This compact sleeping bag, designed for adventurers or adventure racers, was created for summer evening conditions, but coupled with an inner sheet will provide incredible warmth and flexibility in cooler conditions too. Luxurious and lightweight, the Extreme Lite 500 provides its user with an extremely versatile sleeping solution.

Price: R1200 on the Cape Union Mart website (R1400 in-store)
Weight: 470g on label (497g actual)
Comfort rating: +10ºC
Fill: 180g 90/10 Goose down 700in³
Size: 220 x 75 x 52 cm

Kway extreme lite 500 down bag

I tested this sleeping bag sleeping on an escarpment hike to Ribbon Falls on the Amphitheatre in the Northern Drakensberg, and this was my experience:

I must say I was very worried taking this sleeping bag on the hike after seeing the weather forecasts for the weekend as it was way below the bags comfort rating. What made matter worse is when you look at it in its little stuff bag it is not really bigger than a toilet roll. Taking it out of the stuff bag for the first time I thought the factory neglected to add the fill as this is merely a ripstop piece of material in a sleeping bag shape. It is no thicker than butterfly’s wings! Miraculously the bag started puffing up as if it was a Berg adder about to strike, maybe my cursing upset it.

With a little confidence restored in the bag after the puffing show I took the bag, a 500ml liquid “blanket”, and forewarned my hiking buddy that I might spoon with him if the bag fails, now we were both worried about the weather.

True to the forecast the mercury dropped to 5.6ºC outside the tent. With the temperature at 8.1ºC inside the tent in the early morning I measured the temperature inside the bag which then was at a very comfortable 24.7 ºC. I slept with one of those R50 fleece tops you buy at P`n P and at intervals throughout the night I slept with my arms and shoulders outside the bag because it was getting too hot. The rating of +10ºC is really conservative and even at that temperature I can sleep nothing but a T-Shirt in the bag and I’ll be comfy.

Being a down bag I wouldn't use it without a liner and therefore I used the K-Way micro fibre travel sheet inside the bag. Admittedly I’m a “hot sleeper” but with the liner and a proper thermal base layer to sleep in I’m sure I’ll be comfortable at 0ºC and in extreme conditions and situations I’ll feel safe down to -5ºC. Taking the bags sub 500g weight into consideration it is nothing short of spectacular! This is the perfect bag for summer trips even on the Berg escarpment.

What I liked about the bag is its generous size and supper soft feel. It however does not have a double slider zipper as stated on the label so you can only open it from the top which isn't a real train smash for me. I also would have liked to operate the zip from inside the bag but with the big size of the bag it isn't a problem to get your arms in and out of the bag even with the zipper to the top.

Would I recommend this bag to a friend? Yes without a doubt, go buy it today!

 

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intrepid's Avatar
intrepid replied to: #61161 25 Jun 2014 08:03
The discussions around packing light for a fast Grand Traverse that where here, have been moved to a separate thread:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/forum/16-drakensberg-grand-traverse/55601-packing-light-for-a-fast-grand-traverse.html
Josh of the Bushveld's Avatar
Josh of the Bushveld replied to: #61143 24 Jun 2014 11:26
I have, but it doesn't get cold enough :P I want to test at 5-10 below freezing, and it doesn't get close to that in Jo'burg. In Bloemfontein however...
Even better than grass is concrete balcony floor.
Smurfatefrog's Avatar
Smurfatefrog replied to: #61142 24 Jun 2014 11:17
Why don't you JHB guys test it in your garden during winter? Grass, foam mat, sleeping bag ;)
Grandeur's Avatar
Grandeur replied to: #61141 24 Jun 2014 11:04
Thanks Joshua and Fitness
Joshua - May I ask why you wouldn't trust that bag? Just not warm enough?

We are planning on doing a one night / two day (out and back) "see how far we can hike with ultra light packs up chain ladders and back the next day" test hike so I could test your suggestion then.
I have a FA Ice Breaker which I have used on many hikes and I love it, but the idea of halving my sleeping bag weight is something I can't ignore.

Our plan is to do the GT in 6 days / 5 nights so we want to do this fast-n-light with super light packs. Current goal is to get the starting pack weight under 12kg including food for the whole trip. I'm almost there at 12.9kg and this saving would almost get me to my goal (if it is safe to do so).

Any other sleeping bag suggestions (available in SA) that is rated below 0 and weighs about 750g max?? I haven't found any in my research to date.

Failing that, anyone have any connections overseas that could send some nice quality bags here? I know it can be pricey but I see this as an investment and don't mind paying a premium for the right product.

Thanks again
Josh of the Bushveld's Avatar
Josh of the Bushveld replied to: #61139 24 Jun 2014 09:03
Grandeur, on my last 'berg trip in October I used my Ice Breaker and not my Extreme Lite, not sure I'd trust it. What I'd possibly suggest is taking up your usual bag, as a backup. Should be doable since the Extreme Lite is only 500g. I plan to do something similar the first time I use my quilt, I don't want be stuck up there in bad weather with something inadequate. I'd ideally like to do a low-risk Amphitheatre or similar easy-up easy-down trip in snow/mid-winter to test my quilt
Fitness's Avatar
Fitness replied to: #61138 23 Jun 2014 20:36
Hi Granduer
2 years ago on a hike up Gypateus Pass with Ghaznavid I used a FA Adventure light ( rating +5) together with a homemade fleece bag liner and I was more than warm enough, looking at the KWay bag and the FA bag they look very similar. So you should be fine.
Hope this helps
Grandeur's Avatar
Grandeur replied to: #61135 23 Jun 2014 15:59
Reviving a semi-old-post...

Has anyone used one of these K-Way Extreme Lite 500 Down Sleeping Bags on the Escarpment in anything other than ideal summer conditions?

I'm wondering if I can get away with using this sleeping bag and a warm liner for doing a September GT?
Trying to give my pack a serious diet and this would shave a chunk off my total weight.

Thanks to those in advance who can provide some insight.
ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #58692 04 Oct 2013 13:37
:ohmy: they cost an arm and a leg and are not lighter - 633 grams for the Solo!
Josh of the Bushveld's Avatar
Josh of the Bushveld replied to: #58680 03 Oct 2013 09:03
Instead of a bivy, how about a Sea to Summit Specialist Shelter ?
ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #58656 01 Oct 2013 14:29
UK pricing is shite! This chart is missing most of the real benchmark kit also... it's a rather selective list which is far from the best value or best specs I've seen. I wouldn't use it for input to any choice I make. Better to do your own research. US sites also have great sales if you can catch them...
Viking's Avatar
Viking replied to: #58652 01 Oct 2013 11:13

ghaznavid wrote: I found this list www.alpkit.com/sleeping-bags/compare

With those prices you may have to sell a bit more than a kidney :laugh:


No wonder they are called "skyehigh" and "pipedream" :lol: :lol: :lol:
ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #58650 01 Oct 2013 10:50
I'm only aware of 2 tents that are lighter - BD Betamid Light from Mountainmailorder.co.za has a packed weight of 680gm's and Big Sky in USA make the Big Sky Soul which weighs slightly less.

I agree on the Bibler Bipod though!

For sleeping bags there is nothing local I'm aware of. You would have to import/ buy on the net.

Check out on the net for: Marmot, Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends, Montbell, REI or just search on Backpacker.com

There are many good companies in the US market. Most of the above have impeccable reputations. On price, the new REI bags are great value and don't cost more or even as much as FA. It's just a matter of figuring out how to get the to SA!
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #58649 01 Oct 2013 10:44
I found this list www.alpkit.com/sleeping-bags/compare

With those prices you may have to sell a bit more than a kidney :laugh:
Josh of the Bushveld's Avatar
Josh of the Bushveld replied to: #58648 01 Oct 2013 10:42

ASL wrote: PS. I forgot to mention - a lot of top manufacturers are making -7 bags at under 1kg now. It's the new benchmark level for down bags in the US. A sleeping mat and bag combo has gone from 2kg to 1.3kg in weight for anyone who cares...

That's amazing, I'd love to have kit like that (time to sell a kidney or something). Any specific models?
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #58646 01 Oct 2013 10:23
@Moderators: A thread split may be in order.

The MSR E-Bivy (R1325 from MMO) is under 300g, I have never found a 1 man tent sub 800g. Any specific recommendations? I'm not closed to the idea of a 1 man tent.

If money grew on trees I would get a Bibler Bipod as a 1 man tent, it is about 1kg but looks really good.

I'll look into sub-1kg down bags - any particular ones you have in mind? As far as competition goes, a 500g bag that is rated to 2 degrees is great. But if I can get something rated sub zero it would be much better.
ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #58645 01 Oct 2013 10:07
PS. I forgot to mention - a lot of top manufacturers are making -7 bags at under 1kg now. It's the new benchmark level for down bags in the US. A sleeping mat and bag combo has gone from 2kg to 1.3kg in weight for anyone who cares...
ASL's Avatar
ASL replied to: #58644 01 Oct 2013 10:02
:dry: I agree that you are better off with a 1 man tent. They are getting so light now! The only thing might be cost because the better stuff is usually an arm and a leg unless you are going to the US.

I would prefer to get a bivy bag constructed from eVent and then use a poncho as a tarp over my head so that I didn't have to synch up completely which would still feel suffocating. I think Joshilewis demonstrated a great way of using a trekking pole for this recently.

Mountainhardwear make a great looking 1 man tent which you can order from Drifters or Mountainmailorder for about 1.7k I think.

I still like the idea of a bivy bag as a back up for cave hikes because you never know when you might be stranded (shit happens!)
Serious tribe's Avatar
Serious tribe replied to: #58631 01 Oct 2013 06:47
I think that wld be worse than the so-called breathable ones. I would rather look for a small one man tent to lower the weight.
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #58629 01 Oct 2013 06:39
Thanks for the advice ST :thumbsup:

That would actually be great if using a not particularly warm sleeping bag. But maybe I should try one of those cheap non-breathable plastic ones before dishing out real money on a proper one.

I'm starting to realise that the Berg is full of great undocumented caves, I am even starting to worry less about bivy's and tents. While walking in thick mist on the escarpment from Jarding to Giants we saw at least 2 big usable caves. The one just over the Giant's Ridge (south slope, about 500m east of the low point between Lotheni Peak and Long Wall) had a roof high enough to crawl into, but was at least 4m deep and could easily accommodate 8 people. I actually wish now that I got some pics and a GPS co-ord of it.
Serious tribe's Avatar
Serious tribe replied to: #58626 01 Oct 2013 06:29
@ghaz - If you get hot quickly, be wary of bivy-bags. They warm up quickly and feel rather suffocating. I used one one night, the same night it got blown away. Thats because i was not in it, because it just got to dam hot inside. If you are still keen look for one with a large vestibule and a hoop over your head.
Viking's Avatar
Viking replied to: #58603 29 Sep 2013 18:21
I've been mulling the same idea re daypack etc.
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #58602 28 Sep 2013 10:56

viking5 wrote: Ghaz, are you collecting sleeping bags now? :)


Apparently :P

One of my goals is to be able to do 2 day hikes off a daypack. So the plan is to carry my tiny air mattress (which I tried last weekend - it worked great in sub-zero), if I then add a sleeping bag that also folds up small I am really set as those are the 2 things that take the most space in ones pack. No gas stove also helps.

As far as tents go - I will get myself a 200g bivy bag at some point. I also like the fact that caves don't have to fit into my pack...
Viking's Avatar
Viking replied to: #58600 28 Sep 2013 09:35
Ghaz, are you collecting sleeping bags now? :)
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #58599 28 Sep 2013 07:40
I'm looking at buying one of these - anyone tried this in temperatures around or below 0?
ghaznavid's Avatar
ghaznavid replied to: #5165 16 Dec 2011 13:46
Did anyone else notice that Cape Union Mart posted this link on their facebook page?