The Pipedream 200 sleeping bag from Alpkit is a lightweight, sub 500g down-filled sleeping bag that is ideal for bikepacking with a very small compressed pack size. While the comfort temperature makes it more suitable for summer use, I found this could be extended with some thought given to layering inside.
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Alpkit Pipedream 200 Construction
A sleeping bag is often one of the bulkier items needed for bikepacking, but arguably, it's an essential piece of kit. Within the range of down-filled sleeping bags from Alpkit, the Pipedream 200 is the smallest and lightest available weighing just 493g, including the stuff sack (20g). When compressed it packs down small within the sack provided, roughly 1.5 to 2 litres. However, I found it possible to compress further using a Voile strap.
The Pipedream series of sleeping bags use 750 fill power goose down that is Responsible Down Standard (RDS) approved; a standard that aims to ensure that all down sourced is from animals that are not subjected to unnecessary harm. The higher the fill power number, the better quality the down is, giving more loft and warmth for the same weight. Within the range of Pipedream sleeping bags, the number of each model refers to the weight in grams of down, ranging from 200g to 600g, such as the Pipedream 600 that we tested over winter.
Most manufacturers provide a temperature rating based on the European standard designed to standardize the temperature ratings on sleeping bags (EN13537). The Pipedream 200 offers a comfort range of 11°C to 7.4°C with Alpkit declaring an extreme limit of -5°C. However, this extreme limit is not recommended or advised by Alpkit when using the Pipedream 200.
While down-filled bags are generally lighter than synthetic-filled sleeping bags at any given weight, one major disadvantage of a down bag can be the risk of it getting wet. Down-filled bags will lose a large amount of their warmth when wet. The Pipedream 200 has a C0 DWR treated outer and DownTek™ PFC-Free hydrophobic down which should help to resist water ingress.
Alpkit Pipedream 200 on Test
I have slept in this sleeping bag in temperatures ranging from 8°C down to 2°C, although in all cases, I have worn an extra lightweight down jacket and, on one night, also used a silk sleeping bag liner. As summer arrives I will have more confidence to use the Pipedream 200 without any extra layers, but the ability to add extra layers based on the forecast provides a lightweight and versatile system.
During use, while the bag was warm and comfortable, I did find the toggle to close the hood tricky to use one-handed, although not a major issue, it was a little frustrating when settling down after a long day.
In order to reach the very low weight of 493g, there are no baffles on the zip and hood, which may be an issue for some, depending on whether warmth or weight is the priority. The Pipedream 200 sleeping bag is available in regular and long lengths, and there is the option to have a zip on the left or right of the bag, depending on your preference.
The Pipedream has stitch through baffles to save weight, rather than box-wall baffles which are seen as more the gold standard for retaining heat as they prevent down from moving to different areas of the bag. However, a box-wall baffle construction increases weight as a result. During use, I found that the down stayed evenly throughout the bag, although a little down did come through the thin outer material during testing, but not a significant amount.
At £130 the Pipedream 200 is well priced compared to other down sleeping bags and comes provided with the stuff sack and also a cotton lofting bag for storage. There are lighter bags and there are sleeping bags that will offer lower comfort temperatures for the weight, but prices will also be higher. The Marmot Phase 30 is an ultralight down bag at 504g and 0°C to 5°C Comfort range, but with a retail price of £400. A bag with the closest spec might be the Thermarest Space Cowboy, which is a synthetic bag with a 7°C to 11°C comfort range and claimed weight of 512g.
If you are looking for high quality, lightweight sleeping bag for the British summer, the Pipedream 200 is a good option but with some thought given to the use of additional layers, can also be used in spring and autumn temperatures.
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