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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > GoLite Adrenaline 20 Sleeping Bag > Test Report by Will Rietveld

GoLite Adrenaline 20 Sleeping Bag

Test Series by BackpackGearTest.org

| Initial Report | Field Report | Long-Term Report |


Tester Information
Name: Will Rietveld
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft (183 cm)
Weight: 170 lb (77 kg)
Email: (willi_wabbit at bresnan dot net)
City & State: Durango, CO 81301
Location for Testing: Southwestern US (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico).

Backpacking Experience—I have been an avid backpacker for 50 years. Backpacking is my passion. I backpack the year around in the Southwestern United States (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico).

Backpacking Style—I have been a lightweight backpacker for 35 years and an ultralight backpacker for 9 years. My wife and I give presentations on lightweight and ultralight backpacking in our local area, and have developed a website called Southwest Ultralight Backpacking (http://home.bresnan.net/~swultralight/) to share information.

Initial Report (February 28, 2008)

Product Information
Manufacturer: GoLite
Manufacturer Website: http://golite.com/
Product Tested: Men’s Adrenaline 20 Sleeping Bag
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Size Tested: Men’s Regular
Temperature Rating: 20 F (-7 C)
Color: Poseidon (blue) and Grease (dark grey); interior lining is dark grey
Length and Girth: Size men’s regular fits to 6 ft (183 cm), size long fits to 6 ft 6 in (198 cm); both are 60 in (152 cm) shoulder girth. Women’s sizes are also available.
Weight: Measured weight 31.2 oz (885 g); manufacturer weight 30 oz (850 g)
MSRP: $325 US

The GoLite Adrenaline 20 Sleeping Bag is insulated with 800 fill-power down, has a 1/2 length top zipper, and features panels of Pertex Endurance fabric at the head and foot to resist wetting from contact with wet tent walls. (photo from GoLite website)
The GoLite Adrenaline 20 Sleeping Bag is insulated with 800 fill-power down, has a 1/2 length top zipper, and features panels of Pertex Endurance fabric at the head and foot to resist wetting from contact with wet tent walls. (photo from GoLite website)

Product Description
From the GoLite website: “A premium 800-fill goose down, 20º F (-7 C) sleeping bag that offers superior warmth, unmatched comfort and versatility, coupled with lite-weight construction and a male-specific fit. The waterproof Pertex® Endurance Arid Zones™ at the head and foot of the bag protect against condensation in critical areas. A trimmer mummy shape offers a closer fit with warmth efficiency and the half-length top zip provides the most efficient core temperature regulation.”

Features (Compiled from the GoLite website and hang tags on the bag)

  • 800-fill goose down
  • ½ length top zipper, single pull
  • Waterproof/breathable Pertex Endurance fabric at head and foot ends
  • Shell is 20-denier mini-ripstop nylon with DWR
  • Lining is 22-denier polyester microfiber
  • 6-inch (15 cm) baffles; baffled hood
  • 5-inch (13 cm) loft (double layer), with 50:50 down distribution top and bottom
  • Insulated draft tubes along zipper and front of hood
  • Close fitting SkullGlove hood
  • Drawcord adjustors on left and right side of hood
  • Zipper guard (to prevent zipper from snagging a beard)
  • Interior and exterior hang loops for drying
  • SilLite stuff sack
  • Cotton storage sack

Initial Impressions
The GoLite sleeping bag line was re-designed for spring 2008. The Adrenaline 20 replaces their previous Feather bag, which also had a 20 F (-7 C) temperature rating and a ½ length top zipper. The 800 fill power down and 5-inch (13 cm) loft are also the same as the former Feather sleeping bag. Other than those similarities, the Adrenaline is a new design. The outer shell is no longer Pertex Quantum, and is now a similar weight nylon mini-ripstop with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish. The former Pertex Quantum lining is replaced by a lighter and softer polyester microfiber fabric. GoLite no longer makes their sleeping bags in three different girths to fit different body shapes. The Adrenaline has a 60 in (152 cm) shoulder girth, which is considered trim. GoLite specifically states that this bag has a trimmer fit for better thermal efficiency (you don’t have to warm up extra space).

I got into the bag on my living room floor and found that the length is perfect for my 6 ft (183 cm) height, and the hood closes to a breathing hole right at my mouth, which is perfect. Although the girth is trim, there is still room for me to wear a medium loft down jacket inside to extend its warmth when needed.

The Pertex Endurance fabric at the ends of the bag is intended to reduce condensation inside the bag at those locations, and should help prevent the bag from getting wet from brushing against wet tent walls. This seems to be a very functional feature, and I will evaluate how well it actually works.

Overall, my initial impressions of the Adrenaline 20 sleeping bag are very positive.

Assessment So Far
Materials and Construction—
The outer shell fabric is 30 denier nylon mini-ripstop with a DWR finish. The lining is a soft 22 denier polyester microfiber. Although these fabrics replace Pertex Quantum (which has an excellent reputation) in the former Feather bag, the fabrics in the Adrenaline 20 appear to be comparable in quality (I will assess this over the next four months). The outer shell is nylon, which is considered to be more durable than polyester. The very fine ripstop pattern suggests that it should be snagproof and downproof, but field testing will be needed to provide a final answer on those factors.

Interestingly, the zipper is sewn in so the normal outside of the zipper is on the inside. Presumably the purpose is to make the zipper operate more smoothly when zipped from the inside. It’s a high quality coil zipper with a single pull that operates from the outside or inside. There appears to be good promise here that the zipper will operate smoothly with minimal snagging; field testing will provide a clear answer.

The quality of construction is superb. All stitching is tight with a high number of stitches per inch (about 12) and no puckering. I examined the sleeping bag closely and did not find any flaws.

Size and Fit—A size Regular sleeping bag normally fits sleepers up to 6 ft (183 cm) tall (although a few manufacturers choose to make their Regular bag a different length). I am 6 ft (183 cm) tall so I should expect the Adrenaline 20 to fit without being tight in length. It does. The bag fits me perfectly (with a little bit of length to spare) without compressing the down at either end.

As mentioned in my Initial Impressions, the Adrenaline is designed to be trim to maximize thermal efficiency. Although I prefer about 62 in (157 cm) of shoulder girth (my shoulder girth is 47 in (119 cm), I believe I can get along with the Adrenaline’s 60 in (152 cm) of shoulder girth okay; I tried wearing a down jacket inside the sleeping bag and found it roomy enough to accommodate the extra volume without compressing the down, but there is definitely no extra interior volume to spare. A larger person may find this bag to be too tight (especially if he wants to wear extra clothing inside the bag to extend its warmth), and should definitely try it out before purchasing it.

Loft—The Adrenaline 20 sleeping bag is insulated with 800 fill-power goose down. I measured the double-layer loft of the bag at 4 7/8 inches (12 cm) in the chest area and 5 ¼  inches (13 cm) in the knee area, which agrees with the manufacturer’s specification of 5 inches (13 cm). The bag has six inch (15 cm) baffles to hold the down in place, with equal distribution of down in the top and bottom of the bag. The baffles run length-wise in the top upper half of the bag (bottom of zipper to hood) and width-wise in the top lower half and full bottom side of the bag. Baffled construction is more thermally efficient than sewn-through construction, and is expected for a high-end ultralight down sleeping bag.

The GoLite Adrenaline 20 sleeping bag stuffed in its stuff sack measures 14 in long x 6.5 in wide (36 cm x 17 cm).
The GoLite Adrenaline 20 sleeping bag stuffed in its stuff sack measures 14 in long x 6.5 in wide (36 cm x 17 cm).

Features—The bag’s feature list is provided in the Product Description section above. Basically this is a high-end ultralight backpacking bag, so the goal is to provide essential features that provide functionality, while omitting features that simply add weight. The bag has only a one-half length zipper to save weight, but it is located on the top of the bag for ease of entry and zipping it closed. The Pertex Endurance panels at the ends of the bag add a little weight, but they ensure that the bag will not absorb water if it contacts wet tent walls. The hood has two one-handed adjustors to adjust the hood from inside the bag. The bag does not have features like sleeping pad straps, a foot vent, an interior pocket, or a pillow pocket.

Over the next four months I will continue to evaluate the above factors as well as the factors listed below in my test plan.


Test Plan
Test Period—
March 2008 through June 2008.
Test Locations—Southwestern United States (Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico).

Testing Conditions—The GoLite Adrenaline 20 Sleeping Bag is an appropriate bag for some winter conditions, as well as colder spring and summer conditions. I live in the Southwest Colorado Mountains, and will use the Adrenaline 20 initially on high elevation winter camping trips where I will camp in below freezing temperatures in igloos we have constructed. Although the temperature is below zero outside, the nighttime temperature inside the igloo is a “warm” 20-30 F (-7 to -1 C).

In March, April, and May I will use the GoLite Adrenaline 20 Sleeping Bag on numerous backpacking trips and car camping trips in Arizona, southern Utah, northern New Mexico, and southwest Colorado where nighttime temperatures can easily get down into the 20’s (-7 to -1 C) or colder.

This concludes my initial report; please check back in about two months to read my Field Report, and four months to read my Long Term Report.

Field Report May 5, 2008

Amount of Use
During the first two months of testing, I slept in the GoLite Adrenaline 20 sleeping bag on nine trips for a total of 16 nights, summarized as follows: (table)

Type of Trip

Number of Trips

Number of Nights

Mountain Cabin

2

5

Winter Camp in Bivy

1

1

Winter Camp in Tent

4

4

Winter Camp in Igloo

1

1

Rafting

1

5

Totals

9

16

Type of Use
Testing conditions were diverse from mid February through April, which is good for a sleeping bag test. On two 9 mile (14.5 km) ski trips to a friend’s mountain cabin we slept on bunks overnight, with a woodstove keeping the cabin warm until it went out late at night. Lows were in the 40’s F (4-9 C). On one winter camping trip I inserted the Adrenaline bag into an Integral Designs Penguin Reflexion Bivy (which I am also testing) and slept under the stars on a 20 F (-7 C) night. My four winter camping trips in a tent (two nights in a double wall tent and two nights in a single wall tent) was overnight snow camping in the southwest Colorado mountains at 9000 ft (2743 m) elevation with overnight lows of 25, 18, 16, and 17 F (-4, -8, -9, and -8 C), respectively. On the three coldest nights I slept with the Adrenaline sleeping bag inside the Penguin Bivy for extra warmth. I camped in a mountain igloo at 9500 ft (2896 m) one night in March, and the low inside the igloo was 25 F (-4 C). Finally, I took the Adrenaline bag on a six day rafting trip in southeastern Utah, where we slept in a double wall tent in temperatures ranging from 30 to 45 F (-1 to 7 C). All temperatures were measured with a Kestrel 4000 Pocket Weather Tracker.

Side sleeping in the GoLite Adrenaline 20 bag in a single wall tent.
Side sleeping in the GoLite Adrenaline 20 bag in a single wall tent.

Performance

Fit and Roominess—A men’s regular Adrenaline 20 bag is sized to fit a person up to 6 ft (183 cm) tall. I am 6 ft (183 cm) tall, and the size regular bag I am testing fits me perfectly, without my feet or head pressing the ends of the bag.

I found the bag to be proportioned well in the shoulder, hip, and foot areas, providing enough room in each area. I really like the bag’s hood; it surrounds my head well, covers my face, and places a breathing hole right at my mouth where it should be.

The Adrenaline 20 is intentionally snugger in girth, 60 in (152 cm) at the shoulder, for increased thermal efficiency. I had some concerns that the bag would not be roomy enough to wear extra clothing inside to extend its warmth, but that turned out not to be a problem, at least for wearing mid-weight insulated clothing. I wore long johns plus a synthetic insulated jacket and pants inside the bag and had room to spare.

Warmth and Comfort—I slept in the Adrenaline 20 on five nights where the low temperature was near the bags limit (25, 18, 16, 17, and 20 F/-4, -8, -9, -8, and -7 C). On three of those nights the bag was enclosed in a bivy. On the 25 F (-4 C) night, I stayed warm all night wearing wool long johns and a heavy polyester shirt inside the bag. On the 18 F (-8 C) night, wearing the same clothing, I got chilly at 5 AM and remained chilly the rest of the night. On the other nights, I wore wool long johns plus a mid-weight synthetic insulated jacket and pants inside the bag (within a bivy) and stayed warm all night. Overall, I’m a warm sleeper, and my assessment is that the GoLite Adrenaline 20 bag’s warmth is close to its temperature rating of 20 F (-7 C), but the bag is definitely not warmer than its rating.

Features—I like the Adrenaline’s half-length top zipper. I’m a side sleeper, and it’s nice not to sleep on a zipper. The top zipper is more convenient to reach and zip than a side zipper, and it zips straight up to the hood, with no tight turns to bind the zipper. That said, I found that the zipper is not totally snag-proof; it operates more smoothly than the zipper on many sleeping bags, but the inside lining of the bag does snag in the zipper some.

The drawcord on the hood has two anchored cordlock adjustors that work well. Basically, I adjust the hood opening by pinching the cordlock and pulling on a loop of cord. Once adjusted, the drawcord does not slip and I can leave it adjusted in my desired position.

Water-Resistance—I had varying amounts of frost inside my tent and bivy on below freezing nights, but the frost was not a good test of the Adrenaline’s water-resistance. As I continue testing the bag into the spring, I hope to encounter conditions that produce lots of liquid condensation inside a single wall tent, which should be a good test of the bag’s Pertex Endurance fabric at the head and foot ends.

Long-Term Report (July 15, 2008)

Amount of Use
During the second two months of testing, I slept in the GoLite Adrenaline 20 sleeping bag an additional 11 trips for a total of 26 nights, summarized as follows: (table)

Type of Trip

Number of Trips

Number of Nights

Spring Car Camping

3

4

Spring Backpacking

2

3

Spring Snow Camping

2

2

Rafting

1

6

Summer Backpacking

3

11

Totals

11

26

My total usage for the four-month test period is 20 trips where I slept in the GoLite Adrenaline 20 sleeping bag 42 nights.

Type of Use
During May I went on three backcountry car camping trips at elevations of 6600 to 9500 feet (2012 to 2896 m) where nighttime temperatures ranged from 28 to 39 F (-2 to 4 C). On those trips I slept in either a single wall or double wall tent. I also made one backpacking trip to the badlands country of northern New Mexico, where I slept in a single wall tent and had a nighttime low of 31 F (-1 C) and lots of wind. Also during May I went on two snow camping trips at 11,700 ft (3566 m) where I slept in a double wall tent and had nighttime temperatures of 28 and 32 F (-2 and 0 C). On my first snow camping trip I had 4 in (10 cm) of fresh snow with a 15 mph (24 kph) wind which blew some spindrift into the tent.

In late spring I went on a 100-mile (161 km) seven-day rafting trip in southwest Colorado, where I had a lot of rain and some snow the first two days. Low temperatures ranged from 36 to 54 F (2 to 12 C). On two cool, damp, rainy nights during that trip I had a lot of condensation inside my tent

During June and early July I went on three backpacking trips in southwestern Colorado where I slept in either a single wall tent or double wall tent and experienced nighttime low temperatures of 30 to 45 F (-1 to 7 C). The elevations of my camps ranged from 11,200 to 12,500 ft (3414 to 3810 m). On four nights, where the temperature dropped down to about 30 F (-1 C), I had a lot of condensation inside my tent.

All temperatures were measured with a Kestrel 4000 Pocket Weather Tracker.

Performance
My Field Report assessment of the GoLite Adrenaline 20 sleeping bag is basically unchanged. I will add a few more comments in this section to expand a little more on the points I made earlier.

Fit and Roominess—A men’s regular Adrenaline 20 bag is sized to fit a person up to 6 ft (183 cm) tall. I am 6 ft (183 cm) tall, and the size regular bag I am testing fits me perfectly, without my feet or head pressing the ends of the bag.

Although the Adrenaline 20 is snugger in girth [60 in (152 cm) at the shoulder] than other sleeping bags, I found that the bag has adequate room inside to wear extra clothing to extend the bag’s warmth.

Warmth—I typically wear some clothing inside a sleeping bag, at least some lightweight long johns, to keep the bag clean. On several cold nights just above or below the bag’s 20 F (-7 C) temperature rating I wore medium weight insulated clothing inside the bag and stayed comfortably warm. Overall, I found the bag’s 20 F (-7 C) temperature rating to be realistic.

Durability—After a total of 20 trips and 42 bag nights, the Adrenaline still looks like it did when it was brand new. I consider my use “normal”; I am not hard on outdoor gear. Besides my sleeping in the bag 42 nights, the bag was stuffed and unstuffed nearly as many times, and it was also dampened and dried on many occasions. The bag has no damage (snags, punctures) or other signs of wear from my use.

Loft—When the bag was brand new,
I measured the double-layer loft of the bag at 4 7/8 inches (12 cm) in the chest area and 5 ¼  inches (13 cm) in the knee area, which agrees with the manufacturer’s specification of 5 inches (13 cm). At the end of the four-month test period I re-measured the double layer loft at 4.25 inches (11 cm) in both locations. From my use the bag lost about 0.6 in (1.5 cm) of loft in the chest area and 1 in (2.5 cm) of loft in the knee area. From my previous experiences, it is normal for a sleeping bag to lose some loft from use, and I consider the loft loss of the Adrenaline to be “normal” for the amount of use I put on it.

Zipper—In my Field Report, I had some complaints about the zipper snagging easily. Since then I have found that by gripping both sides of the zipper at the hood end and pulling it tight (straight), the zipper will slide easily without snagging. However, it frequently snags when I pull the zipper with one hand without straightening it first.

Water-Resistance—The Adrenaline’s waterproof/breathable Pertex Endurance panels at the ends of the bag are just part of the story. The Endurance fabric definitely sheds moisture from the ends of the bag to keep those areas dry. However, on many very damp or rainy nights where I had a lot of condensation on the inside tent walls I had moisture contact the middle section of the bag. The shell’s DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish helped a lot to shed moisture, but it did wet through on several occasions. The result was some dampening of the surface of the bag, but the bag did not lose any loft or warmth. I was impressed with the Adrenaline’s performance in very damp conditions.

After an all night rain, it was so damp in my tent that I had a worm crawling across the sleeping bag! Notice that the bag’s DWR finish still causes water to bead up.

After an all night rain, it was so damp in my tent that I had a worm crawling across the sleeping bag! Notice that the bag’s DWR finish still causes water to bead up.

Overall Assessment
I am very impressed with the GoLite Adrenaline 20’s design, construction, and performance. Its use of 800 fill down is appropriate for a moderately priced ($325USD) lightweight sleeping bag (bags with 850+ fill power down cost significantly more). Although the bag is sized to be trim for warmth and light weight, it is not tight, and there is adequate room inside to wear extra clothing to extend its warmth. The materials used effectively provide durability, water-resistance, and light weight. The center half-length zipper is a feature that some hikers may not like because it does restrict entry/exit somewhat, and the zipper easily snags with one-handed operation. However, I easily adjusted to those limitations and did not find them to be a problem. I found the bag’s warmth to be close to its temperature rating, and was impressed by its resistance to wetting and loss of loft in damp weather.

Acknowledgement
I would like to thank GoLite and the BackpackGearTest Group for selecting me to participate in this test.

Will Rietveld



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