Friday, 13 March 2015

Review: The North Face Blue Kazoo Sleeping Bag

- product provided for the purpose of review, with thanks to -

Making the most out of the good days in winter sometimes means spending a night out wild camping or on a commercial campsite, if you want to be able to perform at your best the next day then you need a good night's sleep, for a good night's sleep you need a good sleeping bag and this is where I found myself lacking. 

Weighing in at 1.12kg, with an RRP of £250 and regular height of 183cm it's all round average 3 season sleeping bag. 
Not the most expensive, heaviest or longest.

Manufacturer's description:
  • The North Face Blue Kazoo is a fully featured technical sleeping bag for three season use stuffed with 650+ Hungarian goose down.

Technical features:
  • Comfort temperature -2
  • Limit temperature -9
  • Packing size of 16.5cm x 53cm  
  • 650 fill goose down
  • DWR finish
  • Climashield™ Prism thermal pads
  • Internal draft tube pockets
  • Lightweight compression stuffsack

Feature breakdown:

The Blue Kazoo's -2 rating makes this a three season bag, remember to take sleeping bag ratings with a pinch of salt as they're often a degree or two off depending on how warm an individual sleeps and the type of sleeping mat used. The packing size seems large to begin with but this is uncompressed and one of the big benefits of down is how small you can squish it. The 650 fill goose down is pretty standard for sleeping bags, providing good warmth for weight and cost. The DWR finish will be crucial to the down bag's success when it starts raining, down is famous for failing as soon as it's wet so the DWR will have to keep all the moisture out or the bag's ability to insulate will fall. The Climashield Prism thermal pads are areas of synthetic insulation which provide better insulation under compression, stopping cold spots from forming.  

Now let's see how well these features perform when the sun goes down!

Field testing:

Dartmoor is a beautiful place during the winter and early spring, cold and crisp mornings with blues skies - if you're lucky! It's been a while since I last went camping so it was great to have an excuse to get out on the Moors and do some wild camping. 

The Blue Kazoo compresses really well, the large packing size which they include in the feature list just doesn't do it justice. The sleeping bag fits easily into the stuffsack which then rolls down before you clip straps around it and really squeeze the air out. I was really impressed how small the bag went compared to a synthetic bag with the same comfort rating. 

Left: uncompressed stuff sack. Above: fully compressed.

The bag lofts quickly once removed from the stuff sack, it's ready to use in no time - great if the temperature's dropping quickly. The 650 fill goose down provides a good level of warmth to weight, it's positioned well throughout the bag, there's definitely more on top where it's free to loft to its full potential. The footbox felt a little chilly and could probably do with a little bit more down, something for The North Face to think about if they make any changes to this bag next year.

The different features worked well, and there were some subtle features which I really appreciated. The zip pull glows in the dark, something I'd never think of including on a sleeping bag but great when it's pitch black and you need to escape the bag. There's something about the construction of the bag which makes it want to be the right way round, I've used sleeping bags in the past which move around a lot but the Blue Kazoo stays in the right position with the down on top. 
Glow in the dark zip pull.

Apart from the footbox, the Blue Kazoo is a really warm bag - it easily lived up to the -2 comfort rating for me, I was using my Thermarest Pro regular mat with the bag and had some really comfortable nights on the Moor. Easily compressed, loft quickly and weighing in at just over a kilo makes this a great 3 season bag. Impressive stuff from TNF.

Long-term use:

As we slowly move out of winter and into spring the Blue Kazoo is becoming too warm to sleep in, I've begun opening it up otherwise I risk overheating during the night. Not bad when the night temperature is still only a couple of degrees. The bag is holding its down well, with very little making its way out of the bag. 

The DWR coating is still strong, keeping moisture away from the down, it beads well and water runs off the bag easily with no wetting out. 

I've been thoroughly impressed with the Blue Kazoo and it's definitely got a place in my gear cupboard, I'm even looking forward to the cold weather coming back! 


Thanks for reading, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank once again for providing the Blue Kazoo for review. If you'd like any more information about the sleeping bag then please click here to go to the product page. 
If you have any questions about the TNF Blue Kazoo sleeping bag you can ask me or contact through their Facebook or Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment