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10,000km cycle journey through the Andes

By Col | 08, May, 2007

Rich and Sarah spent 9 months cycling through South America. They spent an awful lot of time researching and raising money to buy the kit needed for their journey. A year is not only a long time to spend in the saddle, it is also a long time to spend in a sleeping bag which is why we were happy that she chose ours for the trip. It was an ideal opportunity for us to get our PipeDream sleeping bag tested over an extended field trial.

After 9 months on the road there are certain bits of kit that one appreciates and depends on, and other bits of kit you avoid using if at all possible. The Pipedream bag was certainly in the former category and without a doubt one of the best bits of kit we had with us. Initially we had a few concerns that a sleeping bag with a price tag of £125 wouldn't perform as some of the much more expensive bags (from RAB or Marmot). On paper it seemed to be perfect, a great price, it was light 960g, compact; it came with a compression sack, and WARM, but would it perform as it should? In short yes. In the field the bag performed incredibly well over a prolonged period of consistent use in some very extreme conditions. The Pipedream kept Sarah warm in Bolivia, where night time temperatures fell to -28c, albeit very dry and favourable to ´down´ and several pairs of socks were needed! The bag was also flexible enough to be used throughout the northern desert of Argentina where daytime temps hit 40c, the full length zip enabling the bag to be opened out and used as a light duvet. In Patagonia where the famous wind would howl all night battering the tent, the neck baffle kept out any unwanted draughts. Also by way of feedback, this isn't criticism only our observations and may help with future developments.. The stitching around the hood drawcord came undone at the anchor end, easily solved but just so you know. Consider an XL version. I imagine the intended use for the sleeping bag is for shorter periods, for example an overnight camp during an ascent. Even so Richard couldn't fit in the bag, it was really tight around the arms and shoulders, infact he couldn't put his arms by his sides also meaning that there was no room for the down to fluff up causing coldspots, as it was stretched out so tightly. As people seem to be getting larger a ´XLversion´ might open up sales to a larger market segment. If the narrow fit is intended to save weight perhaps a half zip might compensate on a XL version. All in all, we would have no hesitation in recommending the Pipedream to anyone looking for a warm, lightweight sleeping bag, suitable for a wide range of uses. The Pipedream is a quality sleeping bag that compares favourably to the much more expensive brands at a very reasonable price. AK: Rich and Sarah have no plans to stay put for long. They are now planning to retrace the steps of some historically important traverses across the Patagonian Ice Field!

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