Kit review: Vango Venom 400 sleeping bag
Vango state that the Venom 400 sleeping bag is lightweight (less than 1kg) but still keeps you warm between outer limits of -3C to 20C thanks to the “quality down (goose) fill”. For the best comfort and warmth for the average person the temperature range is 3°C / -2°C / -18°C.
It is rated as a three-season bag, that is for spring, summer, autumn and early winter use. However, it’s worth noting that it depends on where you are camping, what time of year it is and the type of person you are.
Features of the Vango Venom 400 sleeping bag:
- Polair® RSN shell and lining (30 denier mini-ripstop nylon which is lightweight but durable and soft to the touch, as well as being breathable)
- Water-resistant finish to keep condensation on the outside of the shell and the insulation dry
- Box wall construction (allows the down to loft up to its full potential)
- Insulation: 90/10 600+ fill grey goose down
- 3D hood with multi-cord closure that can be easily tailored to fit the head (two cords have different thicknesses so you can feel for them at night)
- Adjustable shoulder baffle to stop heat escaping from the top of the bag when moving around at night
- Half-length zip to reduce weight while still offering ventilation and easy access to the bag
- Two-Way Auto-Lock Zip: This versatile two-way zip can be used to seal in warmth or provide ventilation and can be used from inside the bag.
- The auto-lock feature prevents the bag from opening when moving around during the night
- Reflective tab on zip cover aids finding and opening the bag at night
- Zip guard with anti-catch piping helps to prevent the zip from snagging when the bag is opened or closed
- Stuffsack: Roll top dry bag
- Weight: 950g (1kg with stuffsack).
Vango’s box wall construction: Down is contained in compartments within the bag, which are known as baffles. The Vango box-shaped baffles allow down to loft up to its full potential but the down is prevented from moving around the bag so an even coverage of insulation is maintained from head to toe.
On test: Vango Venom 400 sleeping bag
I am always in search of a lightweight but warm sleeping bag. I get cold, especially at night while camping or sleeping in the campervan, and so I need a bag to offer good levels of warmth.
At the same time, I don’t want to be lugging around a large, heavy weight bag in my rucksack.
The Vango Venom 400 sleeping bag strikes an excellent balance. It really does pack down into a small size and this feels light at 1kg with the stuffsack. The stuffsack also allows you to make the bag as small as possible when carrying it thanks to the roll down top. This is a useful feature and I wish more stuffsacks were designed like this.
When the sleeping bag is pulled out of the stuff sack it feels immediately big and puffy. The fabric on the outside and inner is light and silky and lovely on the skin.
There is plenty of room in the bag. Sometimes size is sacrificed for weight but not in this case. It’s a mummy shape so it is wider at the shoulder area and narrower at the feet.
Access is made easier thanks to a half zip. I think this is a good compromise between a full zip and no zip at all. Many brands keep the weight of their bags down by taking away a zip, but I know that many people like a zip for helping them to get in and out of the sleeping bag.
A zip also allows you to adjust the ventilation as you sleep. The two-way zip is useful, I guess, although I am not sure why. I think I would zip up or zip down rather than zipping from the bottom. Also, when you need to reconnect the zip into the two-way zippers at the bottom of the zip (are you still with me?) it is a little tricky. The zip end has to fit into two zip cases and that isn’t an easy process.
The bag is really comfy to sleep in. It feels soft and smooth around you and super warm. While testing the bag it was around 2C and I found I was perfectly cosy all night.
The hood is a nice fit and fairly easy to adjust. I think the cords are a little over-complicated but they are not hard to fathom. I am not sure that the different cord thicknesses are actually required.
The bag has a shoulder baffle to keep the warmth in. This isn’t something I have come across before but since I stayed warm all night it could be that this helped. Extra features are always welcomed so long as they do not add cost and weight.
I didn’t sweat so I have no idea if the bag is breathable but there was some condensation to deal with and I found that it didn’t make the down wet, so that is very good.
The bag has lots of features, although some that I don’t really think are necessary, such as the two-way zip and the reflective details. But for for the price, the bag adds up to a good buy. It is lightweight and warm.
The Vango Venom 400 sleeping bag is priced at £184 at Outdoor World Direct.
PS. If you have the space and the inclination, a camping cot can be paired with any sleeping bag to make a warmer and more comfortable night’s sleep.