User Review: REI Travel Sack +55
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50
A lightweight, relatively inexpensive "55°F" sleeping bag/liner that provides me with a number of options in summer and winter conditions.
- Full length, anti-snag zipper
- Foot ventilation
- Arm hole zipper
- Chest pocket large enough to hold smart phone AND wallet
- Packs down small
- Adjustable hood
- Not a true 55°F bag (more like 65°F)
- REI's sizing is questionable
I have owned and used this sleeping bag for several years for summer camping. I have frozen my butt off in it with a night time low of 60°F, making me question its "55-degree" rating. However, I have discovered several unconventional uses for this bag that made it worth the investment. I've never regretted owning this piece of gear.
The bag is a mummy design and weighs 28oz with the stuff sack.
The bag is 85" long including the hood, but it is only 75" from shoulder to bottom. REI claims this bag fits someone up to 78" tall, but I don't see how that is possible (The bag only comes in one size. So there's not a long/tall option.).
Width at the shoulders is 27"; 29" at the hip; 20" at the feet.
I am 6'2", 200lbs. My shoulders are 17" across. I wear a 42L sports coat & 34" waist. I find the Travel Sack to be roomy and comfortable. I doubt a 6'6" man, with proportional corresponding measurements would fit this bag.
It compacts down to a mere 6"x6"x10.5", making it ideal for a day pack or bike panniers.
A nice feature of this bag is a full length right zipper, with a bottom zipper option. This allows the bag to be fully opened into a blanket/quit or to open the bottom of the bag for foot ventilation. I'm certain such an option ads weight to the bag, but given that it is primarily a summer weight bag, I appreciate the cooling options.
Additional benefits are 1) a zippered chest pocket, which is large enough to hold both my Galaxy S III smart phone AND my wallet, and 2) a short left zipper, allowing the occupant to ventilate and extend his left arm through the hole.
As a Bag
As mentioned previously, I have spent many summer nights over the past few years sleeping in this bag. I like this bag, but the temperature rating is not accurate. After a miserable 60°F night in a tent, I now check the weather forecast and, if warranted, toss in my SOL Thermal Bivvy as backup.
As a Liner
I have used the Travel Sack as a liner with my Marmot 15°F bag on bitterly cold nights (teens-single digits). It has been a cheap alternative to buying another $$$ bag.
As a Warmth Layer
While not the most fashionable thing to wear around camp, the Travel Sack provides additional warmth when the temperature takes an unexpected dip. The picture below shows the advantage of the full length zipper/foot ventilation and the left arm pocket.
As a Hammock Sock
I started playing around with hammock camping in the late fall, which moved into the dead of winter. As I continued to experiment with ways to stay cold in winter weather, I discovered the full length zipper allows me to slip my entire hammock through the bag. Using a pad, 15F sleeping bag, and the Travel Sack, I have comfortably slept in temps as cold as 28F.
I have since purchased a Jacks R Better UnderQuilt for my hammock, but I still use the Travel Sack option with my kids on cool spring & fall nights. The love the snug feeling of the "sock."
The adjustable hood, allows drafts to be closed up (Note the little nose and eye peeking out at the camera.).
While I question the temperature and size ratings of this bag, I have found the Travel Sack to be a worthwhile summer weight sleeping bag, with the versatility to use it in multiple ways. Look for it on sale on REI's website.