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Gear Guide Spring 2017: Sleeping Bags & Pads
Kammok Thylacine Review: If you want three bags—one for summer, one for shoulder season, one for winter—but are on a two-bag budget, the Kammok Thylacine is the solution. Click here to read the full review.
Sierra Designs Zissou Plus 4 Season Review: If warmth-per-dollar is your primary concern, this is your bag. In lieu of a traditional baffle structure, it has 4-inch-tall sidewall baffles that minimize shifting down and give the bag more of a structured shape. Click here to read the full review.
NEMO Equipment Disco 15 Review: Traditional mummy bags save weight, but they can make you feel wrapped up like, well, a mummy. This 650-fill bag features NEMO’s unique spoon fit, which looks more hourglass- than mummy-shaped. Click here to read the full review.
The North Face Hypercat Review: Stormy weather or high humidity on the itinerary? Synthetic fill still beats the natural stuff in prolonged wet conditions, as down, even the water-resistant stuff, will eventually wet out. Click here to read the full review.
Enlightened Equipment Revelation Review: Quilt-style construction saves serious weight, but even minimalists usually want more than a simple blanket. The Revelation delivers. Click here to read the full review.
Mountain Equipment Firefly Review: If you want quilt-like weight but prefer traditional sleeping bag construction, you’ll need the lightest materials and most efficient shape. Click here to read the full review.
Sea to Summit Comfort Light SI Pad Review: Everyone likes the convenience of a self-inflating pad, but the polyurethane foam that’s been a staple of the category for decades adds weight. Click here to read the full review.
REI co-op Flash Insulated Review: If you’re tempted by a minimalist pad but are fearful it will leave you tossing and turning, the Flash will provide some peace of mind. Click here to read the full review.
Go ahead and plan a big backcountry day. But if you don’t get a good night’s sleep first, it’s gonna be rough. Our testers found the solution, including an ultralight synthetic bag, a custom quilt, and more.
Nights out: 552
Bags tested: 33
Longest day: 17 mi. (Kepler Track, New Zealand)
Most nonstop rain: 3 days (South Island, New Zealand)
Coldest temp: -5°F (Kenai Mts., AK)
Highest trip: 14,429 ft. (Mt. Massive, CO)
How to Buy Sleeping Bags
Get in: Sleeping bags are like shoes: They should fit. In the store, crawl in, stretch out, curl up, run the zipper, cinch the hood. A tight-fitting bag saves weight, but that won’t matter if you can’t sleep.
Check features: Do you like to sleep under the stars? Make sure the shell has a DWR treatment. Full-length zippers are better for venting but add weight. A snug-fitting hood adds critical warmth when it’s cold.
Choose your fill: Down typically packs smaller, but synthetics are best for extended wet (even compared to water-resistant down), and they’re catching up in warmth-to-weight ratio (see TNF Hypercat).
How to Buy Sleeping Pads
Check r-value: Sleeping pads use a numerical rating called R-value to measure insulation: the higher the warmer.
Go big: In general, choose the thickest, most cushioned pad you can justify carrying. Your back will thank you.