Sleeping Bags: New Features & Models

April 12, 2011
Filed under Camping Gear, Sleeping Gear

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New developments in sleeping bags with regard to high-tech and recyclable insulation materials, the mixing of fill materials, shapes to fit different body types and genders, and much more have arrived on the market in an ever-increasing effort to make your nights in camp as enjoyable as your nights at home.

And all this technology has been handed down to your kid’s bag, too. Take a look and see what’s available from some of the major outdoor brands to keep you warm and cozy while you’re sleeping under the stars.

Big Agnes
First introduced last year, Big Agnes has expanded its use of Insotect’s Flow design, which uses strategically placed Flow Gates inside the vertical chambers to minimize vertical and lateral downshifting. The design has been incorporated into all of the company’s down bags this year, including the new Heart Mountain SL 30. Featuring the first generation of lightweight Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon treated with a durable water-repellant treatment, this 800-fill semi-rectangular down bag offers more room in the foot box and shoulders. The Heart Mountain also includes Big Agnes’ signature integrated pad sleeve and built-in pillow pocket as well as a no-draft collar, tube and wedge that insulates the connection between the bag and pad. $360. 30F, regular. 2 pounds 2 ounces. Big Agnes: 877/554-8975; bigagnes.com.

Coleman multi-temperature
Coleman introduces a variable-temperature sleeping bag this season called the Multi Comfort, which uses multiple layers so campers can customize their sleeping experience. Featuring a fleece layer for cool nights and a lightweight sheet for warmer nights, as well as a pillow pad, this rectangular sleeping bag is made with Diamond ripstop and brushed polyester fabrics. $50. 20/70F, regular. 6 pounds. Coleman: 800/835-3278; coleman.com.

Perhaps most popular in 2011 are bags that offer multiple ratings, allowing campers to use them in a variety of temperatures. Take, for instance, the Eureka! Dual Temp, which is designed for versatility — just flip over the bag to achieve the desired temperature rating. Featuring a 60D ripstop polyester shell and Eureka!’s proprietary Rteq insulation, this hybrid-rectangular sleeping bag incorporates contoured shoulders and a tapered lower leg section while offering generous width through the chest and hips to maximize comfort and performance. $90. 20/40F, regular. 3 pounds 6 ounces. Eureka!: 800/572-8822; eurekatent.com.

Exped is another company pushing the envelope in sleeping bag design by focusing on versatility with its Dreamwalker 250. Not only does it function as a regular sleeping bag with side and foot zippers and a hood, it can also be used as a rectangular blanket with a rolled-in and stowed hood, as an insulated poncho, or as a liner to enhance the performance of an existing bag. Made with Texped PA35 ripstop nylon, this 750-fill down bag features an anatomically shaped hood, locking zippers with glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls, and comes with a waterproof fold-n-roll stuff sack. $235. European Norm (EN) Comfort 61F, regular. 1 pound 8 ounces. Exped: 866/326-4586; exped.com.

Golite Adrenaline
Golite is leading the eco-friendly movement, restructuring its entire line to incorporate as many recycled fabrics as possible, while also adding roomier semi-rectangular bags to the line. For optimal performance, though, the Adrenaline 1+ Season Mummy is the lightest, most compressible model in the Adrenaline series. It features lofty 800-fill down, and recycled Pertex Eco waterproof, breathable fabric strategically placed in Arid Zones at the head and foot for protection against condensation.

This bag also includes performance features like a center-front zipper for ventilation, snug-fitting SkullGlove hood as well as vertical- and horizontal- chamber and baffle systems that maximize down distribution for optimum warmth. $280. 40F, regular. 1 pound 9 ounces. Golite: 888/546-5483; golite.com.

Loaded with cool new features, the Galactic Hoody from Kelty is a 15-degree down rectangular bag with a removable hood for warmer nights. Made with a light, durable polyester ripstop shell and a soft polyester pongee liner, this bag also includes a zippered chest pocket and can be fully unzipped and opened flat for use as a comforter. $169. 15F, regular. 3 pounds 11 ounces. Kelty: 800/423-2320; kelty.com.

L.L. Bean is also jumping on the ultralight bandwagon this year with the introduction of its aptly named Ultralight Sleeping Bag. Offering an exceptional weight-to-comfort ratio by featuring a relaxed semi-rectangular shape combined with the high-performance comfort of Primaloft Sport, it’s engineered for superior warmth, water resistance, softness and compressibility. $199. 30F, regular. 2 pounds. L.L.Bean: 800/441-5713; llbean.com.

Marmot Plasma
The latest and greatest technology in sleeping bags is exemplified in Marmot’s new ultralight Plasma. Featuring Insotect’s Flow design, this 900-fill down bag is also made with Pertex Quantum GL, a new lightweight yet strong, waterproof, breathable fabric that packs small and keeps this revolutionary sleeping bag weighing under 2 pounds. It also features the European Norm (EN) 13537 rating that certifies it as being tested on four levels: upper limit, comfort rating, lower limit and extreme rating as well as a lower limit rating for women. $419. EN Comfort 33F, regular. 1 pound 6 ounces. Marmot: 888/357-3262; marmot.com.

Mountain Hardwear
Shapes are ever changing with the number of double bags notably increasing. Take Mountain Hardwear’s introduction of two new double-size bags this season, one of which is a sibling to the Lamina collection, the MegaLamina 20. This semi-rectangular bag features Thermic Micro insulation and Welded Lamina construction, eliminating sewing, which can compress and create cold spots. The 40D ripstop nylon shell is also DWR treated and comes equipped with two full-length, double-slider zippers for optimum ventilation. $200. 20F, double. Mountain Hardwear: 800/953-8375; mountainhardwear.com.

Bargain synthetic bags packed with features can also be found in this year’s offerings. Mountainsmith debuts a new line of sleeping bags this season, featuring relaxed mummy bags like the Poncha 35, which features calf-length zippers to save weight, a full-length draft tube and a contoured footbox. Made with a quilt construction, internal liner loops and a Sil-Nylon water-resistant compression stuff sack, this sleeping bag uses polyester pongee outer fabric, has a taffeta polyester lining and is filled with MountainLoft Hollowfibers. $89. 35F, one-size-fits-most. 2 pounds 14 ounces. Mountainsmith: 800/551-5889; mountainsmith.com.

Combining fills is also growing in popularity, represented in this collection from REI’s new Kingdom sleeping bags, available in single or double. Made with a lofty 600-fill down top and compression-resilient polyfill bottom, this relaxed mummy bag features a ripstop nylon shell with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish and a silky nylon taffeta lining. $129. 30F, single. 3 pounds 8 ounces; double, 6 pounds 1 ounce. REI: 800/426-4840; rei.com.

Sierra Designs
Another trend emerging in the market is offered in Sierra Design’s new Pyro sleeping bag that features Core Comfort body-mapping technology. With its advanced double-baffle system, the Pyro adds extra 600-fill down insulation directly over the torso to maximize heat retention in this crucial area. It also offers an ergonomic foot box and hood for comfort, a pillow pocket for convenience, and a zipper draft tube and draft collar for keeping cold air out. $250. 15F, regular. 2 pounds 13 ounces. Sierra Designs: 800/635-0461; sierradesigns.com.

Bags in general are getting a little roomier. Take the new Log Cabin from Slumberjack, which not only features an updated rectangular cut, but also includes an oversized side panel for a roomier, more comfortable fit. Insulated with Slumberloft and made with a durable poly-cotton canvas shell and soft polyester pongee liner, the Log Cabin features a flip-over hood for use as a flat or contoured hood. $60. 40F, regular. 4 pounds 14 ounces. Slumberjack: 800/233-6283; slumberjack.com.
Log Cabin by Slumberjack

Bags For Kids
Mountain Hardwear’s new 20-degree-rated Mountain Goat Adjustable ($80) sleeping bag grows with your children from the time they are 4 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 4 inches tall using a draw cord system that adjusts the internal length of the bag. Made with Thermic MX synthetic insulation, 50D nylon taffeta and 50D polyester taffeta, this 2-pound, 3-ounce bag also features a face gasket, draft tube and chest pocket for gizmos and gadgets.

Creature Comforts
Creating a sleep system that mimics your bed at home is the best recipe for a good night’s sleep. Companies are now designing not only sleeping pads, but also pillows, liners and sheets. Most noticeable is the growth in pillows, as seen in Kelty’s new ultra-light and compressible 650-fill down pillow featuring a perimeter compression draw cord that also creates a pocket used to customize firmness with extra clothing.

Camping sheets are also on the rise because they’re not only easy to wash but also breathable and can join two mattresses together. At the height of comfort is Cascade Design’s new fitted sheet system called the Dreamtime Comfort Cover, a 650-down coupler that’s like a featherbed for camping.

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