What is it? It’s a ‘sleep system’. Like a sleeping bag, but with arms and legs. And feet and hands that you can zip on and off.
When Team Wideopenmag mechanic Chaz spotted it, he knew it would be great for early starts, in cold fields at the British Downhill Series.
Selk’bag first came to our attention a few years ago when they released their ‘Classic’ sleep-wear suit. The Patagon is latest model from Selk’bag and really catapults the brand in to the ‘serious’ outdoor adventurer market.
Firstly let’s get over the Elephant in the room. You WILL look like a Telly Tubby. That’s a fact. However your mate’s smirks and ‘witty’ comments will soon fade when you’re lounging around camp, warm as toast, while your friends shiver, shake and deliberate whether they should go and climb in to their sleeping bag, dipping out on the banter or stay and freeze.
As mentioned the Patagon is jam packed full of really fantastic design features that set this product apart from the competition, so let’s run through the main ones.
Krekran is Selk’bag’s own hollow fibre insulation material. I have a real issue with shiny ‘new’ materials that are marketed as ‘the next big thing in……’ as most don’t chuffing work. We all know feather/down filled sleeping bags and jackets are the bomb, so in order to move away from a tried and trusted formula the replacement must be better. Not just as good, better. Happily Krekran is better. In our tests we found it had the enviable quality of regulating the wearer’s temperature pretty darn well. Even when we slept in it in a centrally heated house we found it comfortable and not too hot. Of course if the worst came to the worst there are zippered vents (like you get in waterproof jackets) meaning you can let some cool air in without shedding the suit. In addition to this Krekran doesn’t suffer from those uncomfortable animal welfare issues that really take the shine off buying a feather/down product.
Magnetic hand closure system
Now this really is very clever. The Patagon has easy to find openings in the arms that mean you can get your hands out and do stuff without having to remove the suit. In addition the remaining portion of the arm (the hand bit), Velcro’s back keeping them out of the way whilst you, tie your shoes, have a cup of coffee, work on your bike, etc. These openings are fastened by magnets meaning they are really easy to open and close by themselves. Genius! Again this helps with temperature regulation and placates any feelings of claustrophobia that a complete sleep suit might cause.
Zip off Booties (feet)
Once again this is an invaluable feature that really sets the Patagon suit apart from the competition. Both feet zip off, meaning you can get out of bed, put your own shoes on and wander about without actually having to get out of bed! This makes us very happy indeed. The feet do have a tough sole with rubberised strips for grip and are fairly waterproof. But on dew soaked campsite grass, leaves or mud there really is no substitute for your own shoes and dry feet. As if this weren’t enough the detached feet will then zip together to make a reasonably comfortable pillow. There are also drawstrings above the zippers meaning that the suit doesn’t slip down and drag in the wetness. These drawstrings are also useful for keeping the feet where they are meant to be when they are attached. They really have thought of pretty much everything.
As well as these key features the suit is also baffled for better performance and durability, it has a drawstring adjustable 3D hood and insulated draft tubes around all the YKK zippers and neck.
The Selk’bag Patagon is not cheap with an rrp of £209, but hell, a good sleeping bag isn’t far off that anyway and the Patagon is light years ahead in the practicality stakes. This latest suit from Selk’bag really marks ‘their coming of age’ as far as we’re concerned.
In our tests we only found one drawback and that was its size. When packed in to its stuff sack the Patagon was still 30% bigger and heavier than a sleeping bag of the same quality making it less attractive to those wishing to be fully self sufficient on the trail. Selk’bag also make a ‘Lite’ model, this would be the one to go for if you are weight/size focused.
Excellent, thoughtful design coupled with warmth, durability and faultless construction. You can expect to see these suits becoming a regular feature at races and trail centres over the coming years and months, with warm, happy, mountain bikers ambling about like a tribe of sleeping bag yeti’s.