2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – October 2010

Gear Review: Deuter Dream Lite 500 & Sea to Summit's Reactor Thermolite Sleeping Bag

A 40° mummy that disappears inside a pack.

by: Kelly Bastone

Deuter Dream Lite 500 (Courtesy Photo)
Deuter Dream Lite 500 (Courtesy Photo)

Ultralight Bargain
Pair it with the Exped SIM Lite 2.5 Short sleeping pad for a $138 ultralight sleep system.
Everything about this bag is scant: its weight, packed size, and price. Even without a compression sack, this 40°F mummy squishes down smaller than a one-liter water bottle, so it disappears inside a pack. It’s stuffed with Polydown, a short-staple polyester fiber. (Short-staple insulation has filaments that are cut into small pieces to make it more compressible.) For one cold-sleeping tester, the thin blanket of insulation proved sufficient for summer nights down to 50°F in the high desert of Colorado National Monument.

A cinchable hood and zipper draft guard boost warmth when temps dip into the 40s. When the mercury rose, the full-length zipper offered head-to-toe venting. Our broad-shouldered, 5’11” tester found the bag’s dimensions to be “trim but comfortable.” The Dream Lite also proved useful for winter hut-tripping, when it kept testers warm in drafty, wood-heated yurts and cabins. Downside: The insulation and fabric (nylon tactel taffeta for the lining, and water-resistant ripstop nylon for the shell) delivered below-average breathability when humidity was high: Testers felt clammy unless the bag was unzipped at least partially. $79; 1 lb. 2 oz.; 40°F;

For extremely warm temps (around 70°F and above), skip the bag and go with a liner like Sea to Summit’s Reactor Thermolite. It’s made of stretchy Thermolite that breathes and wicks well, and can also be used to add more insulation to a winter system (about 10°F, says our tester). $55; 9 oz.;

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


Jun 20, 2012

I own this bag and I would say Jeff's comment is pretty accurate. The lowest temp I would use this at is 55-60 degrees.

Sep 25, 2011

The Deuter is a nice and light summer bag but weighs 21 ounces on my scale.

Eric Nelson
Nov 23, 2010

For a warm summer night (65 to 75 degrees) I prefer a silk liner. It adds 10 degrees, too, but is half the weight of the Reactor and packs to about 3" X 5". I use it for all my backpacking since it keeps my summer through winter bags a bit cleaner and it's silky soft.

Oct 19, 2010

I have the Deuter model mentioned above, and have loved it during warm summer nights. I've used it down to about 55 degrees. A liner and long johns will let you use it down to maybe 50 degrees. Any colder than that and you'll be shiverin!


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Falling in the backcountry
Posted On: Aug 20, 2014
Submitted By: Grizzly James
The Political Arena
How ISIS got rich
Posted On: Aug 20, 2014
Submitted By: Ben2World

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions