Exped Wallcreeper Sleeping Bag REVIEW

Two-pound down bag rated to freezing with a foot section that can be opened, armholes, and full front zip to convert it into a vest.

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by Marty Coatney | 2005-10-18 03:00:00-06

Overview

Exped Wallcreeper Sleeping Bag REVIEW - 1
The armholes and adjustable foot section allow the Wallcreeper to be used as an insulated vest around camp.

The Exped Wallcreeper is a comfortable three-season sleeping bag with a narrow-cut hood, zippered draft tube-protected armholes, full two-way front zip and a foot section that can be opened fully converting it into a hooded down vest. The Wallcreeper weighs 32.9 ounces (933 g), which is heavy for a lightweight down bag rated to freezing, but it recovers some of that weight through dual use as a vest.

In Brief

  • Down bag with arm holes that can be used as an insulated vest
  • Full-length front zipper
  • Multi-adjustable jacket-like hood
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Foot section that can be opened fully
  • Hand warmer pockets

Specifications:

  Manufacturer

Exped

  Model

Wallcreeper (Down)

  Type

Wearable bag

  Sizes

Medium (tested) fits to 5'11" (1.80 m); Large fits to 6'11" (2.15 m)

  Girth

Shoulder/Hip/Foot 59/51/51 in (150/130/130 cm)

  Weight

Backpacking Light measured 32.9 oz (933 g); Manufacturer specifies 31 oz (880 g)

  Stuffed Size

Backpacking Light Measured for Medium bag 10.5"x7"x6" (27x17x15 cm); Manufacturer specifies 9.5" x 6.5" diameter (24.1x16.5 cm diameter)

  Fill Type

700 fill power goose down

  Fill Weight

13 oz (360 g)

  Loft

Backpacking Light measured single layer loft 1.5 in (3.8 cm)

  Manufacturer's Rating

Comfort Rating 32 °F (0 °C); Extreme Rating 23 °F (-5 °F)

  Outer And Liner Material

Outer: Pertex Quantum Shield ripstop nylon. Liner: Texped PR 53 Microfibre ripstop polyester.

  Hood

Yes

  Zipper

Full-length front zip

  Model Year

2004

  MSRP

$219

Features

Exped's selling point for the Wallcreeper is its versatility. It features draft tube insulated armholes, hand-warmer pockets, multi-adjustable hood, and a cinch cord on the foot section that allows you to open the foot of the sleeping bag.

Hood

Exped Wallcreeper Sleeping Bag REVIEW - 2
The rows of Velcro on the draft tube/collar allow the bag to be sealed against drafts even when the hood is not being worn.

The hood on the Exped Wallcreeper is similar to a well-fitting hood on an insulated jacket. Unlike hoods on most sleeping bags, it begins 8 inches in from the shoulders of the bag giving the hood a narrow fit. The hood can be easily adjusted using both the usual drawcords near the chin and a rear elastic cinch that brings in the sides of the hood for better peripheral vision and articulation. The hood folds back nicely when it is not needed. Surrounding the base of the hood is a relatively large draft tube/collar that can be kept shut to keep winds at bay using the parallel rows of Velcro on either side of the front zipper.

While the hood is more like those found on jackets it was in no way restrictive while sleeping. With its smaller size, the interior seemed to warm more quickly than conventional hoods. As a result, on warmer nights I often slept without using the hood to keep cooler. The smaller fit of the hood kept it in place on my head - and off my face - when turning over while sleeping.

Armholes

On either side of the bag there are 12.5 inch long armholes that can be zipped shut when the Wallcreeper is used as a sleeping bag or left open when the bag is used as a jacket or for lounging around camp. They can also be used for added ventilation on warm nights. The armholes have small interior draft tubes that are reinforced on the zipper side with more durable fabric.

The zippers themselves have pulls on both the interior and exterior of the bag, allowing the armholes to be opened from either inside or outside of the bag. Opening or closing the armholes from inside the bag was problematic. While the small draft tubes are reinforced near the zipper the fabric does not provide enough rigidity to keep them from getting stuck repeatedly in the zipper. Only by opening and closing the armholes from the outside, allowing the zipper to be pulled away from the draft tubes, could they be reliably closed.

Handwarmer Pockets

Reinforcing the image of the Exped Wallcreeper as a multipurpose insulation layer are the handwarmer pockets found on the front of the bag on either side of the center zipper. These insulated pockets measure approximately 8.5 inches by 6 inches and have a 6 inch angled opening at the top that can be kept shut by folding over an exterior draft tube. According to Exped these pockets can be used either to keep your hands warm when the bag is being used as a jacket or to keep small personal belongings close while sleeping.

Exped Wallcreeper Sleeping Bag REVIEW - 3
The full-length front zip and two-piece cord locks allow the sleeping bag to be opened up completely.

While around camp the pockets were a nice addition at times. Because the Wallcreeper must be doubled-up to be used as a jacket, it was sometimes too bulky to comfortably use the pockets. When the bag isn't folded, but left full-length, the pockets are much more accessible.

Zipper

Exped uses #5 YKK zippers throughout. The zipper on the Wallcreeper is a full-length front zipper that separates completely at the foot to allow the bag to be opened. The cord lock divides into two sections also. A small draft tube follows the zipper its full length with the end nearest the chin folded over the zipper to prevent pinching. The draft tube is reinforced with more durable fabric near the zipper. This reinforcement is necessary because of the ease at which the draft tube snags in the zipper. As with the armholes, the zipper has pulls on both the interior and exterior of the bag and it was easier to close the bag from the outside in order to avoid the draft tube. The top exterior pull has a glowing toggle attached.

Performance

I tested the Exped Wallcreeper in various conditions in the mountains and coastal areas of Oregon and Washington. It was comfortable in a wide range of temperatures and conditions.

Opening the armholes and the foot of the bag allowed for excellent ventilation. I usually sleep quite warm and even when the temperatures dipped to freezing I never felt the need to add any insulating garments. The cut of the bag is generous enough to allow insulated clothing to be worn.

The bulk of the bag and its limited water repellency restrict its use as a jacket. The process for converting the bag to a jacket is awkward and having the drawcord tight around my waist or chest was a little uncomfortable. It was easier for me to bring a lightweight insulation layer to wear for moving around camp. Exped uses ripstop nylon with a DWR finish for the Wallcreeper, but even with a light mist, the fabric became damp. In the US Northwest this could be problematic. Exped does offer a synthetic version of the Wallcreeper to counter this problem.

The ability to open the foot box of the bag along with the two-way zipper made it easier to comfortably get out of the tent during the night or in the morning. I could lounge around camp a little in the morning with the bag in its full-length position.

Finally, I always carry a book on backpacking trips. It is my one allowance for luxury weight in my pack. Seemingly a small comfort, the armholes allowed for me to remain comfortably in my bag on cooler nights and still get in some good reading time.

Exped Wallcreeper Sleeping Bag REVIEW - 4
Small comforts - the armholes let me get in some leisure reading without unzipping the bag.

For most three-season trips - even with the limited use of the jacket function - the versatility, ventilation, and comfort of the Wallcreeper have made it my first choice out the arsenal of sleeping bags that I own.

Missing from this review (and for all sleeping bag reviews published here, for that matter) will be an assessment of whether or not the sleeping bag performs adequately at temperatures near its manufacturer-reported temperature rating. Click here for the complete Backpacking Light Position Statement on Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings.

Durability

The shell fabric has proved adequate and the draft tube has no signs of zipper damage despite numerous snags.

After the first use, the seam along the side of the bag began to come loose, creating a one-inch hole where down was able to leak out. A small piece of duct tape fixed the problem and I have not had any further issues, though I have noticed some loosening of seams on other sections of the bag.

Value

The Exped Wallcreeper is a very comfortable down sleeping bag, but even with dual use capability as an in-camp vest, it is still heavy by lightweight standards. The zipper and shell fabric are quality, fabric durability is adequate, but seam quality is sub par making this bag only a fair value.

Recommendations for Improvement

The changes I would like to see in this bag are:

  • Stiffening of the draft tubes to reduce snagging of material in the zippers.
  • Improved durability of all seams.
  • Increased water repellency.


Citation

"Exped Wallcreeper Sleeping Bag REVIEW," by Marty Coatney. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/exped_wallcreeper_sleeping_bag_review.html, 2005-10-18 03:00:00-06.

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