2012 Sleeping Bags
April 3, 2012
Filed under Sleeping Gear
The number of sleeping bag options for family campers is especially broad this season. The choices run from extremely technical, yet affordable bags to sleeping bags that are designed to fit all sizes and shapes.
Let’s start with this year’s pinnacle bags that incorporate some of the year’s most advanced technologies such as that seen in the new DriDown bags from Sierra Designs. A dramatic improvement over standard down, DriDown features a molecular-level polymer applied to individual down plumes during a proprietary down finishing process developed by Sierra Designs. The result is a hydrophobic (water dispersing) down that stays dry seven times longer, maintians 98 percent loft after a night in a high humidity environment and dries 33 percent faster when it does get wet, providing a drier, warmer, more comfortable night’s sleep. Sierra Designs is introducing five new DriDown sleeping bags ranging from 0 to 30F in men’s and women’s designs. Zissou 15 (men), $259. 2 pounds, 11 ounces. 800-736-8592, www.sierradesigns.com.
Featuring the lightweight, but durable DWR-coated Quantum Pertex outer shell, the new Stoic Somnus 30F is a versatile three-season bag. Filled with highly compressible 800-fill down insulation, this sleeping bag features an easy-access center-oriented zip that’s easy to find in the dark, a zippered pocket in the footbox for hot water bottles and vertical torso baffles that keeps the down insulation from shifting, even if you sleep on your side. 30F, $269. 1 pound, 7 ounces. 877-786-4220, www.stoicgear.com.
While these sleeping bag technologies keep pushing the barriers on weightlessness and compressibility, many more companies are offering bags in an incredible range of sizes.
Take the new synthetic L.L. Bean Katahdin featuring PrimaLoft’s Synergy continuous filament synthetic insulation. Warm, soft and lofty, this bag is offered in two different ratings (20F and 35F) in either a mummy or rectangular design, which are also offered in long lengths (6 feet 6 inches). 35F mummy, $149. 2 pounds, 11 ounces. 800-441-5713, www.llbean.com.
Even more diverse is L.L. Bean’s new line of Goose Down sleeping bags that range from –20F to 35F in seven different styles including semi-rectangular, women’s, mummy and rectangular with long options in each. Made with 650-fill down (-20F, 750-fill), the 35F semi-rectangular mummy is the lightest in the line of bags that features updated hood designs, a roomier fit and affordable prices. 35F, $209. 2 pounds, 4 ounces. 800-441-5713, www.llbean.com.
Sleeping bags are reaching a new demographic this year: teens. Take the new rectangular Mountainsmith Boreas Jr., for example, that fits kids up to 5 feet 1 inch. This synthetic sleeping bag uses MountainLoft Hollowfibers fill set in quilt-construction between a polyester pongee outer lining and taffeta polyester lining. It also features internal loops for sleeping bag liners and a water-resistant Sil-Nylon compression sack. The Boreas is also offered in adult sizes in 0, 5, 20 and 40F, in relaxed mummy or rectangular designs. 40F, $69.95. 2 pounds, 4 ounces. 800-551-5889, www.mountainsmith.com.
The North Face Super Cat is another new sleeping bag that caters to teens. This technical synthetic mummy bag is designed with a performance fit for kids up to 5 feet tall. And it’s packed with safe and simple features like a shoulder-level zipper pocket, differentiated drawcords, sculpted hood and sleeping pad retention cords. 20F, $119. 2 pounds, 1 ounce. 888-863-1968, www.thenorthface.com.
Catering to the new kids at camp, the new Kelty Woobie gives toddlers a more technical option as well. This 30F synthetic fill sleeping bag fits kids up to 3 feet tall and is made with a 60D polyester taffeta shell, plush polyester fleece in the hood and a cotton flannel liner for supreme snugliness. It features dual zippers for easy access and venting, and is made with elastic instead of drawcords for added safety. 30F, $45. 2 pounds, 0 ounces. 866-349-7225, www.kelty.com.
REI delivers four new women’s models ranging from a 35F degree synthetic to a 0F degree down bag, with the new Seranna 18F weighing in as the lightest. Tested under EN standards that create reliable bag comparisons and account for male and female physiological differences, this 650-fill down bag is designed for women by including more insulation than the men’s version. It also is designed for a woman’s curves by offering more room in the hips and less in the footbox and shoulders. 19F, $219. 2 pounds, 13 ounces. 800-426-4840, www.rei.com.
The new Marmot Cloudbreak 30, also uses the EN temperature rating standard, but also uses body-mapping construction with two different types of insulation — Thermal R and Thermal R Micro — to maximize warmth while minimizing overall weight and bulk. Made with nylon micro rip DWR and nylon plain weave WR, this lightweight, but simple bag also features an articulated 3D hood and fits adults up to 6 feet tall. 30F, $169. 2 pounds, 4 ounces. 888-357-3262, www.marmot.com.
For many adults bigger is better, and sleeping bags to fit this demand are also on the rise this year. Take the new Eureka! Caliber 15, for example. Constructed of 75D polyester ripstop shell with a yarn dyed cotton flannel liner and Eureka! Thermashield insulation, this 96-by-40 inch bag is designed with a significantly more generous cut for larger campers and features a full-length draft tube, internal/external pockets and a stuff sack. 15F, $119.99. 6 pounds, 1 ounce. 800-572-8822, www.eurekatent.com.
The new Slumberjack Timberjack series of rectangular bags is designed with extra room for comfort. Made with a tear-resistant polyester ripstop shell and Slumberloft insulation with a Soft-Touch polyester liner, this affordable sleeping bag also features a stowable pillow pocket and a zip-together feature that turns it into a double-wide sleeping bag. Available in 0F, 20F and 40F bags that fit adults up to 6 feet tall. 20F, $69.99. 4 pounds. 800-233-6283, www.slumberjack.com.
Sleeping bags made for two are also on the rise. Take the new lightweight The North Face Double Dolomite. Lighter than zipping together two sleeping bags, this rectangular bag made for couples is a huge and luxurious bag that can also unzip flat for blanket-style versatility. Mae with Heatseeker synthetic insulation and soft ripstop nylon shell, it also features an internal watch pocket and roll-top stuffsack. 20F, $169. 6 pounds, 1 ounce. 888-863-1968, www.thenorthface.com.
Finally, the number of dual temperature bags has increased noticeably this year. The new Sierra Designs Pyro Maniac 15/30, for example, is built on the new Core Comfort platform that features a torso pocket designed for an extra set of 600-fill down baffles that keeps the core warm even when the temperature drops to 15 degrees. However, when temperatures rise, simply unsnap and remove this second set of baffles for a 30-degree comfort rating. This lightweight EN-tested bag also includes a draft collar, a pillow pocket, an ergonomic hood, foot boxes, and both stuff and storage sacks. 15/30F, $319. 3 pounds. 800-736-8592, www.sierradesigns.com.
The new Coleman Adjustable Sleeping Bag is another great example of the rise in dual temperature sleeping bags that offer campers a range of comfortable sleeping temperatures. Utilizing multiple layers, it uses a divided cover with top and bottom flaps that allow campers to sleep in custom comfort. This synthetic sleeping bag also includes a pillow pad and integral sheet, so even on warm nights campers can open the cover and sleep comfortably. 30/70F, $44.99. 800-835-3278, www.coleman.com.