Brand: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)
Model: Merlin -10C
It’s 7 p.m. on a chilly night in camp, and you’re starting to shiver before the stargazing gets really good. Rather than retreat to your tent, get the 850-fill, quilted down Dreamwalker, which converts to a full-length poncho—like an instant puffy jacket, only warmer. To deploy the walk-around mode, unzip the bag into a big rectangular blanket, pack the hood away (in its stash pocket), and slide your head through the 14-inch zippered slit in the middle.
“I love being able to leave my puffy jacket at home [saving weight and pack space], and just wear my sleeping bag in camp,” says one tester. The Dreamwalker is also a great option for people who dislike the confines of tapered mummy bags, but don’t want the extra weight that usually comes with rectangular bags. “This is the first rectangular summer bag I’ve ever considered buying,” says one squirmy tester.
“It has the roomy cut, but packs down to bread loaf-size and weighs well under two pounds.” Still, since it’s not as thermally efficient as a mummy, the footbox is hard to keep warm as you approach the bag’s 45°F rating. Bonus: The Dreamwalker comes with a roll-top, seam-sealed waterproof stuffsack for dunkproof storage. The 20-denier ripstop nylon shell held up fine to normal wear and tear, but don’t drag it around like Linus. $235; 1 lb. 11 oz.; 45°F
A fully baffled, but otherwise bare-bones bag built for mountaineers and alpinists who place a premium on weight above all else. To minimize weight we’ve removed the neck yoke and rear muff, choosing to rely on an overstuffed first chamber, and the hood closure to minimize drafts inside the bag.