Brand: Brooks-Range Mountaineering Equipment
Model: Cloak 45
[best women’s bag]
“Hands down the loftiest 15°F bag I’ve ever used,” declared our tester after using the Xenon on a September hike in Colorado’s Flat Tops Wilderness, where her companion grumbled, “It practically fills the tent.” Credit the 850-fill goose down—and lots of it: Marmot crams 20 to 25 percent more down into this women’s model than a comparably rated men’s bag (because many women sleep colder than guys). Much of that extra insulation gets loaded into horizontal baffles at the core and foot, which helps this bag deliver on its 15°F promise: On a 20°F night camped on alpine tundra, our tester never even felt the chill. The comfort-cut mummy is wide through the shoulders and hips (our curviest testers called it “efficient but unrestrictive”), yet tapers sharply at the foot to reduce dead air space around cold-prone toes.
A plump draft tube eliminates cold spots along the full-length zipper, and a superfat draft collar “feels cozy and snug,” reports one tester. The sculpted hood (shaped with six baffles) seals out drafts, and adjustment is simple: A single pull cord tightens both hood and collar (some users liked the ease of use, others wished for the ability to fine tune). The water-repellent Pertex Microlight shell and lining fabric feels silky but resists snags—dragging it over alpine grasses didn’t send feathers flying. Bottom line: The Xenon strikes a good balance between weight, warmth, and durability. Size check: Women taller than 5’6” won’t fit. (For more women-specific gear, turn to page 142.) $399; 2 lbs. 9 oz.; 15°F; marmot.com
The Cloak Sleeping Bag is designed as a minimalist, lightweight sleeping system that can be partnered with any sleeping pad. Much like a down quilt for use in the backcountry, the Cloak uses only the top half of the sleeping bag, eliminating the need for zippers. The bottom portion has a short pocket to keep it attached to a sleeping pad. The Cloak offers a superior weight-to-warmth ratio with the use of 850 fill down that has been treated with DownTek water-resistant, anti-bacterial technology. The shell is constructed with lightweight but durable 15d Nylon DWR.