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
With no zipper and no hood, the Vireo is a 3/4 bag designed to be used with a jacket. It comes in 3 lengths. At less than one pound, it is ideal for trips when weight must be at the absolute minimum. The outer shell is available in water-resistant/breathable Nanosphere by Schoeller.
Made in Seattle, WA USA