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March 2008 Sleeping Bag Review: Winter Sleeping Bags

Best All-Around
Marmot Lithium
This high-lofting 850-fill down bag packs so small and weighs so little for a 0°F sack, our tester admitted to a moment of fear when packing the Lithium for a trip above timberline in late November. Rest assured, you can trust the Lithium’s rating. It’s magically warm for the packed size, and kept even our resident popsicle happy on frigid nights. The shell is wispy and weather-resistant, yet tough. The full-length zip runs freely, and the generous down-filled draft collar snaps easily around the neck. It also has a muff around the inside of the face opening that seals out drafts. Bottom line: Get toaster warmth without the bulk or weight of a typical winter bag. $429; 2 lbs. 12 oz.; 0°F

Top Ultralight
Exped Swan
Our tester had problems mustering field notes here: He couldn’t stay awake once he crawled inside this super-plush, 800-fill mummy. High notes: Enveloping hood with cozy face ruff. Pertex Endurance cover with welded baffle construction for near-total rainproofing. Plus-sized dimensions for extra winter layers. Low notes: Less down underneath saves weight, but can be chilly for rollers. $300; 2 lbs. 8 oz.; 0°F

Best Buy
Kelty Light Year 0°
Been on the fence about adding a winter bag to your gear closet? End the debate with this sweet deal. "It’s so warm and poofy I can’t believe this is a 650-fill down bag," one tester commented after several chilly nights in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness. And there’s nothing cheap about the construction: The tight-weave shell fabric didn’t leak a feather, it repels moderate condensation just fine, and the hood closed down without bunching or gaps, thanks to a muff around the face perimeter. The foot has a zip-vent for warmer conditions. Big-guy warning: The cut is a little tight around the shoulders. Seal the deal: It comes with an ultralight compression sack. $240; 3 lbs. 11 oz.; 0°F

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