Problem: You need a winter bag for occasional cold-weather overnights, but you won’t carry it far, so you don’t want to splurge on an ultralight model. Solution: This affordable synthetic sack. It’s heavier and bulkier than premium 0°F down bags, but it kept our tester just as warm at a fraction of the cost. “The insulation is nice and even throughout,” says a tester who slept well at 10°F while ski-touring in Washington’s Wenatchee National Forest. Credit the Rteq insulation (a proprietary polyester blend), which maintained its loft even along Oregon’s Coast Trail, with its insulation-killing humidity at beach campsites. (The fill also regained full loft after laundering.) Offset baffles enhance warmth as well; they prevent cold spots by staggering the stitching on the outer and inner shell.
A pillow sleeve (built into the bag’s exterior) holds a stuffed jacket under the hood, and the three-quarter-length zipper allows easy venting and also boosts warmth in the footbox.
Downsides? Dimensions are trim—even slender gals felt a bit cramped inside—and at nearly five pounds, it’s best for car camping, river trips, or packing in on a sled.