On a recent solo trip along the Ausable River in Michigan, I had the chance to try out the Temp Control Sleeping Bag from Wenzel outdoor products and I was quite impressed.
Calling it just a sleeping bag is really not doing it justice, it is truly a sleep system that actually works. The bag provides multiple layers that can be removed or used separately providing the sleeper the amount of insulation that is needed.
Unlike conventional sleeping bags that have a rating indicating how low of a temperature the bag will keep you warm in, with the Temp Control being a sleep system, it provides a range of 30 F to 60 F (-1 to 15.5 C). Often times the ratings by manufactures are shall we say, optimistic, but in my real world test on the trail the Temp Control bag rating was right on the nose and if anything a bit conservative.
While using the bag on a recent solo river trip, mother nature really helped out by providing lows at night right in the Temp Control bag ratings. One evening it was 54 F when I crawled into my bag and by morning it was down to 41 F. The temperatures continued to drop through the day and by that night, it reached a low of 30 F. By using the different layers in the bag I was comfortable and warm each night.
The way the bag achieves the multiple layers is with a thinner zip out “comforter” inside the bag that can be removed to be used on its own or can be combined with the additional layers of the bag for more warmth. This is a relatively large bag, with a length of 84-inches and at 34-inches wide, it offers plenty of shoulder room.
When I used the bag on the warmer night, I left the inner layer inside the bag and laid on top of it so I would have a bit more cushioning under me. By opening the side zips I could vent the bag a bit so I did not over heat. As the temperature dropped, I just zipped the bag closed. The next night when it dropped to 30 F, I slept under all the layers and was very comfortable throughout the night.
The Temp Control bag has a removable mummy bag shaped hood that helps keep the heat in and your head warm and it also adds a bit of padding when not being used. Zippers work very well and the loft and materials offered a very comfortable sleep system. There is also a draft tube that runs the length of the heavy duty side zipper.
An odd addition is an oxford “dust cover” that is attached to the foot of the bag. It allows the bag to be rolled up and then cinched down with compression straps. It worked well enough, but I preferred to just use the stuff bag that comes with the bag. With the slick synthetic shell, the bag tended to “pop” out of the dust cover if it was not tight enough and it was difficult to roll it up small.
As with any piece of gear there are trade-offs that must be made to accomplish the intended use and the Temp Control is not without them.
First off, it is not a small sleeping bag that will stuff down making it easy to carry in a pack and it is not meant to be. This is a synthetic fill bag that is intended for car camping or in my case, in a canoe. It is not a piece of gear that would be considered light weight or compact in any way. It is a larger bag and meets the goals of its intended market perfectly.
With a stuff size of 18-inches by 12-inbches, the bag took up a good amount of space in my 70 liter Boundary Pack from SealLine, none of the dry bags I was using were large enough to hold it. Once again I have to mention the “dust cover”, which to be honest made me a bit crazy. Maybe some people would find value in it but as I said, I just used the included stuff bag which was convenient and easy to use.
So, now to the bottom line and it is, I really like this bag.
The Temp Control was never intended to be a light weight bag, it is a piece of gear intended where weight or bulk is not that big of an issue. This is a bag intended for car camping or family camping and I would have no problem taking with me on my next canoe trip, though I will find a dry bag big enough to fit it.
I truly liked the amount of loft that the synthetic fill offered and I will admit, I tend to like synthetic bags because of the heavier loft that is inherent to them. And don’t get me wrong, when I am backpacking or need to conserve space I carry my super light down bag and will continue to do so.
The Temp Control is a great design and it offers users the ability to be comfortable in a wide temperature range making this truly a three season sleep system.
Considering that the list price is $59.95 and that it can be found at various online vendors such as Amazon or even Walmart for under $50, this is a bag that is easy to afford and wonderful to use.
There is no doubt that when I am camping in a style where weight or bulk is not an issue, this is the bag that I will be using. And considering that you can join two bags together, I will be picking up a second bag so my wife and I can be warm and comfortable when we are out.
Wenzel Temp Control Sleep System
- Size: 34″ x 84″
- Stuff Size: 18″ x 12″
- Fill: 4 lbs. Insul-Therm
- Outer Fabric: 210T Polyester rip stop
- Liner: 230T Polyester
- Storage: Stuff sack and tyvek
- Removable middle layer and hood provide freedom to adapt to seasonal temperatures
- Oversized 2-way main zipper for maximum ventilation and ease of use
- Fully unzips to become a blanket
- Two bags can be zipped together to make a Temp Control double-wide bag
- Durable oxford dust wrap with compression straps for easy transport and storage
- Quilt though construction for lasting durability
- Hook and Loop with embroidered Wenzel logo keeps zipper in place.
- Machine washable
Stay up-to-date when new stories are published by subscribing the Outdoor Rec and Adventure Newsletter, just click the button below!