I hate being cold. Anyone who knows me well will testify to this. My husband is so aware of this fact that he has even used my low-temperature aversion to inspire entire birthday and Christmas presents. Heat pads, hotties, slippers, thermals, a jumper for my hot choc mug – you name it, he’s given it to me.
When I was asked to review a new and innovative piece of camping kit though, I think it must have had my name on it. The hero to conquer all my chilly camping adventures was finally galloping through my front door and just in time for our first weekend camping as a family of four. I genuinely cannot remember the last time I was quite so giddy with excitement over a product review! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you SLPY – the well-overdue, wearable sleeping bag.
If you’ve ever been camping, or to a festival in anything other than Mediterranean heat then you will surely understand why I was so looking forward to reviewing the SLPY. Climbing into your sleeping bag for some cosy evening camp chat then having to climb out to go and brush your teeth, adjusting sagging guy ropes at 3am, bracing the morning chill to fetch water or nip to the shower block…these are some of the main drawbacks of camping. The SLPY is designed to do away with all that and bring some fun, warmth and modern wizardry to outdoor adventures.
How it works
Outrageously simple in its concept, the SLPY takes a normal sleeping bag and converts it into something akin to a knee length gilet by adding arm holes, a foot opening, some cunning use of zips and a drawstring. This means that you can unzip the bottom and armholes, pull it up around your waist and adjust with the drawstring and hey presto, you’re wearing your sleeping bag!
When the SLPY arrived it was pretty intuitive to convert it from sleeping bag to camping wear and I didn’t need instructions. When in ‘wearable’ mode, the SLPY is well clear of your knees making movement easy although inevitably you gain a bit of bulk around your waist and torso.
My first impression of the SLPY was that my excitement had not been in vain. I had chosen a vibrant raspberry coloured model that was super soft to touch, appeared well-made and was extremely light weight. The SLPY felt like a proper piece of outdoor kit. It was not the jokey, novelty item that I’d half feared it might be.
Next up was putting the SLPY through its paces in the environment it is designed for – under canvas. We grabbed our camping gear and the kids for some weekend camping.
Out in the field
With tent up, dinner out the way and Baby fast asleep in her travel cot, we moved on to marshmallow toasting and watching the darkness descend. Despite being September, the night was warm and I didn’t need any extra layers yet but I can imagine that quiet hour or two of peaceful reflection in the gloaming being the perfect time to don your SLPY in cooler conditions.
When Roo finally started to nod and the night-time chill set in, on went my SLPY over the thin tracksuit bottoms and tshirt I wear as standard camping sleepwear. Even though the central zip only goes halfway down (an adaptation I expect to make the SLPY more comfortable and better looking when being worn as a garment) the SLPY was easy to climb into and adjust. With the SLPY in ‘wear’ mode, it made a perfect way to nip to clean my teeth and make final preparations for bed.
For sleeping itself, you can convert the SLPY back to sleeping bag mode by zipping up the base and the armholes. It was mild though and I’m one of those bed-hogging types that likes to move a lot in my sleep so I kept my arms out until it got chillier.
I’d been dreading getting up for the night feeds that camping with my 7 month old made inevitable. With arms free and sleeping bag still on, the SLPY made it easy and warm. When baby settled down for a feed it was snuggled up inside the top of my sleeping bag. I wish I’d had one of these sooner for indoor feeds too!
Whether investigating night rustlings (it was a hedgehog!) or nipping to the loo at 2am (too much hot choc), I did so from the comfort of my super-toastie mobile SLPY bed. The night-time temperatures only dropped to 15 degrees whilst I was awake enough to check. The SLPY felt like it could have easily managed lower though whilst remaining comfortable to sleep in. Having an insulated hood helped with heat retention as well as acting as pillowing. I liked the central zip too – I can imagine that coming in handy during warm summer nights when you want to have a cover, but need to cool down a bit without your whole leg falling out the side of your sleeping bag. Is it just me that sleeps like that?!
In the morning, the SLPY made perfect camp-wear to chill-out in for breakfast and lazing about camp. I normally perform gymnastics trying to change for the day inside my sleeping bag so as to avoid the morning air. To be able to head to the bathroom for my morning ablutions without having to change or add layers was quite a novelty! What’s more, with two zip pockets for storing your small toiletries and valuables in (the hip kids use them for iPods) and slouch pockets to keep your hands warm, there’s no need for chilly hands whilst clutching your toothbrush en-route to the wash block/tap/river!
We were sent a kids SLPY to take a look at too. Roo was very keen to try it on and I had a lot of trouble extracting her. She loved having a hood and despite being a bit too short for it, could still move without too much trouble when it was in the ‘wear’ mode. My only qualm with the kids SLPY is that it has the same hoody style cords at the neck for tightening the hood as the adult version as well as the necessary cord at the foot to convert it – both of which could potentially pose a risk for young children. Given the kids SLPY is designed for children above 3ft6 however, I can’t imagine that being such an issue for school age kids. Wouldn’t it be great if they did a cordless one in mini-size for pre-schoolers though? I’d buy one like a flash!
Size, colour & style
SLPY comes in different models for men, women and kids. For adult sizes, there is a choice of medium or large, with most people falling into the medium category. I’m fairly tall but fall just below the 5ft11 recommended cut-off for the medium and so that is the size I tested. The length of the sleeping bag for me was fine although given I’m a cold-duvet-spot-for-feet hunter a tiny bit more room at the feet wouldn’t have hurt! The SLPY in wearable mode was a tiny bit snug on the hips for me when worn over jeans. If you’re very curvy and also quite tall I reckon a bigger size might be the best option.
No doubt with its obvious potential appeal to festival goers and surfing dudes & chicks in mind, the SLPY comes in a range of vibrant, bold and fun colours as well as sensible black. I love my pink one – it’s bright and cheerful, although I think I’d save the white one for Glastonbury in a heat wave only…
In terms of style, the SLPY is a lot of fun. For an item designed to be worn, the colours are great and I loved the white contrast zips. I I would happily wear it around camp, down to a campsite shop or shower block or to a festival, although how stylish any puffy item of clothing can really be I’m not sure. Given that wellies with skirts, Ugg boots and onesies have all made it into the fashion stakes though, what do I know?! One thing is for sure – it’s the most fashionable sleeping bag I’ve come across!
The SLPY is made from soft-feel brushed polyester inside and out and contains a Thermolite filling. This provides warmth and insulation without excess weight – its lightness both to carry and wear being one the features I liked best when testing it out.
The SLPY kept me really warm on an early autumn night camping and I can imagine it would be just as comfy down to fairly low, though not extreme, temperatures. If you were planning on overnighting up a mountain cliff or camping in an igloo (must try that sometime) then you’d probably want something a bit more specialist but for most outdoor adventures it’s more than up to the job. I’d definitely place it towards the techie outdoor sleeping bag end of the spectrum as supposed to the sleep-over/overnight guests-sleeping-bag-as-bedding one.
One of the nice extras about the SLPY is that it comes with two external zipped pockets to keep valuables in, one of which has a small media outlet hole to allow you to keep an iPod or similar in there to listen to whilst wearing your sleeping bag.
The addition of one small concealed internal pocket in a future models is something I’d love to see too though. Such a SLPY would have been perfect for the time I found myself
camping sleeping on a roundabout during a festival in Spain. My mate’s wallet got nicked from his coat pocket whilst he slept. Yours truly, with money, cards and phone stuffed uncomfortably in both socks and bra overnight, escaped the thieves’ notice although not some unsightly marks!
The SLPY comes in a decent quality stuff-sack with carry handle, making it easy to stow and transport. If you were tight on space in a rucksack then you could use a compression sack instead to squash the SLPY down quite a lot further.
The SLPY is machine washable at 30 degrees and can also be tumble dried on low making caring for it easy, although I didn’t test out how they wash during this review.
The one problem I had with the SLPY during our camping weekend was its bottom zip. Despite being fine for most of the time, when I came to zip up for the night it refused to do up. I was surprised as YKK who manufacture the zips used for the SLPY are a massive international company renowned for reliability and quality. I suspect I must have just got a rogue one. The folk at SLPY were horrified when I let them know and sent me another sleeping bag by return of post, this time with a faultless zip! I’m wearing it now to type in!
Price and final thoughts
The adult SLPY is currently being sold at £99, with a kids version available at £79. This is quite an investment for most people although the price does reflect both the SLPY’s novelty and the quality of materials it is made from. If I was buying a 2-3 seasons sleeping bag for camping from an outdoor shop I would expect to pay around this much, if not slightly more, for a good quality item so I think the price is not unreasonable, particularly as I know I would get long-term use out of it.
Would I buy it instead of a top outdoor brand regular mid-weight sleeping bag? Probably. For general and social camping, weekend adventures, festivals and overnight sofa stops it is brilliant. I can’t think of anything better than a SLPY for watching the meteor showers on a blanket in the garden in August each year! If I were regularly camping in chilly conditions though I might opt for something bit more specialist and resort to getting out my long-sleeved down jacket for campfire wear.
Overall, I love the SLPY – it’s a fun, well thought out and practical item and a fab concept – I’m just cross that I didn’t think of it first!
I was lucky enough to receive a SLPY for the purpose of this review. My opinions and experience as expressed in this review remain entirely my own (including how ridiculously excited I still am that someone has actually made a wearable sleeping bag)!