Rapha, purveyors of fine cycling kits, has elevated cycling to near-religious status. Just watch any of its Continental video shorts and you’ll become a follower, pining to take your bike by the horns and pedal out on the open road to explore the world around you.
Riding the gravel wave, Rapha today released a sleep system for the overnight zealot. Part jacket, part bivy sack, part sleeping bag, Rapha’s Explore sleep system packs down small, disappearing into your bike bag.
Lofted with responsibly sourced 850-fill down, the Explore Jacket weighs 8.4 ounces and scrunches down to the size of an orange. Two external pockets keep hands warm at camp. And two internal sleeves — large enough to stow a Nalgene or dry out a pair of wet socks or gloves — line the front panels.
Borrowing from the alpine world (and perhaps more bluntly, Patagonia), Rapha’s Explore Sleeping Bag comprises a DWR-treated nylon shell upper sewn together with an insulated down lower. This hybrid combination is intended to be paired with a down jacket, removing redundant insulation.
Like the jacket, Rapha insulates the sleeping bag with responsibly sourced 850-fill down. The bag weighs a scant 9.5 ounces.
A half-zipper runs down the right side of the bag to seal in the heat. Elastic drawcords cinch around the head and waist. Meanwhile, a static cord draws the bottom of the bag, allowing the rider to wear the bag as an insulated skirt in camp, or cinch it tight at night to preserve warmth. And if the conditions are really bad, cyclists can wear the bag while riding.
Rapha’s Explore sleep system doesn’t have a formal temperature rating. But at about 8 ounces for the jacket and 9 for the sleeping bag, the pair clearly aims for milder conditions (think 40-degree overnight temperatures).
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The Explore Sleeping Bag should be warmer than a pair of lightweight down pants. And the Explore Down Jacket is exceptionally light, sitting in between Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer and Patagonia’s venerable 9-ounce Ultralight Down Jacket.
Perhaps the real value of the hybrid system lies beyond the jacket. You can swap in any insulated top to match the anticipated conditions.
Contributing Editor (and Gear Junkie Idaho Bureau Chief) Steve Graepel is allegedly a crook and a thief, conning his friends to steal away time from their families in pursuit of premeditated leisure, which typically involves a bike, a pack-raft, skis, running shoes, climbing rack, or all of the above.
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