Nordisk's Abel +10 Sleeping Bag
This product is currently under review. So far it's looking good, but we've done only minimal testing in warm conditions. We'll only be able to make a full assessment once we've tested it in its "outer bag" capacity with the Alpkit Cloud Cover as the inner bag. We need to ensure this combination can work down to 0°C. Stay tuned.
The following assumes the use of a tent or hooped bivvy (hammock and or tarp / non-hooped bivvy users will need to decide whether such a system may benefit them).
A great deal of testing in varied conditions has brought us to recommending this "modular system". However, more than perhaps any other item, sleeping bags and their worth seems a very personal matter. Everyone's metabolism is different, some sleep hot, some cold, some on their side, some on their back, some probably sleep upside down ... who knows.
All we can do here is recommend what works for us and in doing so provide some useful information to consider before spending what can be a considerable amount of money and often the largest budget item(s) in any pack.
We also assume some sensible sleepwear and this combination has been tested with the thermal underwear recommended in our "sleepwear section" (we do not assume the wearing of insulated jackets or over-trousers).
The combination of sleeping bags we recommend are intended to work together enabling their user to carry only what is likely to be necessary for each trip. This combination will work from the arid to the tropical and down into frostbite territory. It uses a mix of synthetic and down insulation, with the down bag always on the inside (except in conditions where warm dry weather is predictable and persistent).
This system will not be too relevant to those who venture out only when it's a nice day; but will likely be of interest to those who enjoy the challenge of enduring the unpleasant conditions that hostile environments visit upon them.
Test subject: Chest 42", Waist 33", Height: 5ft 8"
Test item(s): 2017 Release, Size L (215 cm)
Kit Tests: Summer, Late Autumn (upcoming)
Disclaimer: None required (item not provided by manufacturer)
|Outer Material: Polyester (Thread Count: 195T)||100%|
|Inner Material: Polyester (Thread Count: 260T)||100%|
|Insulation: Norguard S-PO 80 (High Loft Synthetic Fibre) L / XL||220g / 225g|
|Dimensions (L, max body length = 195cm): Length / Width top / Width bottom||215 / 85 / 50 cm|
|Dimensions (XL, max body length = 205cm): Length / Width top / Width bottom||230 / 88 / 50 cm|
|Stated Total Weight1 / Measured Weight (L) with2 / without3 stuff sack +65g (2.3 oz)||850g1 / 813g2 / 748g3 (26.4 oz)|
|Stated Total Weight1 / Estimated Weight (XL) with2 / without3 stuff sack +65g (2.3 oz)||900g1 / ~870g2 / ~805g3 (28.4 oz)|
|Temperature specifications according to EN 13537 (Comfort Limit / Extreme)||10 °C (50 ℉) / -2 °C (28.4 ℉)|
|Pack size (relaxed / compressed) +1cm in length for XL||15 x 30 cm / 15 x 24 cm|
|Manufacturer RRP (priced in Euro = 79.95)||~ £65.00|
Scramble Review [TBD]
This product is currently undergoing tests and should it fulfill its early promise, a full review will be posted here.
The EN 13537 European Standard temperature ratings break down as follows:
- Comfort temperature: A "standard woman" with relaxed posture is close to feeling cold but is "not feeling cold".
- Comfort Limit temperature: A "standard man" with curled up posture is close to feeling cold but is "not feeling cold".
- Extreme temperature: This is where a "standard woman" risks harm (health complications / damage) from hypothermia.
A temperature rating test manikin (Copyright Matthew Fuller, UKC)
If you sit naked in the snow for 5 minutes, the first time it will be painful, the next time less so, the time after that you'll be able to extend the duration etc. The body has innate bio-chemical processes which kick in and enable us to adapt to conditions, which is why we've been so "successful" as a species. Central heating and a desire for comfort and convenience may have dimmed these innate adaptive abilities, but they're still there. Energy metabolism, diet, fat stores, tiredness, conditioning, all these factors affect how warm an individual feels in a sleeping bag. So these temperature ratings are merely a guide, a useful best guess, and should not be viewed as anything more than that.
For men, the Comfort Limit is the guide of most interest. Nordisk's Abel +10 is (EN 13537) rated down to 10°C.
In Context: Scramble's Recommended Sleeping Bag System
The military modular system uses 2 bags: a lighter "patrol" bag (down to 0°C) and a medium-weight cold weather bag (down to -15°C) which combine for extreme cold (down to -30°C, but a total weight of nearly 3kg). Scramble's recommended "modular" system uses 3 bags, is lighter and a little more flexible (better in hotter, arid conditions, yet still good down to just below -20°C, the extreme combination weighing just over 2kg):
Weights (without stuff sacks, see our note below*):
- Warm + Dry Weather: Alpkit Cloud Cover = 438g (stuff sack +14g)
- Warm + Wet Weather: Nordisk Abel 10 (L) = 748g (stuff sack +65g)
- Spring + Autumn: Cloud Cover + Abel 10 (L) = 1,186g
- Winter: Carinthia Defence 4 (M) = 1,650g (stuff sack +209g)
- Extreme Cold: Defence 4 (M) + Cloud Cover = 2,088g (stuff sack = Ortlieb Mediumweight Drybag PD350 = 293g, having the bag on the outside of the pack means we can carry lighter packs in Winter and also reduces the fuss of stuffing the sleeping bag - the compression straps of the pack do this job well).
Conclusion & Rating
Rating (out of 10)
* The value score is derived from two factors:
1) Competitive Market Price (CMP). This represents our judgement of a competitive online price point if we were to stock the item. e.g. if we feel we would need to sell an item at 40% off (i.e. 60% of its full RRP) to be competitive, then our CMP score will be 6/10.
2) Customer Value Price (CVP). We then make an honest appraisal of the maximum price we would be willing to pay for the item (and we're mean). So if we'd pay 80% of its RRP our CVP score would be 8/10.
We then average the two scores to get our final value score, which in our example would be 7/10.
Why not down all the way?
As an inner bag, down is superb. If you can guarantee arid conditions (deserts, Himalayas, arctic etc.) then down is the way to go, but for the UK and northern Europe, not so much and you literally have to factor in a daily thermal performance loss for down in wet conditions (regardless of hydrophobic patches to an insoluble problem).
Andy Kirkpatrick explains:
"There is nothing as great as a bone dry down sleeping bag. Unfortunately there is also nothing as grim as a wet one. Saturated down loses 90% of its insulation as the delicate structure of the clusters stick together and collapse. The down absorbs a lot of water and because it loses most of its thermal performance it must be dried via an outside heat source like the sun, a tumble dryer or a body. In many cases where there is moisture present, a down bag will lose performance each night it is used, as the down becomes slowly saturated. The rate at which this happens is dependent on the skill of the user and the conditions in which it is being used. This water contamination comes both from without and within the bag and learning to slow the speed of this performance drop is one of the skills needed to use a down bag effectively. Down just doesn’t work in high saturated environments and best suits cold and dry conditions, or the protected sanctuary of a dry space like a tent, hut or snow hole."
Our Winter Kit test in 2016 was particularly tricky and saw 4 days of permanent heavy rain, hail and sleet book-ended by 3 days of freezing cold (down to -8°C). Everything got wet (regardless of care and skill) and the Defence 4, being synthetic held up superbly, a down bag would have been a disaster and quite possibly dangerous.
* A note on stuff sacks and weight stats
We don't quote the weights including stuff sacks, mainly because we don't feel the manufacturer's choice of stuff sacks design has a great deal to do with their sleeping bags (an example is Mountain Hardwear's Lamina bags which come with something more akin to a Tesco's 10 gram shopping bag, whereas Carinthia's come with military grade compression sacks; apples and oranges and all that. In addition we only use a stuff sack for the Carinthia bag, and for that we use Ortlieb's 22L PD350 Drybag attached to the side of a Karrimor SF Predator 30L pack. The Abel +10 can simply go in the base of ones pack (assuming it has a waterproof liner) as it fills the nooks and crannies well and gets compressed by all your other kit. The Cloud Cover comes with a superlight sack and likewise easily gets compressed when you cover it with the rest of your stuff. If it's used as an inner, then it can just go inside the Abel +10 or the Defence 4.
Last Updated: 08/09/17