Sleeping Bag Review: 4 Bags, 1 Pad
A good night’s sleep is not as elusive as it seems—the key is a good sleeping bag. We review a few new and notable offerings from Sierra Designs, Selk'bag, Therm-a-Rest, NEMO and Klymit.
Sleeping in the backcountry: It’s a tricky thing. You’re far removed from the comfort of your bed at home, with its pillow-top mattress and warm down comforter. Instead, you’re out in the elements, often with just a few thin layers of nylon tent material between you and the wild woods, trying to catch your ZZZs in a constricting sack just a few inches from the cold, hard ground. But it’s what we happily accept to escape, for even just a few days. But a good night’s sleep is not as elusive as it seems—the key is a good sleeping bag. Here are a few new and notable offerings.
Editor's choice: Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed
No more cramping and confinement in a tight, zippered bag. Sierra Designs has taken innovation to the next level with the Backcountry Bed. Now the next-best thing to your bed at home, this unique bag design employs a large top opening with an attached comforter-like covering, making it perfect for side and stomach sleepers, as well as those who toss in their sleep. The comforter attachment also allows for better temp regulation as conditions warrant. And they filled it (600- or 800-fill) with DriDown for better loft and excellent water repellency. $300–$400
Score: 4.6/5 Bonus Points: Being awesome
Walkabout: Selk'bag Patagon
This wearable sleeping bag lets you zip yourself up and walk around camp on cold mornings or windy nights. You will feel like an abominable snowman: bulky but warm. The Selk grants full mobility of legs and arms, while hand closures, leg vents, a front zipper and removable booties regulate temperature. It’s heavy for a synthetic bag, but doubling as your warmest layer means it could move beyond car camping. $259
SCORE: 3.5/5 Bonus Points: Velcro straps let you roll up the sleeves.
For women: Therm-a-Rest Mira
If you put a premium on weight and space, this feather-light and roomy women’s down bag may be what you’re looking for. A connector band secures the bag to your mat—very handy on sloping ground. Most impressive is the bag’s ability to let you curl your knees up without sacrificing warmth; plus, a right-sized hood and snag-free zipper are also nice features. At just more than a pound, this ultralight bag makes for a solid 3-season choice. $390
SCORE: 4.5/5 Bonus Points: Perfectly placed exterior stash pocket.
Side-sleeper: NEMO Rhythm
At last, side sleepers rejoice! The unique Spoon Shape of this Primaloft synthetic bag gives you the freedom to bend and turn without getting twisted up as in narrower bags. It features an extra flap of insulated material around the base of the hood that lets you tuck in around the neck—just like with your blanket at home. The weight is good for a 3-season bag; the only drawback (very minor) is its oversized, non-compressible stuff sack. $220
SCORE: 4.1/5 Bonus Points: It’s got a pillow pocket!
Padded comfort: Klymit Inertia O Zone Pad
Don't be fooled by its appearance. This innovative sleeping pad packs both comfort and warmth in a ridiculously small and light package (only 12 ounces!). The body-mapped design supports all the important parts—even when side sleeping—while the space pockets let your bag retain more of its loft and warmth. Plus it has a pillow! $100
SCORE: 4.6/5 Bonus Points: Tiny packed size!