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Backpacker Magazine – October 2008
From ultra-warm to ultralight, here are the year's best-performing bags in every category.
REI Polar Pod 20
How good a deal is the Polar Pod? One tester went out and bought one after a night under the stars in Moab. "It kept me warm when the water in my Nalgene froze," she said. And for just $79, you get features that match the warmth: a no-snag zipper, full-length draft tube, cinchable hood, pillow sleeve, and an internal zippered pocket for a watch or iPod. The polyester fill and ripstop nylon shell were plenty durable in testing, prompting one tester to say, "This bag is perfect for summer camps and college outdoor programs." The downside: It's a tad heavy and bulky (without a compression sack it packs down to the size of a bear canister), and one 5'3'' tester wished for a smaller size (fit is slightly roomier than average). Note: In early 2009, REI is revamping their entire bag line, so grab this deal while it lasts. Reader Service #103
> Sizes men's 74"/80"/86"
> Rating 20°F
> Weight 3 lbs. 8 oz.
> Price $79
> Info rei.com
Lighter: The North Face Cat's Meow earned our Editors' Choice Gold Award in 2006, and the synthetic-fill sack continues to set the bar for combining high performance with affordability. $149; 20°F; 2 lbs. 10 oz.; thenorthface.com. Reader Service #104