For the ultralight purists out there, there are down quilts. For backpackers looking for a little more room, innovative venting, or versatility, these five bags all bring something new to the table.
Sleeping Bag Trends We Saw at Outdoor Retailer
Synthetics on the Rise
Historically, goose down has been king in terms of weight and compressibility. But that’s changing fast, says James Herrod, salesperson at Ozark Outdoor Supply in Little Rock, Arkansas. He says synthetic fills are catching up: “They’re more hydrophobic, which means that that they’ll retain heat value when wet, whereas goose down will not.” As companies up their synthetic insulation game, campers can still walk away with the warmth of a down fill without making sacrifices in weather protection.
Give a Little
Mummy bags are great at maintaining heat, but they can feel claustrophobic to some campers. Laura Hays, assistant manager at Rock/Creek Outfitters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, says companies are adding space only where it matters so bags can remain lightweight. “Some are making toeboxes taller so that your toes and your whole foot have room to chill out,” she said. Increased shoulder space leaves room for rolling around.
It’s OK to Vent
“People want one bag for a greater range of temperatures,” says Sheridan Braun, camping buyer for Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis, Minnesota. To create versatile bags, venting options—like NEMO’s “gills” that allow users to zip open sections on the top of the bag and release extra heat—and toeboxes that open for airflow are, er, hot right now. Customers want bags that can be used comfortably in the majority of seasons and terrains.