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Reviews > Clothing > Childrens Clothing > Lands End Down Bunting > Owner Review by Colleen Porter

Owner Review
Land's End Infant/Toddler Down Bunting

September 19, 2005

Reviewer Information
Name: Colleen Porter
Gender: Female
Age: 30
Height: 5'8" (1.73 m)
Weight: 140 lbs/64 kg
Email address: tarbubble at yahoo dot com
Location: Orange County, CA

Backpacking Background:  I’ve been backpacking for 10 years, usually with my husband & three-year-old son.  Having children forced us to go ultralight, and now on my own my 3-season base weight hovers around 13 pounds.  On family trips the weight usually doubles. I just had my second child in June of this year and he is now 3 months old, plenty old enough to start backpacking.  My typical haunts are the mountains of southern California, the Sierra Nevada, the Grand Canyon, plus the Mojave and Colorado deserts.  Yup, gotta carry a lot of water sometimes. 
my son in the bunting
Spaceman or Elton John?  Paul in the discount color "coral red."  Photo by Tone Garot.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Land's End
Year Manufactured: 2003, 2004
MSRP: $59.50 US
Listed Weight: n/a
Tested Weight: 1 pound 2.7 ounces/0.53 kilograms (24-month size, the largest offered)
Description: A full-body, sewn-through, 650-fill-power down-filled polyester suit for infants and toddlers.  The ends of the legs and sleeves can fold over to fully enclose the hands and feet of the child.  There is an elastic-rimmed hood and a single-separating zipper which runs the length of the suit from the left foot to the neck.  They are offered in sizes from 0 to 24 months.  The bunting is not marketed as a backpacking item, but I have been using these as backpacking sleep suits for my son for over two years now.

Field Information:  The buntings have been used at elevations ranging from sea level to 9700 feet/2957 meters.  Overnight temperatures have ranged from darned cold (around or below freezing) to around 50 F/10 C.  Weather has mostly been dry, but we've had downpours on a few nights.  Locations have been in California and Arizona and have included the Sierra Nevada, San Gabriel Mountains, the Mojave & Colorado deserts and Grand Canyon National Park.  My son has probably spent over thirty nights sleeping in one of these.

Review:  There is precious little outdoor gear on the market for kids, and for kids under age 5 there is pretty much nothing but vinyl rain suits and fleece, although I am seeing signs that kids gear is beginning to become more prevalent.  So we backpacking parents have had to craft gear on our own or look beyond the backpacking market for unexpected solutions.  In July 2003, a week before we were scheduled to start the John Muir Trail with our then 16-month-old son, I found the Land's End Down Bunting in a clearance catalog.  We had tried quite a few ideas for our Paul's sleeping arrangements - he wiggled out of baby sleep sacks, fleece suits didn't seem warm enough and also took up way too much space in a backpack, and zipping him into an adult-size down jacket didn't work well, either.  This suit looked like the answer to the problem, so we ordered it.

We liked it right off the bat. The polyester fabric is soft and soothing, and the suit just felt cozy in our hands.  We had ordered the 18-month size, to give a little growing room, and found that the sizing was quite generous.  But even so, the suit fit well enough and compressed down small enough that we decided it would replace the fleece suit in our kit.  Since that trip, we have never been without one of the down buntings for Paul to sleep in on our backpacking trips.

Even though the construction is sewn-through, not baffled, it seems to keep Paul comfortable on all but the coldest nights.  When the temperature gets too chilly, I drape a jacket over him as well.  He has never complained of cold while wearing the bunting, although when he was much younger of course he wouldn't have been able to tell us that.  One of the best things about this being a suit and not a bag is that we can dress Paul in it and then let him play in camp until he is so tired he goes to sleep.  We don't have to then stuff a sleeping child into a bag and risk waking him up and starting the sort of awful chaos that goes with waking up a tired, grumpy toddler.  He can also wake up on a chilly morning and not have to stay huddled inside of a sleeping bag to stay warm.  In very cold weather, a child could wear this suit while riding in a child carrier backpack, but the bunting should NOT be worn in the rain.  It is not waterproof or even water-resistant.

The hood is insulated as well, and has elastic around the face - another nice feature because once it's on it tends to stay on, unlike the hood in my sleeping bag which my head never seems to stay inside of.  There is a draft flap behind the full-body zipper, although I do not believe it is filled with down.  The fold-over cuffs at the wrists and ankles are great, too, although the suit is sized so generously that Paul's arms and legs grew too long for the flaps before his body grew too large for the suit.  We attempted to solve this with fleece socks and mittens, but find me a three-year-old that wants to keep mittens on while he plays in camp!  We learned to put those on after he fell asleep.

The suit isn't dirt-proof, and the light yellow 24-month size one we bought (once Paul grew out of the "coral red" 18-month size) retained some dirt stains even after washing it at home, but since it only gets used backpacking I couldn't care less about stains.  The suit can be washed and dried at home without any worry of damaging it.  Paul hasn't managed to rip or tear them.  We used the 18-month sized one for about 10 months, then bought the next size up (24 months) and have been using that one for about 17 months.  They have held up very well and have lots of use left in them.

At thirty-nine inches (99 cm) tall, Paul is finally too tall to wear the 24-month size comfortably any more - his torso is too long for it.  As this is the largest size that Land's End offers, I'm going to have to go on the hunt for a new answer to the sleeping question, but the Land's End Down Buntings have been a fantastic solution for us and we plan on using them for our new child as well.  I highly recommend them to backpacking parents looking to take their wee ones out into the wilds.

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Reviews > Clothing > Childrens Clothing > Lands End Down Bunting > Owner Review by Colleen Porter

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