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June 2015 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Sleeping Bags

Exped Lite 500

Price:

$449

Our Rating:

Far from the most expensive in a sea of choices, Exped sleeping bags are always of outstanding quality and performance. The Lite 500 is no exception.

Using soft, double-tuck stitched fabrics, the inner and outer shells are lightweight, tough and comfortable, with a DWR coating to repel condensation. The independently tested 840-loft goose down does exactly what the number suggests, lofting luxuriously around legs and body from above and below. The dome-buttoned 3D draft collar pulls up one-handed for full insulation around your shoulders. The domes are fiddly at night, but once in place are very secure, while different draw cord types on draft collar and hood make identification easier in the dark.

This is a generously sized mummy, the bag tapers consistently and the tested bag (size medium) felt roomier than the stated dimensions imply. While side-sleepers can comfortably pull their knees up, this roominess may cause problems for smaller-framed users who might roll around a little too independently of the bag and find it more difficult to heat the dead air inside. The anatomic hood is wide and has extra down across the forehead for a cosier night.

Although this hood draws up snugly to leave only your mouth and nose exposed, smaller people may find the bag’s generous length makes it possible to slide down, resulting in a poorly positioned, awkward-feeling opening. Choosing the next size down could solve this problem.

To reduce radiant heat loss, the bag has a ground-level, three-quarter length side zip with strategically placed cord loop at the foot to aid its two-way operation. I found the zip snags frequently and it would benefit from stiffening tape to reduce the risk here.

The stash pocket is huge, with room enough for a headlight and midnight feast. Small loops on the shell’s underside allow for mattress attachment, and the mosquito net storage bag doubles as a head net if you’re sleeping on the deck.

Weighing only 920g the Lite 500 is a light and comfortable general-use bag suitable for most users.