For just over a pound in the pack, this premium-down bag kept testers warm into the mid-30s. “It puffed up like cotton candy as soon as I yanked it from the stuffsack,” reports one tester, who slept tentless in Arizona’s Havasu Canyon to enjoy the desert sky—and saw no dip in the Hightail’s loft due to nighttime dew. Credit plenty of 850-fill down and a shell made with Pertex Endurance fabric (on the footbox, hood, and collar), which lets interior moisture escape but repels rain, snow, and wind.
On a chilly fall night in Colorado’s Flat Tops Wilderness, the Hightail also shed heavy condensation that collected inside the tent. The hood’s generous cut covered most of our tester’s face when fully cinched. Other dimensions are roomy, too: The 64-inch shoulder girth amply accommodates big guys and restless sleepers, and the spacious footbox kept testers from feeling hog-tied. The two-way zipper allows for easy foot venting. But cold spots along the box baffles’ horizontal seams chilled testers at 35°F, and the draft tube catches in the zipper without careful two-handed operation. $349; 1 lb. 4 oz.; 35°F; thenorthface.com
The unique features of the Rock Wren make it a favorite for bicyclists, light hikers and for use in a bivy bag. A drawstring closure at the bottom of the bag allows you to pull the bag up and walk around camp. The main zipper comes halfway down the bag and there are two zipped arm openings, so you can actually wear the bag for cooking or reading. It is fully baffled and work great in combination with a down jacket for colder weather.
The Winter Wren model has more down and a 25 degree F rating.