Tempted by a two-pound bag, but don’t want to sacrifice comfort details? A superlight shell, 800-fill down, and features like a full-length zipper (which allows maximum ventilation for summer use) help the 25°F Neutrino achieve a rare double: outstanding warmth-to-weight and luxe comfort.
During a spring hike in Colorado’s Sarvis Creek Wilderness, at 10,000 feet, one tester stayed plenty warm—even her feet, without socks—when a hard frost encrusted her tent and temps dipped into the 20s. Thanks to high-lofting down and a Pertex Quantum shell, which is weather-resistant yet so light it doesn’t compress the feathers, the Neutrino puffs up to nine inches thick at the chest. Insulation is enhanced by a comfortably efficient mummy cut (available in regular and women’s versions), plus a fat draft tube and adjustable collar that seal in heat.
When our cold-sleeping tester cinched the collar close to her neck, she could toss and turn without admitting bursts of icy air. As befits a bag this light (and pricy), the Neutrino packs down to soccer-ball size in the included compression sack. Downside? Hikers who push the coldest edges of spring and fall will want a touch more warmth. If that’s you, get another 10 degrees from MontBell’s UL Spiral Down Hugger #1 (Editors’ Choice Award 2009; $299; 2 lbs.; 15°F; montbell.com). $310; 2 lbs.; 25°F; rab.uk.com
Don’t camp in subfreezing temps? The Eureka! Riner 40°F uses inexpensive synthetic fill, yet it kept our tester warm on a Minnesota hike with a low of 33°F. And it’s compact for the price class (about watermelon size). $90; 2 lbs. 8 oz.; 40°F; eurekatent.com