Note: This is a preview of new technologies being introduced at the Outdoor Retailer show. We have not yet tested any of these products, and they won't be available until 2016.
If you're in need of an ultra-warm bag for climbing in the Himalayas or an ultra-light bag for setting speed records, there are lots of options. The technical side of the market is well covered.
This year, brands continue to innovate, but many are also paying more attention to the opposite direction by producing bags targeted at the less technical crowd whose main priority is comfort — folks who prefer to camp out of their car instead of hanging from the Dawn Wall.
To make bags more comfortable, brands are focusing on those aspects that really make the difference when you want a good night’s sleep — things like roomier cuts, softer materials, and better ways to keep you on your pad and your pillow in place. The bags are better to live in, but still packed with technology.
“We feel that there should not necessarily be a performance loss when looking for a comfortable and temperature-appropriate night’s sleep,” said Paul Leonard, brand product manager at Eureka.
The target consumer for these bags is the person who might be new to camping and needs to ease in. But veterans who are used to a technical bag will also like the new designs when they’re out camping with their families.
“Us old timers will like that these bags are a little easier to live in,” Fry said.
Eureka Lone Pine 30
The synthetic Lone Pine 30 (MSRP $90) from Eureka is built with a patent-pending fabric technology that creates a no-slip interface between the bag and pad. That fabric, called Stealth-Grip, ensures you don’t slide onto the tent floor while rolling around at night. In addition to the anti-slip material, the Lone Pine 30 also features a roomy rectangular cut and a mummy-style hood for warmth.
Mountain Hardwear Hotbed Flame
The 10-25-degree Hotbed Flame (MSRP: $159) uses Mountain Hardwear’s well-received Lamina technology, which is passed down from higher-end synthetic bags and eliminates cold spots. To make this bag more comfy, however, it’s built with vertical baffles and has a roomier cut. The fabric also has a cotton-like feel to mimic what it’s like to be back at home.
Versatility is the Therm-a-Rest Ventana’s (MSRP $200) main strength. It’s a roomy, comfortable, warm-weather (40-50 degrees), one-person bag that campers can take car camping on their own, or if they’re camping with the spouse, the zipper allows it to splay open so that it lies completely flat to cover two people like a blanket. Ideal for snuggle time.
If you're seeking a perfect mashup between you normal bed and a sleeping bag, Kelty’s Tru.Comfort (MSRP $120) would fit the bill. This 20-degree synthetic bag is built with a traditional mummy shape, but a unique two-layer blanket system lets you sleep in any position and helps regulate your temperature. The best part? A hood that fits your home pillow.
Bikepackers rejoice — the Nemo Moonwalk (MSRP $280) is made for you. A waterproof tub design means this bag can be used directly on the ground so you don’t need to schlep along a tent for clear-weather trips. Fewer pounds on the bike means bikers can go farther, faster. The 700-fill-power DownTek keeps you comfy down to 30 degrees and the hoodless design helps cut the weight to 2 pounds, 2 ounces.
The specialized speed valve on the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper SV pad (MSRP $140) creates a pressure differential based on the Bernoulli Principle to help inflate the pad three times quicker than normal. A regular valve then lets you pump in even more air for those who like it firm. The pad also deflates nearly instantaneously.
These are just a few of the new products to debut at Summer Market. Be sure to check for more coverage of 2016 sleeping bags and more news and trends in the O.R. Daily, Days 1-4, published live at the show, and available digital format each day of print at www.snewsnet.com/ordaily.