Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Budget Gear Review: Kangaroo Outdoors Rocky Mountain Trekker

Rocky Mountain Trekker in the wilderness

The Dirt:

Kangaroo Outdoors Rocky Mountain Trekker 

What is it? Mummy style backpacking sleeping bag.

Comes with: Sleeping bag, compression stuff sack.

Weight: 3.1 pounds (in stuff sack)

Temp Rating: 32 degrees Fahrenheit

EN Rating: No

Materials: Rip-stop nylon

Insulation: Synthetic
The Rocky Mountain Trekker is a budget friendly lightweight mummy bag for 3-season backpacking. I was contacted by someone from Kangaroo Outdoors to write this review, and I have to say that Kangaroo Outdoors, the company, is a bit of a mystery. They don't have a website, and as far as I can tell, the only product they make is this sleeping bag. Regardless, the product description on Amazon assures us that "Kangaroo Outdoors is committed to bringing you only the highest quality outdoor gear. We design and test all of our items in the high Rockies of Colorado." Due to the lack of information on Kangaroo Outdoors and the Rocky Mountain Trekker online, this review will be entirely what I've observed through use.

Pulling it from the box, the first thing I notice is the size. In the provided compression sack, it packs pretty small. Without the compression sack however, it's bulky. In fact, I had trouble stuffing it in a 50 liter backpack on a recent outing. The weight isn't bad either.... for the price. Granted, today's higher end 30-degree down bags barely bust the 1 pound mark, but they are hundreds of dollars. At around 40 bucks, 3 pounds is pretty damn good, and certainly an acceptable weight for most weekend backpackers. On short trips, the weight is barely noticeable. And that's really what the Rocky Mountain Trekker is for, short trips for casual backpackers who don't want to break the bank.

The concern with buying a budget bag is always materials and craftsmanship. Kangaroo Outdoors lists the bag material as rip-stop nylon, but doesn't list a grade. Insulation type is synthetic, but doesn't say what kind. The truth is that the materials make it feel like a forty dollar sleeping bag. But it performs. On multiple backpacking trips when the temperature flirted with freezing, I always stayed warm. Granted, I was wearing baselayers and using a bag liner, but I always do, even with my Marmot and Nemo bags. On breezy, chilly, rainy nights, The Rocky Mountain Trekker continued to surprise me. Even when a chill crept in, I was able to cinch the hood and draft tubes to effectively trap my heat in. This bag does not have a European Norm rating, but the claimed 32 degree comfort rating seems pretty darn accurate.

Rocky Mountain Trekker

Like budget bags I've owned in the past, the biggest problem I had was the zipper. It didn't completely burst open like my last budget bag did, but I fought with it in the night, every night. For starters, snagging was an issue. I found completely zipping up the bag was a challenge and a chore. Even more annoying was the tendency for the zipper to unzip itself during the night. Strangely, pressure on the underside of the zipper would cause it retract. As a result, unless I had the zipper completely up and secured with the Velcro strap, it would retract during the night and I would wake up exposed. 

Overall, The Rocky Mountain Trekker is a solid 3-season bag with an affordable price tag. I would recommend it for new backpackers or anyone who can't afford a name-brand bag. For the experienced or constant backpacker, I would give it a look only if money is a serious concern for you. Otherwise, it would make a good loaner or backup. Durability may be an issue. After all, I don't know anything about materials or manufacturing. I couldn't find any warranty information from Kangaroo Outdoors either. But then again. it's only a 40 dollar bag.

Disclaimer: I was given this sleeping bag for the purposes of a review by Kangaroo Outdoors at no cost to myself. The opinions and conclusions reached are strictly my own.