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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Coleman Klickitat X40 Sleeping Bag > Test Report by Tim Tessier

COLEMAN KLICKITAT X40L SLEEPING BAG
TEST SERIES BY TIM TESSIER
INITIAL REPORT
July 04, 2007

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Tim Tessier
EMAIL: timothy_tessier@yahoo.com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Greensboro North Carolina
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
WEIGHT: 221 lb (100.00 kg)

Backpacking Background: I hiked as a child with my father and started hiking with my now 16 year old son 8 years ago. We now routinely take 20 mile weekend hikes (2 nights) approximately once a month year round. Additionally, we take one, 5 - 7 day extended trip each summer. Most of our hiking is done in North Carolina, southern Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. We go regardless of weather so we have experience in all types of conditions. We do not tend to travel very light, my typical pack weight is 25 lb (11.3 kg) exclusive of food.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: The Coleman Company Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.coleman.com
MSRP: US$129.99
Listed Weight: 2 lbs 3 oz (992 g)
Measured Weight: 2 lbs 3 oz (992 g) including 3 oz (85 g) stuff sack
Other details:

The Coleman Klickitat X40L mummy style bag is designed for use in temperatures down to 40 F (4 C). It's key specifications are as follows:

Length: 88" (223 cm)
Width: 32" (81 cm)
Carrying size inside stuff sack (included): 14" (35 cm) and approx. 8" (20 cm) in diameter.
Insulation: 14.8 oz (420 g) Climashield XP continuous filament fiber.
Outer Shell: 260T, 44D Tactel Nylon Ripstop offers wind and water resistance
Inner Shell: 278T, 40D Nylon Taffeta, treated with an anti-microbial agent to inhibit the growth of odor causing bacteria.

IMAGE 2
My son settled in

There is a 3" draft tube that runs the length of the zipper vertically. There is also a draft tube that runs horizontally around the shoulders that can be tightened with a draw string. This arrangement allows you to tighten the bag around the shoulders to trap warm air down around the torso. There is also a draw string around the hood allowing it to be pulled down tight. This system, which Coleman calls the Which One draw cords, gives me a great degree of flexibility in how snug to make the bag. I can tighten the bag around my shoulders, around my head, neither, or both.

The Klickitat is white on top, grey on the bottom, and a pleasant lime green on the inside. The draft tubes are also gray, using the same fabric as the outer shell. The bag features a three-quarter length, left-hand zipper. On the enclosed tag Coleman states that it can be ordered with a right-hand zipper so that two bags could be zipped together.
IMAGE 1
The bag in its stuff sack

The stuff sack that is included is a black nylon(?) bag with a draw string on one end. It has two web straps with adjustable buckles that reach from the bottom of the sack, cross at the top, then return to the bottom of the strap. A web strap is also placed horizontally around the top of the bag and is sewn in such a way as to hold the vertical straps in place. The stuff sack also has a nylon strap affixed to the bottom for use as a carry strap.

The tag hanging on the bag when I received it from Coleman also states that the package includes a cloth storage sack but I did not receive that in my package. However, due to the small size and weight of this bag a pillowcase will easily serve the purpose.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Klickitat came to me in a simple plastic bag. The bag was packed in its stuff sack and had several tags hanging on the zipper pull which detailed materials, and care instructions. The attached tag referenced a cloth storage sack which was not included. On the end of the stuff sack there is a label on the strap that has the product logo as well as the dimensions of the bag.

When I received it I pulled it out of the shipping box and tossed it to my son. He caught it and looked at me wide-eyed. "This thing is not light," he says, "it has negative gravity!" I have to agree with him. The first impression is wonderment as to how small and light this product is. However, a plastic grocery sack is light, that doesn't mean it would make an adequate or useful sleeping bag. So, I rolled the bag out in the floor, and carefully examined it. The stitching looks great. Very uniform with no pulls or poorly stitched baffles. The fabric is supple and smooth, and seems to be a very tight weave.

IMAGE 3
The draft tube


Next I crawled inside the sleeping bag. The zipper works smoothly and I had no problem with the draft tube getting caught in the zipper. There is a draft tube running horizontally around the shoulders with a drawstring. At first I was not down far enough in the bag, but I scrunched down a little more so I could draw this tight around me. I then drew the hood tight and realized very quickly that this bag, no matter how light this bag was to carry, it was the real deal. I look forward to testing this bags capabilities in cooler weather.

TRYING IT OUT

As of this writing the Klickitat is in the sleeping bag compartment of my pack and is loaded in the back of my car. At 7:00 am it heads for West Virginia for a three day two-night trip in the Dolly Sods Wilderness. I am looking forward to this being the first of many trials it receives. In the southern US where I live I can use a 40 degree bag deep into the fall, depending on the weekend.

My first impression is one of incredibly light weight and a very functional bag. I will throughly test this over the next four months.

TESTING STRATEGY

It is my intention to use this bag in as wide a variety of circumstances as possible. Coleman advertises the bag to be wind and water resistant. I will make an absolute point of testing every aspect of this. My son and I will go to three sided Appalachian Trail shelters on rainy/foggy weekends. I will sleep outside "under the stars" to be sure that it will not wick moisture on a night of heavy dew. I'm sure I'll have several rainy nights in order to test its continuing insulating capabilities regardless of the weather outdoors. Additonally, we will experience cooler nights at elevation in the Smokies and cool fall evenings later in the test series.

I will also launder the bag, at least twice, to test its ability to stand up to the laundromat. Naturally, being carried a few hundred miles and spending every night with a dirty hiker dude inside will test the "anti-microbial" properties of this product to the limit.

In short, I'll do everything I can to assure myself that this is a real 40 degree sleeping bag, not a lightweight cloth sack with a zipper.

SUMMARY

I am very excited about this product. While my first impressions are uniformly positive I look forward to the chance to put it through it's paces in the real world.

Check this space in two months for a more complete report.

Field Report - September 23, 2007

To date I have used the Klickitat 8 nights since I posted my Initial Report. These trips have included 2 nights in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia, 4 nights car camping in the Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and 2 nights in the Shining Rock Wilderness in western North Carolina. These trips have produced a good variety of weather conditions, as would be expected in this area.

My first night ever in this sleeping bag we were encamped in a spruce grove in the Dolly Sods Wilderness. That night, after we had climbed in the tent to play cards a massive thunderstorm rolled in with plenty of heavy rain. After about an hour of this the tent seams began to leak. Also, due to the rain the temperature dropped to around 55 F (13 C). The bag exhibited its water repellant properties as well as a snug feeling that night as I remained warm and dry throughout a cool, damp night. The bag was completely damp on the outside but I was thoroughly dry on the inside. The insulating material appeared to be completely dry as it did not lose any of its loft or insulating properties.

While camping in the Smoky Mountains the weather was variable but tended to be warm and humid in the evenings. At night it was between 65 F (36 C) and 70 F (39 C). Most nights I would simply lie down on the open sleeping bag and sort of wrap it around me without zipping it at all. This was a pleasant way to spend a night in the woods and provided a comfortable cover.

During our trip to Shining Rock we spent the first night at 5,800 ft (1,768 m) and the temperature was a cool 50 F (10 C). I zipped it all the way up, drawing the baffle tight around my shoulders. I did not pull the hood tight and slept comfortably wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. The second night it was somewhat warmer and, again, I simply wrapped the bag around me. Due to the Which-One draw string system I was able to accomplish this in the dark with no problem. With this system the push-button catch for the chest baffle slides up and down on the string. The one for the hood is affixed to the bag and the string slides in and out.

I have found this bag to be quite comfortable to sleep in. I sleep on my side and tend to toss and turn in the night. The bag remained comfortable and did not restrict my movement, even when zipped all the way up to my chest.

The anti-microbial properties touted in the literature on this product seem to be working. I have spent a number of nights in it already and there is no discernable odor to report. I have not yet had a reason to wash it in a washer, though I would have expected to by now. I will do so, whether it needs it or not, prior to filing my long term report in November.

The small size and light weight of this sleeping bag are, in my experience, truly a breakthrough. The bag is very light and stuffs into a very compact size. It packs so small in fact that I have experimented with carrying the sleeping bag in the main compartment of my pack, and carrying my tent in the sleeping bag compartment. This has had mixed results but I believe it will actually be an improvement with some minor changes in the way I roll the tent etc.

The stuff sack has two web compression straps that cross at the top and bottom. This system compresses the bag very well. It is somewhat cumbersome to get the bag in and out of the sack around the straps, unless you completely undo them. Then you have to re-do the buckles. This is not really an optimal solution, but is a minor annoyance.

Summary

This bag truly is impressive. It has delivered on every promise made on the website or in the literature. Though I have not yet had an opportunity to test the bag to it's rated temperature I have found it to be warm and comfortable so far, even for a cold sleeper like me. It has proven to be water-repellant so far, and the anti-microbial treatment in the fabric is making a noticeable difference in the odor of the bag as well. The draw string system works extremely well and is easy to adjust, even in the dark.

I want to extend my thanks to both Coleman and BGT for the opportunity to test this outstanding product.

So far, I'm very pleased with this product. I will continue to use it through the fall and will post a long-term report in November.

Things I like:
1. Small size and light weight.
2. Water repellent and anti-microbial fabric performs both functions as advertised.
3. I have used the bag down to 50 F (28 C) so far and have slept warm and comfortably.

Things I don't like:
1. It's slightly cumbersome to get in and out of its stuff sack.

Long Term Report - November 25, 2007

I have continued to use the Klickitat throughout the late summer and fall months. I have used it several more nights, including Appalachian Trail trips near Roan Mountain in Tennessee and in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Virginia.

On the trip to Roan Mountain we got into camp on Friday night to gusty wind and fog. The temperature was approximately 50 F (10 C). Given the weather conditions we turned in early and my son and I sat in the tent for quite a while playing cards. I kept the bag wrapped around my legs and it was quite comfortable. I slept in a pair of boxer shorts and a t-shirt with the chest baffle pulled up tight and the hood open. I was quite comfortable. Notably, the single-wall tent became quite damp inside from the wind-driven fog. The sleeping bag became quite damp on the outside, but remained cozy and warm on the inside.

The trip to Mount Rogers in November finally provided an opportunity to test the temperature rating of this sleeping bag to its limit (and then some). As we were preparing to go I looked at the weather forecast, lows around freezing and wind, and asked myself, "Do I really want to be out in that with a summer weight bag?" Also, when I take into account that I'm a cold sleeper I was prepared for a long, cold night. As we prepared to turn in for the night I checked the thermometer.

The reading on the small analog thermometer that hangs on my son's pack was 34 F (1 C). I took precautions and employed a couple of techniques that I have used before for sleeping warm. First, I pulled on a pair of fleece pants and a thermal underwear shirt. Then I pulled on a pair of soft wool socks that I carried specifically to sleep in. I then filled a Nalgene bottle with boiling water and pulled both of the wool socks I had worn that day over it. I then tossed this little heater into the bottom of my sleeping bag which accomplishes two things. First, it provides extra warmth in the sleeping bag. Second, it provides a pair of warm dry socks to put on in the morning.

I then crawled in my sleeping bag and pulled the chest baffle up tight. I pulled the hood down tight around my face. I then curled up on my side and went to sleep. I slept snug and warm throughout the night, even though the temperature was 30 F (-1C), well below the 40 F (4 C) rating for the bag, when I crawled out at 7:30 the next morning. This is a first in my experience as I am a cold sleeper by nature.

One incident happened during the night that exhibited one shortcoming of the bag. We were camped near a small backcountry dirt road. In the night I heard a person calling loudly outside our tent as if to get someone's attention. Obviously, I needed to get out of my sleeping bag to check this out, and wanted to do so as quickly as possible. The "Which One" drawstring system features two different drawstring fasteners. One (the chest baffle) simply slides up and down on the string. The other has the fastener attached to the bag (actually the hood) and stays in place while the string slides up and down inside it. This is great in theory, and works perfectly well when I am awake. However, when awakened in the middle of the night and trying to get out of the bag while half asleep and groggy I hated it. I pressed the button on the fastener with one hand but could not get the hood to open up fully so I could get out. This was the first time I had pulled the hood down snug and I would have given anything to simply be able to grab a push-button fastener, slide it down the drawstring and get it open. In the event of a fire or some other emergency I can definitely foresee where this could become a safety issue. As it turns out, in this case, a gentleman was simply trying to retrieve an errant hunting dog and there was no emergency.

As promised I have laundered this bag. I took it to the local laundromat and washed it in the big front load washer and dryer. The bag came out fine and showed no wear and tear from this experience. It should be noted that the anti-microbial properties touted in the literature are also evident. The bag has not picked up any discernible odor even though it is a summer weight bag and virtually every day it has been used I have been sweaty and smelly at the end of the day.

Final Summary

I am completely impressed with this outstanding product. The soft fabric and light weight make it ideal for summer hiking. Yet, the chest baffle and solid insulation make it also able to perform BETTER than it's rated temperature, even for a cold sleeper.

There is ample room in the long version for me and the foot box provides ample room for my size 11 feet. It seems to be very solidly constructed, showing no signs of wear and tear after 4 months of use and being washed at the laundromat. The anti-microbial property in the fabric seems to be effective. Most of all, the size and weight of this product when compared to the warmth and comfort it provides are nothing short of extraordinary.

I have a minor quibble with the draw string system, particularly when trying to loosen the hood. It's simply not intuitive to someone who was awakened suddenly in the middle of the night and is not really able to think clearly.

Despite that one quibble, I find this bag to be an excellent product and one I would heartily recommend to anyone who asked for a recommendation on a summer weight sleeping bag.

Again, I want to extend my thanks to Coleman and to BGT for the opportunity to test this outstanding product.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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