Brooks Range Elephant Foot Review
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Brooks Range may not be a household name for some, but their well designed and focused products are worth a look. Brooks Range takes ideas from the professional rescuers and mountain guides and brings them to life. One of those products is the Elephant Foot, which is in essence a 3/4 sleeping bag, and is designed for times when space is at a premium, but you don’t want to sacrifice warmth.
You may think that at only 3/4 this is designed for summer use, but that is not the case. Brooks Range says it is ideal for the lightweight winter camper or alpinist when space is a premium. The idea is that the user will wear an insulating top layer, a down jacket or shell, and use the Elephant Foot as an extra barrier against the cold. The Elephant Foot uses 800 fill down for loft, warmth and compressibility. The Elephant Foot is rated down to 15 degrees by Brooks Range, but is very dependent on the top layer worn by the user. It all reduces to a small package weighing a mere 16 ounces.
The Elephant Foot has no zippers, you simply slide your feet in from the top. There are three draw cords at the top, two come over your shoulders to keep it up and the third cinches the bag around your torso. At 5’9″ the bag came to my mid chest and was easily adjusted. While I didn’t use it in temperatures as low at 15 degrees, I did use it while camping at 8,000 ft. along Buffalo Pass in Steamboat Springs and the temperature dropped to the mid 30’s at night. I did feel a bit cold at night, but that was mainly due to a poor choice in my top layer. I wore only a light base layer and light weight fleece trying to “adjust” for the warmer than rated temperatures. When I did wake up I noticed it was my upper body that was chilly, everything covered by the Elephant Foot was toasty warm. I have no doubt that if I had a down jacket like Brooks Range suggests, I would not have had any issues going down to 15 degrees. When I used the Elephant Foot while camping in Fruita, Co. I stayed plenty warm in the 40 degree temperatures. The outer material is durable and water proof, as I learned the hard way when a water bottle leaked all over it. A simple shake out and some quick wipes with my sleeve was all it took to dry it off.
The Elephant Foot has other great uses in my opinion. For those all day outings on a new trail, the Elephant Foot is great to take along for that extra “just in case” piece of mind. This is especially true if you are heading out in winter conditions. I also used this bag in the late summer. What makes it great for saving space makes it a great summer choice too. Why lug around a full sleeping bag when you know you’ll just be unzipping it?
Could the Elehpant Foot replace your standard sleeping bag? If you mostly camp in good weather or just occasionally in chilly weather, or if you are a human oven like myself, I’d say yes. The price for the Elephant Foot is $249.00, which in my opinion is quite reasonable for such a versatile piece.