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ProView – EXPED Winterlite Sleeping Bag -16˚C/+3F

This winter I spent 24 days rafting the entire length of the Grand Canyon; a trip of 279 miles from Lee’s Ferry to Pearce Ferry. In preparation for this trip I was looking for a sleeping bag that could handle winter conditions in a river canyon; not an easy feat with temperatures as low as 20F at night, heavy dew, and even sleeping on a raft during a night float. My sleeping bag would need to keep me warm, even when wet, and stand up to a lot of abuse.  I decided to go with a down sleeping bag and chose the EXPED Winterlite -16˚C/+3F bag to see how it would perform through three and a half weeks of winter desert wear and tear.

EXPED Winterlite Sleeping Bag

Product Description: The WinterLite is a reliable and trustworthy companion in cold and wet environments. The hydrophobic, breathable shell fabric shields the down insulation from internal condensation and outside elements like rain and snow, keeping you and your down dry and warm.

Price: MSRP: $479.00 - $519.00

  • Durability
    (5)
  • Comfort
    (5)
  • Features
    (4.5)
  • Style
    (5)

Summary

EXPED designed an amazing sleeping bag with the Winterlite. It comes in three temperature ranges. The warmest (21F) for spring, summer, and fall trips, the medium (3F) range for winter trips and the coldest (-44F) for extreme mountain expeditions. It is extremely comfortable and keeps you warm and cozy. The Winterlite can be packed down very tightly and takes up less room than most other sleeping bags, especially when it comes to winter bags. The hydrophobic outer shell is key in dewy, windy, or wet conditions. The stuff sack could have been a bit more thought through and the inner synch strap can get in the way. Overall, this is one of the best winter down bags on the market and definitely stood up to my 24 day Grand Canyon expedition. One sleeping bag that truly does it all; 5 out of 5 stars.

Overall
4.9

Pros

  • Hydrophobic and breathable outer shell
  • True to its temperature-rating
  • Footbox that keeps your feet warm and comfortable
  • Stylish bag that will stand out
  • Packs down to be extremely compact

Cons

  • Elastic synch strap that gets twisted up and is in the way
  • Stuff sack is too large and has awkward proportions

 

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Testing Conditions

We put in on the Grand Canyon December 19th and took out January 11th. In this area, it is impossible to predict the weather during December and January. We had warm days in the 50s and 60s and some days when it didn’t stop raining or snowing. Nights were generally around 32F, however, where the canyon opens up temperatures in the 20s were common too. Morning dew is often a concern as well and a nightmare for most sleeping bags, since you have to pack them while still damp in order to keep moving down the river. In addition, I tested the sleeping bag on a week-long climbing trip in Indian Creek during Thanksgiving where temperatures were as low as 10F at night. Most nights I slept on a Paco Pad, a water-proof and insulated sleeping pad designed for river trips. Most of the time I slept inside a 3-season tent which added very little to no insulation, but perhaps some wind protection. I also slept under the stars and one night on the rafts.

 

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

Fit/Comfort

The EXPED Winterlite is advertised as a down sleeping bag filled with 90/10 down and has a fill power of 800+ cu in. It has an outer hydrophobic, breathable shell and large foot box. When I first crawled into the Winterlite it felt very comfortable. I had plenty of room to turn around inside, but not so much that it allowed for a draft. The large bag fits me perfectly. The foot box gives extra room for thick wool socks and the two adjustable straps around your head allow one to synch the bag down to reduce escaping air. Overall this sleeping bag fits extremely well and is very comfortable.

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Look/Style

In terms of style and look the sleeping bag comes in one color scheme; that is bright turquoise on the outside and orange on the inside. This combination really makes it stand out from others. Aside from a small inside pocket with zipper, that is barely noticeable and does not reduce comfort, there is one side zipper that runs down the entire length of the bag, and two straps for your head. In my opinion, a sleeping bag has one purpose– to keep you warm at night. I am not looking for any extra features, no endless pockets, zippers that can get stuck, straps that are in the way, and bags for sleeping pads that are extra material without purpose. The Winterlite comes with only the necessities and I appreciate that. My only criticism is that the inner strap has an elastic that gets twisted and is hard to open up again when it is. I do not like the elastic strap EXPED has used for this feature. When completely zipped up it gets in the way. I would like to see a strap on the outside of the bag that is a different material, so it doesn’t hang in your face as you are trying to sleep. Luckily, this feature is only used on very cold nights and shouldn’t be a common issue.

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Weight/Packability

The Winterlite comes with a seemingly waterproof stuff sack. I have left the bag inside the stuff sack outside in the rain and it remained completely dry. I have not submerged the bag completely in the water so I cannot attest to its submersibility. If you are planning to go on a long river trip, I would recommend putting the stuff sack inside a larger dry bag to make sure it stays dry. The Winterlite packs down incredibly tightly. Once fully stuffed it takes up no more space than a soccer ball. The synching straps and air valve make it easy to pack the bag. The only downfall here is the size of the stuff sack. The dimensions are off, and the stuff sack is a little too large. Once fully packed, you have to roll the excess material many times to close it tight. EXPED could have gone for a much smaller version in my opinion. You do, however, get used to this awkward size and it becomes a very small hassle.

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Function/Performance

The Winterlite is incredibly warm. It lives up to its temperature ratings and I have not spent a single night in it cold. In fact, I often had to take most of my layers off in order not to overheat at around 32F. I also tend to run pretty warm and am a proponent of using as little clothing underneath your sleeping bag as possible. This way there is more room around your body for the air to warm up. This, of course, will not work when it gets close to the temperature rating of the bag. In my opinion, the comfort level of this sleeping bag lies at 35-25F. The foot box is an incredible design that keeps your feet very warm and cozy. The outer hydrophobic layer is special as well. On dewy days or even in light rain no water enters the down material. I packed the bag while completely soaked on the outside several times and once unpacked the inside was still dry. The only night when I had trouble with the Winterlite was when I slept on the raft. The proximity to the water created an incredible dew effect at night and splashes didn’t help. The foot box during that night’s sleep got wet on the inside. All things considered, I was still impressed with its performance. Overall, this is the best performing down sleeping bag I have owned. Most of the people on my trip had some very cold and wet nights when their sleeping bag got soaked. Drying out a sleeping bag on a winter trip down the Grand Canyon is extremely challenging since sunshine is a rarity and it never gets really warm. I was very pleased with the Winterlite’s performance. I was neither cold or wet during any night.

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Durability/Construction

This sleeping bag survived 24 days without any harm. No rips, tears, or broken zippers. I did not take it easy on the Winterlite and put it through the wringer. It exceeded my expectation in terms of durability. The foot box did get very dirty by the end and the turquoise color was not as shiny as it once was but in my opinion that just adds some character to the bag.

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

exped-winterlite-sleeping-bag-review-dirtbagdreams.com

The Final Word

EXPED designed an amazing sleeping bag with the Winterlite. It comes in three temperature ranges. The warmest (21F) for spring, summer, and fall trips, the medium (3F) range for winter trips and the coldest (-44F) for extreme mountain expeditions. It is extremely comfortable and keeps you warm and cozy. The Winterlite can be packed down very tightly and takes up less room than most other sleeping bags, especially when it comes to winter bags. The hydrophobic outer shell is key in dewy, windy, or wet conditions. The stuff sack could have been a bit more thought through and the inner synch strap can get in the way. Overall, this is one of the best winter down bags on the market and definitely stood up to my 24 day Grand Canyon expedition. One sleeping bag that truly does it all; 5 out of 5 stars.

Shop the  EXPED Winterlite Sleeping Bag -16˚C/+3F on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Neil Seifert is an outdoor educator and master’s student in Geology. He has worked as a rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, and backcountry skiing instructor in the US and Canada. You will find him exploring the mountains and rivers around the world.

 

 

3 comments

  1. Eicke

    Hi,
    very nice review on that interesting sleeping bag!

    cheers

    Reply

  2. Jess Villaire

    Hey thanks for saying that! Neil did all the work 🙂

    Reply

  3. Terence

    Do you think the bag is underfilled? The review if is for the -16˚C/+3F bag. Exped say the comfort rating is 17.6 °F and limit rating is 3.2 °F. You say you run pretty warn and “In my opinion, the comfort level of this sleeping bag lies at 35-25F”.

    Reply

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