Brand: Sierra Designs
Model: Nitro 800
On the hunt for a bag that’s toasty, light, and relatively affordable? Look no further: The Nitro 800 is a true triple-threat. While camping in Washington’s Olympic National Forest, we woke up to condensation on the bag but no leaking moisture or cold spots thanks to its hydrophobic, 800-fill down and DWR-treated nylon shell. On the shores of Lake Wenatchee, as temps dropped below freezing, we cinched the hood until it was nearly closed, and though the plastic cinch lock took some fiddling to find in the middle of the night, the hood and the draft collar did their jobs. Happily burrowed, we slept soundly.
This bag’s 62-inch shoulder and 56-inch hip girths are wide enough to accommodate most sleeping positions without feeling restrictive, though the half-zip makes the Nitro more difficult to enter than other bags we tested.
The design delivers more than just the basics: In addition to a draft collar, a contoured hood, and a decently durable 15-denier ripstop nylon shell and liner, it also has a nifty foot vent. On the bottom of the footbox, two baffles overlap with an opening underneath; to air out your feet, just bend your knees, tuck your toes underneath the top layer, and slide your feet through. When you bring your dogs back in, the opening closes by itself. One particularly humid night in the San Juan Islands, we popped our toes out and in a few times and never noticed chills leaking through.
It’s not the smallest in the test, but certainly not the biggest. This Goldilocks bag packs down to the size of a half-gallon jug of milk.
$320; 1 lb. 15 oz.; 17°F; regular, long