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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Exped Dreamwalker Syn 133 > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Exped DreamWalker Syn 133
Test Series by Dawn Larsen


Initial Report - 25 July 2010
Field Report - 28 September 2010

Long Term Report - 23 November 2010

Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 49
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT yahoo DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
 
Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last few years have backpacked some private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper for twelve years and I have kayak/canoe camped for six years, both in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Missouri (my home state) and Arkansas. I live in South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my seventeen year-old son.

  guylayedout
not me, but courtesy of the Exped website

Product Information
Manufacturer: Exped
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.exped.com
MSRP: unlisted on website
Sizes: Medium and Large. I tested Medium.
Listed Weight for Medium: 36.2 oz (1025 g)
Measured Weight: 36 oz (1021 g)
Listed Temperature Rating: Max (point before I have to open for venting) - 73 F (23 C); Comfort - 55 F (13 C); Extreme (point at which I would barely feel warm but not shiver" - 25 F (-4 C)
Fill:  Texped/Loft 133
Fill Weight: 4.7 oz (133 g)
Listed Packed size for Medium:  9.8 ( 25 cm) x 8.6 in (22 cm)
Measured packed size "vacuum sealed" (in the included dry bag as explained later): 11 in (28 cm) x 8.3 in (66 cm)
Fits Body size up to: Medium 71 in (180 cm)
Measurements: total length hood top to end - 87 in (221 cm); hood length - 16 in (41 cm); red area length - 60.5 in (154 cm); drawstring length - 10.5 in (27 cm); at widest point flat across chest - 26.5 in (67 cm); at narrowest point bottom of drawstring area - 24.5 in (62 cm); arm hole length - 12.5 in (32 cm)

Dry bag measurements - 22.5 in (57 cm) x 13 (33 cm)
Mesh bag measurements - 23.5 in (60 cm) wide x 28.5 (72 cm) long

5 year warranty
 
Initial Report
25 July 2010
zippedup
Wow, what an interesting product this is. The website calls this: "a bag for all situations:  as a sleeping bag, coat, blanket or liner inside another sleeping bag."  This synthetic filled sleeping bag doubles as a coat with pockets and a hood.  According to the website and instructions, all I have to do is unzip the armholes and cinch the drawstring bottom to convert it from a coat to a sleeping bag.  It came with a waterproof dry bag and larger mesh bag.

The fill is, according to the instructions, a soft microfiber polyester that "offers excellent insulating properties."  The fabric on the outside has been treated for moisture repellency, which is exciting for me to test in my very humid climate.  The inner fabric is supposed to feel warm immediately.  I don't know about that, but it does feel very soft and drapes around my body.  It is supposed to be (according to the instructions) "almost rainproof" and the fabric and fill are supposed to dry quickly.  I will test for that.

There are draft tubes around the armholes and a hook and loop closure one around the neck.  The fill is evenly distributed throughout the bag and the hood. The zippers have glow-in-the-dark tabs, handy.

The instructions come in English, French, and German.  They are easy to read, though the type is a little small, and offer many good suggestions for the use of the product.  For example, the mesh storage bag can also be used for a bug net over my head or as a laundry bag.  

Initial Impressions

The first thing I did was pull it out of the mesh bag that it and the dry bag came packed in and try it on.  For my height, it is very long.  I had to roll up the bottom  on the outside of the bag in order to walk around. The temperature in the house was 75 F ( C) and I got hot.  I like to try a product before I read the instructions to see how intuitive and logical the product's use is.  I tried to find an intuitive way of securing the bottom of the bag around me so that it wouldn't slip down and I could walk around in it, but to no avail. I tried to take the ends of the drawstrings and put them through the little loops on the sides of the bag (see picture below). However that is not how the bag is pictured and the back of the bag slipped down to my feet. I read the instructions and they said:  "Pull up the foot section and secure the buckles to create a warm jacket." I couldn't find any buckles except the cinches on the ends of the drawstrings.  They attach together.  That doesn't work for me because the bag is still too long and the bottom slips down with the buckles latched.  I finally went on the website and though there is a video, it doesn't say how to make it a jacket.  It just shows 2 guys skiing in the sleeping bag used as a jacket.  I went on the website and after a good bit of searching for an address, emailed them.  More on that when I get an answer.

foldedup attached
The hood is very big for me and falls over my eyes unless I have it cinched.  I'm not sure that I would use it in my warmish climate.  I wish there was a way to roll it up and stow it, or detach it.

I also put it down on the floor and tried it out as a sleeping bag.  It is fairly tight across my shoulders.  I prefer to be able to turn inside a bag instead of the bag turning with me. Again, it is very long so I don't think a draft from the drawstring would be a problem for me. However, I look forward to using it with my sleeping hammock to see if it simplifies the process of using a sleeping bag with the hammock.

The zippers are very easy to operate. The cinches work fine.  The two cinch ends attach together, possibly for making it a jacket???  I'm not quite sure.

The dry bag is waterproof as I put the sleeping bag in the dry bag and sealed it, then put it under a running shower for 2 minutes.  When I took the sleeping bag out, it was absolutely dry.  It also lofted quickly.  As well, it was very easy to stuff it into the dry bag and compress it in order to roll the dry bag down.  The instructions suggested that I stuff the sleeping bag in the dry bag foot end first, fold the top over one time and then kneel on it to push the air out.  This vaccuum sealed it.  The picture is of the sack with air in, however.
drybag

The mesh bag is large and fits over my head for a mosquito net, but not my shoulders.  I think it would be most suited for a home storage bag though the mesh is very small and probably suitable for mosquitoes.  On my head, it made me feel a little claustrophobic, however.

Summary

I am looking forward to trying this out in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina.  I am hoping that I have a few temperate nights before the testing period is over so that I can test it for cold.  


Field Report
28 September
2010

Field Conditions
  • Weekend camping trip Forsyth, Missouri in August - The weather was very warm, 80s F (23-27 C) at night, and clear.
  • 2 day backpacking trip, Buffalo River, Arkansas, August - The weather was much like Missouri, but it rained one night.
  • 8 day trip to Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada, August 31- September 7 - The playa is hot, 90-100 F (32-38 C), during the day and cold, 30s to 50s F (-1 to 10 C), at night.  The dust is very alkaline and permeates EVERYTHING.  The wind blows all the time.  There were two especially strong dust storms with winds up to 45 mph (72 kmph), one at night.
Observations
Because I could not figure out how to use it as a coat and at the time, I could find no instructions on a website or printed material that showed me how to do that, I contacted the company by email and they very promptly emailed me back.  They told me to open the foot section, pull the bottom of the bag up to your waist, then snug the draw cord around my waist.  I did and it worked well most of the time, though sometimes it slipped down off my waist.  I don't know why I didn't figure that out, but it absolutely alluded me.  As you can see in the picture in the initial report, the bottom of the coat comes almost to the floor with me.  I can't run in it because of that, but I can still slowly walk around adequately.  

I really like the material on the inside.  The feel is very silky.  I'm not sure how "instantly" warm I felt, but it was very comfortable on my skin.

Unfortunately, this bag is too warm for the summer in Missouri/Arkansas.  I took it with me on both trips, but I could not stand to be inside it because of the heat, so I used it as a mattress/padding for my sleeping hammock.  (I even tried to sleep in just underwear, but it was too hot.)  Even then, it was almost too hot to have it under me as it seemed to help to retain my body heat from escaping through the bottom of the hammock.  It is very easy to get into the hammock with the bag used as a coat as long as took the drawstring down from around my waist and then I pulled the bottom up over my knees before I sat down. I could then easily pull the  drawstring bottom and close it up.  It was so hot though, that I couldn't stand to be in it very long.

I took it to Burning Man, though, and there were a couple of nights that it got very cold, so I was glad to have had it!  The bag was very toasty when the night got down to about 35 degrees F (1.7 C).  In my camp, we tended to sit out under our shade structure well into the night just to talk.  I used the Dreamwalker as a coat on 2 evenings to snuggle up in a lounge chair and "hang out" with the rest of the camp.  Very warm!  I took the cinch cord from  around my waist before I sat down so that I could draw it up to protect my feet.  My camp thought it was a "high-tech Snuggie." Also because the dust is so caustic and EVERYWHERE, the zipper was more difficult to zip as the week went on.  It took about four days for the zipper to start snagging.  My tent zipper was worse.

Though it is very warm, I do have some problems with it.  First, it fits a little tightly for me in the shoulders and I really prefer to move inside the bag rather than having the bag move with me. Secondly, I really dislike the hood. I tend to move a lot when I'm sleeping and the hood felt too confining.  If I loosened the drawstring around my face, it would fall off and bunch up under my neck.  If I tightened it, it would pull on my ears or I would turn in the bag, and subsequently in the hood, and wake up with the hood covering my face.  Then after I took it off and fell asleep, I would wake up with the hood all bunched up under my neck. As well, I like to sleep with a camp pillow and it was too difficult to do that in the hood. I wish there was some way to detach the hood when I was sleeping in the bag because I used the hood when I was walking around or snuggling in the lounge chair.

After Burning Man, I washed the bag according to its instructions.  It washed very well. Once the dust was washed out of the zipper, it performed very well.

The bag compacts very well and it is easy to stuff in its sack.  It also lofts very well after being compressed for over a week.  We shipped our supplies to Burning Man and it was compressed for about 9 days.    I like that the compression sack is a drybag.  I am so excited to try it out on a kayaking overnighter!

Summary

This is a unique product.  I'm not sure that it really can be "everything" it is marketed to be.  I like it best as a Snuggie/coat.  It's uncomfortable to use with the hood when I'm sleeping.  It is too warm for the summers in South Carolina, but I'm looking forward to trying it out now that the temperatures are a little more comfortable here.  

What I like
It compresses and lofts very well.
It is a unique product.
I love the feel of the lining.

What I don't like
I hate the hood because it is not detachable.
It is a little too tight across the shoulders.

Long Term Report
23 November 2010


Field Conditions


10/15-17 Camping private land near Sumter, South Carolina - We had a short one mile hike (1.6 km) to our campsite.  Conditions were clear and cool.  Temperatures ranged from 78 degrees F (25.5 C) during the day to 55 F (13 C) at night.  

10/31-11/2 Camping Myrtle Beach State Park - Conditions were clear, windy, and fall-like.  Temperatures ranged from 76 degrees F (24 C) during the day to 50 degrees F (10 C) at night.

Observations

Comfort - Temperatures finally got down in South Carolina chilly enough that I was glad to have this bag, especially to sit by the fire.  Since I have moved here, I get really very cold at about 55 degrees F (13 C).  I guess my blood has thinned.  This is especially true because it is typically windy and humid here so the cool air cuts right through me.  I found this bag to be extremely comfortable to lounge around the campfire.  It is very long for me though, both as a coat and as a bag.  As a coat, I found that even when I tightened the cinch cords around my waist, the bag-as-coat fell around my ankles and I had trouble walking very quickly. However, sleeping is not so comfortable.  

Because the bag functions like a coat, I can get into my sleeping hammock so much more easily, which is great.  When sleeping, I tended to slip down to the bottom of the bag, which made the width around my shoulders very tight and the hood bunched up under my head (same problem as in my field report). So, it was not that comfortable during the night for me in a hammock.  

Temperature
The bag performed very well for me at about 60 degrees F (16 C), but when I woke up in the early morning when the temperature was closer to 50 degrees F (10 C), I was really cold.  I wore midweight long johns to sleep in and added socks later in the early morning.  The bag tended to be a little warm for me above about 65 degrees F (18 C) and I tried to sleep with it unzipped.  However, the bag is very tight when I slid down to the bottom, so when the wind whipped under the hammock's rain fly, it was kind of chilly unzipped. The cinch cords when drawn up to close the bottom of the bag, leaked cold air and my feet got really cold in the mornings.   When the temperature was right, the draft tube worked really well except that the draft tube got stuck in the zipper a couple of times when I was trying to zip it up in the middle of the night.  More on that below.  

Flame retardant
I found out that the bag is flame retardant because when I was sitting around the fire, I unzipped the bag because I got a little warm.  I was sitting on the bag in my chair and threw the bag sort of behind me.  I started smelling something plastic-like.  I looked and I had thrown it over a candle lantern for about 10 minutes!  As you can see in the picture.  It melted holes through the lining and fill, but not the outside of the bag.  Had the bag not been flame retardant, it could have caught fire.  

burn holes
Photo above shows the interior of the bag with burn holes while the outer surface of the bag is intact.

Function
A couple of times in this test period, the zipper hung up on the draft tube.  Of course, both times this happened in the dark so it was frustrating to have to turn on my light to unstick it.   

Storage and Packing
I really like how well this bag compresses and lofts.  I also like that this bag is so lightweight.

Summary
I really like this bag to snuggle up in around a campfire.  I will probably continue to use it for that.  I don't know about using it as a sleeping bag, however.  Since I tend to get to cold in it around 50 degrees F (10 C) and since I really am not comfortable because it is so tight around my shoulders and chest, I will most probably go back to my mummy bag that is a little more roomy to sleep in.  

What I like
It is great to use as a wrap around the fire.
I love the way it compresses and lofts

What I don't like
I don't like that the hood bunches up under my neck.  I wish it was detachable.
I don't like how tightly it fits around my shoulders.
I don't like that the bottom of the bag leaks cold air on my feet.


This concludes my long term report. Many thanks to Exped and backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test the Exped DreamWalker Syn 133.

Read more reviews of Exped gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Exped Dreamwalker Syn 133 > Test Report by Dawn Larsen



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