Gear testing: new sleep system

For years and years, my camping sleep system consisted of a one or two-person tent, sleeping bag, and inflatable pad. Eventually I added a hammock to the mix. Recently I’ve become more interested in bike packing which puts a premium on weight and also pack-ability. My sleeping bag especially didn’t really fit this scenario. It was time for something new.

This weekend was my first test run with a new system:

The Palisade is a open back sleeping bag or quilt design bag. The concept is centered around the idea that compressed insulation doesn’t add much (if any) warmth, so get rid of that and you have a lighter and just as effective sleeping option. Not only is the bag crazy light (claimed 17oz), but it packs much smaller which will be awesome for bike packing.

Red Mountain and Hoosier Ridge

This Saturday I went for a mountain bike ride and then drove to McCullough Gulch (near Quandary Peak) to camp. Unfortunately, it was super windy in the gulch and raining for part of the afternoon. I also had a bit of elevation sickness kick in which wasn’t helped by camping over 10,000 ft. Since the weather was calling for potential rain/snow, I opted to setup my Big Agnes solo tent without the tent body (fly, poles, ground sheet) and then bivy inside of that. Warmth wise I slept in pants, warm socks, a short sleeve shirt, warm “down” vest, jacket, and hat. I probably could have ditched the jacket with a light fleece, but it added warmth for my arms with all the wind that never died down the whole night.

I setup the bag with pad in the foot box and the simple cords tie-downs around the pad. This made the foot box a bit cramped, but warm. Next trip I’ll probably just setup with the pad on the outside. The small-seeming foot box was actually nice and the adjustability of the bag was awesome for a side/stomach sleeper. And since the wind kept going all night keeping me awake, it was nice being able to move around. The bag also has a simple snap closure around the top that I used when the wind would really pick up and instantly the whole setup got much warmer!

So far, thumbs up to this setup. I look forward to trying the bivy out in the open or just under a tarp. And hopefully getting in a overnight bike trip before winter arrives.