EUREKA KAYCEE 0 DEGREE SLEEPING BAG
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN HARTMAN
INITIAL REPORT - January 04, 2010
FIELD REPORT - March 22, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - May 16, 2010
5' 9" (1.75 m)
145 lb (65.80 kg)
I have been hiking and camping for over 20 years and enjoy backpacking solo and with my kids in Scouting. I especially enjoy fall and winter backpacking and camping. My backpack and gear are older and weigh 40+ lbs (18 kg). This has limited the distances I have been able to cover while hiking. My goal over the next several years is to replace my existing clothing and gear with more suitable and lighter weight alternatives.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.eurekatent.com
MSRP: US $149.90
Insulation Fill Weight: 3 lbs 6 oz (1.53 kg)
Listed Carrying Weight: 5 lbs 0 oz (2.25 kg)
Measured Carrying Weight: 5 lbs 2 oz (2.30 kg)
Size: Long / Left Side Zipper
Temperature Rating: 0 Degree F (-18 C)
Fabric: Outside - 210T polyester diamond ripstop shell. Inside - 210T polyester taffeta liner
Insulation Fill: Rteq™
Size 87" x 34" x 22" (221 cm x 86 cm x 56 cm)
The Eureka! Kaycee Sleeping Bag arrived at my house packaged in a very nice black compression stuff sack with draw cord opening and four grey compression straps running lengthwise around the stuff sack for compacting the sleeping bag. The stuff sack is made of coated polyester and measured approximately 18" x 11" (46 cm x 28 cm) with the sleeping bag inside. A fabric patch with the Eureka! logo and detailed sleeping bag specifications is sewn onto it. My initial impression was that the compressed sleeping bag was fairly heavy and large for backpacking. Upon removing the sleeping bag from its stuff sack, I immediately noticed the sturdy fabric that is used for the outer shell of the bag as well as the high loft insulation contained inside the sleeping bag. I inspected the bag for any loose threads, fabric snags, broken seams, etc and it does not appear to have any defects. The Eureka! Kaycee Sleeping Bag appears to be designed to very high quality standards and arrived in excellent condition. A hang tag described my bag as being long length (87" or 221 cm) with a left side zipper. This surprised me as I had requested a regular length (82" or 208 cm) bag and that is what was indicated on the packing slip. However, upon removing the sleeping bag from the stuff sack, I noticed a tag which was sewn on near the top of the zipper, confirming that it was the long version.
The outer shell is constructed of 210T polyester diamond ripstop fabric while the lining is made of 210T polyester taffeta. The shell feels tough as if it could take a lot of abuse while the lining is soft to the touch. According to Eureka!'s website, the synthetic insulation, called Rteq, "features four micro-hollow fibers suspended in a patterned array. These fibers are engineered to trap heat as efficiently as possible while also providing durability and compactness". I intend to validate these claims over the next four months of testing. A large #5, 2-way zipper runs approximately two thirds of the way down the bag, leaving the last 28" (71 cm) at the bottom of the bag fully enclosed. When the zipper is pulled all the way up, a flap of material with hook and loop closures can be folded over the zipper to prevent it from working open while asleep. Another nice feature, according to the hang tag, is that the zippers on Eureka! sleeping bags are compatible so that left and right sided sleeping bags can be mated together. An insulated draft tube extends along the entire length of the zipper opening to prevent cold air from entering through the zipper. Two additional draft tubes are located at the top of the sleeping bag between the head and torso area of the body.
There are two pockets and two loops on the Kaycee sleeping bag. The first pocket is an internal stash pocket, measuring 7" x 8" (18 cm x 20 cm) with hook and loop closure. I could see myself using this pocket to store a flashlight or an MP3 player. The second pocket is located behind the hood and is intended for keeping a camp pillow in place. This pocket measures 14" x 26" (35 cm x 66 cm). The two loops are sewn to the bottom of the sleeping bag at the toe box. These loops provide a method for hanging the sleeping bag during long term storage.
Finally, Eureka! has included a Trapezoidal Foot Box into the design of this sleeping bag. My experience with this feature is positive in that it creates a bit more vertical room in the foot area. I will report more on this feature after further testing.
The care instructions are printed on a tag which is sewn to the outside toe box of the sleeping bag. The instructions read as follows:
"Preferred Washing Method: Hand wash in warm water with mild soap or detergent. Rinse in warm water. Air dry by hanging over line. Alternate Washing Method: Use only commercial heavy duty front loading tumble machine on gentle cycle. Wash in warm water with mild soap or detergent. Air dry by hanging over line.
Do not dry clean.
For long term storage hang bag by loops at foot.
Do not leave bag in the compression stuff sack for long periods of time".
TRYING IT OUT
I rolled the Kaycee sleeping bag out onto my family room floor and crawled into it. Not surprisingly, it was long for my 5' 9" (1.75 m) height. There was approximately 8" (20 cm) of unused space below my toes. The fit of the rest of the bag was generous with plenty of room for my shoulders and space for me to wear a medium loft jacket inside to extend the bag's warmth if needed. I am anxious to try it on a chilly winter night to see if the insulation performs as rated.
Once inside the bag, I cinched the draw cord down around my face and felt snug and comfortable. The contoured hood of the Kaycee sleeping bag fits nicely. It wraps securely around my head, much like a hat. This design eliminates a lot of the extra bulk and allows a snug fit which reduces heat loss.
On my first attempt to stuff the Kaycee sleeping bag into its compression sack, it barely fit; I struggled to get the last bit of the sleeping bag into the stuff sack. Once stuffed, the stuff sack was very tight but the seams held. It will be interesting to see if I am able to repack the sleeping bag in the field.
So far, I am pleased with the Eureka! Kaycee Sleeping Bag. I look forward to the next four months of testing in winter and early spring conditions that should bring a wide variety of temperatures and precipitation.
Please check back in early March for my Field Report.
Thanks to Backpackgeartest and Eureka! for the opportunity to test this sleeping bag.
This concludes my Initial Report.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the Field Test Period, I slept in the Eureka! Kaycee Sleeping Bag for a total of seven nights. I used it during two separate backcountry trips, plus a three-day hiking trip.
Location: Mounds State Recreation Area, Southeastern Indiana
Type of Trip: Ungroomed trails and off-trail
Distance: 8 mi (13 km)
Length of Trip: 2 nights
Weather Conditions: Clear and calm
Temperature Range: -4 F (-20 C) to 8 F (-13 C)
Location: Franklin County, Indiana
Type of Trip: Off-trail
Distance: 6.5 mi (10 km)
Length of Trip: 2 nights
Weather Conditions: Overcast with light snowfall
Temperature Range: 20 F (-7 C) to 31 F (-1 C)
Location: Brown County State Park, Southern Indiana
Type of Trip: Snow-covered hiking trails
Distance: 6 mi (9.6 km)
Length of Trip: 3 nights
Weather Conditions: Heavy snowfall
Temperature Range: 22 (-6 C) to 28 F (-2 C)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Kaycee sleeping bag performed very well during the past two months of field testing. It was comfortable to sleep in and its temperature rating of 0 F (-18 C) proved quite accurate. At 87 inches long and 34 inches wide, the Kaycee fit me very well. I had enough room to move around inside the bag without feeling like there was a lot of wasted space needing to be warmed. As noted in my Initial Report, there was 8 inches (20 cm) of room at the end of the foot box which provided me a place to put my water bottle and extra clothing.
My first trip of the New Year was to Mound State Recreation Area. While backpacking through the park, I carried the Kaycee sleeping bag inside my 3,300 cu in (54.12 L) internal frame pack. The Kaycee added 5 lbs (2.25 kg) and took up nearly 2,100 cu in (34 L) of pack space, not insignificant. Normally I wouldn't devote this much weight and space to a sleeping bag. However, due to the cold temperatures which were forecasted for this weekend, I was glad I did. When I arrived at my campsite in the evening, the temperature was 2 F (-16 C) and there was 8 inches (20 cm) of snow on the ground. As it relates to this test, I had brought along a three season dome tent and a ¾ inch (2 cm) thick open cell foam pad. After setting up camp, I retired for the evening. Upon unpacking the sleeping bag from its compression sack, I was glad to see how quickly the Rteq insulation regained its loft. The sleeping bag kept me warm for the first half of the night but by 4:00 am I woke up chilled. As I was mainly cold on my back side, I suspect a second sleeping pad or even a thicker pad would have remedied the situation. At 4:00 am the temperature was -4 F (-20 C) and there was frost in my tent and on the outside of the bag. The frost resulted from my breathing and the lack of any breeze moving thru the tent. Of note, on my other trips I did not notice any condensation on the sleeping bag and at no time did the bag feel wet.
While awake, I took the opportunity to reflect on my first night sleeping in the Kaycee. I really liked the contoured hood. It was very comfortable and gently enveloped my head to control heat loss. The insulated draft tubes around my upper torso and along the entire length of the zipper did a great job keeping my body heat from escaping. After a few minutes spent contemplating these thoughts and rummaging to the bottom of the bag for additional clothing, I fell back asleep till morning. My other two trips were uneventful as the Kaycee performed extraordinarily well in keeping me warm and comfortable throughout these nights.
One concern I've had throughout this test period has been trying to fit the Kaycee into its compression sack. The sleeping bag (in my case the long length) is simply too large to reasonably fit into the sack. Jokingly I can only assume it was originally placed into a vacuum in order to suck all of the air out of it before fitting it into the sack. Most of the time I can shove the Kaycee 85 - 90% in before giving up and letting the rest hang out. Every time I perform this feat I am concerned that I might bust the seams on the sack or tear the Kaycee's shell. To Eureka!'s credit, the compression sack and sleeping bag shell have proven very durable and to date there are no rips, tears or loose threads in either fabric. I am equally impressed at how quickly the Rteq insulation lofts after being extracted from the sack. I can only hope that I am not shortening the life of this synthetic insulation by compressing it so tightly. Finally, the 2/3 length zipper has worked great throughout the entire test period and has yet to bind or catch on the bag.
So far, I'm very pleased with the performance of the Eureka! Kaycee sleeping bag. It seems true to its temperature rating and I absolutely love the contoured hood and draft tubes. True, the Kaycee is quite bulky and heavy but this is the tradeoff that goes along with carrying a synthetic vs down sleeping bag. This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in about two months for more test results.
Thanks to Eureka! and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test the Kaycee sleeping bag.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I used the Eureka! Kaycee on two weekend trips, totaling 5 days, during the Long Term Test Period. My first trip was to Franklin County, Indiana. I hiked a 4.1 mile (6.6 km) loop across rolling hillsides at elevations ranging from 680 ft (207 m) to 850 ft (259 m). During this trip, the weather was sunny and daytime temperatures stayed around 65 F (21 C). The wind was gusty during the day but calmed down at night at which time the temperatures dropped to the mid 40's F (8 C).
My second trip was a family outing during which I hiked 5.5 miles (9 km) along deer trails through thick forests. The weather during this trip was mostly sunny with daytime highs of 72 F (22 C). The night time temperatures were a comfortable 60 F (15 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
After four months of testing I can say without a doubt that the Eureka! Kaycee sleeping bag is well constructed. It has proven to be exceptionally durable and has shown very little signs of wear. The ripstop polyester shell has proven to be very durable and the large zipper has performed flawlessly; it is incredibly smooth and has yet to snag. After careful inspection, there are no loose threads or seams. In addition, I have found no shifting of the Rteq insulation. It has remained very lofty and I have not noticed any cold spots during my outings.
While lying inside the Kaycee, I have plenty of wiggle room and yet it is snug enough to allow my body heat to warm the space as needed. The large draft collar has performed as expected, keeping cold air from entering the bag. The sleeping bag lining is quite comfortable and I have really come to appreciate the pillow pocket.
Temperatures this spring haven't challenged the Kaycee's 0 F (-18 C) rating. In fact, I was apprehensive on my last two outings about sweating during the night and sticking to the inside of the bag. For this reason, I slept mostly with the tent door open and on several nights I slept with the Kaycee draped over me like a blanket with my feet tucked into the bottom of the bag. However, usually around 4 am I found myself slipping back into the sleeping bag due to the cool morning air. In regards to this, getting into and out of the Kaycee was quite easy.
During my trip to Franklin County I awoke both mornings to see substantial dew on the tent as well as on the foot box of the Kaycee, where they had obviously been in contact all night. The top of the sleeping bag was also damp with condensation, although no moisture penetrated through the outer shell of the bag. To remedy this I simply opened up the other side of the tent to create a cross breeze and the Kaycee quickly dried out.
My only complaint is that the Kaycee sleeping bag is very bulky and consequently, it occupies a LOT of space in my backpack. For this reason I will most likely only use it for very cold weather and car camping.
The Eureka! Kaycee has been a pleasure to test. It meets its cold weather comfort rating of 0 F (-18 C). It is very durable, it's breathable and it dries quickly. Eureka has created an excellent cold weather synthetic insulation sleeping bag.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
This concludes my report on the on the Kaycee. Thanks to Eureka! and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this sleeping bag.
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Read more gear reviews by Brian Hartman