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I bought this sleeping bag for my Duke of Edinburgh expedition. It seemed quite compact when rolled up so would fit into a rucksack quite nicely. Aided by the strong compression ties, the bag rolls up into a very tiny and neat cylinder. It was also pretty lightweight so after miles upon miles of walking, this sleeping bag was far easier to lug around than its heavier counterparts.
I have called it a sleeping "bag" instead of a sleeping "pod" up until now... my bad, sorry. The difference between a sleeping bag and pod is merely that a sleeping pod is much wider than a sleeping bag and therefore gets rid of the restrictiveness that you have with the traditional camping accessory. I found that THIS feature makes it far easier to get to sleep as you are not restricted in a two legs out straight position which I have found very few people actually sleep in. The sleeping pod has enough room for all of the weird and wonderful positions we get into at night.
Despite the sleeping pod giving you move room to move, this does have the issue of defeating the entire object of a sleeping bag which is to keep you warm through the night. I made the grave mistake of not sleeping in my sleeping bag on my first expedition and, as I didn't want to wake anybody up when I woke up in the night shivering, I spent the rest of the night wide awake essentially vibrating as I was so cold. On my second expedition, even though I had a sleeping "pod", the experience wasn't too different. Although I actually used it this time, I still woke up shivering as the bag retained no heat whatsoever, it was as cold inside the pod as it was outside!
The pod comes with a hood with a drawstring to pull it close to your head but even this cannot compensate and you still have to sleep in a sea of cold air for 7 hours.
The material of the sleeping bag could be one of the culprits for this awful insulative property. It is very thin, my first impressions saw this as a a good thing due to the low weight but it really is not worth it if the gain of one more minor aspect means the loss of the main aspect of a product.
The zipper along the side is decent. It runs for almost the entire length of the sleeping pod so although ti does allow for easy access, it is also another way for the minor amount of heat which may have been stored in the pod to easily escape. On the up side, the zipper doesn't catch on the material easily as I have experienced with other bags - this can be especially annoying when you try to get in or out in the pitch black, the last thing you want is to be either stuck in or stuck out of your bag!
Gelert have always been a brand who have made good value brands at the lower end of the market but typically perform better than their price would suggest, however this is a bit of a letdown and seems to be a gimmick aimed at non experienced campers.
Basically this is a normal sleeping bag, the materials are comfy enough against the skin but where it falls down is the selling point. Its about 50% wider than a normal square sleeping bag and advertised as very comfortable as you can spread out and wriggle to your hearts content which you can't really do in square bags and even less so in mummy designs.
The reason mummy bags came along is that it reduces the amount or space in your bag so you have less cold bag and less room for cold air to get in which saps body heat. The design limits the use to the height of summer which in the UK would probably be restricted to the 10 days a year when its over 15 degrees at night and personally i wouldn't like to run the risk of a cold night without further insulation.
The extra material for the extra width adds to the weight and volume of the bag so it's definitely not one to be carried anywhere.
At £20 this is really a 'get what you pay for' bag, i don't think many people would camp with a £20 expecting to be kept warm in any sort of weather. For a bag to keep at home for sleepovers etc this may suit but this is not a product for outdoor use.
I love camping, and because of this I have quite a lot of camping gear. I'm always keen to try out new products when it comes to camping equipment, so when I came across Gelert sleeping pods last year I just couldn't resist. For many years I have been on the look-out for the perfect spring/summer sleeping bag, although I have an old army sleeping bag which is perfect for really cold nights, I was looking for a lighter alternative to prevent that feeling of being trapped in a sauna when waking up with early morning summer sun baking down on my tent. I find it difficult to sleep well when I'm feeling restricted by my sleeping bag, and I tend to move quite a bit during the night, so a spacious sleeping bag has always been my ideal. I previously tried double sleeping bags, but found these so large they were a little chilly with only one body inside; the sleeping pod seemed like the ultimate solution.
Gelert is a Welsh company, based in Snowdonia. The name is derived from a Welsh folk-tale, which you can read here http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/history/sites/themes/so ciety/myths_gelert.shtml if you want to find out more. I have had positive experiences with Gelert products in the past (with the exception of their pop up tent), so I had no doubts this sleeping pod would be a good quality, well made, product.
Gelert produce three versions of the sleeping pod, a junior, standard and XL model. I have the XL model, and I will explain why later. The Gelert XL sleeping pod is available in three colours; black, red or green. The smaller sizes have a greater variety of colours, including camo and floral pink patterns. Last year I paid £54.99 for the XL, from my local outdoor shop, but already they can be found online for quite a few pounds less.
The sleeping pod comes packed in a colour co-ordinated compression sack. This compression sack is conveniently attached to the bottom of the pod, which means it won't get lost, and is always handily located. The sleeping pod is relatively easy to stuff back into the compression sack, and there are adjustable webbing straps around the sack to aid compression and reduce the pack size. As you would expect with a larger than usual sleeping bag, even when fully compressed in the sack the packed size is not particularly small, mine now packs down to approximately 45cms by 30cms, so it is not ideal if you have limited packing space.
I had initially bought the standard sleeping pod, but once I got it home and took it out of its' compression sack, I could see straight away that although it's very generous in width it wasn't going to be long enough for me. Luckily, the outdoor shop I bought it from allowed me to exchange it for the XL version the following day. I am not an Amazonian, in fact I'm a pretty average 5'8'', so I would suggest unless you are very petite, it's advisable to purchase the XL version. After all if you are considering buying the sleeping pod, comfort is probably a priority for you. The XL sleeping pod is 220cms long, including the hood, and a very generous 110cms wide, at its widest point, so I certainly don't experience that straight-jacket feeling I have with some other sleeping bags. Although the pod does taper in slightly at the bottom, this doesn't have an adverse impact on the level of comfort I experience because it is sufficiently long for me, however if you are 6 foot or over you may find the end of the pod is still a little restrictive.
My pod appears to be well made, with strong seams, and a sturdy zip that runs smoothly and doesn't catch. It has a polyester outer shell, and the lining is also polyester. This lining is not the most comfortable, particularly when it is hot. I think this sleeping pod could be improved tremendously by replacing the lining with a polycotton mix, as I find the polyester causes me to sweat when the night is warm.
The sleeping pod is marketed as a 2-3 season sleeping bag. The filling is 300g per square metre, and is made of spirals of polyester fibre. It feels light and soft, but not particularly dense. For me it has sufficient warmth for summer and warm spring/autumn nights, but I consider it to be more of a 1-2 season bag. The level of warmth meets my needs, but those who tend to feel chilly at night may want something more substantial, especially if you don't want to be wearing thermals in bed. Alternatively, there is actually room in this sleeping pod for a hot water bottle!
The additional width provided by this sleeping pod makes it far more comfortable than standard sleeping bags. I am able to sleep and move around in the night unrestricted. For me, the increased comfort outweighs the disadvantages, and I will continue to use this pod in warm weather, but it does have a few negative points that should be considered. The zip doesn't run all the way around the bag, so it can't be opened completely and used duvet-style. The lining is pure polyester, which doesn't allow you to 'breathe' very effectively and promotes perspiration in very hot weather. The pack size is too large for backpacking/motorbikes etc.