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March 2022

Aconcagua Gear Review: Rab Expedition 1000 & Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme

Written by: Shannon & Tyson Head (@restlesscrusade)

We are always chasing our dreams, and our latest one was to climb Aconcagua with a summit altitude of 6962 metres. We had never been in a situation to be sleeping at this high in elevation and needed to find a warm bag to keep us comfortable. This Rab Expedition 1000 down bag was the perfect solution. This sleeping bag, teamed up with a closed cell foam Z-Lite SOL from Thermarest and our Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme sleep pads were the perfect combination for keeping us isolated from the frozen ground below us as well.

The Z-Lite protected the Ether Light XT from any sharp rocks which poked through the bottom of the tent floor while also adding a bit more R-value warmth. This Ether Light XT Extreme is made up of air-sprung cells, mimicking a pocket spring mattress so that the surface conforms to any which way you may sleep, back, side or stomach. We found that we did not bottom out at all and it contoured to any lumps or bumps on the tent floor. It really is the perfect combination for climbing any of the seven summits, back country skiing or other cold climate situations.

Our first night elevation was 3400 metres and the temperature got down to +10°C inside our tent. This bag was a tad on the warm side but with the reverse zipper we were able to unzip the bag from the feet up to allow for some cool air to flow through regulating a good sleeping temperature. The Sea to Summit Ether Light XT was very comfortable, we didn’t find it noisy at all, and most importantly, it was super quick and easy to inflate.

As we climbed in elevation the outside temperatures started dropping and we found ourselves at 4300 metres, waking up to -6°C with a ton of condensation in our tents making the outside of our Rab bags quite damp. The Nikwax Hydrophobic treatment kept the wetness from penetrating the bag and once the sun came out warming the tent the Rab sleeping bags dried within minutes. This bag has an internal small pocket near the neck line that was perfect for storing our headlamps from the cold.

We were packing this bag up daily and moving to the next camp and found it was super easy to stuff into our 20 L Sea to Summit compression sacks. With a weight of 57 ounces (3.56 Lbs), it was one of the lighter items in our packs. The Sea to Summit Ether Lite XT Extreme was amazingly quick to deflate and roll up into its own stuff sack that it came with which also doubles as a pump sack for easy inflation and keeping the moisture of your breath out of the pad.

We could have our sleeping system set up in under two minutes and ready for us to warm up and relax. It seemed pretty luxurious when spending nights high on the mountain on a 4” thick pad with having an R value rating of 6.2. Also, the weight on this is only 25.6 ounces (1.6 Lbs) making it a must bring on any expedition where cold could be a factor or you just want a bit more comfort.

As we climbed further up the mountain, we found ourselves sleeping at 6000m where the temperatures were -10°C or cooler. At these altitudes your body has to work extremely hard just to function properly so having this sleeping configuration allowed our bodies to heal and rest and not worry about trying to keep warm through the night. Needless to say, we were toasty warm.

There was also ample room inside the bag to store all the items like cameras, batteries, boot liners, water bottles and other necessities that we did not want to have freeze through the night. This Rab Expedition 1000 sleeping bag paired with the Sea to Summit Ether Lite XT Extreme as well at the Thermarest SOL Z-Lite was the perfect combo for overall comfort as well as warmth and a must have when venturing into high country with dipping temperatures.

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