[light and packable]
What happens when a sleeping pad specialist makes a sleeping bag? Some serious thought goes into incorporating the former into the latter. Here’s how the Antares works: On the bag’s uninsulated underside (no feather-filled baffles here), a simple nylon sheet mates with—no surprise—an insulated pad. Two nylon pad straps (fitting mattresses up to 25 inches wide) hold the bag in place. And because the straps are stitched just below the side seams (not on them, like most pad straps and sleeves), they allow more ease within the bag, which kept claustrophobes from feeling straitjacketed. Plus, the Antares is wider than most ultralight models, which allows roll-around room and space inside for drying out damp clothes.
Our tester gave the system a thumbs-up after a trip through Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness. Add highly compressible 750-fill goose down, and you get a comfortable bag that packs down to volleyball-size. After a 31°F night in Oregon’s Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, another tester said, “I was so comfortable, I was surprised to see snow falling nearby.” The hood is spacious as well, offering a fit more like a cap than a sausage casing. The 30-denier, DWR-treated nylon shell proved plenty durable—one tester used the bag as a camp seat and it suffered no punctures. But several testers called the 20°F rating ambitious, so this bag is best for warm sleepers or hikers who rarely camp in shoulder-season temps. $350; 1 lb. 15 oz.; 20°F; thermarest.com