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Sleeping Gear The Sleeping Gear forum is for the discussion of sleeping gear (bags, mats, quilts...).


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  #1  
Old 05-17-2014, 12:59 PM
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tonto tonto is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Ozark Trail 250 Duck Down Mummy Budget Sleeping Bag

Review: OZARK TRAIL 250 Duck Down Mummy style sleeping bag.

Last spring I attempted a thru-hike of the AT.
I started from Springer Mountain in GA and managed to knock off 625 mile to Southwest Va before getting off with a stress fracture in my right knee due most likely from carrying too much gear and food.
This coming July I've got plans to do a section of the Appalachian Trail from Lee, MA to Hanover.
Not wanting to suffer a relapse in the knee I've decided to go over the gear I carried then and see if I could lighten the load.
A quick way for big weight savings is to review the Big Four items in the pack.
1. Backpack.
2. Sleeping bag.
3. Sleep pad.
4. Shelter.

As this thread is about a new sleeping bag I picked up I'll skip discussing items 1, 3, and 4.

During May to the 1st week in July (from GA to Pearisburg, VA) I carried an old $2 thrift store barrel style down sleeping bag.
The thing weighed 2 lbs and was good to about 35 degrees even though the loft was pretty well shot.
It also leaked down and I'd get up in the morning with little fragments of white down clinging all over my black thermals.
It's a wonder I didn't get the trail name "bird man."

Anyways, later I switch from the down bag to a cheap Ozark Trail fleece bag.
The fleece weighed one lb - nine oz and was good to temps down to the mid 50s.
I expect possible night temps in MA and VT in the low 40s when I get on the Trail.
Switching from the down bag to the fleece bag saved a half pound but the fleece won't cut the lower temps.

A couple months back, I saw an Ozark Trail 250 mummy style sleeping bag priced $80.
The bag came in a nylon compression sack and the tag stated it was insulated with 90% duck down and 10% feathers, and rated to 32 degrees but had no weight listed.
I found a scale in the kitchen wares section and the bag came in at a pound and three quarters.

I went home and checked online for any reviews and found a lot of discussion on a hammock forum dated last year.
At that time, Ozark Trail had a #200 bag which has been discontinued and replaced by the 250.
The new improved 250 has a slightly larger girth and has a little more insulation than the older 200.
The majority of the discussion was quite positive and pointed out the compactness, light weight, and low price.
Apparently, most of the hammock hangers where modifying the bag into a top quilt.
By removing the hood and zipper they got the weight to a few ounces over one pound.
Some of the guys who had put more down in the bag when they modified it stated that the bag had baffle construction.

I was interested in the bag and went back several times to check it out but didn't want to pay the $80.
Being a winter bag I'd wait for the seasonal change over and hope for a clearance discount.

Today, I stopped in and didn't see the bag on the shelf.
I asked the sporting goods department clerk if the down bags had gone on clearance and sold out.
He said there was one left so we went to search for it.
Sure enough, the last down bag was there stuffed into a box with a bunch of synthetic sleeping bags.
The clerk checked the price and found it had been discounted to $65.
The price was good so I bought the bag.

On inspecting the bag at home I was surprised at the overall quality for the price.
The stitching is uniform and well done.
The bag shell material is a light nylon fabric that is aqua blue on the interior and exterior top side and black on the exterior bottom side.
The 3/4 length heavy duty coil zipper is on the left side of the bag.
The foot box is round at the bottom and roomy.

The bag also has some other good features for the price.
1. A down insulated draft tube for the zipper.
2. A velcro and cloth tab at the top of the zipper prevents the bag from unzipping.
3. The zipper has double end pulls so it allows venting the bag from top or bottom.
3. A down insulated draft collar that cinches with an elasticized cord and lock
4. The hood is well insulated and cinches with an elasticized cord and lock.
5. On the exterior foot end of the bag are two hang loops.
6. On the inside of the bag, near the side zipper in the chest area, is a zippered pocket large enough to fit an I-phone with room to spare.

I'm 6'-2" and 180 lbs and worried the bag might be too small for my size.
So, I got inside and there was plenty of room both for hight and girth.
The loft seems good for being stored inside a compression sack for nearly a year (a tag on the bag states it was delivered July 15 2013).
I'll probably increase the loft by putting the bag in the dryer with some clean tennis balls on the no heat setting for 10 minutes.

I then proceeded to weight reduction mode.
1. I carefully removed all the tags on the sleeping bag.
2. I modified the compression sack to a standard stuff sack.

The compression sack consists of a nylon stuff sack and nylon lid assembly attached by tree web straps (that adjust using rather bulky plastic buckles) to the bottom of the stuff sack.
I removed the compression sack lid assembly by cutting the web straps where they attach to the bottom of the stuff sack.
This simple procedure effectively eliminated the weight of the lid, web straps and buckles.

The only other modifications I might do:
1. Replace the two large cork locks on the sleeping bag with mini cord locks.
2. Replace the stuff sack cord and lock with lighter cord and a mini cord lock OR get a water proof sil nylon stuff sack.

I then stuffed the sleeping bag back into the sack for a weigh in.
On my spring load postal scale the weight came to 1 lbs-9.5 ounces.

I haven't field tested this bag to verify it's 32 degree rating, but, my impression is it would easily be rated to 40 degrees.

All in all, my initial impression is this is a decent quality three season bag for $65.
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2014, 12:11 PM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
Shelter: SD Superflash, GoLite Hut 1
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: California
Posts: 436
Great find, Tonto! Your review makes me wish I wasn't allergic to down.

It's interesting most of your weight reduction plan focused on the stuff sack, not the sleeping bag. Seems like every bag I've bought came with a stuff sack I replaced because it was a) a compression sack and b) because it was just too heavy. I usually opt for a silnylon replacement, too.
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  #3  
Old 05-24-2014, 11:44 PM
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tonto tonto is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 471
Actually, I was experimenting on what the weight reduction would be by converting the compression sack to a conventional stuff sack. It was about 2.5 oz. Not much of a reduction but ounces do add up to pounds.

I gained a few ounces by switching from the fleece bag to the down bag. But, I also got a new relatively inexpensive three season bag with that switch which was the intention. The only other substantial weight reduction would be to convert the bag to a quilt by removing the zipper and the hood.

When I was out on the AT early last year I did use the old $2 down barrel bag as a quilt which was easy as it had no hood and a three quarter length zipper. To form the quilt I would unzip the bag, which formed a natural foot box, turn it with the opening facing down and drape the bag over me. In that mode the bag was comfortable to about 40 degrees. Below that temp the side drafts could be uncomfortable. On really cold nights it was nice to be able to zip the bag back up and use it as a conventional sleeping bag. In my estimation, that sort of versatility was worth the extra weight of the zipper.

Perhaps, removing the hood and retaining the zipper would be a good compromise for versatility and weight reduction.
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Old 05-27-2014, 11:14 AM
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tonto tonto is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 471
New Sil-stuff Sack For Down Sleeping Bag

I just picked up a Small/6.5 Liter Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil stuff sack for the sleeping bag.

I then did some minor modifications on the sack and sleeping bag.

1. cut off the tags on the side seam of the bag.

2. cut off the pull strap at the bottom of the bag but left a 1 inch tab of the strap and sealed the cut edge with a lighter.
I figured the tab would help in removing the sleeping bag from the stuff sack.

3. replaced the two cord locks on the hood and draft collar with slightly smaller oval cord locks.

I then stuffed the sleeping bag into the stuff sack and the weight came in at one pound 10 oz fully loaded.

Considering I'm replacing a 50 degree summer fleece for a three season 30 degree bag at a 1 oz weight penalty...NOT BAD!!!
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  #5  
Old 12-19-2014, 04:01 AM
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tonto tonto is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Time Tested Results

So, it's been 7 months since I bought the bag and I've used it quite a bit in different conditions.

July, I spent two weeks on the AT in MA and VT. Night dry with temps in the 70s. There where several rainy nights and surprisingly a few nights that where in the high 50s.

October, I did a three day 40 mile section on the Mountain to Sea Trail in central NC. I spent two dry nights with the temps in the mid 40s.
I also, spent a chilly overnight in the low 40s at Medoc Mtn state park in eastern NC.

November, I spent a 40 degree night at Umstead state park near Raleigh, NC and another night in the low 40s at Goose Creek state park in eastern NC.

December, I spent a night in the mid 30s at Merchants Millpond state park in eastern NC.

So, I've got to test out the bag in damp and dry conditions and warm to cold temps.

Overall, the bag is roomy and has performed very well keeping me very comfortable.

My only complaint is the zipper has a tendency to snag on the draft tube.

Other then that this bag is a keeper.
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