Editors' Choice 2014: Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed
Forget what you know about sleeping bags. This revolutionary sack throws out the zipper, adds a blanket-like quilt, and increases the comfort exponentially.
Brand: Sierra Designs
Model: Backcountry Bed
After a week in the field, we’re usually dreaming about our beds at home. Not anymore. The Backcountry Bed is the first zipperless sleeping bag we’ve seen that couples the thermal efficiency of a mummy with the comfort of a mattress-and-quilt arrangement. How’s it different? Imagine cutting the top out of a sleeping bag (at waist level), then sewing it back on, just attaching it at the middle.
A 43-inch-long trapezoidal quilt (filled with either high-lofting 800-fill down or budget-friendly 600-fill) is stitched to the bottom of a 20-by-30-inch opening. Result? Amazing comfort range. “I love the options,” says one editor. “I could pull it up tight like my blanket at home on cold nights, or flip it all the way open for ventilation in mild temps.” And an unusual foot vent on the underside (again, zipperless) enhances versatility even more. “I could just kick my feet out to cool off without having to sit up and fiddle with the opening,” says one staffer. Testers worried the system wouldn’t be warm enough, but the quilt tucks into raised, curved sides, sealing in heat: It kept our cold-sleeping editor-in-chief comfortable at the temp rating.
Bonus: No zippers means easy exits. “I can get out of this bag as quickly as I can get out of bed at home,” reports one tester. But you might want to sleep in. 600-fill: $250; 2 lbs. 8 oz.; 30°F and $300; 3 lbs.; 15°F. 800-fill: $350; 2 lbs.; 30°F and $400; 2 lbs. 7 oz.; 15°F; sierradesigns.com