Brand: L.L. Bean
Model: Down Sleeping Bag Semi-Rectangular
“The best night of sleep I’ve ever had in the backcountry,” says our deputy editor, who couldn’t believe so much comfort could come in such a small package. He’s never had a good night’s rest in a traditional mummy bag, which enforces a straight-leg position that hog-ties knee-huggers, side-sleepers, and other restless bodies (about 50 percent of the population).
But the down-filled Nocturne uses an innovative hourglass design (NEMO calls it the “Spoon”) that’s tapered at the waist and feet—making it lighter than comparable rectangular bags, but wider at the knees than conventional mummies. “The ability to roll over and slide my legs up inside the bag gave me unfettered, home-like comfort,” our gear editor reports after a week in Tasmania. But shape is only one innovation. At the neck, an extra flap of insulation called the “blanket fold” acts like a mini down comforter: Unfold it outside of the bag for more neck venting, or pull it inside for a cozy seal. A pillow pocket inside the base of the hood is perfectly positioned to stuff a down jacket.
Waterproof/breathable fabric on the footbox repels tent condensation, and the bag is stuffed with water-repellent, 700-fill DownTek. Individual feathers are treated to resist moisture, giving it an extra layer of insurance in wet weather. From the arid canyons of Zion National Park to the soggy lakeshores along Maine’s Appalachian Trail, the Nocturne’s vertical baffles provided even warmth right down to the bag’s 30°F rating. Even our coldest-bodied camper called the Nocturne’s comforts “pioneering.” Says one tester, “If you crave more space than a mummy provides, this is your ticket to dreamland.” Couples bonus: the Nocturnes can be zipped together. Nocturne 15: $400; 2 lbs. 11 oz.; 15°F. Nocturne 30: $350; 2 lbs.; 30°F; nemosleepingbags.comThis bag is available in both regular and long lengths.
Down Bags have been changed to Duck Down for 2013 and will feature Downtek treated down for water resistency.