Gear Reviews

Oztrail Outback Comforter Review

Is it time to give your old sleeping bag the sack for this traction-controlled model?

 

Let’s face it, you can have stacks of 4X4 fun during the day… but if you back that up with a crappy night’s sleep – you will NOT be a happy camper.

I have spent my fair share of ZZZs camping, and even ‘lived’ on the road and under canvas for 10 glorious months –- so I know a thing or two about the joys (and tribulations) of finding the right fit for your sleeping gear.

CLICK HERE TO READ THIS ARTICLE IN OUR ONLINE MAGAZINE

The problem: The runaway sleeping bag

You know the one. You start the night stretched out in your sleeping bag, only to wake up scrunched up at the bottom of the bed. That slippery fabric is more like a slip and slide than a base for peaceful slumber. Those slippery bags can also have a real aversion to our inflatable air mats when we are tenting – resulting in waking up on the cold hard ground next to our mats. Migrating sleeping bags or bulky quilts can bunch up next to tent stitching or zips. On several rainy evenings, this contact resulted in leaching of moisture through the stitching or zip teeth into our runaway bedding.

 

On review:
OZtrail Outback Comforter

A queen-size sleeping bag with special pockets sewn into the head and toe underside, designed to hook around your mattress, similar to a fitted sheet.

 

Pros

The lining – good quality flannelette – so soft and warm to get into (and breathable, too).

No loss of traction here – the pockets keep this bag in place… no slip-sliding away.

The outer fabric is a heavy cotton. Quiet, smooth and more ‘quilt-like’.

Zip it! The side zip means each person can open or close their side. It’s easier to get into and out of, and if you are too hot – just fold it back. Plus there’s no ‘wicked’ zip down the middle.

It is thickly padded – nice and soft to lie on top of and snuggle underneath.

The whole top can be zipped off completely or zipped up like a traditional sleeping bag to cocoon you in the warmth.

Whilst not being a perfect fit, the queen size could be used over two full-size single inflatable air mats – helping keep the beds together and the sleeping bag on top of the mats.

 

Cons

It’s big and bulky packed up – best suited to keeping in-situ on your mattress for ‘less frequent pack-up’ trips. Not recommended for quick overnighters in the Suzuki across the Simpson Desert!

The colour. The sandy/khaki coloured cover is not my favourite… but hey this is camping and not ‘Vogue Glamping’. I believe they may now be available in blue as well.

The temperature rating and packaging. I am a cold frog, so comfort and extreme ratings are a biggy for me.

* Comfort factor is considered the ideal/normal usage temperature range that the bag will keep you comfortable.

* Extreme factor is the lowest temperature stated as the limit of the bag’s usability (it will keep you alive – but you won’t be comfortable).

When I purchased this bag, the box and website stated a comfort factor of minus 5º. However, the label stitched to the inside of the bag showed the extreme as minus 5º and the comfort as 0º. I know it is only 5º difference… but for a coldy like me, that is important. I emailed OZtrail to ask which rating was correct. OZtrail replied that the comfort factor is 0º and apologised that the packaging (and website) were incorrect.

Our Flinders Ranges trip featured two stunning super-clear winter evenings, punctuated with frosty minus 3º mornings. Yes, I was cold in this bag – but I would have still been cold in our old minus 5º bag as well. I just grab my fleece sleeping bag liner when I know the temperature will plummet; along with socks and a beanie.

 

The Verdict

Despite the cons mentioned, I love this sleeping bag. Yes, it’s big and bulky. But it is so comfortable and cosy, and it resolves a slippery problem we have been suffering from for many years. If you also have one of those disobedient sleeping bags, it may be time to give it the sack.

NEWSLETTER