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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Summer Bags and Liners > Grand Trunk Silk Sleep Sack > Test Report by Larry Kirschner

Grand Trunk Silk Sleep Sack

TEST SERIES BY LARRY KIRSCHNER

The Grand Trunk Sleep Sack


INITIAL REPORT - May 31, 2015
FIELD REPORT - August 27, 2015
LONG-TERM REPORT - November 8, 2015



TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Larry Kirschner
EMAIL: asklarry98 at hotmail dot com
AGE: 51
LOCATION: Columbus, Ohio
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 208 lb (95 kg)

I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but when my kids were avid Boy Scouts, I caught the backpacking bug. Now that they have grown up, my wife and I plan to continue our adventures on the trail. I consider myself a mid-weight backpacker because I like comfort, but I can always learn to go lighter and longer.


INITIAL REPORT
May 31, 2015

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Grand Trunk
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Country of Manufacture: China
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.grandtrunkgoods.com/ is listed on the packaging, but http://www.grandtrunk.com also works
MSRP: USD $69.99

Color: Blue with a black stuff sack
Weight:
       Per manufacturer: 5 oz / 142 g
       Measured: 4 oz /115 g on non-digital scale (includes attached stuff sack)
Size:
       Per manufacturer: 84 x 36 in / 213 x 91 cm
       Measured: 84 x 34 in/ 213 x 86 cm


ITEM DESCRIPTION

The Grand Trunk silk sleep sack is a sleeping bag liner manufactured by Grand Trunk, a company that makes "Goods for the Road". This Chicago-based company has been around since 2001, with the goal to produce products that are "lightweight, durable, and extremely packable."

The sleep sack that I will be testing is part of is their "Adventure Travel" line. It is made from 100% silk, which, as shown in the photo below, is quite thin.

Thin silk

According to the manufacturer, the sleep adds 10 degrees of warmth. I presume this is 10 F or 4.5 C. The sleep sack is sewn at the sides and the bottom but is otherwise seamless. The horizontal lines in the photos are just from folding of the material. The top seams are split on both sides to a distance of 32 in/ 81 cm. There are two ties on each side to keep the edges together if desired.

Sides and Ties

It also has a pillow pocket at the top which extends the width of the sleep sack and extends 13.75 in/ 35 cm from the top. It is open on the bottom edge. I have put a towel in the pillow pocket in the photo to demonstrate what this looks like.

Pillow pocket

There is an attached stuff bag which has a drawstring and a small strap which could be hooked on a carabiner if I wanted. Overall, considering how large this sack is, it packs down quite small!

size comparison



INSTRUCTIONS and WARRANTY

The only instructions found indicate that the sleep sack should be hand washed. However, I don't think further instructions are needed.

The packaging indicates that this product "comes with a limited warranty", although no details are provided. On the website, there is a form that can be filled out, with instructions to take a photo of the damage, and return it with the form. According to this section of the website, refunds are made only from products purchased from the website, and a proof of purchase is required. If a Grand Trunk product is purchased from a distributor, warranty issues must be addressed with that company. The warranty is good for two years, unless noted otherwise.


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The sleep sack came stuffed, and I was struck when I opened it how HUGE this is. The sleep sack is much bigger than my sleeping bags. As shown in the photo with one my backpacking bags (a Kelty Light Year), the sleep sack is not only longer than my sleeping bag, but it is also significantly wider. I measured it at 34 in /86 cm, which is 2 in /5 cm narrower than the specs, even if I tried stretching it. Even with this discrepancy, the sleep sack is still significantly wider than my sleeping bag.

Grand Trunk with sleeping bag

The rectangular shape of the sleep sack also means that if I use this inside my sleeping bag, there will be a lot of excess fabric floating around. The fabric itself was much thinner than I expected, and has a nice smooth feel.

My other thoughts on first blush are that I'm not sure how useful are the side ties-not sure that I want to fumble around in the dark trying to get these tied during the night. I'm also not sure how much I like the pillow pocket. I think it is too large to make a pillow from stuffing it with clothes, since it would take more clothes than I typically bring to fill it up. Would I rather stick my pillow underneath and put my head on the silk? I guess I'll find out during testing. Another thought I had when I examined the sleep sack is that I hope I don't roll over onto the stuff sack-the clasp for the drawstring would be awfully uncomfortable to sleep on! My last concern is a personal issue, in that I frequently like to stick my legs out the side of my sleeping bag if I'm feeling warm at night. If I am bundled up in the sleep sack, I won't be able to do that. Of course, if I unzip my bag, the 34 in/86 cm width of the sleep sack would probably give my legs plenty of play.

EXPECTATIONS for the Grand Trunk Silk Sleeping Sack:

This is a type of gear I have been eyeing for a while, so I'm glad that I will have the chance to evaluate one for BackpackGearTest.org. The Grand Trunk version seems well made, so I'm interested to see how I like it on the trail, both in the hot weather, where I may sleep in this on top of my sleeping bag, and in the cold, where I'll use them together.


THE STORY SO FAR

    Impressive
  • Lightweight
  • Silk fabric seems like it will be very comfortable
  • This thing is HUGE (haven't decided yet if this is impressive or a concern)
  • Packs down to a small size
    Concerns
  • What will I do with all the extra fabric when I'm in my sleeping bag?
  • I'm worried about sleeping with the clasp for the stuff sack in my back
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FIELD REPORT

August 27, 2015

FIELD CONDITIONS
Over the past few months, I have taken the Grand Trunk silk sleep sack with me on 3 short trips:

  • An overnight camping trip to Ohiopyle State Park, in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. Elevation 2,259 ft (689 m). It was 70 F / 21 C overnight.
  • An 3-day/2-night 18 mile / 26 km hike on the Zaleski Backpacking Trail in McCarthur, Ohio. Elevations 750-1000 ft (230-305 m). HOT and humid with low temps 65 F / 18 C overnight with HIGH humidity.
  • A 3-day/2-night 16 mile / 29 km hike on the Adventure Hiking Trail in Corydon, Indiana. Elevations: 450-850 ft (135-260 m). HOTTER and humid with an overnight low of 75 F / 24 C.
I also took the sleep sack with me on 1 long trip:
  • A 11-day/10 night backpacking trip of 80 mi / 129 km in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Cimarron, New Mexico. Elevations 6500-11800 ft (1980-3600 m) . Temperatures with a low of 40 F / 4 C and high of 80 F/ 18 C. Most nights it was between 50-60 F / 10-15 C.
  • Tooth Ridge

FIELD EXPERIENCE

The first three trips on which I took the Grand Trunk sleep sack, it was too hot to sleep in my sleeping bag. On each of those trips, I tried sleeping inside the sleep sack, but I was just too hot. Even though the bag has a rectangular shape and therefore provides more room for my legs, it still felt too constricting. Of course, it was so hot and humid that I'm not sure anything would have been comfortable. I ended up sleeping on top of the sleep sack on one of the weekend trips. On the others, I just got too frustrated and pushed it over to the side of my tent and slept on top of the sleeping bag.

On my trip to New Mexico, the weather was much cooler, making the sleep sack much more usable. I slept in it about half the nights. Typically, my scheme was that I would unzip the sleeping bag and get in the sleep sack on top of it. As it cooled down overnight, I would stick my legs (already in the sleep sack) into the sleeping bag, and sometimes zip it up around me. I did not fool around with the ties on the sleep sack, as I always used it in the dark. I found the sleep sack to be incredibly comfortable for sleeping. I enjoyed the feel of the soft silk on my body-it is much nice than the nylon inside my sleeping bag. With a sleeping bag rated at 20 F / -7 C, I'm not sure I really needed it for warmth, but I did feel warmer on the nights when I used it. I didn't use it when I was sleeping outside the tent, as shown below.

almost sleeping outside the tent

I also liked the ability to wrap myself in the sleep sack inside my sleeping bag. I do the same with my sheets at home, so I appreciated the ability to cocoon myself on the trail. I had wondered in my Initial Report about discomfort from sleeping on the attached stuff sack, but this was not a problem at all. I never even noticed it, and I did the like the ability to stuff it quickly in the morning.

My major complaint with the sleep sack is that I found it rather tricky to get it oriented in my sleeping bag when I took it out in the tent. There is not a lot of room inside my backpacking tent, so I was usually trying to find the bottom of the bag while lying on my side on my half of the tent. As the sack is a uniform blue color, it is really difficult to get it laid out with the bottom by my feet and the two halves of the top by my head. I got a little better at this the more I used it, but it still usually took me a bit of time to get situated.

I have hand-washed the sleep sack twice now, and it dries quickly when hung. There is no notable wear that I can see.


FIELD IMPRESSIONS

To date, I have found the Grand Trunk Silk Sleep Sack to be a nice luxury on the trail. With its low weight, I didn't mind carrying it for the added comfort it provides. I also liked the warmth, although I haven't used it in conditions where I really needed it.

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LONG-TERM REPORT
November 8, 2015

FIELD CONDITIONS AND EXPERIENCE

Since returning from my big trip to New Mexico, my backpacking opportunities have been very limited. I took the sleep sack with me on a conference overseas because I thought it would be a good refuge if I got stuck overnight in the airport. Fortunately, there were no travel snafus, so the Grand Trunk sleep sack didn't make it out of my bag.

SUMMARY

Overall, I think the Grand Trunk Silk Sleep Sack is a nice piece of luxury gear for backpacking. It is easy to pack and lightweight, but I don't think I will use it routinely on the trail if weight is at a premium. I found it too warm when the weather was hot and sticky, and I found it difficult to sleep on top of it because it bunched up very easily. On nights when I used my sleeping bag, I liked starting out in the sleep sack and crawling into the sleeping bag sometime during the night. For my own tastes, I would have preferred opening only on one side, rather than the ties on both sides, since I think that would have made it easier to use.

Things I liked about the Grand Trunk Silk Sleep Sack:
  • Very comfy for sleeping
  • Super easy to pack in its attached stuff sack
  • Lightweight
  • Added warmth to my sleeping bag
Things I disliked about the Grand Trunk Silk Sleep Sack:
  • Difficult to orient the sleep sack when in my tent at night
  • Didn't use the side ties at all
  • Difficult to sleep on top of it because of sliding and bunching, at least when used with sleeping pad


Thanks to Grand Trunk for providing this item for testing, and to BackpackGearTest.org for giving me the chance to participate in the evaluation process.

-larry kirschner


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