A Cheap Alternative : Stratus Fleece by Coleman.
Nov 19, 2004
Review by Alan Lake
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Inexpensive, Compact, Lightweight.
Cons:Cheap material, not very warm.
The Bottom Line: A cheap alternative to a real sleeping bag.
This is a sleeping bag liner that is made out of a fleece material. It is intended to be used as a liner for a rectangular style sleeping bag. If used alone it looks like a blanket that can zip up. It is rated at 50 degrees.
Recommend this product?
I was at a camp with some of my students. So when one of the boys unrolled it I was curious as to what it was. I proceeded to bug him with questions and carefully examine the product, and a review was born.
How it works.
There is a zipper and the zipping unit is shaped like an L. So it can completely fold out like a blanket or zip up like a sleeping bag.
It also rolls up and fits in a small stuff sack. The stuff sack is plastic. I would recommend getting something else from rei or another outdoors store instead of the plastic sack. My student first folded the fleece in 3 spots then carefully rolled up the fleece. Then he put it in the sack and it appeared to fit quite easily and it was small.
He seemed to like the concept and was pretty excited about it. Most kids are when they get a new toy. He was also happy to show it off to me. We even got a chance to test it out because the heater went out on use during the first night. It got down to 31 degrees outside and the cabin cooled down to about 40 degrees. He is not one to complain but when I asked him if he was cold he said yes and was disappointed that the heater went out on us. I on the other hand didnt care because of my 0 degrees polar pod.
The next night it did not cut out and the cabin only got down to 70 degrees. He was actually too warm and had to unzip his sleeping bag fleece to cool down.
Quality of the fleece, my take
I was not really pleased with the quality of the fleece. It looked and felt a little cheap. I would only expect this product to last 1 or 2 seasons. Since this was new I am unable to properly evaluate it for durability. But the fleece seems very similar to a cheap fleece top I was given for Christmas a few years back. That fleece started to deteriorate within a couple of months. Since it is only $15, even if you buy this and it only lasts for 2 seasons then you probably will not feel like you wasted your money.
If you keep up on my reviews then you know I like to do all the measurements myself but in this case it was impossible. So the measurements were made by comparing it to a piece of paper (11 by 8.5 inches) or from Colemans website.
Length when rolled: 11.5 inches.
Diameter when rolled: 7 inches.
Length: 75 inches
Width: 33 inches
Benefits of fleece
Fleece is lightweight.
Fleece is breathable.
Fleece insulates even when wet.
Fleece has a higher warmth to weight ratio then wool.
Good aspects of this design
-It is optional depending on temperature conditions.
-Inexpensive (around $15).
-Insulates even when wet.
-Not very warm.
-Not useful for tall people.
Who is this for?
-Cheap alternative to a sleeping bag.
-Additional liner for cheaper sleeping bags.
-Better alternative to a blanket.
-A nice backup if your down sleeping bag gets wet.
Alternatives instead of buying this bag
On rei.com I found the REI midweight fleece bag liner mummy style for $39. It adds about 15 degrees of warmth. For the record I am very happy with the quality of the fleece material in rei products. I would be more comfortable with the rei product than Colemans product because the fleece would be of a higher quality. It is also a mummy style and a little longer.
The other alternative is to spend a little money on a good quality sleeping bag. If you are worried about insulation properties when wet then just get a synthetic sleeping bag.
Would I buy it?
I would only get it if it was the only fleece liner like this available. Otherwise I would spend the additional $25 to get the rei version. But since my sleeping bag is rated at 0 degrees I am not too concerned about being cold. If my son was going to a slumber party and I didnt want him to take his Northface Tigger then I would have no problem buying this for that purpose.
This is a cheap alternative to a sleeping bag or a liner to add warmth. At only $15 it is a good buy but dont expect it to last long if it is abused. This fleece liner should only be used when the weather is warm or when sleeping indoors with a furnace. Other advantages are it is lightweight and compact.
Thanks to Abraham for posting this in 25 minutes. Definitely a new record.
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