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Review of the Exped Ultralite 500 Down Sleeping Bag

In 2009 Exped completely changed my backcountry sleeping experience. Until that time I had endured innumerable nights on a well-known brand name sleeping pad, which was like sleeping on a slice of tissue paper. No matter how tiny the rock, root or rodent underneath me, I could feel every poke and prod the second I lay on my back. Then along came Exped’s Downmat 7 and suddenly I was sleeping on what felt like a warm, queen-size mattress. And I didn’t have to sacrifice that much weight! So when I received the Exped Ultralight 500 sleeping bag to review, I was curious to see if the company would further transform my backcountry snooze experience – and I wasn’t disappointed. The Ultralight 500 is comfortable, cozy and, above all, light. In fact, this bag is all about gram savings: by incorporating a super light-weight fabric, a 3/4 length zipper and 840 fill Down, Exped has ensured the Ultralight is indeed well named.

To read the full review, log on to Backcountry Skiing Canada.

Review of the Exped 40L Mountain Lite Backpack

Exped’s tagline is “Maximum outdoor experience with minimal means” and their Mountain Lite backpack series definitely lives up to the mantra. These packs eschew any of the bells and whistles in favour of the bare essentials wrapped into a comfortable hiking pack. Before I continue, however, I should be clear that while the Mountain Lite 40 backpack I reviewed is very good, it’s not ideal for a backcountry ski experience. I used this pack on both a day trip and an overnight hike into the Valhalla mountain range but I’ve not taken it skiing. The reason for this is, because it’s a minimalist pack with one main pocket, the Mountain Lite doesn’t comfortably store everything I need for a day ski into the backcountry. No matter how I tucked my shovel into the bag, for example, it simply did not feel good against my back and there aren’t any outer straps to affix it to. That said, because of its light weight and small size (when the two aluminum back stays are removed it can be compressed to the size of a rolled-up pair of jeans) I could imagine taking the pack along on a multi-day tour and using it for short summit runs rather than humping a large touring pack to the top of a bowl. What the Mountain Lite 40 is ideal for, though, is short hikes whether on foot or on snowshoes. At only 1100g (or 2.4 lbs) it barely registers on your back and yet its robust design ensures you don’t have to be gentle with it out there.

For the full review, log on to Backcountry Skiing Canada.