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Gear Reviews

The Backpacker Gear Hall Of Fame: Sleeping Bags and Pads


Zero-degree bags typically mean you’re stuck lugging an enormous lump of down that fills your pack. Not so with the Plasma 0. At only 2.5 pounds, its…

Zero-degree bags typically mean you’re stuck lugging an enormous lump of down that fills your pack. Not so with the Plasma 0. At only 2.5 pounds, its weight is on par with many three-season bags. Combine a fat draft collar, a wispy 10-denier Pertex Quantum shell, and 900-fill down, and you get one of the best winter bags on the market. Caveat: Fit is trim. $649; 2 lbs. 7 oz.; 0°F; marmot.com

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“This bag made me feel like I was sleeping inside a force field of warm air,” says our tester. “I almost couldn’t feel it on top of me when I closed…

“This bag made me feel like I was sleeping inside a force field of warm air,” says our tester. “I almost couldn’t feel it on top of me when I closed my eyes.” Credit the 900-fill down and 10-denier Pertex Endurance shell. Feathered Friends has a well-earned reputation for conservative temp ratings, and testers pressed this bag well below freezing. “I slept comfortably down to 18°F,” says one. $419; 1 lb. 9 oz.; 30°F; featheredfriends.com

The Karakoram was deemed the best all-around model in our 2011 three-season bag test, and it’s still one of the kings of the category. The 850-fill…

The Karakoram was deemed the best all-around model in our 2011 three-season bag test, and it’s still one of the kings of the category. The 850-fill down combined with hybrid vertical and horizontal baffles (pulled from Eddie Bauer’s WWII bag design archives) nail the temp rating, and the Pertex Endurance shell’s durability is top-notch. $349; 2 lbs. 4 oz.; 20°F; eddiebauer .com/firstascent

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“This is one of the most comfortable pads I’ve slept on in 40 years of backcountry travel,” says one tester. The welded horizontal and vertical tubes make this pad super stable, a thick 3.5 inches make it extra comfy, and it has enough insulation to keep you warm year-round. $140; 1 lb. 11 oz.; bigagnes.com

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