Jun 2015

Nordisk Oskar sleeping bag


I’ve been after a lightweight, 3-season, synthetic sleeping bag for a while. More precisely, since the night I spent shivering in a puddle in a soaking wet down bag (thanks to a leaky bivvy bag). Everyone knows that down looses its insulating properties, but you don’t truly know-know until you spend a night in a wet down bag, which the warmth of tissue paper.

‘Lightweight, 3-season, synthetic’ is a classic ‘pick any 2’ dilemma. OMM makes some lightweight
down bags
. However without temperature ratings they’re clearly aimed at racing snakes, willing to suffer a bit of discomfort. Similarly Haglofs have a 372g synthetic bag, but the +10 deg rating means it’d probably not be warm enough for me outside of Summer.

This year Nordisk brought out the Oscar bag (named after Oscar II former King of both Sweden and Norway). At 500g, +5 deg and a RRP of £190 (although I managed to get it for £155) it looked to be just what I was after. I was initially a bit concerned about the sizing. It comes in two: L and XL. At 5’3’’ I was imaging having several feet of empty, wasted space. However L really isn’t too big, and you probably don’t have to be super-tall to want/need XL.

My first reaction was ‘euuurgh’ at the yellow-beige colour, but otherwise it’s a great bit of kit with some near, and very Nordic, features. For instance little pockets to tuck the hood tightening cords into. Racing snakes wouldn’t be happy with the added grams, but they’d probably go for one of the OMM or Haglofs bags anyway.

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The stuff sac is built in to the bottom (so you can’t lose it...) and then compression straps squeeze it down further:

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I’ve used it twice and it does exactly the job I got it for. First I took it on an early Spring bank holiday overnight trip to the Peak District. The weather was horrendous and (again...) I ended up lying in a puddle. [Lesson finally learnt: the lightweight Terra Nova discovery lite bivvy bag really isn’t a good choice for bad weather.] However this time I was at least comfortably warm. The 2nd trip was a late Spring bank holiday multi-day plod from Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay. It kept me plenty warm enough even when damp and packed back into the stuff sack fairly easily each morning.