Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Just Plain Dangerous - Fjallraven Wind Sack 3 Emergency Shelter FAILURE ...

This is the Fjallraven Wind Sack 3 and this is my Agenda Free Review of this Emergency Shelter.  It's a complete failure in so many ways and I can't help but think that the Marketing Arm of Fjallraven is to blame.

Verdict - Don't put your life into the hands of this product.

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What a let down - Fjallraven Wind Sack Emergency Shelter - Agenda Free Review

What it is : This is a Lightweight emergency shelter, known as the Wind Sack and it was designed (according to the company) to keep 3 individuals out of the wind, snow and rain.

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Versions : 1 person and 3 person : There was a 2 person version in the past but I believe it has been discontinued and is no longer listed on the Fjallraven web site.

Materials : 100% polyamide 40D TripleRip Sil/Sil 3000 mm

100% polyamide

Dimensions : 7.5 x 7.5 x 4”

Weight : 1lb 6oz

Price : $150

Experiences : I have tested this product extensively and I have done so in numerous adventures here on the channel.

I’ve used this in the rain, in the wind, in the cold and in the snow and unfortunately this is not a well throughout product and in fact, I question whether anyone at Fjallraven has actually taken this product out into the wild to test it.

If they had done so, then this would be a much different product.

It’s not to say that it is the worst survival product ever but it has problems so big and it will only work in very specific situations which is very unfortunate because one can dictate terms in an emergency situation. Because of that a survival emergency product needs to be easily and quickly adaptable so that it can offer protection from the elements…all elements.

That is not this product.

The reason I bought this :

If you go by the marketing and the talking points that Fjallraven makes, this sounds like a very functional emergency shelter but after using it I can tell you that isn’t the case. Many of the points are flat out incorrect.

Before I touch upon those, I should mention that I am an advocate for emergency shelters; you have to be ready and prepared for the conditions to change and that’s because they do! If you are out hiking and a thunderstorm rolls through and it’s 40F, you need protection. If you are on the trail and can’t make it back to your vehicle for whatever reason, an emergency shelter could be the difference between life and death.

If you are mountaineering above the tree line and a snow squall develops you need immediate protection.

These are just a few situations where an emergency shelter would be needed; For years I have carried with me an ultralight tarp and when I came across this product from Fjallraven, I wanted to see if it could replace the tarp that I normally bring with me.

Can it?

No, not even close.

Addressing Company Claims and Features :

Emergency shelter for up to three persons. Only in a pinch can this be used by 3 people and only in a specific situation. Let’s say you are hiking with 2 other people and you need to get out of the elements for a few minutes, you can take the wind sack and throw it over each other. Once inside, you all will be extremely close to each other and instantly condensation will begin to form on the walls. 3 persons in a pinch for a short period of time is logical. 3 persons in a longer duration event would not be as there is simply not enough space.

Protects against wind, snow and rain. The product does a great job of blocking wind. It does a great job of block snow. It does a terrible job at blocking rain. In fact, it will leak substantially in anything other than a light mist. Moisture will make its way through the vents at the top even when they are closed and the zippers are covered.

Three individual zippers for ventilation and as openings for heads. Yes there are 3 vents, how useful they are depends on how the product is being used and the conditions that it is being used in.

Lightweight wind sack that provides fast shelter from rain, snow and wind. Gives portable shelter from stormy weather, especially if the snow depth is minimal and digging down is not possible. A must when winter touring, but also in summer when you need shelter during meal and rest breaks. Made from lightweight, strong 40D TripleRip nylon. Its colour is UN Blue which is highly visible in the terrain, all year round, and it has reflectors on both sides. A safety carabiner attaches the wind sack to the user to prevent it from blowing away in strong winds. Three separate zippers let in fresh air and can be used as openings for heads. Room for three people. Packs into itself.

This product is not one that I would recommend and to start with the review, let's focus on those reasons. These are the cons for this product.

Review Cons :

First big problem, it isn’t waterproof so it can’t be used in the rain or in wet snow events.

Second big problem, condensation is Atrocious with one person inside of it; I can’t even imagine what it would be like with 3. With just one person inside of this, with all 3 vents open and a gap at the ground with the wind blowing, you will have condensation running down the walls in no time.

If you simply pull this over your head and use it as a sack, you better put your rain gear on as well as it will soak you.

If setting this up as a shelter, setting it up so you can stand inside of it and stay away from the walls, you may need your rain gear! If it is above freezing, moisture will form on the walls and will rain down on you in windy situations. If below freezing, all of that moisture will freeze on the walls.

Use : I would only recommend using this product as a shelter; it features numerous tie off points so you can string it up and that is the only way to use it for long duration events. Also, if being used for a long duration event, 2 people is max as far as capacity goes. Any more than that and each user would be coming into full contact with each other and also the walls of the product and that isn’t recommended due to the condensation issues. No one will be even remotely comfortable.

Not enough Tie off Points : This product was designed to be used in numerous ways and because of that there are numerous tie off points; unfortunately there needs to be more and the existing ones need to be placed in better locations. As it stands, the product is difficult to setup in a way so that you aren’t put into a dangerous situation. Condensation is terrible even with excellent ventilation and if you don’t come up with ways to keep the fabric off you, you will be soaked in no time.

For my use, I have had to create my own anchor points and that has been the only way I could use this product safely.

When using the product as a shelter, it is a real pain to get into it and out of it.

Vents : the top vents aren’t as useful as they should be; if it is being used as a shelter, the storm flap on the outside covers the zippers and limits airflow….big time!

If using the product as a sack the vents are certainly more open but won’t stop rain from coming inside.

In warm conditions this product is brutal to use. Hot, humid, blocks wind and even with the vents open and the bottom off of the ground….Stifling.

Really expensive : If this product was designed differently, if it was a good emergency shelter I would say that $150 would be a fair price but as it stands right now, it’s insanely overpriced for what it does and what it offers the users.

Review Pros :

Easy to deploy when being used in a short duration event; this is what I call the body bag. In other words, you unfold the product and pull it over your head.

Can be used as a tarp.

Can be used as a shelter.

Overall build quality is top notch.

Top notch materials -

Extremely strong - I used this in a shelter setup in sustained winds of over 40mph and it held up with no problems. Even with my makeshift anchor points, I never felt like it was going to come apart.

The sil nylon does stretch and that’s a good thing. If setting this up as a shelter, you have some Leeway as the material will stretch so you can more easily get the setup that you want. Also, the stretch of the material allows for it to handle strong winds with easy; it can stretch and adapt to the wind - materials that don’t do this can rip and tear as they have no give and take in windy conditions.

Fairly lightweight for the size of the shelter

Color is very visible in virtually all conditions. Forest, Desert, Snow, and so on.

Product is 100% windproof

The wind sack holds in a fair amount of heat - I recorded a 10 degree difference between outside and inside.

Folds up rather easily and is quick to store.

Summary :

The product is called the Wind Sack and that is really what it is; it is a product that blocks the wind and that should be its selling point.

After reading over the marketing BS from the company and testing this out, I am very frustrated. Frustrated with Fjallraven and with this product. It has so much promise but yet falls so incredibly short. I don’t regret buying this as I am glad to show you all how to use and how not to but as an emergency shelter this has so many problems……problems that could literally get you killed.

That really, really angers me; Fjallraven, are you all taking the products that you are making out into the field? Are you all actually testing these out? I don’t think so, otherwise this would be a very different product.

It’s not waterproof….this fact alone blows my mind.

Then the condensation…..

Fjallraven is going to kill someone or potentially a group of people.

The company claims year round use……that’s complete nonsense. In the summer, pull this thing over your head in a rainstorm. You will be soaked in sweat, soaked in condensation and the d*mn thing will leak.

One point to make here; it really feels like this isn’t being marketed correctly; maybe the marketing department at Fjallraven is involved and it is them who is saying to list it as waterproof, year round use and so on.

I don’t know.

This is a short duration, dry snow and wind protection product and that’s it. You get this out, you pull it over your head and get out of the wind or dry snow so you can look at your map and then you put it up and continue on.

Fjallraven : The marketing for a product is so important; say what it is and stop trying to sell it. Drop all of the falsities that have been added on and tell your customers what this really is and how to use it.

Over the years I have spoken very highly of Fjallraven; I love their pants, jackets, tents, backpacks…..but I don’t love everything that they make and do. I have had issues with numerous products and this is another one that really falls short. That’s the wrong way to put it as it is worse than that; it’s dangerous! There is a time and a place for this product but it is extremely limited and I wish that the company would have been more honest and accurate with their statements.


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