We’ve pointed out in a number of editions of the Ask Baz blog the secret to successful travel: only carry what you need, and pack in a modular way so you can find individual items easily. To make this work, you need the right gear; but the rewards come in the form of easier to manage, less bulky loads and a more fun experience.
Nowhere is the need for choosing the right gear more critical than in the choice of a sleep system. This choice is driven by one thing: warmth. Something we all want and sometimes fear we won’t have enough of, especially when sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings. This natural instinct frequently leads to sleeping bag overkill syndrome (SOS) – packing more bag than needed for the conditions.
If your next adventure involves camping out in icy weather, skip the rest of this post – the following advice is not for you (at least, not on this occasion).
But – if your plans include sleeping in a hostel, or a cozy Colorado ski cabin, or a hut on one of New Zealand’s Great Walks; or summer bushwalking in the Budawangs, you need a Traveller sleeping bag.
The Large size Traveller weighs only 16.8oz/475g (the Regular is even lighter). There is even a size XL for larger outdoor users. The large size will pack down to less than 2 liters (about one and a half times the external dimensions of your Nalgene bottle) – so you won’t be forced to lug a 60-liter pack around the Haute Route in summer in order to find room for that sub-freezing rated backpacking sleeping bag. This part is key – imagine how much easier, and how much more fun a tour of this kind will be with a lightweight 30 – 40 Liter pack on your back. The same is true for treks like the Camino de Santiago, by the way – the Traveller and an Adaptor Liner have become the ‘go-to’ sleep system for modern-day pilgrims on this walk.
However – relief from SOS (sleeping bag overkill syndrome) is not restricted to those occasions like hut trips or bike tours where you expected to need a sleeping bag. Because a Traveller is so light, packs so small, and is so versatile (we’ll cover this in a moment), you can take it with you on trips where you don’t expect to need a sleeping bag, but later find out that you could have really used one. Impromptu couch-surfing? You’re prepared. An unplanned night in an airport? You’re ready. Cabin reservation snafu on an overnight ferry? Grab your Traveller and a deck lounger and you have a cozy cocoon.
As far as versatility is concerned, the Traveller has a drawcord in the base which means you can cinch the foot section up tightly on chilly evenings, or open it up on balmy nights.
It has a full-length zipper: open it partially for ventilation, or completely to turn the bag into a quilt. Or zip two Travellers together to form a double sleeping bag (ideal for snug nights in the camper you rented to tour the Great Ocean Road).
You can read about the technical aspects of the Traveller sleeping bag: the UltraDry Down™, or the 15 Denier DWR-treated shell fabric, or the Pack-Store-Wash System.
You can even read about the how the temperature rating was calculated according to the EN rating system but – as far as temperature is concerned, we’d be the first to concede that the Traveller is not intended for frosty nights in the backcountry (Sea to Summit has plenty of other bags for this kind of use)
What a Traveller can do is provide an unmatched level of flexibility for any number of milder-temperature uses; and in doing so, it can be the perfect cure for SOS.
If you’re traveling, you need a Traveller.