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 – March 2008

2008 Sleeping Bag Review: Summer Sleeping Bags

by: The Backpacker Editors, Photos by

Sierra Designs Nitro 30
Sierra Designs Nitro 30
Rab Quantum Top Bag AR
Rab Quantum Top Bag AR
Montbell Super Stretch Burrow #4
Montbell Super Stretch Burrow #4
MontBell U.L. Super Stretch Down Hugger #2, Courtesy photo
MontBell U.L. Super Stretch Down Hugger #2, Courtesy photo
L.L.Bean Katahdin Climashield Semi-Rectangular 40 degree
L.L.Bean Katahdin Climashield Semi-Rectangular 40 degree


Best All-Around
Sierra Designs Nitro 30
Here's a rare find: a premium down bag that's rated 30°F, costs less than $300, and kept our tester warm below its temperature rating. All that, and it weighs well under 2 pounds, thanks to a half-zip and light but lofty 800-fill down. The Nitro (Spark 30 is the women's version) kept our tester toasty on a fall trek in Idaho's Sawtooths, when lows dipped into the high 20s and chilly gusts snuck under his tent's fly. The torso region atop the half-zip bag has stretch baffles that eliminate dead space, yet stretch when you stretch. A zip in the footbox allows venting on mild nights. Our only minor complaint was the hood, which bunched a little around the face when it was closed down to blowhole size. $259; 1 lb. 10 oz.; 30°F

Top Ultralight
Rab Quantum Top Bag AR
Making premium down bags lighter is a lesson in diminishing returns. Start with 850-fill down and Pertex Quantum water-resistant shell fabric, as this bag does, and the only way you can cut weight is to make it smaller, colder, or simpler. The Top Bag AR does all three, and we're not complaining. For starters, there's no zipper, no draft collar, and no down under the torso (there's a sleeve for a 20-inch-wide mattress). The cut is efficient and the simple, shallow hood closes with a drawstring. Result? "It packs smaller than a grapefruit and kept me warm at 40°F," says our tester, who found the 32°F temp rating slightly optimistic. If you're ruthless about weight–we're talking to you, adventure racers–this bag is a great deal. Note: The one size is best for folks 5'9" or shorter. $200; 1 lb. 2 oz.; 32°F

Most Versatile
Exped Wallcreeper
Think of this 750-fill down sack as a floor-length, hooded vest. It has a full-length front zipper, handwarmer pockets, a snug parka-like collar, and zip armholes that let you wear the bag while cooking or reading. "On some warm-weather trips, it's all I take other than shorts and a T-shirt," remarked our tester, who said the 35°F temp rating is right on. The hood is roomy enough to fit a helmet for climbing bivies, yet it adjusts down with a bungee cord to fit pinheads. The drawstring foot opens wide enough so you can lace your boots without leaving the bag, or you can cinch it high to create a thigh-length jacket for walking around. Size tip: If you're taller than 5'7", buy a long. $230; 2 lbs.; 35°F

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


Jul 08, 2009

"The Nitro (Spark 30 is the women's version) kept our tester toasty on a fall trek in Idaho's Sawtooths, when lows dipped into the high 20s and chilly gusts snuck under his tent's fly."

Dude... what summers do you deal with???

Aug 11, 2008

Can one take a Sierra two person tent with
collapsing poles as part of carry on luggage
for air travel? Can't find the answer anywhere.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Anybody going to watch Bear Grylls tonight?
Posted On: Jul 29, 2014
Submitted By: desert dweller
Quebec Run Wild Area BAckpack -TR
Posted On: Jul 29, 2014
Submitted By: vdeal

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