by David Gould
January 12, 2017
Is this the ultimate sleeping bag for the ultralight bikepacker or is it a case of less not being more? Sanny checks out the Haglöfs L.I.M.
Trying to decide upon the right sleeping bag can be an exercise in confusion and exasperation. Much like trying to recommend a bike to a friend, there are so many variables to take into account and such a vast array of possible options to choose from that it is almost impossible to know where to begin. Unless you are realistic about your requirements and the level of potential discomfort which you may be willing to tolerate or not as the case me be, it’s easy to go out and buy a bag before immediately realising that it was a waste of money and doesn’t do what you needed it to do. Like pure race bikes, an ultralight sleeping bag is not for everyone.
You may think that you want something that weighs no more than a small packet of Digestives but when you are shaking like a sh*ting dog in your bivvy shelter made from tissue paper, paper clips and unicorn tears, the folly of your choice becomes quickly evident. Really, you just wanted to be warm and cosy without feeling that your next sleep might be your last!
All this said, ultralight bags very much have their place in the market and in the right situation, can be truly great bits of kit. To this end, enter Haglofs Down +1 sleeping bag stage left. If you are in the market for something that is pushing the boundaries, this one should be on your shortlist. Constructed using 290 grams of ethically sourced (i.e. no live plucking) 90 10 goose down, the LIM Down +1 is a sleeping bag with a couple of standout features that distinguish it from the competition.
First off, if you are looking for a zip in order to regulate temperature, sorry but you will need to look elsewhere. Zips add weight so Haglofs didn’t include one. If you are used to having a shoulder baffle which can be cinched down in order to keep the heat in, again you are going to be disappointed as it doesn’t fit in with the less is more agenda being pursued here. The hood itself is a very basic affair but the supplied drawcord does allow you to get a good close fit over your head.
Open foot design. Bloody genius!
Other than the weight on my scales which is less than 500 grams (something which I still find hard to believe even after several months of use), the stand out feature is the drawcord foot closure. At first, I thought that this was some kind of weird gimmick designed to appeal to that strange breed of adventure racer that can sleep while still moving. I just didn’t see the point of it. And then I used it and I was immediately a convert. How often have you been wrapped up warm and cosy in your sleeping bag only for the gentle but constant murmur of a distant brook work its way into your subconscious like some kind of irresistible force and pepper your dreams with thoughts of needing the toilet. Desperately. You wake up in a cold sweat and the dream becomes a reality. Ignore it and you are merely delaying the inevitable.
The Need To Pee
Of course you could do as someone I know once did in a state of glorious drunk logic and let it out a little at a time to allow it to evaporate gently from the warming confines of your bag………oddly enough, this didn’t end well. Or you could simply open up the bottom of your bag and waddle out of your tent like some kind of giant fetish slug and let nature run its course without having to completely leave your sleeping bag. Start wearing it as a layer as you cook your dinner over the stove and things begin to really make sense. What I had foolishly dismissed as something designed to appeal to the easily impressed was anything but.
Simple but effective design
Design wise, it is stripped down but in a good way. However, what about the key matter of keeping you warm as you drift off onto the kip ship? Haglofs give the bag a comfort rating of 6 degrees c and a comfort limit of 1 degree c. Such ratings should always be regarded as for guidance only. Individual’s metabolisms and resistance to the cold vary to such a degree that they should not be read as gospel.
For my part, I used the bag down to minus 4 degrees. In this instance, it wasn’t the warmest night outdoors I had ever spend but I did sleep with the limiting factor not being my bag but my sleeping mat which was really only designed for 2 season use. Above zero and into the teens, the bag has really proven its worth. Near or above the comfort rating, I felt cosy warm and found that the head and foot draw cords worked well when regulating my temperature. For ultralight adventures, it has really stepped up to the plate and delivered. Unlike other ultralight bags, it hasn’t been shortened to keep the weight low. At 6 foot 1, I never found it to be restrictive or uncomfortable.
So who should buy this bag? If like me you know what you want from a superlight sleeping bag and aren’t looking for one bag to fit all your needs, the Haglofs LIM Down +1 sleeping bag is a truly excellent option. It comes with a hefty price tag which is a shame as that will deter many potential purchasers from even considering it. However, I can’t think of anything that I would change other than the price. As a specialist piece of kit for the bikepacker looking to save weight without unduly sacrificing performance, it is very good indeed.