“ Manufacturer: Rab / Equipment Type: Camping „
Sleeping outdoors by a lake or local woodland with nature ever encroaching, the typical signs of wild-life surrounding, and a cold beer to your grasp cannot get any better. Or can it? Well with some people it's all about the warmth and comfort of a peaceful nights sleep, enabling you to rise happy in the morning and continue your adventurous travels un-cramped! Well if you're a once a year camper then perhaps this particular product isn't for you, for at around £200-£300 the 'Rab Quantum 400 Sleeping Bag' is for those of us entranced by the lure of the wonderful outdoors - whilst still being in need of an enjoyable nights sleep!
I bought my Quantum under a year ago and to tell the truth it has seen minimal action in that time - but enough for me to give informative and helpful consumer opinion on the product, I feel. To begin with there's the quality of the materials to discuss. Weighing in at 900g the materials that make up this product are light and therefore easy to manoeuvre when on the move. To touch, the outer layer of the bag feels high quality, yet still plastic-y/rubbery to feel. despite the expenses, it does seem the designers have spent more time and money developing the thermal properties of the product ahead of what the consumers will come to contact with. With around 400g of stuffed goose down, the inners of this bag are indeed well put together. The interior lining feels softer and more comfortable than the outer (...as it should), but will the material you sleep against deter nasty condensation through the night (...as many bags fail to)?
Accessing the bag is simple. A zip separates the product for easy access in light of day or black of night, and this seems strong enough to last a life-time, unlike other cheaper models' zips. When fully sealed, the zip can be hidden beneath a Velcro cover to deter it from lowering when not wanted. But when you do finally want to escape, the zip seems to glide effortlessly to the base, refraining from becoming caught on the fabrics (...even when being done up, which is incredible).
Using the bag on a camping weekend couldn't be more rewarding. On the several occasions I've utilised the Quantum, I've had as good a nights sleep as I have at home, tucked up through a mild winters night. The products 'hood' fits perfectly around your head, keeping the face and ears warm throughout its use. Unlike some hoods built into sleeping bags, this one isn't irritable or itchy (...and that goes for the fabric of the whole bag!). The goose down keeps you incredibly warm through the night, up to minus 7 degrees Celsius according to the products information sheet (...meaning all weather types, besides the absolute extreme is accounted for). Luckily, condensation doesn't seem to build much at all, even during a relatively warm camping experience inside a thermally sound tent. I think this is one of the major advantages of this product, as despite the fact it becomes quite narrow at the end, it remains un-dampened and very comfortable within.
Like many alternative camping sleeping bags, the product is packed away by method of cramming. With the bag you are supplied, the Quantum is literally crammed (...not folded) away easily and un-damagingly. The durability of the whole package is top-notch, but the sleeping bag's bag will withstand attack from sharp objects, including leeching branches and misplaced cutlery very well - protecting the product inside excellently!
Altogether I've found this Rab product to be extremely user-friendly, durable, reliable and... yes, well worth the £239.99 I paid. To some this may seem a lot, but if you take good care of this product it will definitely last a life-time (...or two). A 10/10 sleeping bag that can only be recommended to all adults, everywhere!
I purchased one of these bags for a trek up Kilimanjaro which I am undertaking later on this year. I managed to purchase a second hand one off the internet for £150, a big saving on the RRP of around £240.
I have bought many items of Rab clothing before, and they are one of the leaders in terms of extreme elements clothing, so I knew that this was going to be a quality product.
This is a down 3-4 season bag, so you are never going to be cold. Thus far I have only used mine for camping in the UK and if anything, have found it to be too hot. Using it in the UK alone probably doesn't test it to its extremes.
A big part of the reason I chose this bag is its weight - it stuffs down into a cotton carry sack and weighs only 900g - on certain treks they are strict with weight allowances so this is an important factor for me.
As I am 6ft 5 I have the extra long version, which is plenty long enough for me and is an option available from most places which sell this bag.
Other points of note are that the bag is very well constructed, the seams are designed to keep as much heat in as possible. The only downside to this bag is that because it is down, it does tend to smell if you get it wet - a bit like a wet dog would smell!
If you do get one of these, I would strongly recommend only ever getting it professionally cleaned as they are very specialist pieces of kit. I've only ever used mine with a silk liner so have not had to clean it yet.
Overall - the Rab sleeping bags are a bit pricey, but you do get what you pay for and this is definitely one of, if not the best bag in this particular price range.
'Two hundred and fifty quid for a sleeping bag?!' I hear you cry. 'For that, I'd expect it to pilot a fighter jet, tapdance and play chess! What could possibly make a humble sleeping bag worth that kind of money?'
The short answer is simple: this is a lightweight bag, stuffed with down which makes it pricier. At 900g, it's not one of the very lightest on the market (there are several now that weigh in at under 500g, including the Rab Q-top that weighs 454g), but it does impress with a three season comfort rating that extends down to around -7 degrees celcius, making it suitable for all but the most extreme conditions you could encounter in the British Isles. This makes it a good compromise in the weight-for-warmth stakes, and well worth considering for anyone who is a keen backpacker and wishes to camp at times of year that lie outside of the summer months.
The outside of the bag made of a special Pertex Quantum fabric, which weighs just 30g a square metre, yet offers tremendous toughness and endurance (not to mention an easy-to-wipe surface, which is a must when you're outdoors). The only thing you do have to watch is that you don't catch the fabric in the bag's zipper as you get in and out, as this could damage it.
The bag is then crammed with 400g of goose down from Poland (hence the name Quantum 400). And when I say 'crammed' I mean absolutely jammed - the fill power of this down is around 750+, making the bags both soft and warm. This is what gives the bag its impressive three-season capacity at this weight: sometimes nature still does better than mankind, and down is still vastly superior to any of the artificial, manmade fillers on the market in terms of warmth-weight ratios. It also makes the bag highly compact - it can pack down to just 15cm x 25cm, which means more space for other kit in your rucksack. What's more, it comes with a lightweight stuff sack for this very purpose, as well as a larger cotton bag for storage (you shouldn't store down bags fully compressed, as this damages the filling, making it less warm).
The construction of the bag is a narrow precurved box wall, which is lighter than the old-fashioned shell construction. It has a shoulder baffle, and a full length zip, with a shoulder and hood section for extra warmth around your head. Design-wise, it's very comfortable, with cleverly spaced baffles that keep the down evenly spaced, and ensuring that there are no cold spots. I find it very comfortable to sleep in too, offering plenty of cushioning from the rough ground!
Another good feature of Rab bags is that they don't just come in one size. You can get a ladies version, an extralong version, an extra wide version and extra short version, ensuring that everyone has a bag that is comfortable for their bodyshape, while those of us that are smaller and female don't end up carrying unnecessary extra weight!
There are some negatives to this product, though. As I already mentioned, it is expensive, and many may feel that cheaper, slightly heavier bags offer better value. For those truly concerned with lightness, there are bags that weigh in at around half the Rab Quantum 400's weight, which might make serious backpackers, climbers and mountain marathoners think twice. This product is not the most pared-down sleeping sack you'll find: it still has features like a full-length zip that you wouldn't find on a serious lightweight sack where every detail is designed to minimize heaviness. Finally, if you're really worried about warmth, there are winter bags that deliver more toastiness: I wouldn't want to risk this bag in conditions that I knew would fall to minus five or below.
The main disadvantage, though, for those who camp regularly is the problem with washing down bags in an ordinary washing machine. Goose down doesn't react well to getting wet! If you're doing standard camping, and looking to spend a lot of time outdoors in the mud, a cheaper washable, synthetic sleeping bag is a much better bet.
However, for those who want to travel light, but stay warm, this bag offers a versatile compromise solution that makes it well worth considering.