Last week I booked a long weekend off work to enjoy a camping trip with my wife in Snowdonia, Wales.
Incidentally, up the road from us en route to Wales happens to be the HQ for Rab – whereby we pulled over and paid them a visit.
Here, I picked up two new toys to have a play with out on the hills.
The first, a Rab Neutrino 400. As many of you know, for warmth to weight ratio – you just can’t beat down insulation.
Rab use only the best down feathers for their bags and it shows – they are extremely light, pack down very small and the loft is quite simply incredible.
For example, you can flatten this down bag to nothing – yet take your hand or weight away and it quickly floats back up.
I shall not go too in-depth about this particular bag for now but what I can say is that I was absolutely roasting on it’s first night’s use. The bag was comfortable – not too tight or too wide – the zip didn’t snag and so on.
Excellent. On initial use a superb 3 season down bag.
Secondly, I picked up a Rab Assault Bivvi. I’ve not tried this out yet – but will do soon. I’m indifferent to bivvi’s in the main simply because my Laser Competition tent weigh’s less and packs smaller than most – with the added benefit of more room, a porch and so on.
But there’s something appealing about spending a night under the stars with nothing enveloping you and your senses.
However, bivvi’s can be notorious for condensation – especially with the UK’s maritime climate – never mind the rain we can get out the blue for prolonged periods and temperature fluctuations.
Not wanting to potentially ruin a new and expensive down bag, I was fortunate enough to purchase a lightweight synthetic sleeping bag in Betws-Y-Coed, Wales.
I managed to get hold of a Mountain Hardwear Lamina 45 for £50 in a clearance sale!!
Synthetic bags maybe bulky, heavy and not have as good a shelf-life as down bags – but if you get them wet or damp – they are still effective at retaining warmth for the user during and after use. As opposed to down bags, of course which are duly ruined.
All said and done, this synthetic sleeping bag has a comfort rating of 6 degree’s centigrade and weighs just under 800g’s. About the same as my new Rab Neutrino but not as potentially warm.
So, this bag would make a brilliant choice to use with a bivvi one summer’s night in the UK.
All in all a bloody good weekend for me with gear – it’s just a shame that the good weather didn’t last for all of my weekend in Snowdonia. It started off so well with blue skies and sunshine but after a couple of days it turned into a monsoon!