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Backpacker Magazine – March 2008

2008 Three-Season Sleeping Bag Reviews

by: The Backpacker Editors, Photos by


Big Agnes Skinny Fish 20*
This roomy, semi-rectangular bag is made almost entirely of recycled materials, right down to the stuff sack and its drawstring. Only the thread and zipper are virgin polyester. The Climashield HL Green synthetic insulation kept our tester plenty warm on sub-freezing nights in Utah's La Sal Mountains. A free-hanging yoke-style collar keeps warm air in and breezes out. Like all Big Agnes bags, it has a sleeve on the bottom designed to fit a 20x72-inch rectangular pad. Bummer: Despite its name, the Skinny Fish is bulkier and heavier than comparably rated synthetics. We also didn't like the way the hood cinches down into a horizontal slit rather than a round face opening. $180; 4 lbs.; 20°F

Exped Woodpecker
"Toasty right down to its 20°F rating," our tester noted after several late-fall nights sleeping out at 9,000 feet. He credits the Woodpecker's 750-fill down, distributed thickly on top and lighter underneath, and he also praised the shell's weatherproofing: "After a light two-hour rain, all I had to do was shake the drops off and go back to sleep." The water-resistant nylon cover is augmented by waterproof/breathable fabric at the hood and foot, which protects the areas where tent condensation accumulates. Ample width allows roll-around room, and the hood opens flat for venting and sprawling. A smart internal chest pocket is wide but not deep, so you don't have to dig for stuff. $280; 2 lbs. 3 oz.; 20°F

Kelty Foraker 15
This 15°F down bag is a bit heavier than the competition, but the extra ounces are easily justified. First, it's overstuffed with 750-fill feathers, which kept even our cold-sleeping tester warm in frosty treeline camps in Colorado. Second, durability is excellent, thanks to a tough, DWR-treated underside fabric that wards off ground moisture. Condensation-resistance is also bolstered by waterproof/breathable fabric at the foot and hood. Third, the cut is not coffin-tight. Add a full draft collar and ground-level side seams to minimize cold spots, and you get a go-anywhere sack that packs a lot of warmth. Gravy: It comes with a siliconized nylon compression sack. $300; 2 lbs. 13 oz.; 15°F

Lafuma Pro 950
On an October trip in Idaho's Sawtooths, this 15°F, 750-fill down mummy impressed our tester with its weatherproofing and warmth during a wet snowstorm. "By morning there was a lot of condensation under my tarp," he commented, "and the bag's water-resistant shell got soaked on top, but the loft wasn't affected. In temps in the 20s I was very warm in just a single top and bottom layer." Testers also liked the comfortable cut of the bag and the clean-closing hood. Bottom line: It's a great price for a light, warm, high-performance bag. $280; 2 lbs. 2 oz.; 15°F

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