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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > GoLite Adrenaline 20 Sleeping Bag > Test Report by Andre Corterier
GoLite Adrenaline 20 F Sleeping BagTest Report by Andrť Corterier
Initial Report 27 February 2008
Field Report 30 April 2008
Long Term Report 6 July 2008
Personal Biographical Information:
Year of manufacture: 2007 ?
The Adrenaline series features entries in the 0, 20 and 40 degree Fahrenheit (-18, -7 and 4 degrees C) range, colour-coded in "Orange Pop/Grease" (orange/grey), "Poseidon/Grease" (blue/grey) and "Lawn/Grease" (green/grey), respectively.
The Adrenaline 20 which is the subject of this test series features, according to the manufacturer, 6 in (15 cm) baffles with 5 in (12.5 cm) of loft. It is blue in the center, with the hood and foot piece in grey. The inside is a dark, nearly black material.
As far as the "girth" of the bag is considered, it noticeably slims down at the hip. You can see it in the picture. As I'm slender, I have sufficient - if not quite ample - room in the chest area that I can keep my arms over my chest, along the chest and in various other positions without feeling that I'm exerting pressure against the bag from the inside. Not so with my legs - either I pull them both up, or they stay extended. I don't have a problem with that. While I sometimes pull up one leg and leave the other extended when underneath a blanket, that is not a position I expect to be able to enter while in a sleeping bag. My slight initial concern that this bag might feel overly constrictive - given that its tight fit is even part of its marketing, and that I've been using a stretchy bag in the recent past - is assuaged. I'm looking forward to taking this bag out into the field.
One is that tossing and turning in the bag, particularly if I move my right arm across my chest, might move the draft tube (which is sewn to the bag to the left of the zipper when I look at it from inside the bag) away from the zipper, in which case heat loss through the zipper might become an issue.
The other is that the draft tube material might easily become entangled in the zipper, particularly as there is no "zipper guard" of stronger material sewn in to prevent this.
I was thinking about just this possibility when I exited the bag after having been in it for the first time, trying it on for size. On my first closer inspection of the bag, immediately thereafter, I saw a hole in the draft tube, with a bit of down peeking out - obviously damage due to an unfortunate entanglement in the ripper, um, zipper. Hmm. I am almost entirely certain that this hadn't been there when I first spread out the bag - while it's a small spot, the white down is quite visible against the dark fabric of the draft tube. So it appears that I made this hole the very first time I used the zipper. Well - too bad. I intend to fix this with a bit of sticky tape and have resolved to be extra careful in the future. I should state that I did not feel any indication of the zipper having snagged when I closed it or opened it, except maybe for it running less than entirely smoothly. I should also state that I understand (and appreciate) that ultralight bags are made of the lightest material that will still contain down. And I have posited in the past that most "zipper guard" contraptions are only effective about half of the time, and therefore a waste of time and money and - worst of all - excess weight. So I guess I'll just have to be careful.
I'm sure it takes some trixity sewing to make a differentially cut bag conform to three-dimensional contours like that, but my initial impression is that it seems to work. It fits just as well as other hoods I'm used to, only tighter.
The face opening, though, is really small - even with the adjustable pull fully extended. I find that I can look out okay, so I'm not bothered by its tight fit, but it seems as though I'll have to use the zipper to vent this bag even a little. It can be adjusted to be made even smaller, apparently to a degree where only my nose will peep out. As usually with bags, I wonder how much of this ability the manufacturer took into account when deciding to rate this bag to 20 F (-7 C).
Also, again as usually, I wonder why there are two cord locks to reduce the face opening. They both attach to the same line which is running through the hood's seam, so it appears to me as though one such cord lock would do the trick. Why the extra one? I know that I personally require both hands to adjust these things anyway, but maybe some people prefer the one more easily accessible for their preferred hand. Whatever the case, it's probably very few grams that I can save by taking one of these off after the Long Term Report.
The Arid Zones:
As it was, I continued the remainder of the night inside the shelter. While it was warmer inside the hut (with several other sleepers), it was still below freezing (as attested to by my frozen water bottle the next day). After having had to go to the outhouse again, for which I put on most of my clothes, I left them on when going back to bag and became warm enough to sleep. I was, in fact, finally nicely and snugly warm (wearing a fleece jacket and beanie). The other nights, spent several degrees above the bag's rating and begun much less exhausted, did not create any problems at all. The latter two nights I spent in the bag naked, which did not create any warmth problems (with the possible exception of a few drafts, for which see below).
Apart from sleeping exposed to the wind, the choice of fabrics on the various areas of the sleeping bag has worked for me. Where moisture contacted the head section of the bag (once), it did not seep into the fabric. That was reassuring.
The one issue I have is with the bag's draft tube. I have on occasion, both up on the mountain and in warmer climes when sleeping inside the bag naked, felt a bit of a draft when moving inside the bag. I guess this creates a bellows effect, which may be more pronounced in this narrowly cut bag than in some others. This seems to combine with the centered zipper and the particular attachment of the draft tube in a way which means that the bag sucks in a bit of air from the outside through the zipper. This has been moderately annoying a few times, though it's never made me cold.
Due to my height (*just* over the max recommended user height), it's been very important to consciously slip down into the bag as far as possible before putting the hood over my head and closing the zipper, or I'd create downward pressure from the inside of the hood onto the top of my head. But with my feet planted inside the shaped footbox, I needed to experience no pressure either at the head or the feet.
The hood has remained a small, warmth-conserving window onto the world out there. It seems to serve its purpose. In warmer temperatures I have sometimes looked for a way to relax the hood in order to create a larger hood opening. The drawcord around the hood opening doesn't allow me to do this, as the maximum width of the hood opening is still pretty small (though it can be made even smaller with that drawcord). The center zipper serves that function, however. While opening the zipper changes the shape of the hood opening in a way I'm not used to, I *can* achieve a larger opening when I want to. The hood has prevented drafts from coming in through the top (though I've felt some along the zipper). So the shape and size of the hood seem to do away with the need for a more substantial draft collar around the neck.
The "Skullglove" does not, however, move with my head. As with some jacket hoods (at least whenever I'm not wearing my glasses), turning my head means that it turns inside the hood. As I tend to turn inside the sleeping bag, this also means that the hood remains facing upward while I turn my head to the side. This has sometimes been a little uncomfortable.
Given the tight fit of the bag around the legs (which doesn't allow me to pull up one leg while leaving the other extended, but hasn't been particularly uncomfortable at all), I am surprised at the amount of room I have in the chest area of the bag. When keeping my arms next to me, they have been able to roll off the (thick) Down Air Mat I was resting on to almost touch the ground - inside the bag. Of course, I'm rather slender and this may be good news to people a little larger around the chest than I. It should also provide a lot of room for layering in case I want to take the bag out into *real* cold.
Long Term Report:6 July 2008
This temperature was encountered on a three-day trip with a few of my friends and both of my daughters into the German-Luxembourg Nature Preserve in May, on what was to be an unseasonably warm (long) weekend. The puffy GoLite bag looked like overkill on the ground next to the sleeping bags of my buddies and even my daughters. And indeed it was, but I managed nevertheless.
Of course, the bag vents via a center zipper Ė this not only allowed for a wide opening on top, it made it impossible for me to achieve a long, small opening. The further down I moved the zipper, the further open fell the top end of the bag. In the first night under these conditions, I experienced moments in which I was (ever so slightly) sweating around the groin area while simultaneously feeling just a little chilled on my upper body (owing to the temperature, I had chosen to sleep naked).
On the second night, I put on a long-sleeved wool top. This allowed me to open the bag a bit further to compensate for the warmth of the top layer, without feeling chilled on the top of my body. In fact, I was now able to adjust the zipper of the bag as well as the zipper on my base layer which made it easy to find a comfortable heat distribution. With the base layer pulled down as far as it would go over my butt and groin, I never felt drafts even though the bag was most of the way open. I slept very well, if on the warm side.
The next morning, just after sunrise, I confirmed the temperature on the ground next to my bag and pad to be 14 C (57 F).
I found the bagís center zipper initially problematic when it got warmer. With a side zipper, the open portion of the bag still rests on top of me, providing a reduced, but still present, bit of insulation. With the center zipper, the top of the bag fell away from my shoulder, thus exposing my upper body. I found this to be slightly uncomfortable when sleeping in the bag naked in temperatures above freezing but below 10 C (50 F), where I wanted to vent the bag just a little.
As mentioned above, I found a lightweight, long-sleeved base layer to be the perfect accessory for the bag. It served as an equalizer between the covered and uncovered portions of my body, thereby letting me sleep comfortably in the higher temperature range. A bit counter-intuitive perhaps, but I like wearing a base layer to bag anyway Ė keeps body oils one more layer away from the bagís down and means I donít have to get semi-dressed before heading for a potty break in the middle of the night. So I was happy with this solution.
Getting into and out of the bag wasnít hard. Yes, itís cut slim around the legs, but as the center zipper opens down to the waist, that did not constitute a problem (with the bag on the ground). Around the upper body the bag is actually cut rather wide, so I donít foresee any issues using this bag even if I were to gain a lot of weight (and see the possibility of taking this bag a bit further down, temperature-wise, by wearing a puffy jacket at night).
The GoLite Adrenaline 20 will be my cold weather bag for the foreseeable future. I'd like to thank GoLite and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
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