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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Eureka Bero sleeping bag > Test Report by joe schaffer

Eureka Bero Sleeping Bag
Initial Report
by Joe Schaffer

June 24, 2015

TESTER INFORMATION:
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 67
GENDER: Male
HEIGHT: 5'9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
HOME:  Hayward, California USA

   I frequent California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; often solo. Weight matters, but more important is clothing, shelter and sleeping gear adequate to the task of maintaining comfort in all reasonably anticipated circumstances. Summer trips last typically a week to 10 days; 40 lbs (18 kg), about half food related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000' to 7,000' (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lbs (23 kg); 1 to 4 miles (1.6 to 6.4 km) on snowshoes. Eureka Bero Sleeping Bag

The Product:
        Manufacturer: Johnson Outdoors Gear, Inc
        Web site: www.Eurekatent.com
        Product: Bero 30 / -1 sleeping bag
        Received: 6/20/15

MSRP: $119.90 US

My measures: Men's Regular
    weight: 2 lb 11 1/2 oz (1.23 kg)
    length: 80 in (2.03 m)
    width: (at shoulder) 31 in (79 cm)
    width: (at foot end) 16 in (41 cm)
    loft: about 3 1/2 in (9 cm)
    stuff sack: 7 x 14 in (18 x 36 cm)
    stuff sack weight: 3 1/8 oz (89 g)

Factory Measures:
    weight: 2 lb 14 oz (1.30 kg)
    length: 78 in (2 m)
    width: (at shoulder) 33 in (84 cm)
    width: (at foot) 24 in (61 cm)
    stuff sack: 7.5 x 15 in (19 x 38 cm)
         

DESCRIPTION:
    Bero Sleeping bag openThis bag has synthetic shell and fill. The shell is blue on top, navy blue on bottom, and gray inside. The bag zips on the right to about 17 1/2 in (44 cm) from the bottom, with double pull to allow opening from the bottom while keeping the top zipped. The inside top has a pocket about 6 in (15 cm) wide x 7 1/2 in (19 cm ) deep, with a Velcro tab closure. Nine horizontal baffles about 7 1/2 in (19 cm) wide hold the fill in place. This bag has a hood with a separate round draw string for the hood closure and for the chest closure, held by a cordlock. A draft tube about 1 3/8 in (3.5 cm) surrounds the chest and hood, traveling the length of the top side of the zipper as well.  The zipper area of the draft tube has a heavy nylon strip 1 3/8 in (3.5 cm) wide running the length of each side of the zipper. A 4 x 1 1/2 in (10 x 4 cm) brand logo appears on the top side of the bag, about 12 in (30 cm) from the neck and 4 in (10 cm) from the left side. A second logo for the fill appears above the bottom end of the zipper, about 3 x 1 1/2 in (8 x 4 cm).

FIT: I find the bag rather roomy.Bero loft

COLOR:  The color appears conservatively appropriate to me. The bottom dark blue should hold a bit of dirt before looking so. The top blue is bright enough to look lively without screaming. The inner gray should wear well without immediately appearing smudgy.

HAND: Everything touchable is polyester and feels appropriately soft and appealingly warm. I don't know what (the mfr's reference to) "peached" means, but I'm thinking an inference of fuzziness. I don't have a better term to describe how the inner shell feels and can only say it feels less hard and slick than common nylon.

CARE INSTRUCTIONS: I find them brief, clear, concise and to my understanding, entirely correct. The washing instructions perhaps should advise against overzealous cleaning, but that determination is perhaps best left to the individual user. I prefer to take great care not to get the bag dirty in order that it not require frequent cleaning. The tag includes an admonishment not to leave the bag in the stuff sack for long periods of time.

CONTEXT:
    As a gear hound I go to painful rumination every trip to fine tune the sleeping bag choice to the precise conditions anticipated. I need enough room in the bag to pat myself on the back for choosing the right bag for that night; or to slap myself on the head for not thinking clearly enough to get it right. I don't want a bag that's any heavier than necessary; and my comfort quotient fails if I wake up cold or hot. This is the first synthetic-fill bag I'll have tried in about 10 years. I'm excited to try this bag to see if I sleep with less anxiety on a rainy night in my little-bit-leaky homemade single wall tent. Perhaps it will never rain again in California, but over the last 6 months there have been probably 10 nights that I think I would have rather had synthetic fill. I tend to grumble if I get cold, but I get outright nasty if I'm sweating in the bag. I eagerly anticipate testing the breathability of the bag and how well it (or perhaps I should say me in it) can handle a range of temps from probably 40 to 55 F (4-13 C).

IMPRESSIONS:
    I was immediately dismayed (though not very surprised) that it has been stuffed tightly since manufacture. From China to the retail shelf spans considerable time and I would prefer my bag not be constricted for the duration. (The delivery code is not a Julian date and I cannot otherwise cipher it.) I had several minutes to contemplate the sincerity of this preference as I struggled to extract the bag from the stuff sack. That feat finally accomplished, I tossed the stuff sack to the side, declaring it would never be of further use. However, rising to the ethic of responsible tester, I tortured the poor sleeping bag once more to be able to say from personal experience that it would not fit; and to my surprise I was able to punish the product back into its package. I won't again because smashing a bag up like a raccoon run over by an 18-wheeler is just not how I treat my stuff.
    I crawled into the bag and found it rather roomy compared to bags I routinely use. I did not feel at all prepared to mummify. Of course that leads to the next concern as to whether there is too much air space to heat up inside. Presumably the rating is valid, and I'll withhold any further remarks until I've been in the woods. I'd probably prefer the bag smaller and lighter as opposed to capacious and plus-kilo (over 2.2 lb).
    The bag seems to have gained about 1/2 in (13 mm) of loft in the few days that I've left it out of the stuff sack. It will be another week before I use it, and perhaps it will gain a bit more.


Field Report
September 17, 2015
CONDITIONS:
Jul 1 - 5: Carson Iceberg Wilderness, CA.  Four nights at 6,400 ft (1,950 m) in one camp; wearing 1 layer of clothing; temperature at 11pm 60-65 F (16-18 C) on an insulated air mattress in a small tent with one other person.
Jul 21 - 28: Emigrant Wilderness, CA. Seven nights at 7,000 - 8,000 ft ( 2,130 - 2,440 m) in 6 camps; 1 layer of clothing; 11pm temp about 50 F (10 C) in a solo tent on an insulated air mattress.
Jul 30 - Aug 5: Emigrant/Yosemite Wilderness, CA. Six nights at 6,800 - 8,000 ft (2,070 - 2,440 m) in 5 camps; 1 layer of clothing; 11pm temp about 50 F (10 C) on an insulated air mattress in a small tent with one other person.
Aug 17 - 23: Emigrant Wilderness, CA. Six nights at 7,600 - 8,900 ft (2,300 - 2,700m) in 5 camps; 1 layer of clothing; 11pm temp about 50 F (10 C) on an insulated air mattress in a small tent with one other person.
Aug 27 - Sep 3: Holy Cross Wilderness, CO, USA. Six nights at 10,200 - 11,800 ft (3,100 - 3,600 m) in 5 camps; base layer clothing; very damp air, sleeping temps 38 - 45 F (3 - 7 C) on an insulated air mattress solo in a small 2-person tent.


IMPRESSIONS:
  At temperatures 30 F (17 C) higher than the rating for many of the outings I would expect the bag to be way too warm and it mostly was. Most often I had it zipped open and laid out as a comforter. Often it was completely off me. Some of the time I had it over my mid-section. It breathed better than I expected as I woke up a number of times too hot, but still not sweaty. At temps below 40 F (4 C) I did zip up the bag and didn't feel too hot.

   Compared to the mummies I'm used to (and tend to prefer) this bag is huge. From about the hips up the unzipped bag will cover me and a partner with plenty to spare. She's always cold and welcomed the additional wrap. Zipped, I almost feel lost in all the room. I like the feel of the inner sheet--to the extent I could feel it through a layer of clothing. The outer shell is "harder" than I'm used to, and the fill is stiffer than I'm accustomed to, but neither lessened any feeling of comfort. The bag seems to settle around my body to hold in the heat.

    On July 21 I anticipated rain in my newly fashioned home-made tent and was not disappointed. I didn't have time to seam seal; and I thought I'd brave a summer shower in a synthetic bag that might get a bit wet. The single wall solo required mopping from the ceiling/walls twice during the night and the bottom end puddled. The end of the bag got quite wet from the condensation and puddled water. The inside of the bag was not yet wet, but I could feel the extra weight of the water so I know at least part of the fill was wet. I left the bag in the sun for a couple of hours and it dried almost completely. By the time I got in it that night it was completely dry. I will rue the extra weight of a synthetic bag compared to down, but I did enjoy having a dry bag to sleep in.

   I did not use the stuff sack until the Holy Cross trip, when I decided to torture the bag for the integrity of testing and as part of necessity to squeeze everything into two suitcases for the airplane ride. I stuffed the bag 8 times, finding the task requires a determined amount of cramming. I found it almost impossible to squish the bag enough to close the end flap completely under the opening. I see no need for the compression straps as the cord lock did keep the sack closed. It might be possible to smash the bag smaller with the compression straps, but I couldn't bring myself to try. The thumb loop on the bottom end of the sack makes extracting the stuffed bag very easy.

    I would prefer a larger stuff sack without compression straps.  I know the "factory roll" proves the bag was unused when I got it, but the difficulty of getting it out made me want to think of something nasty to say about the bag. I've gotten over that and so far after 29 nights in the bag my performance impressions of it are all positive.

Long Term Report
November 11, 2015
CONDITIONS:
Sep 18-25: Kaiser Wilderness, CA. Seven nights at 8,800 - 9,300 ft (2,680 - 2,830 m) in 5 camps; wearing 1 layer of clothing on an insulated all-air mattress in a small tent with one other person. Sleeping temps mid 40's F (7 C).

Oct 5-8: Emigrant Wilderness, CA. Three nights at 7,600-8,600 ft (2,300 - 2,600 m) in 3 camps; wearing 1-2 layers of clothing on a 1.5 in (3.8 cm) air/open cell mattress in a small tent solo. Sleeping temps mid 30's - 40's F (2 - 7 C).

Oct 20-27: Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, CA. Seven nights at 8,200 - 9,680 ft (2,500 - 2,950 m) in 7 camps; wearing 2 layers of clothing on a 1.5 in (3.8 cm) air/open cell mattress in a small tent with one other person. Sleeping temps just above freezing inside the tent.

Oct 30: Castle Rock State Park, CA. One night at 2,600 ft (800 m); wearing 1 layer of clothing on a 1.5 in (3.8 cm) air/open cell mattress in a solo tent. Sleeping temps around 50 F (10 C).

Total test nights: 47

Bag storage and (most) transport has been in a large pillow case. The bag's been stuffed in the factory sack 18 times and in a larger stuff sack 26 times.

IMPRESSIONS:
    I was never cold on the Kaiser trip and often had the bag over me as a comforter. The Emigrant trip gave me the first glimpse of this bag at the lower end of comfort. The first night of that trip was cool, and I started off at midnight in comforter mode, switching quickly to zipped up. After an hour or so of being unable to sleep I put on a second layer of everything and zipped up, which made things fine. The second night was colder and very damp, so I started off two layers of everything (no gloves), fully zipped and hood/chest drawn up to nothing but a breathing hole. I slept very comfortably. The third night was much warmer in only one layer of clothing.  I woke up hot at day break and had to unzip. The Dinkey trip I was in full wrap mode all night every night--two layers of clothes, gloves, Sherpa hat--with the hood and chest pulled up as snug as they would go, leaving just an air hole. I had no trouble sleeping, being never too warm or too cold. Castle Rock was so warm I spent much of the night with the bag partially over me.

    For me, the sweet spot on this bag seems to be right at 40 F (4 C). Above that I seem to want to unzip. By 45 F (7 C) I have to go to comforter mode and at 50 F (10 C) I'm just too hot to stay covered. Of course with nothing then I wake up cold; then too hot; then cold, etc. Below 40 F (4 C) I'm zipped up, and as temps drop I need the hood closed up and more clothes. I don't know at what point I'd be unable to stay warm enough to sleep, but I'm thinking sub-freezing inside the tent is no good for me in this bag. The sleeping range might expand, certainly on the lower side, if the bag shifted a bit of insulation to below the knee. Discriminating fill in a not-expensive bag may be unrealistic; and I don't doubt that the circumstance may be related to me not being at the younger end of the age spectrum, but I spend more time cold below the knees than I do hot above them.

    I'm not sure I like the stretch cord hood/chest tighteners. As they feel the same, which one I'm pulling is not immediately apparent, made even less so by the cord having so much stretch that nothing may happen until I jostle around. I'm grumpy when I'm cold and having to fiddle to get the breathing hole the right size brings out the cranky side. Probably the stretch helps mitigate yanks that might otherwise damage seams, but getting someone cranky is not the way to tease out their more tender movements. I think I'd prefer much less stretch; and one round pull and one flat pull.

    I used a larger stuff sack on half of the trips and was happier. Probably the bag is too. I must note, however, that for a synthetic bag of this rating, I think it will squish up impressively small.

    I haven't noticed any cold spots in the bag. I haven't had any more than an occasional zipper snag. I seem to fuss a bit to get the zipper restarted, which admittedly I'm most often trying to do half-asleep in the dark.

    Having been advised some time ago by a bag vendor that synthetic bags are good for about 100 nights before they flatten out, this bag is about half way there. It's no easier to squish up yet, so that would indicate the fill is maintaining attitude. Nothing has failed, though I have found two loose threads. I've also noticed the inside sheet evidently went awry in the sewing machine for about 1.5 in (4 cm) where a V-shaped series of needle holes suggests a fold got caught under the presser foot.

    Within the temperature range noted, I sleep very comfortably in this bag. I like how it feels. It seems to be holding up well. I've not noticed diminishment of insulation. I like that even wet it can still be slept in; that it dries quickly; and a new experience for me is waking up without any feathers at all floating about. I worry less about calamity in my little homemade solo single wall tent.

Quick shots:
    a) well-made
    b) comfortable
    c) bit heavy
    d) small stuff sack

Thank you Eureka and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.  This report concludes the test.



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