Thursday, May 06, 2010

Gear Box: GoLite Adrenaline 4-Season Mummy Bag


Let’s face it. When you head out on an extended backcountry trip, there are three pieces of gear that are essential to your comfort. You need a good, comfortable pair of boots, a good, comfortable pack, and a proper sleeping bag to help you sleep comfortably at night.

While preparing for my recent trip to the Himalaya, I knew I had the first two items more than covered, but I was a bit concerned about the sleeping bag. My guide service recommended that I bring a four-season bag in order to stay warm at altitude, and even though we would be staying in Nepali teahouses, I was keenly aware that they were unheated and could get quite cold over night.

Luckily for me the good folks over at GoLite offered to let me try out their Adrenaline 4-Season Mummy Bag on my trek to Everest Base Camp. As a long time fan of GoLite gear, and their eco-sensitive approach to manufacturing their products, I jumped at the chance to put their bag though its paces, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed by the results.

The 4-Season Adrenaline uses 800+ Goose Down fill inside a 100% recycled polyester and ripstop shell that is both water proof and breathable. Strip away the marketing speak, and that means you’ll stay warm and dry in a variety of conditions. Rated down to 0º F, the Adrenaline weighs just 3.3 pounds, making it one of the most lightweight and efficient sleeping bags from any manufacturer. Throw in the fact that it stuffs down to a very small size, especially for a zero degree bag, and you have the perfect sleep system for cold weather camping, hiking, and backpacking.

In real world performance, this bag more than met my expectations. While it never quite reached 0º inside the teahouses we stayed in, it did routinely drop into the 20’s and even the teens at the higher altitude. And while most of my travel companions scrambled for extra blankets to augment their inferior sleeping bags, I happily slept cuddled up inside my warm and toasty GoLite. In fact, I was so warm, that I never even needed to sleep in my thermals base layers, electing to crawl in each night in just my skivvies.

Unlike most sleeping bags, the Adrenaline has a single zipper along the front. As someone who generally sleeps on his back, I appreciated this placement, as it made it easy for me to adjust the zipper throughout the night to help regulate temperature while sleeping. There were times however when I wished the bag had venting zippers along the side that would have allowed more air in around my legs and feet. The Adrenaline is plenty warm, which is obviously one of its strengths, but when you’re too warm, it’s nice to have extra options to help vent.

Other than the lack of venting options, I did manage to break the drawstrings on the Adrenaline’s included stuff sack the first time I tried to use it, but I was able to improvise and make do for the length of the trip. But aside from that, I have nothing but good things to say about this bag. It is warm and comfortable, lightweight, and packs down very small in size for when you need to toss it in your backpack. Furthermore, I’m very impressed with the overall quality of the product. After two weeks of use, it looks exactly the same now as when I first took it out of the box, with no indication that it had been dragged halfway around the world, and used up and down the Khumbu Valley.

If you’re in need of a 4-season bag that offers plenty of warmth without adding much weight to your pack, then the GoLite Adrenaline is the perfect bag for you. It is definitely a welcome addition to my gear closet, and something tells me we’ll be spending a lot of nights together in the future. (MSRP: $500)

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