EXXEL OUTDOORS CAMO YOUTH SLEEPING BAG
TEST SERIES BY MIKE CURRY (AND MY KIDS)
INITIAL REPORT - June 25, 2009
FIELD REPORT - October 06, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - December 08, 2009
Mike Curry (and my kids)
thefishguy AT hotmail DOT com
5' 11" (1.80 m)
225 lb (102.00 kg)
54 in (137 cm)
50 in (127 cm)
Michael and Katharyn have both spent a lot of time in the outdoors. Both love car camping, and after some experimentation over the past few years, they will be taking a number of short overnight backpacking trips with mom and/or dad this year. Katharyn frequently joins her dad on day hikes of up to 5 mi (8 km) with a hydration pack or small day pack, whereas Michael's stamina usually limits him to distances of around 3 mi (5 km) with a hydration pack. Katharyn is the one that always wants a heavier pack, a faster pace, and a longer hike. She truly enjoys the physical challenge. Michael prefers to stop and smell the roses, and can't walk by a place to sit without trying it out.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Exxel Outdoors, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.exxel.com
MSRP: $29.99 US
Listed Weight: None Listed
Measured Weight: 2 lbs, 14.3 oz (1.31 kg)
*Sleeping Bag: 2 lbs, 10.1 oz ((1.19 kg)
*Compression Stuff Sack: 4.2 oz (119 g)
*Color Tested: Blue Camo (also available in pink)
From Hang Tag:
*Marketed as American Trails Brand
*Finished size: 26 in x 66 in x 18 in (66 cm x 167 cm x 45 cm)
(NOTE: The "not to be removed except by consumer" tag on bag itself lists finished size as 64 in x 29 in, 163 cm x 74 cm)
*All materials listed as 100% Polyester
*Net weight of filling material: 2 lb (907 g)
*Made in China
|Laid out with Chest Baffle Visible|
The sleeping bag arrived in a blue and black compression stuff sack, using webbing straps and tensioning buckles to perform the compression. One black compression end is sewn to the stuff sack, while the other is free to slide off. The stuff sack uses a toggle and drawstring closure, and the black compression end that is attached to the stuff sack has a webbing grab strap across it. Half of this end is also covered by a clear plastic pocket with a hook-and-loop closure in the very middle of the end. In addition, three small loops of blue fabric are sewn into the seam near one end of the grab strap that appear to be fabric samples of the bag.
The bag itself is constructed of blue camoflage polyester top and bottom, darker blue polyester side strips, including the bottom of the foot box, and light blue polyester lining fabric. It has an almost full-length self-repairing two-way zipper along the user's right hand side with a hook-and-loop closure at the top. The hood portion can be drawn in by means of a cord and toggle. There are fabric loops at each side of the foot pocket, as well as one at the foot end of the zipper. There is a draft tube behind the zipper, and a "Full Chest Baffle" (draft collar) inside that is visible in the photograph above.
Quality of stitching I would consider fair. All stitching seems secure, though thread ends are generally not trimmed close. From a functional standpoint all stitching appears quite serviceable, however it presents a slightly unpolished appearance upon close examination. The stitching across the body of the the bag uses a very long stitch length (approximately 5 stitches/in (just over 2 stitches/cm)) in what I assume is an effort to prevent bunching of the fill material, and appears to have been successful in that regard.
I was impressed with the look of the bag, and thought it looked like one my kids would enjoy. The fill didn't seem to have as much loft as I expected, but it also is reasonably lightweight, which I really like.
Loved it. Fought over who got to try it out first.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Care instructions are sewn onto the foot of the bag, and advise washing in cool water on gentle cycle in a non-agitating washing machine. Mild non-chlorine detergent. Dry on clean, flat surface, turning as necessary. Store dry, loosely rolled or folded. Do not dry clean.
Additional instructions included a warning that fabrics may bleed or shrink some, and to use caution in operating the zipper not to snag the lining material. The instructions also stated to make sure that the zipper is adequately opened before entering or exiting the bag to avoid tearing teeth out of the zipper tape.
A warning regarding use around open flame was also provided.
TRYING IT OUT
Both my kids tried out the bag on our living room floor. The zipper functioned well for both of them, though they were being exceptionally cautious (something I don't expect to see in the field). They are not used to the drawstring closures for the hood portion, so I cinched them down for each of them, and they both reported being way too hot very quickly.
|Happy Tester with Hood Closed|
The bag is large for both of the kids, but not so large that it isn't completely functional. They do have room to grow, though.
|Another Happy Tester|
The bag is also very roomy. My daughter is thin, and my son stocky, and both had plenty of room.
They then both tried to squeeze into it, but it wasn't quite THAT roomy.
Overall, the Exxel Outdoors Youth Urban Camo Sleeping Bag seems to be a well-made youth sleeping bag. It has all the basic features I would want in a sleeping bag for my kids, and even a few of the "bells and whistles."
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
My kids have used the Exxel Outdoors Camo Youth Sleeping Bag for over 12 nights of camping during Field Testing (I've actually lost track!). In addition, they have used the bag for countless sleepovers and "bedroom campouts" to date. Overnight temperatures have ranged from 40 F (4 C) to 60 F (16 C). They have used the bags directly on a groundcloth, on closed-cell foam pads, on air mattresses, and on floors. They have worn clothing ranging from their underwear to fleece footie pajamas, depending on weather conditions.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
My kids absolutely love this bag. Both have commented on how they find it snuggly-warm, even at 40 F (4 C) on an air mattress, though they were wearing fleece footie pajamas as well. At no point so far in testing have they felt it was cold enough to draw in the hood. During warm weather they have left it unzipped and neither have complained about being too warm. Overall, in terms of temperature-related comfort, the bag has definitely been a winner.
The sleeping bag has been subject to a good deal of use and several washings. Despite this, the materials look pretty much the same as when it first arrived, with the sole exception of the stuff sack (which has some minor soiling, but hasn't been laundered). There are no signs of wear, loose stitching, or other problems. There hasn't been a noticeable reduction in loft, and everything seems to be working as designed.
Two components really have surprised me. First is the zipper. I was almost certain going into this test that zipper snagging would be a problem. That has NOT been the case, I'm happy to report. My kids, who are not cautious at all with zippers, have pretty much "grabbed and yanked" and only once did the zipper snag the fabric, which was easily backed off. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that they often will zip the bag almost all the way closed before climbing in, then pull the zipper up the last little bit after they've climbed inside.
The other component that surprised me somewhat was the stuff sack. What surprised me about it was that my kids are absolutely unable to figure out how to get the compression end back over the main opening without my help. They are able to release the tabs and slide it out of the way to pull the bag out, but they always get the straps tangled or twisted trying to slide it back over. This hasn't been a major problem (dad has been able to take care of this for them), but I was surprised at how difficult it has seemed for them. They are, however, able to stuff it into the stuff sack on their own, thus saving me a bit of time when breaking camp.
I have to admit that while this bag has plenty of growing room for my kids, and I suspect they'll both be able to use it for several more years, they don't "swim" in the bag like I thought they might. It is roomy, but the mummy cut seems to help keep them from wiggling down into the bottom of the bag, as they often would do with rectangular bags. Conversely, they don't find themselves sliding out of the bag as they often would in rectangular bags. Even without cinching the hood, there was enough of a curve at the shoulder of the bag to keep them from easily sliding out.
In regards to packed size, the compression sack does reduce the size to a nice little package that fits well in a backpack. It does seem, however, that with a minor redesign the sack could compress even more, as the sleeping bag certainly isn't overly compressed even when the straps are pulled all the way. A little more compression would be a big improvement in my mind, especially when trying to fit these into small packs for the kids.
Overall, the Exxel Outdoors Camo Youth Sleeping Bag has proven to be a great bag for both of my kids. They both love the camo pattern, and both find it to be comfortably warm in a wide range of temperatures. While the zipper has snagged on the fabric once, zipper snags have actually been less common with this bag than other bags they have used. The bag has survived a lot of use and several launderings with no signs of wear or damage.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
My kids have used the Exxel Outdoors Camo Youth Sleeping Bag for an additional 3 nights of camping during Field Testing. They have also continued to use the bag for sleepovers and "bedroom campouts." Overnight temperatures have ranged from 40 F (4 C) to 60 F (16 C). Conditions were generally similar to those encountered during Field Testing.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Exxel Outdoors Camo Youth Sleeping bag has continued to be a big hit with my kids. They have both found it sufficiently warm for all conditions encountered. The bag was also very popular at a "family movie night" at my children's school, where several classmates of my son commented positively on it, with several being downright covetous.
Despite several additional washings and dragging this bag through a variety of conditions, it has held up extremely well. I have noticed no signs of abnormal wear or failure. It seems to be maintaining its loft well, and has suffered no staining despite having had numerous food and beverage items spilled upon it.
All components continue to operate as designed, and no real changes or additional insights were discovered during long-term testing. It has continued to be a positive experience for both me and my kids. The one thing I have noticed is that neither of my kids ever unzip the bag. They are able to climb in and out through the top with the bag fully zipped. When I asked my daughter why she didn't unzip the bag, she said it was easier, and more fun, to just crawl in and out the top. They both are able to zip the bag up quite easily, and appear to be able to unzip it (with some effort), but prefer just to leave it zipped up.
My experience with the Exxel Outdoors Camo Youth Sleeping bag has been entirely positive. The bag has exceeded my expectations in every way. It has proven to be warm enough for both my kids in all the conditions encountered (down to 40 F, 4 C), without ever having to actually cinch up the bag's top into a hood. The zipper has only snagged on a couple of occasions, and was easily backed off in all cases, even though my kids yank the zipper without care.
This bag has held up well to a fair amount of use, laundered well, performed well, and my kids (and I) have been completely satisfied.
The Exxel Outdoors Camo Youth Sleeping bag will be a staple item in our car camping gear, I suspect until the kids wear it out or outgrow it. Given my experiences so far, I think that might be quite some time in the future!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
I would like to thank Exxel Outdoors, Inc. and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test the Camo Youth Sleeping Bag. This concludes my report.
Read more reviews of Exxel Outdoors gear
Read more gear reviews by Mike Curry