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It’s In The Bag- Teton Sports Tracker +5 Sleeping Bag

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For those of you that have been around long enough, you will remember the Budget Bug Out Challenge from last year.  I hauled a bunch of gear on a 60 mile “simulated” bug out.  the criteria was simple, I set out to find the least expensive gear to fill the bug out bag that could do the job.  One of those pieces of gear was the Teton Sports Tracker +5 sleeping bag.  While I did the challenge, reporting on the challenge kind of dragged out a lot longer than expected and some of the reviews have, well, languished..in my mind.  I never saw myself clicking on a sleeping bag review, but then again, you are here now.  It’s a shame, as I should have shared this with you a year ago.

People who have been around the ‘Ranch for a while also know that I espouse the “Rule of Three’s”; a person cannot survive for more than three minutes without air, three hours without adequate shelter in adverse conditions, three days without water, or three weeks without food.  The sleeping bag falls into the shelter category.  There are many ways to shelter your body, from bushcraft induced fits of creation to the more common tent/sleeping bag combo.  If you find yourself by choice or chance in the weather, you’ve got to get out of it, and retain your body heat at the same time.

image3People  who recreationally camp in the back yard or next to the car often don’t understand the dynamics in picking a sleeping bag (or any gear for that matter) that you have to pack and carry with you.  Pack size and weight are of little concern.  You can bring the biggest, heaviest sleeping bag you can find, as long as it keeps you warm, so be it.  For those of us who either hike to our campsites, or want a sleeping bag they can keep in their bug out bags, do have these concerns.  I’ve never been a fan of keeping my shelter outside my pack.  For me, it has always been a rule to have a sleeping bag that fits in my bag.  The same is true for weight, the lighter your bag, the easier, further, faster, etc. you can go.  Capable sleeping bags can be very light weight and compress down to the size of Nalgene bottle, for the right price.  Introduce the word “budget” into the equation and few, very few bags, are left standing. Lastly, you have to be able to survive in the bag should you find yourself out in the cold whether by choice or not.

As I mentioned, the Budget Bug Out Challenge sought to find the least expensive gear in a particular category.  Searching for a backpack led me to the Teton Sports Outfitter 4600which in turn led me to the Tracker +5.

What Is It?

The Teton Sports Tracker +5 is a cold weather mummy style sleeping bag aimed at the budget minded explorer (or in our case, prepper looking to stay alive in almost all weather conditions).  It has a 3 piece, no gap hood, shoulder and zipper baffles, and Polarlite synthetic insulation.  It comes in red/grey and green/gray and includes an oxford stuff sack with draw string closure.

Size

Here we are talking about pack size, if you are wondering, the dimensions of the bag are 87″ long, 35″ wide at the shoulders and 22″ at the foot box.  Pack size is listed as 15″x9″x9″.  Speaking to Teton, the bag was designed to fit in their Ultralight backpack series, like the Outfitter 4600.  If you really pull down on the straps on the included stuff sack you can get that down to around 13″ or so and just under the listed 9″.  Again, you can find bags that pack much smaller, but most are going to be ultra expensive, down, or both.  Stuffed with Polarlite insulation you actually get the benefit of the bag retaining insulation properties when wet.  The important point is it will fit in most larger bug out bags, exactly what I was looking for in a budget bag.

Weight

Teton calls this an “Ultralight” sleeping bag.  In truth, if Pinocchio were in the room, someone would be missing an eye.  It should read *Ultralight, with the asterik reading * for the money.  At 4.1lbs, she’s no featherweight, but she is manageable.  Even so, for a bag that claims +5 degrees (more on that in a moment), it is actually a decent weight.  While you can find bags that are weighed in ounces, you will find a hefty price tag attached.  At under eighty bucks, I challenge you to find a bag that will keep you warm for the same price, or even twice the cost.

Performance

TrackerI’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much out of the bag.  What could I expect for eighty bucks?  I did expect it to perform in the test conditions of the challenge, 30 to 40 degree nights.  What I experience was a pleasant surprise.  The bag was actually…comfortable.  My previous go to “budget” bag was the Kelty Cosmic Down 20.  It’s relatively comfortable, but I’d be lying if I said I never woke up shivering on a 30 degree night.  Here’s a bag that is just a big larger, but still fits in my packs, about a pound heavier, and has me straight on through until morning.  I’ve spent a year with this bag now and I find myself choosing it over the Kelty time and time again.  I’ve used it in cold weather, I’ve used it in the dead of summer, I’ve used it in the Hennessy Hammock.  It just works.  My lower extremities often get chilled in the Kelty, even at moderately low temps, say around 40 degrees.  The Teton has what they call “Body Mapping” with strategically placed insulation and a vaulted foot box.  I’ve never once woken up in the middle of the night, even into the twenties.

Here I must make an admission.  I don’t often willingly torture myself with camping in really cold weather.  Once daytime temperatures fail to crack freezing, I rarely go out.  Most of your higher end bags will carry what is called an EN Rating.  This is a scientific European rating system that quantifies the limits of a sleeping bag.  It tests the upper limit, comfort level, lower limit, and most important for us preppers, the extreme limit.  The extreme limit is  the minimum temperature at which a standard woman can remain for six hours without risk of death from hypothermia.  Most of the time a bag’s rating is related to the EN comfort limit, or the temperature at which a standard woman can expect to sleep comfortably in a relaxed position.  In case you are wondering, the reason why a “standard woman” (25 years old, 1.6M in height, and 60kg) is cited is because women are slightly less tolerant to cold than men.  I mention the EN rating because the Teton does not have one.  I’ve also mentioned the Kelty a few times because it does.  Through my experience I am trying to give you an apples to apples comparison.  The Kelty’s EN comfort limit is 21 degrees.  Assuming that Teton used the criteria but didn’t cough up the funds for testing, it would be 5 degrees.  As I mentioned before, situations where the Kelty would leave me shivering, the Tracker would leave me warm and toasty.  Without the testing, I can vouch that the Teton would keep you alive at a significantly colder temperature than the Kelty, maybe 10 to 15 degrees.

75D Ripstop Outer Shell

75D Ripstop Outer Shell

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Inner Liner

Lastly, the Tracker has been much more durable than expected, much more.  The shell is 75D Diamond Ripstop, the lining Double-Brushed P5 Poly Hi-Count..whatever that means.  In short, it’s been durable, no runs, snags, rips, etc.  I don’t feel I have to baby it like other bags, it’s substantial.  I reviewed Teton’s Outfitter 4600 bag in this videoin a nutshell, I thought the bag used clever engineering to handle carrying heavier weights over long distances as opposed to brute force in material selection.  The Tracker sleeping bag conquers the elements with heft.  It has been a very pleasant surprise.

I feel comfortable with recommending this bag, especially at the price.  Although I don’t have the luxury of comparing this bag to dozens of others, I’m sure there are bags costing five times more that will leave you shivering.  Whether you are all zipped up, hood on, and drawstrings closed in the winter or laying on the ample insulation with the bag unzipped and causally draped over your lower extremities in the dog days of summer, I haven’t been disappointing.  I love to uncover gear that performs at a budget price, and at the time of this writing this bag can be had for under $80.  For the money, you can outfit the entire family with piece of mind for the price of one of the high end bags on the market.  Consider the Teton Sports Tracker +5.

For those of you in Southern Climates, Teton also offers the Trailhead 20.  For folks that can’t stand separation, Teton offers the Tracker +5 Double-Wide.

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://tinhatranch.com/its-in-the-bag-teton-sports-tracker-5-sleeping-bag/

7 comments

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  1. Rosa McClellan

    So for the money, it is a really good deal.

  2. Rosa McClellan

    So compared to the more expensive name brand, this one compares in performance with a small compromise on weight and pack size, but for the money is a good deal.

  3. Sandra

    Love your reviews! This looks like a “to buy” when I have the money. The one I have is good for medium low temps but that’s indoors. 🙁

  4. Robert Wisniewski

    Now that is interesting I learn something new today

  5. JamesD

    Subjective comparisons of two bags aren’t very reliable.
    Air temps may have been the same at night but the ground may have retained more heat from a sunny day. You’ll feel the difference when you are on the ground.
    The humidity could also be different.
    If you change sleeping pads that can also impact how warm you are.
    If you go to bed dehydrated, you will sleep colder than normal and even eating different foods can make you feel warmer or colder.

    The EN rating isn’t perfect, but at least it is arrived at under equal environmental conditions.
    Just be aware that the EN rating is with long johns and on a 1″ pad.
    If you have a short pad or a thinner one you can expect to sleep colder.
    I have seen claims that EN ratings are not accurate below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

    If you read the Tracker 5 reviews and Q&A around the web, I think you’ll find the rating for the Teton may be for the survival temp. Ask yourself how a fairly new company like Teton could magically come up with a synthetic insulation that is that much lighter and more compact than companies that have been making bags for 20 years or more. The answer is they can’t.
    Several reviews on the web say it’s a 30 degree bag and several reviewers were cold at 20 degrees.

    Kelty reviews in the past seem to show that the manufacturer is a bit optimistic in it’s ratings.
    I just replaced my old 20 degree down bag with a “0 Degree” Kelty but the lower EN rating is actually 7 Degrees.
    I just planned on staying warm to at least 15 degrees so I’m not to worried if it’s not warm at “0” without additional clothing.
    It was the lowest priced bag that fit the bill with water resistant down.
    If only it had been available in something other than bright orange. I guess I won’t have any hunters accidentally shoot me in my sleep.

    FWIW, I’ve seen really expensive bags rated as “cold” by some people so I’d read a lot of reviews and then decide.

    Maybe when they succeed at turning aerogel into a sleeping bag insulation we’ll be about to carry something the size of a Foster’s Lager can that keeps us warm at 0 degrees.
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1338531979/lukla-endeavour-outerwear-for-the-21st-century-adv/description.

  6. admin

    All good points. My intention was to relate my experiences between the two bags. For me, I’ve been comfortable in the Teton every night I’ve used it. They don’t have any magic, like you said, but instead solve the equation through bulk. Like I mentioned, the bag is big, but not too big as to not fit in the average hiking bag. It’s also heavier, at 4.1 lbs. I should have stated it, but I would probably consider the bag to be a 20 degree bag, that’s why I compared it to the Kelty. Wrap all that up and factor in the price and you’ve got a deal. I like to find these kinds of things for our readers. Why? Because every time I post more expensive “standards” I get, at a 10 to 1 ratio, people saying they can’t afford one over people saying they have one or will get one. Prepping/hiking/camping can get expensive and sometimes there is gear that will fit the requirements at a fraction of the cost. In my opinion, this is one of those pieces of gear.

  7. JamesD

    I wasn’t trying to give the impression it’s not a good bag. I just meant people to be cautious of the 5 rating.
    If you are considering it to be a 20 degree bag and not 5 then I’d say that’s a safe assessment; all it takes is wearing a little more clothing to bed or a liner for colder sleepers.

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