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October 2005

Sleeping Bag Review: 4 Down Bags

Sleep warm, carry less with these 20-degree sacks.

©Mitch Mandel

Big Agnes Zirkel

Big guys stretch out: This roomy, inexpensive bag won’t cramp your style.

With Big Agnes’s trademark design–a sleeve for your sleeping pad instead of insulation on the bag’s bottom–the Zirkel manages to deliver the test’s widest cut while still tipping the scales at a very competitive 2 pounds. And there’s barely a tradeoff in warmth. On a night near freezing in the North Cascades, I slept comfortably outside my tent, even with an icy breeze blowing off the nearby snowfields. The spacious cut is best for bigger folks; my compact, 5’8″ frame had lots of wiggle room in the regular. The proprietary nylon shell repels moisture well enough for typical tent condensation. But down quality isn’t as high as the other bags; the 725-fill feathers lost some loft after several months of use. And side sleepers beware: The integrated pad/bag design means the hood doesn’t roll with you.

Price: $229

Sizes: 2 lengths

Weight: 2 lbs. (877) 554-8975; www.bigagnes.com.

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