Gear Reviews

Helsport Rago Lady sleeping bag

Photo by Linda Balode

Back in the fall of 2017 Helsport came out with the Rago line, their lightest line of sleeping bags yet. At the time I was still using my Cumulus sleeping bag but looking for a replacement as it was worn out after lots of use both on long-distance trails and during Norwegian summers. I also did not find it quite warm enough to use here in Norway, as even during summer temperatures can get close to or just below freezing point out in the mountains. I wanted a sturdy and reliable 3-season bag with low weight and as soon as the Rago line came out my eye fell on the Lady 3-season sleeping bag. They became immensely popular and were sold out until late last summer.

By August I finally managed to get my hands on one, but it was not until recently that I’ve been able to put it to the test. It’s been my loyal companion on multiple camping trips this summer and it has not let me down. Meanwhile Helsport came out with an even lighter and warmer variant in the Rago Superlight series.

Helsport Rago Lady Review

Specs

  • Weight without cover: 1,00
  • Material: 476g 90/10 Duck down 650 cuin/oz
  • Person length/width: 175/75 cm
  • Volume: 19x26 cm (7 L)
rago_down_lady__temperaturskala_2018
Image from http://www.helsport.no

Temperature Rating and Warmth

Women freeze differently than men. We keep our core warmest and to do this we focus less energy on our extremities than men do. This is why women often have colder hands and colder feet than men. But we also freeze more easily. When looking at the temperature rating of a sleeping bag, it is the comfort temperature that has an accurate rating for women, while the limit temperature goes for men (who dont freeze easily while they sleep).
Because women lose heat differently than men, this has an influence on how we feel warm inside a sleeping bag. Since I bought my first women-specific bag, the Helsport Kvitbreen, I have sworn to it, as it makes a noticeable difference on the comfort. Women-specific sleeping bags are wider at the hips, where women usually need more space than men, preventing compression and heat-loss in that area. They also come with extra insulation at the foot-end and around the shoulders.

Helsport uses the rating standard EN13537. This means the sleeping bag has to undergo thorough testing to check that the temperatures stated are accurate. I prefer to buy sleeping bags from brands that use this system, as a comfortable temperature for any given sleeping bag is very subjective and can greatly differ from person to person. The standard sets a benchmark and experience teaches you where you are in reference to it. I know that I am a cold sleeper so I always base myself on the comfort rating. With a comfort rating of 0°C, the Rago Lady fits most trips in Scandinavia from late Mai to the end of September. Including a liner it can be used earlier in the spring and later during the autumn as well. When out camping, I always sleep in wool. I have not needed to use a liner yet and have slept out in temperatures approaching freezing point using the Rago Lady without feeling discomfort.

IMG_0561
Photo by Linda Balode

Weight & Material

The Rago Lady is quite light for a 3-season bag that can withstand sub-zero temperatures and is high on its market segment. The Superlight is competing with top of the line models for weight-to-warmth ratio. The sleeping bags get their lightness from the light Pertex material that used on them. The inner fabric is constructed from Pertex Quantum 30D Nylon, one of the lighests yet most durable fabrics currently on the market. While the Rago Lady has a 30D Nylon Ripstop as an outer fabric, the superlight also uses a Pertex Quantum on the outside. In this way it saves even more weight.

In spite of its thin appearance, Pertex Quantum is a durable fabric that can withstand a lot. It’s the material on several of my primaloft jackets and previous sleeping bags that I’ve used on long-distance hiking trips and it holds a lot of wear and tear. It feels less comfortable than the inner Airtex® 100% Polyamide 30D fabric that was used in previous models, but the huge descrease in weight makes up for that. In comparison, the Rago Lady X-Treme which has replaced the Kvitbreen sleeping bag I used adds another 7 degrees of comfort for the same weight.

Conclusion

The Rago line was designed to optimize warmth-to-weight efficiency and has done an excellent job at that. It is a reliable, comfortable and warm sleeping bag that fits trips in the Scandinavian mountains from late Spring to early Fall. I recommend women to get the women-specific model, which has been optimized for female anatomy and the specific way we keep warm and lose heat.

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