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The Gear File, Vol 5

Rab’s cutting edge Infinium bags include a silver coating that reflects body heat.

Gear editor Mark Watson provides a round-up of the new and interesting products he’s discovered lately.  

Cutting edge sleeping bags from Rab

New sleeping bags from Rab have increased functionality and make use of more recycled fabric than ever, with one series using 100 per cent recycled materials.

In down-filled bags, we took note of the Andes Infinium and Neutrino ranges. The Andes Infinium are top of the range sleeping bags for very cold conditions with ratings between -23℃  to -28℃. The bags use Thermo Ionic Lining Technology (TILT), which is a silvery fabric coating that reflects body heat in the same way as a space blanket, except it’s said to be much more comfortable. 

Cold and damp-weather bags have Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper as an outer fabric along with nano-treated waterproof down. These are premium bags with highly refined design, fabric and features and start at $1499.

The lower-priced Neutrino series ($799.95 up to $1299.95) have temperature ranges from -1℃  to -22℃ and feature 800 fill power down for maximum warmth-to-weight and compressibility.

The Solar Eco series has 100 per cent recycled synthetic insulation and exterior fabric for bags that range from 5℃  to -11℃, and are suited to travel as well as use in damp conditions. 

The Firefly has proved popular, with Macpac selling out of the bag over summer.

Macpac sleeping bag range revised 

This summer I have been using Macpac’s new Firefly 200 sleeping bag ($499.99). This zipless bag weighs 506g and is filled with 220g of 800-fill-power down. The bag’s baffles are not 3D, which reduces the weight, but also the warmth, giving it a temperature rating of 3℃. 

It’s a cosy fitting bag though and is ideal for light and fast summer trips where you want to keep pack weight low, or for use as a booster bag in combination with another bag in cold conditions. Soft Pertex Quantum fabric gives a cosy feel and water-resistant down ensures it stays that way over the course of a trip. 

The Firefly is proving a popular bag. Macpac said it sold out over summer. 

Also popular is the Dragonfly Series ($449.99–$579.99) which come with fills of either 400g or 600g of 800-fill-power down. Despite being fully baffled and hooded for colder weather and broader season use than the Firefly, the Dragonfly weighs 780g/981g. The 600g fill bag is rated to -10℃.

Kathmandu’s Valorous 20 day pack.

Kathmandu Valorous day packs

Kathmandu’s new Valorous day packs have a premium feel and features to match, while being oriented to the weight-conscious user. There are three models in 20l, 28l and 38l capacities. I’ve been trialling both the 20l and 28l. 

The 20l pack ($179.98) weighs 520g while having a fairly breathable back panel and shoulder straps and is hydration compatible. It also has spacious external stretch pockets (a great feature on day packs) compression straps and an internal pocket. 

The 28l ($249.98), which is easily big enough for an overnighter, has a more substantial but still very light harness and weighs 1003g. This one has lumbar support, a broad and supportive hip belt, plush shoulder straps and a third, large external stretch pocket and lid pocket. The 28l and 38l models are available in men’s and women’s.

All models are made from partially recycled ripstop nylon, as part of Kathmandu’s commitment to B-Corp certification and utilising sustainable materials.