Issue #012 Review

Rapha Explore down sleeping bag in review

A starry sky instead of a 5-star hotel! Whether it’s a micro-adventure under the stars or a multi-day tour through the outback, you need a reliable sleeping bag if you want to be able to sleep outdoors once the sun’s gone down. Rapha Explore down sleeping bag in review:

The 319 g (size M/L) light down bag from Rapha is an interesting option. It packs to a diminutive 12 x 20 cm allowing it to be stashed away in most mid-sized saddle or bar bags. During out testing, we simply rolled it up with our sleeping mat and in turn always had easy and immediate access to our “bedroom” once we’d found a place for the night. When it comes to high-performance materials, mother nature often knows what’s best and down is no exception. Warm and light is as good for the birds as it is for bikepackers. The lower part of the Rapha sleeping bag is filled with traceable and responsibly sourced 850 fill-power down. The upper part of the bag is just a nylon shell. This is designed to be used together with the Rapha Explore down jacket as a complete system, which we can recommend at nighttime temperatures above 13 °C. Those sensitive to the cold should wear additional layers or stick to temperatures above 18 °C.

The dream team: The Explore jacket and sleeping bag are designed to work together as a modular and versatile system
The two-sided zips can be done up from the inside, but only come halfway up the bag. Full-length zips and the option to use the sleeping bag as a blanket as well would be great!
Small, light and warm enough for summer nights under the stars

Bikepacking is all about taking as few individual items as possible with which you can achieve the most versatile functionality. While the sleeping bag only reaches its full potential when paired with the Rapha Explore down jacket, both items together fulfil a whole range of functions. While the jacket works on the bike during descents or when it gets cold as an additional layer, at night it becomes a part of the sleep system. That provides a lot of freedom of movement for your upper body, but your legs quickly feel constricted inside the bag. With a width of around 60 cm around the knees, the amount of room you have to move is distinctly average. Full-length zips would offer a little more manoeuvrability and also allow the bag to be used as a blanket. However, the half-length zip does allow the bottom of the sleeping bag to be opened completely, letting you warm yourself up while standing during a break, warm up your feet by the campfire, or regulate your temperature during the night.

The Rapha Explore down sleeping bag is a convincing option thanks to its low weight and small pack size. If you want to sleep under the stars during balmy nights and already own a down jacket, you’ll find this sleeping bag a useful option. Minimalist nature lovers will get their money’s worth here! However, when the temperature falls below 13 °C, or if you don’t have a suitable jacket in your collection yet, this sleeping bag will be of limited use for your next adventure.


  • small pack size
  • low weight
  • modular concept


  • only for warmer nights
  • zip doesn’t open the full length of the bag
  • modular system requires a jacket to work properly

Tester Ben
Duration 4 months

Price € 290
Weight 319 g (size M/L)
More info

This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #012

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