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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Sierra Designs Echo and Electra 2007 > Test Report by Jennifer Koles

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INITIAL REPORT-FEBRUARY 14, 2007
FIELD REPORT-MARCH 18, 2007
LONG TERM REPORT-JUNE 24, 2007

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Jennifer Koles
EMAIL: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 140 lb (63.50 kg)

I started taking overnight backpacking trips last year in the Uinta Mountain Range in Utah. I found myself taking entirely too much gear. I am finding out slowly how to minimize my needs and not require extra luxuries. My previous outdoor experiences consisted of 4-wheel-drive camping in primitive areas and day hiking. I use a four season convertible tent or a three season tent for my shelter. I plan to take more trips, increase my duration, and reduce my two to three day backpack base weight below 17 lb (8 kg).


INITIAL REPORT

February 14, 2007

 

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Properties of the bag

Manufacturer: Sierra Designs
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: www.sierradesigns.com
Color: Light green outer shell with light green and light purple patterned liner.
Sizes Available: Regular fits up to 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m) and Long fits up to 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Long Size Girth Measurements (indicated on product tag): Shoulder- 59 in (150 cm); Hip- 58 in (147 cm); Foot- 41 in (104 cm)
Size Tested: Long
Zipper: Right
MSRP: US $499.00

Listed Trail Weight on Product Tag: 4 lb 6 oz (1.98 kg)
Listed Trail Weight on Manufacturer's Website: 4 lb 2 oz (1.87)
Measured Weight: 4 lb 7 oz (2.01 kg)
Measured Stuff Sack Weight: 5.9 oz (167 g)

Fill Weight (indicated on product tag and website): 40 oz (1,134 g)

Listed Stuff Size on Product Tag and Website: 10 in X 20 in (25 cm X 51 cm)
Actual Stuff Size: 10.5 in X 19.5 in (27 cm X 50 cm)
Compressed Stuff Size: 10.5 in X 13 in (27 cm X 33 cm)

Fill: 800-Fill Goose Down
Shell: 40D nylon
Lining: 40D polyester

The Sierra Designs Electra -20 F (-29 C) sleeping bag is constructed of a DriZone waterproof/breathable fabric shell. This DriZone fabric is claimed to allow moisture to escape the bag, while keeping water out. The manufacturer claims that this bag has technical characteristics that would allow for sleeping outside a shelter. The shell is constructed of 40D nylon material and the interior lining is constructed of 40D polyester. The shell of the bag is a light green color with purple trim around the hood. The Sierra Designs logo is printed on the exterior shell of the bag. The interior lining is patterned in light/dark green and purple.

The manufacturer claims that the women's specific sleeping bag line is more tailored to fit a woman's body. These bags are designed narrower at the shoulders, wider at the hips, and sized for height. They also are constructed with more insulation in the torso and the foot box areas.

The bag comes equipped with a large cotton sack for storage and a smaller stuff sack for storage in a backpack. The stuff sack is a compression style sack with a fixed bottom and a removable lid. At the top of the sack there is a cinch cord to close the opening before placing the removable lid on top. There are eight nylon webbing compression straps on the sack. Two are more of a fixed type with a buckle and the other two are a type of quick connector buckle. When the sleeping bag is placed into the stuff sack the compression straps are easily cinched down to obtain a smaller size for placing the bag inside a pack.

The seams on the shell of the bag are a welded construction type. The seams are glued together instead of stitched. This creates a stronger and fully waterproof seam. The interior stitched seams are tuck stitched. This construction allows a seam that is not exposed by sewing and tucking the seams from the inside. This is to prevent snagging and to reduce wear and tear in the seams of the bag.

Zipper pull
Zipper pull and track
The Electra has a right zipper. The zipper is a dual zipper with a glow in the dark zipper pull located on the zipper closer to the head of the bag. The zipper is a reverse type zipper. This type of zipper has the traditional inside of the zipper exposed to the outside. The design of this bag is to have a snag free zipper track and this feature will be addressed during the testing plan. Currently the zipper does not snag on the fabric, but I do find that it sticks slightly when attempting to open the bag. The zipper is covered by what the manufacturer calls a storm flap. This is a piece of the DriZone fabric running the length of the bag over the zipper. This flap can be fastened down on the bag with hook and loop closures. There are four contact points of the hook and loop closures on the length of the bag.

The under side of the bag has two pad lock straps measuring .5 in (1.27 cm) in width and 28 in (71 cm) in length when fully extended. These are small nylon straps that fasten with a small buckle. They are to be used by placing a sleeping pad underneath them next to the bag, and then cinched to a desired tightness to keep the pad in place. This is to prevent the pad from sliding out from under the sleeping bag. The pad lock straps are removable. They are attached to a small nylon loop and have a hook and loop closure for fastening and removal. The straps are placed near the shoulder area and just below the center of the bag.

The inside has two draft tubes one on the top and one on the bottom running the length of the bag next to the zipper track. The draft collar is both dorsal and ventral inside the bag. It has a cinch cord and a hook and loop type closure for fastening. There is a small mesh pocket with a hook and loop closure on the draft collar that is located on the ventral side of the bag. This pocket the manufacturer calls an internal media pocket to prevent freezing of electronic devices. This pocket measures 4.5 in X 3.25 in (11 cm X 8 cm).

The hood is what the manufacturer denotes as an expedition jacket hood that is the most thermally efficient hood on the market. It has an inner draft tube with a cinch cord and a cinch cord for tightening the hood overall. The manufacturer claims on the product tag that the hood allows the eyes to be more shaded and it creates an extremely quiet sleeping zone.

There is a care instruction tag stitched to the ventral draft tube of the bag. It denotes that the bag can be dry cleaned by a professional that is experienced with dry cleaning down. It can also be washed in a non agitator type machine on the gentle cycle following the recommended water temperature of the soap. The bag can be dried in a cool dryer or drip dried. Harsh detergents and bleach should not be used to clean the bag. The tag also indicates not to steam press or to iron. I iron just about everything, but I have no intention of ironing my sleeping bag.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Electra hood
Electra hood

I am very impressed with the construction and the quality of this sleeping bag. I am also very impressed with the loft of the 800-fill goose down. I measured the amount of loft in the center of the length of the bag and it is a whopping 8 in (20 cm). Wow, I am quite impressed. The bag is very attractive. I like the color combinations on the exterior and the interior of the bag. I think it looks sharp.

The lining fabric has a soft silky feel. I did not find myself sliding around in the inside of the bag due to the fabric type. The exterior shell has a stiffer feel than the inside lining. While lying inside the bag I was very warm at room temperature. I stayed in the bag for approximately 15 minutes. Then I became too hot. The bag was so cozy and soft. This is the most comfortable bag that I have ever owned. The inside was snug, but not so much that I could not put extra items inside the bag with me. I also had on heavier clothing than what I would typically wear sleeping in the bag.

I paid special attention to examining the welded seams. I was very intrigued by this design style. I can see how this type of craftsmanship would be able to create a waterproof bag. I can feel the stiffness of the glue when I touch the seams. The baffles of the bag can still be seen with this type of seam, but it does not appear to be as pronounced as my other bags.

I have never owned a winter bag of this quality and I am very impressed with the anti-draft features of this bag. There are features in the hood area and draft tubes running down the length of the bag.

Initially it took me a long period of time and some physical labor to stuff the bag into the stuff sack. After a few attempts I became much quicker at stuffing the bag into the sack. I am quite impressed by how this lofty bag can compress so small.

I can not wait to see how this bag performs during the next four months of the testing period. I am very impressed at this point.

TESTING STRATEGY

I plan on testing the Electra sleeping bag in winter and spring conditions in the states of Utah, Montana, and California during the four month testing period. I will be primarily testing the comfort, waterproofness, warmth, and durability of this bag.


FIELD REPORT

March 18, 2007

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During the past two months the Electra was tested in the following locations:

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: The bag was used on a one night trip in this location. There was light precipitation at night consisting of a rain and snow mix. The high was recorded at 47 F (8 C) and the low was 7 F (-14 C). My sleeping elevation was 7,553 ft (2,302 m).

San Jacinto State Park, California: This was a two night trip. The sleeping elevation on this trip was 9,200 ft (2,800 m). The low temperature during this trip was 20 F (-7 C). The field conditions were sunny and clear on both days.

Wasatch Mountain Range, Utah: This was a one night trip. The low temperature was 12 F (-11 C) with snowy conditions. I slept at an elevation of 9,433 ft (2,875 m).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Sleeping in the Electra.I must say that the Electra is the most comfortable and the warmest bag I ever slept in. I have not felt at all confined in the bag. It is also the puffiest bag I ever slept in. During the past two months of testing the Electra all the temperatures I encountered were above 0 F (-18 C). I am still seeking temperatures below 0 F (-18 C) to test the Electra. It has been quite warm this winter.

I found the bag to be a little too warm even at a temperature recorded at 7 F (-14 C). I rectified this situation by opening the zipper half way down the bag. Even when wearing just a silk weight base layer I still became too warm in the bag.

The bag lofts up beautifully and remains lofted up and stays that way making it an extra effort to stuff it back into the compression sack. I am getting much quicker at stuffing the bag into the compression sack. When compressed the Electra fits nicely into my 5,000 in^3 (82 L) GoLite Odyssey pack with lots of extra room to spare for my winter gear. I found that I did not have enough room for my gear when I placed the Electra into my Osprey Ariel pack with a volume of 3,200 in^3 (52 L). Even when compressed the bag takes up more volume than I am used to. But, that is not unrealistic considering this is a -20 F (-29 C) bag with superior loft.

I did encounter the zipper sticking a few times. I find that it tends to stick more when I zipped the bag from the outside. The zipper sticks less than other bags I have used in the past. The zipper does not snag the fabric it just becomes stuck in the track.

I tried to mate the bag with the Sierra Designs Cirque that my fiancÚ is testing. However, to my dismay the bags can not be mated because the zipper does not become completely undone from the track.

I do like the double draft tubes on the Electra. I did not find any cool air seeping through the zipper. I am not sure at this point what I think about the hook and loop closures that are along the zipper of the bag. They have a tendency to adhere to fabrics and objects. They adhered to my fleece jacket/pants and other loop closures on jackets. They are sometimes difficult to open.

The hood is very comfortable. I found that I did not need to use my small down pillow to be comfortable while sleeping. The hood and the collar prevented cold air from entering the bag.

I really like the chest pocket to store items that I do not want to freeze. I stored my MP3 player and some Carmex in the pocket overnight and it did not freeze.

The waterproof fabric of this bag is awesome. I had the opportunity to have precipitation touch the outside of the bag. My rainfly became somewhat undone and snow and rain fell onto the fabric. I was very surprised that the water did not penetrate into the bag. During one of the nights I encountered some condensation in the tent and on the bag, but none of it penetrated the fabric. The waterproof fabric is my favorite feature of the Electra.

LONG TERM REPORT

June 24, 2007

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Due to warm temperatures in my geographic location and the time of year I am testing a cold weather sleeping bag, I only used the Electra on one trip. I am finding it difficult to find temperatures below freezing point in June. It is 0 F (-18 C) or 15 F (-9 C) bag season in my region not -20 F (-29 C).

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming: The bag was used on a one night trip in this location. Sleeping elevation was at 6,900 ft (2,103 m) and the high temperature was 65 F (18 C) with a low of 23 F (-5 C). There were some rain showers during this trip but mostly cloudy skies.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

For the trip in Grand Teton National Park I used my GoLite Odyssey pack. It is the same pack I used in the field report. Its volume is 5,000 in^3 (82 L). The Electra still fits nicely in the Odyssey pack when it is compressed in the compression sack. Stuffing the Electra into the compression sack is laborious since the bag has so much loft. When the Electra is removed from the compression sack or the cotton storage sack it still lofts nicely and quickly.

I am still very impressed with the loft and warmth of this bag and I can not wait to use it again in colder temperatures. I found it to be a bit too warm on my last trip when the low temperature was 23 F (-5 C). My sleeping attire consisted of a short sleeve lightweight silk base layer shirt and a polyester blend lightweight pair of shorts. I did not sleep with socks on. I became very warm in the bag even with it open so I decided to use it as a quilt. I was still very warm so then I only covered half of my body with the quilt. There was some condensation in the tent from the rain during the evening. The Electra stayed warm and the down remained dry. I am a fan of the DriZone fabric. I wish all my bags were made with the DriZone material.

The manufacturer indicates on their website that the zipper pull is glow in the dark. However, I am unable to see it glow in the dark. I exposed the zipper pull to light from my head lamp and when I turned the light off I did not notice any glow.

The zipper is still sticking at times when I am attempting to open the bag. However, it sticks slightly and it is much better than other bags I have used in the past. If I jiggle the zipper pull a few times it becomes unstuck.

I have not used the padlocks much. I have been on very flat ground while sleeping and I did not feel as though I needed them. On the one occasion that I used them I found them to be easily adjustable.

I find that the hook and loop closures along the draft tubes like to adhere to other fabrics and I find it to be a nuisance. They snagged my polyester moisture wicking shorts and it loves to adhere to my fleece jacket.

When I am not using the Electra sleeping bag I store it in the cotton stuff sack that was included with it. So here it will rest until next winter.

THINGS THAT ARE GREAT

This bag is cozy warm and very comfortable.
I like the hood design.
The waterproof fabric is awesome.

THINGS THAT ARE SO SO

I don't care for the hook and loop closures along the length of the bag. It catches other materials and objects.
The zipper sticks sometimes.

SUMMARY

I really love the Electra sleeping bag. My favorite feature is the DriZone fabric. I am considering purchasing a 0 F (-18 C) Sierra Design sleeping bag with DriZone fabric. The Electra is my favorite sleeping bag and I can not wait to use it again next winter. Even though the zipper sticks from time to time it is still much easier to open and close than other bags I have owned or currently own. I am very pleased with the Electra for a cold weather bag.

REMARKS

This concludes my testing of the Sierra Designs Electra sleeping bag. Thank you Sierra Designs and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test the Electra sleeping bag.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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