|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – October 2008
From ultra-warm to ultralight, here are the year's best-performing bags in every category.
Big Agnes Nugget 45
Cross a waterproof/breathable bivy sack with an ultralight synthetic summer bag and you get the Nugget. "Water beaded off the coated ripstop nylon so well I wish Big Agnes made jackets out of it," said one tester after a dew-soaked night under a tarp. Even when we subjected it to hurricane conditions–garden hose, full blast–water never penetrated, because the bag's seams are taped. A rigid, 1.5-inch-wide storm flap protects the zipper from moisture, and the hood cinches down to protect your face (you could forgo a tarp or tent in moderately soggy conditions, but your nose would get wet if you tried to sleep in a downpour). With a full side zip, the bag ventilates well on balmy nights. We like the roomy interior for roll-around comfort, but the temperature rating is a few degrees optimistic. Bonus: The synthetic fill is made from 50 percent recycled material, and the bag comes with a waterproof roll-top stuffsack. As with all Big Agnes bags, there's an integrated pad sleeve–not insulation–on the bottom, which makes it better suited to back sleepers than to side sleepers. The bag works best with a 72-inch rectangular mat (not included). Reader Service #107
> Sizes 72"/78"
> Rating 45°F
> Weight 2 lbs. 3 oz.
> Price $190
> Info bigagnes.com
Warmer: The Sierra Designs Trade Wind 15 is true to its three-season temperature rating, has a waterproof DriZone shell (though seams aren't taped), and is stuffed with compressible 600-fill down insulation. Bottom line: The price-to-performance ratio is hard to beat. $239; 15°F; 3 lbs.; sierradesigns.com. Reader Service #108