Snugpak Elite 3 or Kestrel 6

  • Hey Guest, We're having our annual Winter Moot and we'd love you to come. PLEASE LOOK HERE to secure your place and get more information.
    For forum threads CLICK HERE

SSGN_Doc

Tenderfoot
Jan 26, 2021
62
104
52
WA, USA
Looking to modernize my sleep system. Looking into Snugpak and their Softie Elite 3 vs the Softie original Kestrel 6. Most of my camping wont require that 0 degree to minus 7. but the Elite 1 doesn't quite give me the cold protection I do want. The 7 to 0 range seems to be more versatile but I've seen some reviews of the Kestrel saying it wasn't warm enough even in the 7 degree range.

Wanting to reduce weight and size over the military systems. Would consider using a fleece liner and bivvy when needed for lower expected temps.

Thoughts or experience? Please chime in.
 
Don't know mate, I only use one pure wool blanket for winter camping.
Keith.
Snow-Walk-for-trek-video-17-7-2015-003-JPG2-JPG-LARGE3-REDUCED.jpg
 
I'm a bit more of a whimp when it comes to cold. Only took one case of frostbite to turn me into a softie.
It is all about skills & experience & thinking out of the box. How do you think they survived 300 years ago without sleeping bags? :) I find it more fun, more satisfying doing things the old way. I get a good feeling about being self-reliant.
Regards, Keith.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SSGN_Doc

SSGN_Doc

Tenderfoot
Jan 26, 2021
62
104
52
WA, USA
It is all about skills & experience & thinking out of the box. How do you think they survived 300 years ago without sleeping bags? :) I find it more fun, more satisfying doing things the old way. I get a good feeling about being self-reliant.
Regards, Keith.
I get it. If primitive camping was the goal.

In this case, This is not what I'm seeking.

Planned trips will involve close to full daylight hours of traveling from point to point. So trying to hedge my bets on getting comfortable sleep with minimal additional effort at the end of a day. Also trying to reduce the chance of shyte sleep through the night, in order to be able to get up and do it again the next day.

I can do/have done the mountain man experience, but that isn't the current goal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Le Loup
Apr 8, 2009
1,153
137
Ashdown Forest
I used the Elite 3 with a thin alpkit bivvy bag for many years, year round with the military. Always using it fully clothed, and in cold weather wearing a 'softie' type insulated jacket as well + using a foam roll mat. There was only one occasion that i was cold in it that i can remember, but the temperature was hovering around zero, it was very rainy and windy, i was in the open with no shelter, and the bag+ my clothes were soaked through. Not a fair test really, and it kept me alive nonetheless! In general, the bag has been excellent for probably 10 years of hard use, and still gets an outing every now and then (albeit its not really put through its paces to such an extent). I generally keep the expanded baffle system zipped up on its most spacious setting for comfort/freedom of movement (a key advantage over the equivalent standard softie bag).

I do actually own a softie 6 too, but it is much older and its only ever used by the kids now. I'd personally go for the Elite 3 for the greater flexibility it offers (if i recall, its a bit cheaper too).

A word of warning though, i think the general consensus is that the lower temperature ratings that snugpak give are usually rather 'optimistic'. If you don't like the idea of wearing extra layers inside the bag, and will frequently be using it around zero, then i think you might want to step up to a slightly warmer bag - e.g. the Elite 4, or the (fabulous in my view) Carinthia Defence 4.
 

SSGN_Doc

Tenderfoot
Jan 26, 2021
62
104
52
WA, USA
I used the Elite 3 with a thin alpkit bivvy bag for many years, year round with the military. Always using it fully clothed, and in cold weather wearing a 'softie' type insulated jacket as well + using a foam roll mat. There was only one occasion that i was cold in it that i can remember, but the temperature was hovering around zero, it was very rainy and windy, i was in the open with no shelter, and the bag+ my clothes were soaked through. Not a fair test really, and it kept me alive nonetheless! In general, the bag has been excellent for probably 10 years of hard use, and still gets an outing every now and then (albeit its not really put through its paces to such an extent). I generally keep the expanded baffle system zipped up on its most spacious setting for comfort/freedom of movement (a key advantage over the equivalent standard softie bag).

I do actually own a softie 6 too, but it is much older and its only ever used by the kids now. I'd personally go for the Elite 3 for the greater flexibility it offers (if i recall, its a bit cheaper too).

A word of warning though, i think the general consensus is that the lower temperature ratings that snugpak give are usually rather 'optimistic'. If you don't like the idea of wearing extra layers inside the bag, and will frequently be using it around zero, then i think you might want to step up to a slightly warmer bag - e.g. the Elite 4, or the (fabulous in my view) Carinthia Defence 4.
Thank you. Very useful information. How significant is the packed size difference?
 
Apr 8, 2009
1,153
137
Ashdown Forest
Thank you. Very useful information. How significant is the packed size difference?
Between the two bags you listed? My elite 3 is definitely smaller (about 2/3rds) - but my kestrel is very old (almost 30 yrs actually - crikey) and has a different type of filling to what they use now, so no real comparison i'm afraid. I don't have an elite 4 to compare the elite 2 - but i suspect the packed dimensions are available on the snugpak website. The Carinthia Defence 4 goes down to maybe 1/3rd larger than the elite 3, but is significantly warmer. It terms of compressibility (not sure that's a word!), the Defence 4 doesn't compare with down, but it is by far the most compressible for its warmth of the various synthetic bags that i own.
 

SSGN_Doc

Tenderfoot
Jan 26, 2021
62
104
52
WA, USA
Between the two bags you listed? My elite 3 is definitely smaller (about 2/3rds) - but my kestrel is very old (almost 30 yrs actually - crikey) and has a different type of filling to what they use now, so no real comparison i'm afraid. I don't have an elite 4 to compare the elite 2 - but i suspect the packed dimensions are available on the snugpak website. The Carinthia Defence 4 goes down to maybe 1/3rd larger than the elite 3, but is significantly warmer. It terms of compressibility (not sure that's a word!), the Defence 4 doesn't compare with down, but it is by far the most compressible for its warmth of the various synthetic bags that i own.
Good to know. Sticking with synthetic for ease of care and the fact that water is a constant factor in my part of the Pacific Northwest along with kayak camping.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,340
1,346
Berlin
The direct competition of the Carinthia Defence 4, is the Snugpak Special Forces 2.

I understand why most European NATO armies issue the Defence 4. But for civil use the nearly identic SF2 is in my opinion the better option.

The main Difference between both is that the SF2 has a warmth collar, but the Defence 4 hasn't it.

That means, the relation between warmth retention and weight & pack volume of the SF2 construction is better than the construction of the Defence 4.

That's of course less important if you wear winter clothing in the sleeping bag.
The Carinthia System (I mean the combination with the Tropen) is a bit easier to use, the SF system a bit more comfortable, especially if you just wear merino base layers instead of a complete field uniform.

The Carinthia compression bag is by far superior than everything else I have seen. But it can also be bought separately.

I carry the in my opinion superior SF2 (or the complete SF system) in the superior large Carinthia compression bag.

I simply choose the best constructions and don't stick with one brand.

That isn't needed in a Kajak and perhaps the SF compression bag fits well into your rucksack. If not I suggest to get the large Carinthia compression bag additional for rucksack use, or you just sell the Snugpak compression bags of the SF2 and the complete system and replace it with the large Carinthia compression bag.

I wrote about the both systems in this thread here:

 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: SSGN_Doc

SSGN_Doc

Tenderfoot
Jan 26, 2021
62
104
52
WA, USA
The direct competition of the Carinthia Defence 4, is the Snugpak Special Forces 2.

I understand why most European NATO armies issue the Defence 4. But for civil use the nearly identic SF2 is in my opinion the better option.

The main Difference between both is that the SF2 has a warmth collar, but the Defence 4 hasn't it.

That means, the relation between warmth retention and weight & pack volume of the SF2 construction is better than the construction of the Defence 4.

That's of course less important if you wear winter clothing in the sleeping bag.
The Carinthia System (I mean the combination with the Tropen) is a bit easier to use, the SF system a bit more comfortable, especially if you just wear merino base layers instead of a complete field uniform.

The Carinthia compression bag is by far superior than everything else I have seen. But it can also be bought separately.

I carry the in my opinion superior SF2 (or the complete SF system) in the superior large Carinthia compression bag.

I simply choose the best constructions and don't stick with one brand.

That isn't needed in a Kajak and perhaps the SF compression bag fits well into your rucksack. If not I suggest to get the large Carinthia compression bag additional for rucksack use, or you just sell the Snugpak compression bags of the SF2 and the complete system and replace it with the large Carinthia compression bag.

I wrote about the both systems in this thread here:

Excellent information. Thank you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Erbswurst

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,340
1,346
Berlin
And the SF2 really fits exactly to your intended temperature range, that I know due to my outstanding telepathic skills.

;)

And users of sleeping bags with central zippers do not get a cold shoulder like the users of sleeping bags with side zippers...
 
  • Like
Reactions: SSGN_Doc

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
8,490
2,109
47
Exeter
Wanting to reduce weight and size over the military systems. Would consider using a fleece liner and bivvy when needed for lower expected temps.

Thoughts or experience? Please chime in.
Have you considered adding a couple of Stone of Dad-Bod on your frame ? I find this enhances the overall sleeping experience whilst adding no physical weight to your pack. HTH

:)
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Spirit fish

SSGN_Doc

Tenderfoot
Jan 26, 2021
62
104
52
WA, USA
Have you considered adding a couple of Stone of Dad-Bod on your frame ? I find this enhances the overall sleeping experience whilst adding no physical weight to your pack. HTH

:)
I'm 51 and already have some Dad-Bod which I'm trying to reduce. I think a layer of intermediate weight or light weigh polypro base layer may be more reliable. It's usually what I bring along to sleep in order to keep the bag clean, instead of wearing the dirty and "moisturized" trekking or paddling clothes into the bag.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: TeeDee

SSGN_Doc

Tenderfoot
Jan 26, 2021
62
104
52
WA, USA
And the SF2 really fits exactly to your intended temperature range, that I know due to my outstanding telepathic skills.

;)

And users of sleeping bags with central zippers do not get a cold shoulder like the users of sleeping bags with side zippers...
It's almost like we were having a separate conversation.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Erbswurst
Apr 7, 2016
485
105
suffolk
Apart from high summer, I have a Softie 15.......sounds like overkill, but I can always open it up,and yes it keeps me warm when it's way below freezing without having to wrap up. For what it is, it is surprisingly light and compact..........obviously the Softie 3 will be much more so.
I would take Snugpaks extreme temps as comfort temps, but that could just be me and the way I use my bag?

ps just with a cotton or silk liner to protect the bag.............
 

Hultafors Outdoor knife for Sale

We have a a number of Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteels for sale.

You can see more details here in this thread OUTDOOR KNIVES The price is £27 posted to the UK. Pay via the paypal button below.