Gear Guide 2009: The North Face Nova Sleeping Bag Review

A high-performance winter bag for the thrifty shopper.

Winter Bargain

A $429 bargain? Believe it. The Nova’s high-performance features put it in a class with more expensive bags. You get lofty 800-fill down, a waterproof/breathable HyVent shell, and sections of synthetic Climashield Prism fill on the underside that add crush-resistant padding for comfort and better cold-weather insulation.

The 62-inch shoulder girth is big-guy roomy, and the external welded stash pocket is waterproof, so your iPod won’t get fried. The Nova isn’t made for a soaking–the shell is sewn-through, not welded or sealed like some waterproof bags–but it easily sheds frost and dripping condensation. Bummer: After gusty winter bivies in Capitol Reef National Park, one tester said, “I wish the hood closed more tightly around my cheeks.” $429; 3 lbs. 5 oz.; 0°F

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