TESTED: Selk’bags

IF you’re the outdoorsy type and don’t mind looking a bit “out there”, then these Selk’bags are a viable alternative to the traditional sleeping bag.

The Selks are basically a sleeping bag you wear – it’s an absurdly simple concept that makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re into camping and/or getting away from it all. Anyone who’s spent time in a sleeping bag knows that while a quality bag is ultra light and very warm, they can be constrictive – I personally find it hard to get a good night’s sleep while camping as I feel hemmed in and uncomfortable in a sleeping bag.

They can also be hard to get in and out of, especially when nature calls – urgently! – in the middle of the night. I recently spent a couple of nights sleeping in a Selk’bag during a trip to Bermagui chasing southern bluefin tuna. We were staying in a cabin and I slept in the Selk on a bed. Yes, I looked like a complete idiot – a sort of full body version of Seinfeld’s George Costanza when he was wearing his famous “puffy” coat – but I had a good, warm sleep. The Selk allows you to freely move around while sleeping and you can also get up and wander about before and after sleep. Footpads and openings for your hands mean the Selk’bag can be worn outdoors – ideal on cold mornings or while sitting around the camp fire at night. I don’t know if wearing the Selk outside is such a great idea – it would get dirty and possibly wet – but they are certainly more convenient in regards to moving around your tent or cabin than a traditional sleeping bag.

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The Selk’bags come in two versions – Classic (suitable for temperatures down to –9C) and Lite (-4C). Those minimum ratings are listed as “extreme” meaning that while you won’t freeze to death in a Selk in those temps, you’ll likely be pretty cold! From what I’ve experienced with my test Selk, they aren’t really suitable for hard-core expeditions, more your average weekend camping trip in typical Aussie weather conditions.

The Selks are available in three sizes: medium – up to 175cm, large – up to 190cm and extra large – up to 200cm. I’m 183cm and not as slim as I used to be so opted for the XL, which proved to be very roomy. Kid-sized Selks are also available. The bags are available in a range of colours and feature a hollow fibre bonded filling and polyester taffeta shell and lining. They can be scrunched up into a carry bag for easy transport and storage, much like a traditional sleeping bag. All up, I reckon the Selk’bags are an interesting and viable alternative to sleeping bags – as long as you don’t mind the idea of looking like George Costanza!

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