Outdoor Research UL Compression Sack Review
Posted on 09 November 2019
I’ve been backpacking for about 35 years. For the first five, my Montgomery Ward sleeping bag was rolled and bungee corded to my pack frame. I stuffed my next bag (a Coleman) into a $5 stuffsack procured from Kmart. For the past 20, my bag has either been stuffed in the bottom of my pack, or stuffed within a trash compactor bag in the sleeping bag compartment of my trusty Gregory Forester.
A fancy compression stuff sack was always something I’d pined for, but never dropped the coin on. I didn’t know what I was missing. Quite simply, the Outdoor Research Ultra-Light Compression Stuff Sack effectively shrinks whatever you place in it - in this case, my Kelty Trekker/Cosmic Down 20 degree sleeping bag.
The huge takeaway - the main reason why this stuff sack will make its way into my pack from this day on, is simply the amount of space it creates in my pack. Left un-stuffed, your sleeping bag will loft into whatever space you place it in. That’s fine for mild overnights when you’re not taking much to begin with. For our trip this past weekend, however, I knew it was to be in the low 40’s, and that wind was to be an issue since my goal was to throw down in one of the most exposed places in the Cumberland Valley. Both conditions that necessitate bringing a few extra items to ensure I’m relatively comfortable and sleep well.
Your sleeping bag initially stuffs into the OR UL just as easily as the stuff sack that likely came with it. I used the 15L model, which was fine for the Kelty and, will fit my 15 degree Big Agnes bag. After the bag is stuffed, pull the drawcord engaging the cordlock to keep it closed. Next, there are four straps, two with side release buckles, and two with plastic ladder locks. Slide the end fabric over the mouth of the compression sack ensuring the straps are spaced evenly around, and pull the excess strap material until your bag is the size you want.
In the space that usually just held my sleeping bag, I was able to fit the bag, my sleeping pad, my inflatable pillow, spare pair of socks, and fleece, thereby freeing up room in the main compartment of my backpack. With a little rough measurement, I ended freeing up about 162 cubic inches.
I’ll probably forego the compression sack on mild overnights, but, for shoulder seasons and winter, when I need the space, my sleeping bag is going into a compression stuff sack.Matt Brindle
TCO Outdoors - Boiling Springs, PA