Going Lighter – Can you make a vest out of a sleeping bag?

We’re pretty chuffed to have worked with some fairly interesting bloggers in our outdoor testing crew, but one of the most exciting for us has been Antoine Sachs, a french outdoors nut who blogs over at Chronique sans Carbones. When he dropped us a line to say that he was going to start making his own gear we were pretty made up, and we asked him to send us his first creation. 7 months later a rather interesting package turned up on our doorstep.


Antoines down comforter

arty shot

He’s called it his down comforter, and it can either be used as a quilt, as a wrap around insulation vest/piece that will fit underneath an outer shell, as an under hammock insulation piece, or as a seriously warm blanket inside the house when watching Eastenders (Antoine made us put that bit it in!). We’re pretty bowled over by the weight coming in at just 550g. Here’s some more photos of it lying nonchalantly on our conference room table.


dyneema cording

take it from the top

One of the issues with sleeping bags for those looking to reduce the weight of their pack is the dead weight of insulation underneath the sleeping bag that you lie on. As it’s compressed, it offers no warmth at all. The comforter gets rid of this wasted insulation by acting as a quilt with ties to fasten either under your body or under your mattress so that just your top half is insulated. It then has drawcords at the at the top and bottom with your sleeping mattress underneath insulating you from the ground.

You can also with a little fiddling use it as an insulated vest, wrapping it around your head and Torso. We’ve yet to perfect the knack but we’ll hopefully have an online Skype demo from Antoine soon. If that works well it would mean the weight savings from having a sleeping bag and jacket combined would be substantial.

The one we have been sent is a size medium with 350g of 860 European Fill down on the inside. The quality of the piece is immediately apparent, it lofted faster than a speeding bullet. He’s currently using Yeti to manufacture it, but this could change. We’ve stocked Yeti in the past and know that their stuff is on a par with Western Mountaineering as a comparison.

Antoine reckons it will work down to -10 as an insulation piece under a hard shell or external jacket. Your jacket would need to be a little baggier than normal for the comforter to loft and work properly. As a sleeping system he thinks it’s more suitable down to 0c, possibly -5c if you use a close bivvy bag to help trap air more effectively.

top drawcord

We had a chance to test it this weekend, and based on our feedback and others, Antoine is looking to make some adjustments to the connectors. In the meantime the question we want to ask you is, if we stocked something like this, would you be interested in it? What would you expect to pay for the comforter?

5 thoughts on “Going Lighter – Can you make a vest out of a sleeping bag?

  1. This is indeed a very nice quilt! Reminds me of the Sierra Sniveler by Jacks r Better. I’m sure there would be a great audience interested in this piece of insulation. There are a whole bunch of similar products made and sold in the US. But as far as I know this would be the first of its kind over here in Europe!
    As for the price… You should take a look at all those quilt manufactores in the US. (e.g Katabatic Gear, Jacks r Better, nunatak USA, enlightened equipment,…)

    1. Cheers for stopping by Basti! We could indeed look at the prices those guys are charging but we wanted to get an idea of how much someone like you would be prepared to pay. We’re hoping we can do it slightly cheaper but it all depends on the connectors. It’s a totally new thing for us supporting some small scale manufacturers. I loved Hendrik’s review of the Katabatic Sawatch, it seems to be a great piece of kit as well.

      1. Hey Gareth,
        If you wanna fix me on a price I would probaply spend ~250€ for something like this. Guess this would make it still quite affordable for most hikers. And it should cover the costs as well (thinking of ~80€ for 300g down + ~40€ 4sq m fabric + a few bugs for extras).
        Really looking forward if this project will come true!
        Best regards,

        Basti

  2. certainly a interesting product – especially as it has so many uses unlike the traditional sleeping bag – keep us posted

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