EXPED DREAMWALKER SYN 133 SLEEPING BAG
TEST SERIES BY MIKE CURRY
INITIAL REPORT - July 07, 2010
FIELD REPORT - October 05, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - November 22, 2010
5' 11" (1.80 m)
220 lb (99.80 kg)
I've been backpacking, climbing, ski-packing, bushwhacking, and snowshoeing throughout the mountains of Oregon and Washington for the last 25 years. I'm an all-season, all terrain, off-trail kind of guy, but these days (having small kids) most of my trips run on the shorter side of things, and tend to be in the temperate rainforest. While I've carried packs (with winter climbing gear) in excess of 70 pounds (32 kilos), the older I get the more minimalist I become.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|DreamWalker with draft collar visible|
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.exped.com
MSRP: None listed
Listed Weight: M - 36.2 oz (1025 g), L - 49.2 oz (1395 g)
48.8 oz (1383 g) - Sleeping bag only
Stuff sack - 2.6 oz (74 g)
Storage Bag - 1.7 oz (48 g)
Size Tested: Large
Fill weight: 133 g/m2 synthetic fiber insulation
Material: Shell: Texped PA36 ripstop nylon; Lining: Texped PR 58 ripstop polyester; Fill: synthetic fiber
Packed: M: 18x28 cm / 11x7“; L: 18x30 cm / 12x7“
Temperature rating EN 13537*:
UC = 23°C / 73°F; CW = 13°C/ 55°F; CM = 9°C / 48°F; LE = -4°C / 25°F
* UC=Upper Comfort; CW=Comfort Women; CM=Comfort Men; LE=Lower Extreme.
Traditional North American Rating = 4°C/40°F
Fits to: M: 180 cm / 71“; L: 210 cm / 83“
*As a sleeping bag: With its controllable armholes Dreamwalker Syn 133 is perfect for lying inside the tent. Its center zip is ideal for those who sleep on their sides because less heat will rise past the zipper.
*Dreamwalker Syn 133's unique hood is comfortably insulated and features easy adjustments to ensure a perfect fit without blocking vision.
*Arm accesses are protected with insulated draft tubes and stiffeners prevent snagging. Locking zippers can be adjusted from either side.
*Draft tube collar is super soft, offers complete comfort adjustment and prevents heat loss.
Insulated handwarmer pockets hold personal items.
*2-way locking zipper is protected by a snag preventing stiffener. And the zipper is easily managed from either side.
*With the lower drawcord closed, Dreamwalker Syn 133 becomes a sleeping bag.
*Free floating shell offers seamless construction to improve insulation and weather protection. Interior tuck-stich design.
*Insulated draft tube protects the zipper, and chin guard insulates against a cold zipper.
*Bar-tacked stress points add strength.
*Mesh storage sack doubles for bug protection.
*Reflective, glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls.
The DreamWalker Syn 133 Sleeping bag is a sleeping bag that doubles as an insulated jacket with drawcords at the bottom to seal it for sleeping and arm holes that open at the top for using it as a jacket. It is made of a smooth nylon material that drapes nicely. It is not too stiff to be comfortable nor too flimsy to retain its shape around zippers and other key areas. The zippers work smoothly, and the drawstrings and toggles all function well and seem to be made of quality materials.
|Detail of upper, draft collar visible|
The quality of construction in the DreamWalker is excellent. The stitching is even, well-tensioned, and straight. Pieces are well-aligned, and I would rate the overall craftsmanship of the assembly as among the best I've ever seen. Bar tack reinforcements are placed in appropriate areas.
In addition to the visible elements seen easily in the photos (hood, armholes, pockets), the DreamWalker has several key features that are less obvious. First I would note the full-length front zipper. This feature appears not only to offer easy ingress and egress, but also several venting options. The second feature I would note is the drawcord closure at the feet. This closure uses two cord ends, each with it's own toggle, on either side of the zipper. When wearing the bag as a jacket, this drawstring is tightened against the waist, keeping the long lower portion up and out of the way. The final less obvious feature I would note is the draft collar, which can be left open or closed around the neck with hook and loop closures. There is a great deal of adjustment available in the draft collar.
My initial impressions of the DreamWalker Syn 133 Sleeping Bag were entirely positive. While I felt a bit goofy walking around wearing it as a jacket, I don't think that will be an issue for me in the backcountry. The overall design, construction, and styling are all excellent from what I can tell so far, and I'm very excited to test it.
|With stuff sack and 6 in (16 cm) ruler|
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The only instructions provided with the DreamWalker 133 are found on the hang tag and mixed in with various manufacturer claims, warranty information, and other information. They included such things as how to use the roll-top "packsack" (stuff sack) and how the mesh storage sack can double as a bug net pulled over my head.
I found the instructions to be adequate.
TRYING IT OUT
Trying out the Exped DreamWalker Syn 133 Sleeping Bag was great fun. My wife immediately fell in love with the idea of the bag, and my kids thought it was really cool.
After slipping on the sleeping bag and configuring it as a coat by pulling up the lower drawcord around my waist inside the body of the bag, I secured the toggles on the drawstring and began walking around. The DreamWalker hung just below my knees, but didn't interfere with walking in any way. My initial reaction was that it was very warm, quite comfortable, and seemed functional as an around camp jacket. My thoughts immediately turned to that moment each morning while backpacking where I am faced with getting out of my sleeping bag, and I like the idea of being able to get going in the morning before crawling completely out of my bag!
A few thoughts on sizing are in order. I am just slightly shorter than 5 ft 11 in (1.8 M), which puts me right at the maximum height for a size Medium. I opted to go with the size large as I'm broad through the shoulders and generally prefer a roomy bag, and am willing to trade some weight in exchange for a little more room. While I have no reason to believe the size medium wouldn't have worked for me, I can say the size large is comfortably roomy yet still "fits" well as a jacket in terms of things like pocket location.
|In stuff sack|
After walking around for some time I released the drawstring from my waist and let it fall. I then got down on the floor, reached down and cinched the cord with the toggles, pulled up and tightened the hood, and pulled my arms in and zipped up the arm hole zippers. In just a few moments I had converted from jacket to sleeping bag, which was remarkably quick and straightforward.
Overall, my early experiments found the DreamWalker to be very comfortable, a good roomy fit, and easy to reconfigure. The only challenge I encountered was trying to zip up the front zipper while wearing it standing up. There was so much extra length it made it challenging to zip up, but this was easily solved by simply sitting or laying down.
Overall, the Exped DreamWalker seems to be a very well-constructed and well-designed sleeping bag that appears very versatile. The components appear to be of very high quality, the its use is very straightforward and intuitive. I look forward to testing it in the field.
|In storage bag with stuff sack above|
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have used the Exped Dreamwalker Syn 133 sleeping bag on 6 trips totaling 15 nights of field use during field testing. All trips occurred in the Olympic Mountains of Washington, with the exception of one night along the wilderness coast of Olympic National Park. Conditions have included overnight lows as high as 65 F (18 C) down to 38 F (3 C). All but 3 nights were dry, with the three wet nights being rainy and humid. The Dreamwalker was used without shelter on some occasions and with one of two different silnylon tarp shelters on other occasions.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Exped Dreamwalker Syn 133 Sleeping Bag has performed well during field testing. It has seen a lot of use during this period under a wide variety of conditions.
|Back from a morning stroll|
I have to say the design has grown on me. At first, while I loved the idea, I found the double-layer of bag that forms under my arms when wearing it like a jacket to be annoying. The interesting thing this caused is it made the bag feel warmer when worn as a garment than it felt when used as a sleeping bag. While it only covered half my body when worn as a jacket, it provided double coverage over my core. I found this not only annoying and bulky at first, but also uncomfortably warm, at least in the evening.
Over time, however, I learned to adjust my temperature better between the two. I kept the neck unzipped a little more and the hood down when wearing it around camp at night. While it was still bulky, I was able to keep myself comfortable most of the time. In the mornings, though, I came to love the Dreamwalker. Instead of having to climb out of my bag and get chilled, I just hoisted the bag up over my feet to my armpits, and went about making breakfast. My legs might be a tad cool, but it was much less of a shock to my system than having to roll out of my bag on a chilly morning. I did have some difficulty, however, in safely working my stove with all the extra "bulk" around my midsection, but with some patience and perseverance I was able to make it work. In the end, I much preferred the comfort it afforded me in the morning to the minor inconvenience of the bulk.
I found the design to work very well in terms of converting from sleeping bag to jacket and back. The pockets are conveniently located, and all design features work as I expected. I must admit that I still feel somewhat strange walking around in the Dreamwalker, but I'm getting more and more used to having people give me strange looks.
And speaking of people giving me strange looks, I have been using the storage sack as a mosquito hood. It works fantastic, is very light, and takes up almost no room in my pack. I get strange looks from time to time, but it's absolutely worth it to not have to deal with the mosquitoes.
|Watching a mountain sunrise|
The materials and components of the bag all appear to be of very high quality and performed as expected. The inside material is comfortable against the skin, and the DWR finish does seem to effectively repel condensation and brief periods of light rain.
Overall, the Dreamwalker Syn 133 is very comfortable and performed extremely well. Over time, I found myself using it less as a jacket in the evenings (though I still liked it that way in the mornings to ease into the morning chill less abruptly. At the same time, I found myself loving it for reasons I hadn't fully anticipated . . . it provides far more options for adjusting my body temperature than any sleeping bag I've owned. On warmer nights I left my arms outside the arm holes like it was a jacket. Sometimes, I'd leave the foot end open and stick my feet out if I got too warm. On chilly nights, I'd button it up, and bunch up the extra material around my feet to keep them warmer. The bag presents so many options, it was usually just a matter of trying a few things to find a comfortable compromise.
I did find the bag comfortable down to 38 F (3 C) while wearing a light quilted jacket and nylon pants, even with my arms outside the arm holes most of the night. Without the quilted jacket the next night (wearing a t-shirt) I was still comfortable, though I did have the bag buttoned down and the hood on.
After several exposures to light rain on midnight privvy trips (something made far more comfortable by being able to wear your sleeping bag) I did experience some noticeable dampness in the bag, but this did not noticeably impact its comfort.
|On the coast|
I have not laundered the bag, but intend to do so before the next use, as it is positively rank at this point. In fact, the last two nights of use it smelled so foul I could hardly sleep. The only reason I mention that is that I've never had a bag smell this bad, so I have wondered if it had something to do with the bag, or if it was all me. I will watch this during long-term testing.
Overall, the Exped Dreamwalker Syn 133 has exceeded my expectations. It is comfortable under a wide range of temperatures, and is a very versatile piece of gear.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have used the Exped Dreamwalker Syn 133 Sleeping Bag on five additional nights during long-term testing. All trips were in the Olympic National Park and Forest of Washington State. Overnight temperatures have ranged from 32 F (0 C) to approximately 55 F (13 C). Precipitation has included light rain on two nights.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Exped Dreamwalker Syn 133 Sleeping Bag has continued to perform very well. All components have continued to operate as designed, and the fabrics have held up very well with no signs of wear or damage. No new performance observations relating to design or materials were made.
The one significant new event during long-term testing is that I laundered the bag. Upon returning from a trip the bag was absolutely rank with accumulated body odor (worse than I've ever experienced in a bag . . . I was almost unable to sleep in it the last night!). I harbored some worry that I wouldn't be able to get the nasty smell out. Upon my return I laundered it according to the manufacturer's instructions using a cleaning agent designed for DWR finished goods. I tumble dried the bag using an extra-low heat setting.
After drying, the bag smelled great with absolutely no detectable residual odor. I also noticed that the bag had not only regained lost loft, but actually seemed loftier than when I originally received it.
In my use after laundering I did not notice any difference in warmth. The insulation seemed perhaps slightly more flexible (less stiff) than before, which was a plus, but was slightly more bulky around my waist when worn as a jacket, which wasn't a plus. The DWR finish did not seem impacted by laundering.
Overall the Exped Dreamwalker Syn 133 has performed exceptionally well. It offers tremendous convenience in terms of being free to move around, offering many different ventilation options, and being comfortable in a large range of temperatures. It also performs very well even when damp. The only down side I see is that it can be rather bulky around the waist when the bottom is raised.
I most certainly will continue to use the Dreamwalker Syn 133 sleeping bag on many trips in the future. It has been a solid performer, and offers tremendous convenience in allowing me to move about, make breakfast, relieve myself, and other tasks without having to leave the comfort and warmth of my sleeping bag . . . I will definitely take advantage of this when I'm expecting cool mountain mornings!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
I would like to thank Exped and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Dreamwalker Syn 133 sleeping bag. This concludes my report.
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