Q:

What's the best sleeping bag, or other system, for the tropics?

I'm going on a sea kayaking trip in Palau and looking for recommendations on the best sleeping gear. Can you recommend a tropical weight sleeping bag or other solution that provides some cover without too much warmth? John Washington, D.C.

Oct 16, 2006
Outside
Outside Magazine
Cocoon Ripstop Silk Mummy Liner

Cocoon Ripstop Silk Mummy Liner

A:

Oh, the nervy, insouciant way with which some people mention things. “Yes, I’m going sea kayaking in Palau," or, “Oh, I’ll be at my villa in Tuscany for the rest of the month," or “Please don’t call me for a week, as I’ll be skiing through the Alps and will simply refuse to answer the phone."

While the rest of us sit and work, giving advice so that other people can enjoy their splendiferous vacations just a pinch more.

Bah.

But I digress. If I were flying to Palau to go sea kayaking—did I mention I’m not doing that, although I’m not at all bitter about it—I’d take two things. One would be a silk sleep-sack, just a very light piece for nights when it’s too warm for anything else but you’d like a little something to tuck yourself into. The Cocoon Ripstop Silk Mummy Liner ($65; www.rei.com) is just the deal. Use it as a superlight sleeping bag, or add it to any bag for more warmth. It also helps keep a sleeping bag clean.

For a bag, I like the Marmot Pounder ($159; www.marmot.com). As advertised, it weighs one pound, and has a 40-degree temperature rating. The insulation, such as it is, is Primaloft, which I like for its softness and water-resistance. With the silk liner, that combo actually would keep you snug into the low 30s, as if that were a worry in this case. Or, there’s REI’s Travel Down +45 bag ($75; www.rei.com), a down-filled warm-weather bag that in turn can be used for a bag liner when you’re back in a cold climate.

Anyway, happy kayaking. Grrr.

Check out this year’s more than 400 must-have gear items, including a comprehensive sleeping bags section, in the 2006 Buyer’s Guide.

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