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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Exxel Suisse Sport McKinley sleeping bag > Test Report by Dawn LarsenTest Report
Exxel Suisse Sport McKinley Sleeping Bag
Initial Report 15 August 2012
Field Report 23 October 2012
Long Term Report 8 January 2013
Name: Dawn Larsen
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT gmail DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
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 eleven years and I have kayak/canoe camped for four years, 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 eighteen year-old son.
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: www.exxel.com
Advertised Weight: n/a
Measured Weight: 4.3 lb (2 kg)
Advertised Dimensions: 33 x 84 x 24 in (83.8 x 213.4 x 61 cm)
Measured Dimensions: 28 x 80 x 21 in (71 x 203 x 53 cm)
Temperature Rating: 0 to 5 F degrees (-18 to -15 C)
Filling, Lining, and Cover: 100% polyester
Color: Blue and Gray with Red trim
Size: One Size
15 August 2012
The sleeping bag came in a box containing only the bag in its 2-piece compression sack. There was a tag on the sack that showed a picture of the bag and gave limited spec information about the bag. According to the tag the features are: 3 lbs of 'Hollowblend MicroTekk Z1 Insulation," double layer offset quilt, and full chest baffle and draft tube. The cleaning instructions are on a tag sewn into the footbox. They tell me to zip the bag up before washing and then machine wash, gentle cycle, mild detergent, air dry the bag (oooo I don't like that).
The first thing I noticed when I took it out of its stuff sack was the feel of the material. It doesn't feel very sturdy, maybe the material is a little bit low quality. However, the material feels smooth and nice against my skin. Also, there was an unpleasant smell of new plastic.
My first time to get in the bag and try it out, I found the following:
Fasteners: The zipper moves fairly easily, both from the top and bottom, but the zipper tab is very small. That makes zipping it up from the inside a little difficult. The zipper also feels a little flimsy. I'm afraid it will not hold up to rough use. I am taking this bag to the desert for a week where dust is a huge issue. I wonder how well the zipper will hold up to that? The hook and loop fastener is securely attached to the bag and works well, and the cinch cords (which are found on the left side) work fine.
Fit: This is a huge mummy bag for a girl my height. The draft tube fits below my chest if my head is up high enough in the bag and then my feet aren't even in the footbox, they are above it. I like the shoulder room. It allows me to turn inside the bag instead of with the bag. I know mummy bags are supposed to fit tight, but I don't like that. As well, the zipper does not unzip around the footbox. I generally sleep in a hammock and like to be able to walk around and get in the hammock with my feet sticking out of the bottom of the bag.
Construction: Even though it is quilted, I could pull the layers apart.
Misc: I don't know what I would use the little zipper pocket for because it is so small.
Warmth: I am a cold sleeper. I am taking the bag to Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada for over a week very soon. It often gets down to freezing at night. I'm anxious to see if I'll stay warm.
Overall, I have some concerns about the bag being up to the task, but testing in the field will shed more light on the bag's potential. The materials seem a little low-end to me. I am anxious to see how well this bag performs in the desert for over a week.
What I like
There is a nice feel to the material.
I can turn around in the bag.
What I don't like
The material seems low-end
The draft tube/chest baffle is in a weird place, too low.
There is no zipper around the footbox.
23 October 2012
I went on three "car" camping trips during this field report, the most lengthy being my trip to Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, 27 August through 3 September. The temperatures were on average 100 F (38 C) during the day and 40 F (4 C) at night. The conditions were mostly sunny during the day and clear at night (though it did rain one night for about 5 minutes). It was always windy. I slept in a tent with a cot. The other two trips were in South Carolina. One was at Hickory Knob State Park in McCormick, SC. Conditions were clear, 75 F (24 C) during the day and 55 F (13 C) at night, 21-23 September. I slept in a Hennessy, side-entry, sleeping hammock with bug netting and rain fly. The other was on private land near Florence, SC 5-7 October. Conditions were clear, mid-70s F (24 C) during the day and mid 50s F (13 C) at night. I used a tent and cot.
Burning Man - Since this was over a week long trip, in harsh conditions, I am devoting this first section to this trip. I slept on a cot with a sleeping pad.
Warmth - The bag was incredibly warm, much warmer than I thought it would be considering the material is not very substantial. I wore light sleepwear and was absolutely comfortable. I only had to put on socks for one night. The draft tube is in the wrong place. It is way too low on my body. That didn't really matter however because I usually slept in a fetal position with my head well below the face opening. If I used this as a traditional mummy bag, there would have been a lot of cold air that would get in around my neck. My feet didn't reach the footbox, but that didn't seem to matter either because I was curled up.
Comfort - See the above comments about sleeping in a fetal position. I was able to turn in the bag. I like that. I know that I am supposed to turn "with" a mummy style bag, but I feel claustrophobic if a bag fits me tightly. I like the feel of the interior material on my skin.
Zipper - The zipper seemed to catch on the excess material very often when I was in the bag trying to zip it up. That was frustrating. The zipper did not seem to be affected by the dust, though it was somewhat protected by being inside my tent. Dust gets in everything.
Washing - Dust gets in everything at Burning Man. I washed as directed by the instructions. I did not tumble dry per the instructions. Instead, I dried over a rack in my laudry room. The bag washed and dried very well.
Pocket - Because it is so small, the pocket is useless.
On the other two camping trips, my observations were about the same with the exception of:
Warmth - This bag might be a little too warm for spring and fall camping in the South. On parts of the nights when the temperature was in the upper 50s F (14 C), I got a little hot and I'm a cold sleeper.
Hammock sleeping - Because there is no zipper around the footbox, getting in and out of a hammock was more difficult. I had to lay the bag in the hammock and get into it that way. Then I had to try to pull it up around me as I was sitting on it. This was very difficult. It was much easier to use when sleeping in a tent. Because the draft tube is in the wrong place, I got a little chilly around my head, shoulders, and neck, even though it was much warmer in South Carolina than it had been in Nevada. The zipper caught nearly all the time in the hammock because the bag wasn't lying flat.
Compression sack - Sometimes I find it difficult to put a bag back into its compression sack. I did not with this bag. It was easy to roll up and get in and out of the sack. Sometimes the straps on the sack got twisted as I was compressing it.
This is an adequate Fall and Winter bag for tent camping. I would never use it in a hammock. The material feels great on my skin though the layers are so loose they catch in the zipper a lot. The fit is very unusual and caused draft problems.
What I liked
It kept me very warm.
I like the feel of the interior material.
The compression sack is easy to use.
What I didn't like
The draft tube is in the wrong place.
The zipper catches on the bag all the time.
There is no zipper around the footbox.
Long Term Report
8 January 2013
I went on two car camping trips during this test report period. On both trips, I slept on a cot with a sleeping pad in a tent. The first on 17-18 November in Asheville, North Carolina on private land. The weather was clear and the temperature averaged 60 degrees F (16.7 C) during the day and 32 degrees F (0 C) at night. The second was 23 December near Forsyth, Missouri on private land near running water. The low temperature was 20 degrees F (-6.6 C) at night. The weather was humid and clear.
The bag continued to keep me very warm. The trip in Missouri was especially cold and humid. I slept in fleece leggings, shirt and socks. I was very warm in this bag as long as I zipped it all the way up and cocooned down in it. I made sure my head was below the mummy face hole because the draft tube is in the wrong place, as well as, it seems to me that the draft tube is a little light on fill. In the first picture below, it is an aerial view and shows how thin the draft tube is. It is sort of limp and even if it was where it should be, it seems like it wouldn't do much good. Additionally, if I sleep in this bag with my head where it is supposed to be, then my feet end up well above the footbox (see picture 2). However, because I like to sleep curled up on my side in the bottom of the bag, it kept me very warm.
I really like the feel of the material on my skin. The Asheville trip was warmer and I didn't sleep covered in fleece.
I chose not to sleep in a hammock this report period with this bag because it is difficult to get in and out of the hammock. I explained that problem in the Field Report It was much more preferable with a cot in a tent.
Wear - I washed this bag twice. Like the instructions stated, I let it air dry. It worked out very well even though I don't really like to air dry. It dried in my house overnight. I don't see any wear marks. The zipper still moves well except that, like I stated before, it catches so easily in the material.
The compression sack continued to perform very well. It is easy to get the bag in whether I roll the bag up or just stuff it in the sack. The compression straps are easy to use and and keeps the bag compressed. It lofts well and quickly once out of the bag.
With all its problems, draft tube placement, length, zipper catching, it is still a very warm bag. As long as I cocooned (curl up in the bottom of the bag), I was warm. I will continue to use this bag in the winters when I use my tent with a cot, especially in South Carolina where temperatures are generally mild and the draft problem isn't such an issue. I really like the feel of the material on my skin and in the South, I won't sleep covered head to toe in fleece.
What I liked
The material feels great.
The bag kept me very warm.
The compression sack is very easy to use and keeps the bag compressed well.
What I didn't like
The draft tube is in the wrong place.
The bag is really too big to function as a mummy bag.
The zipper catches the material to frequently.
This concludes my Long Term Report. Many thanks to Exxel and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Suisse Sport McKinley sleeping bag.
Read more reviews of Exxel Outdoors gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen
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