Finding the perfect sleeping bag for touring requires a delicate balance of weight, packsize, warmth and value for money. Locating a bag that ticks all the boxes at once can be a tricky business.
On paper the Trek Lite 250 from Deuter seems to have a lot to offer the bike tourist looking for a sleeping bag for non-winter camping adventures. First off, it has an impressively small packsize (31cm long x 43cm circumference) and low weight (864g), which means it fits relatively easily into a pannier, rather than needing to be strapped onto the outside in an unwieldy manner.
With grey goose down insulation, the Trek Lite 250 is surprisingly warm for its weight and packsize. It's rated for summer use, but with a comfort temperature of +1C it's a pretty good all-rounder for most conditions where you'd actually want to be camping. You probably wouldn't want to use it in a high mountain environment, or in chillier Spring and Autumn months, but for most touring in Europe or warmer climes this would be a reasonable proposition. With a full length zip, it's easily ventilated too, for those hotter spots. A silk sleeping bag liner is advisable for a down sleeping bag and using one makes this bag a cosy option for its size.
The downside to down insulation is that it isn't ideal in wet conditions. Synthetic insulation delivers reliable warmth even when wet, but the flip side is that synthetic sleeping bags tend to be a lot more bulky and heavy for the comparable level of warmth from a down bag. The outer shell of the Trek Lite 250 is water repellent so that should see off any moisture from tent walls it may encounter. It'd be a trivial job to slip the Trek Lite 250 into a waterproof bag anyway, if you are expecting rain when pedalling. And let's be honest, there's always rain.
In use, comfort levels are impressive for such a compact packsize. The insulation lofts (fluffs up) quickly and effectively and when used with a sleeping mat makes for a comfortable night's sleep. It's 185cm long so wouldn't suit taller users, or those broader in the shoulder, but it'd accommodate anyone six feet and under. The warmth offered is also good and really would suit most bike camping forays, unless you're someone who seeks out full winter camping expeditions.
There are sleeping bags available that are more compact, ones that are warmer and ones that are cheaper, but the Trek Lite 250 is one of the best I've come across for a balance of everything at a price usually found in synthetic sleeping bags rather than down, which is usually much more expensive.
A really useful balance between weight, packsize and warmth makes this a good value for money bike camping option for self-sufficient tours.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Deuter Trek Lite 250
Size tested: Blue
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Super-light and super-compact sleeping bag suitable for worldwide travel and all non-serious outdoor adventures, where low weight and small packsize is most important."
"Ideal for warmer climates and UK summer use."
Definitely achieve the aim stated, and probably more versatile than just UK summers/warmer climates.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Body size: 185cm
Stated Comfort rating: 6 degrees C
Stated Lower Comfort Limit: 1 degree C
Stated Extreme rating: -14 degrees C
Fill: 90/10 grey goose down
Lining: Poly-Lite 50, soft touch, quick to warm down proof polyester.
OUter shell: Pro-Lite RS, Down proof, durable and lightweight, water repellent and breathable nylon.
Well made, good materials and insulation lofts quickly and effectively.
Performs really well for the price. Warm, compact and comfortable.
Should last well, provided you treat the down as suggested by manufacturer, with professional cleaning etc, and use a liner.
Great weight for the price and warmth.
Very comfortable indeed. Not deal for over six footers though or those with broader torsos and shouders.
Really good value for a down sleeping bag. This price would normally buy a comparably warm synthetic bag which would be much bulkier and heavier.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Packsize, weight, warmth levels, comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Small niggle, but would have preferred a shorter, squatter stuff sack rather than the slightly longer narrower one provided.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes. Very much.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A really good value for money lightweight option for those who regularly enjoy bike camping trip in sensible conditions.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.