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Backpacker Magazine – March 2008

2008 Three-Season Sleeping Bag Reviews

by: The Backpacker Editors, Photos by Sethhughes.com


*=Eco-Friendly

Sierra Designs Verde 20*
With a soft, fleecy Cocona lining–an antimicrobial fabric made in part with a coconut-husk byproduct–this 20°F mummy is one of the coziest of the new eco-sacks. Recycled content in the Climashield Green insulation and nylon shell fabric round out the Verde's green cred. And we can vouch for its warm cred: The women's version, called the Déjà Vu 20, kept our female tester toasty with its efficient cut. "I slept warm well below freezing because I didn't have to heat up excess length and chest space, and there were no cold spots along the zipper or seams," she said. Only nitpick: The hood bunches up a bit when cinched down to snorkel size. $179; 3 lbs. 2 oz.; 20°F

The North Face Fission
The holy grail of insulation? A synthetic fill that rivals down's compressibility and warmth-to-weight ratio. This bag's new Climashield Neo insulation comes darn close. The 20°F half-zip mummy weighs just a few feathers over 2 pounds, stuffs almost as small as competing down bags, and testers reported zero cold spots on 25°F nights. Neo's secret sauce: It's made of hollow and solid fibers formed into sheets, which mimics the loft and thermal efficiency of down. The contoured hood snugs gently around the face, and a wide zip vent at the foot lets you ventilate in warm weather or penguin-walk short distances around camp. Bummer: The 15-denier ripstop nylon shell is slippery on pads. $239; 2 lbs. 4 oz.; 20°F

Western Mountaineering Apache Super DL
If you're in the market for a one-bag quiver, this is it. Light, warm, and weatherproof, this 15°F mummy can handle everything from chilly shoulder-season conditions to soggy bivies to summer fast-and-light outings. Credit 850-fill down; a narrow, hyper-efficient 59-inch chest girth; and a Dryloft waterproof/breathable cover that kills wind and adds warmth. Caution: Some weight is saved by reducing the amount of down on the bottom, where it gets flattened anyway. That idea works well for back-sleepers, but is less effective for side-sleepers. Size note: Folks taller than 5'8" should opt for the long. $385; 2 lbs.; 15°F



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