Selk’bag 4G Lite review
Gumby. That’s what immediately comes to mind when I put on the Selk’bag 4G Lite. It’s a wearable sleeping bag, or what the company calls a “sleepwear system” that allows freedom of movement unlike conventional mummy-style bags. The Selk’bag may be a throwback design to a claymation children’s show, but in reality, it’s an unusual idea that’s actually works pretty good.
I took my Selk’Bag out for some late summer/early fall camping in the deserts of southern Utah, and came away with an appreciation of the advantages of wearing a sleeping bag like a suit rather than a cocoon. First, having arms and legs allows me to move freely from my tent, through camp, and back to my tent. The arms have velcro-enclosed holes for your hands, so you can use your fingers outside the bag when needed, then stuff them back inside where they can stay warm. Second, the feet have a durable black sole for traction and protection, so walking on slickrock and desert soil is no problem (but does track some juniper needles and debris into the tent.)
But the best thing about the Selk’bag Lite is the fact that I can leave my tent to use the bathroom without having to leave the warmth of my sleeping bag. One of the worst parts of camping on cold nights is exiting the tent to go pee. But with the Selk’bag, I can walk to the nearest bush, unzip the front of the bag, and do my business without feeling even the slightest chill.
The Selk’bag 4G Lite is the 4th generation Selk’bag, and is different from the others in that it isn’t quite as warm. Lighter weight insulation means the bag is more comfortable when worn around camp, but doesn’t provide much warmth when the mercury drops below freezing. The 4G Lite is rated at 46-degrees F, so it’s best used during summer months. In the Utah desert, it can get really cold. On those nights, I pair my Selk’bag with my normal mummy bag for a double whammy. I get all the insulation I need, and still have the benefit of never leaving my toasty bag when going outside for any reason.
The only downside I can find to the Selk’bag is that my fingers and toes get colder than they do in a standard sleeping bag. By having all limbs and their associated digits far away from core-generated body heat, they were left in a chilly netherworld. Think about the difference between wearing gloves versus mittens… mittens win. But to solve this conundrum, I wore the Selk’bag inside a sleeping bag to get combined insulation on a freezing night.
Also nice about the sleepwear system is that at the end of a trip outdoors, the Selk’Bag 4G Lite packs up small and neat inside an included stuff sack with compression straps. Overall, despite looking like a “Selk Monster” as you pad around your campsite and scare your friends (or make them jealous) the Selk’bag 4G Lite is an innovative idea that really works and provides a worthy alternative to the suffocating cocoon of mummy style sleeping bags.
For more information or to purchase, visit www.selkbagusa.com