked after||Requires special cleaning|
|Easier to compress and packs small|
|Retains insulation when damp/wet||Does not retain heat as well as down|
|Cheaper than down||Bulkier and heavier|
|Easier to clean|
|Shorter life span|
(d) Shape & weight. There are two main shapes either Rectangular or Mummy shaped. Mummy shaped is preferable for higher altitude as it tapers at the legs and also covers the head thereby ensuring that the heat remains trapped. The weight is also important especially as the sleeping bag has to be fitted inside the backpack and carried on the back.
- Now that I have spoken a bit on the key qualifying factors I would like to speak on my choice of high altitude sleeping bag. It took me a lot of heart burn to decide on what to pick once I had decided on the qualifying factors. Now came the choice of Brands out of which to select one. The options were from North Face, Western Mountaineering. RAB, Quechua, Patagonia. Out here the factors came down to pricing and availability. Many of them were too pricey as well as not available in India. The nearest place that they were available were in Nepal J . So finally I made my choice with RAB and picked the Expedition 1000 series from RAB.
- A few words on the RAB Expedition 1000 series. These are the warmest in the entire RAB range and are designed for use on expedition to 8000 m peaks and Polar Regions. The key technical features are :
- High quality 850 FP European goose down
- Temperature rating of -30 deg
- Water resistant linings
- Mummy shaped
- Face baffle along with hood for the face and head
- Designed to hold the warmth inside with use of internal baffle compartments.
- Superior quality of zipper and stitching
- Weighting 1625 g
- I used this bag in my recent trip to Nandikund at the onset of the winter in the Garhwal Himalaya and this bag made all the difference between having a good night’s sleep or shivering and waiting through the icy darkness for the sun to come up. Definitely a great pick as far as I am concerned. I am glad I did not go for the Quechua series which are rated for -10 deg , somehow if I keep this one next to it this will beat it hands down in all the sections.
- The Cons out here are primarily two , one is that is on the heavier side when compared to few other products and also it is pricey when compared to sleeping bags available in the Indian Market esp. those from Quechua or Rock fort or some similar brands. But believe me money is the last thing on the mind when one is shivering like a drowned squirrel in the icy dark hours of the night waiting for the sun to come out.
- I also procured another less temperature rating Sleeping Bag from a local company based in Delhi known as “Zanskar Expeditions”. The sleeping bag is well made and durable but I would use it only for treks in the high altitude regions during summer but for the winter it is RAB that I would turn to. So I hope this small write up helped you to decide what you would like to procure once you decided to trek and explore nature in her element.