5 of the best... summer sleeping bags reviewed (2019)

Lighten the load and sleep in more comfort by camping out in a sleeping bag designed for the warmest months.

 
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WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Temperature rating

The bags here are designed to be warm enough (for men) around +1°C to -3°C, which is ideal for summer use in the UK hills. Research shows that women tend to feel the cold more, so may prefer a bag rated up to 5°C warmer. Manufacturer’s temperature ratings provide a good estimate of how warm a bag will feel, but as health, fit of the bag and even what you’ve had to eat all play a part in keeping you warm, these ratings are only a rough guide. 

Packed size & weight

Sizes stated are those obtained when the bag is stuffed into its stuffsack. If a compression bag is provided the bag is measured at its compressed level. Weights stated included the stuffsack.

Insulation

The bags featured here use synthetic or down insulation. Down has the advantage over synthetic insulation of being more efficient at trapping air, and therefore it can be used to produce lighter and less bulky sleeping bags. However synthetic insulation is lower in price and maintains its performance better than down when damp. 

Shell & lining

To protect the insulation, the shell and lining benefits from some water resistance, and in some cases this may be enhanced on the base, foot and hood areas. Nylon is often used for the shell and lining, but polyester is used to reduce prices. 

Shoulder baffle

A good shoulder baffle keeps the warm air in the bag, which increases its insulating ability.
The best can be adjusted to fit closely, while lighter or lower-priced bags
may have non-adjustable shoulder baffles or no shoulder baffle
at all.

Hood

The fit and degree of insulation in the hood is important in colder conditions. A drawcord will be provided to cinch it in but some hoods are easier to adjust, and their fit and comfort level will be better than others. 

Size

Some bags are available in a choice of lengths or widths. Women’s models tend to be smaller and some have extra insulation.

Zip

Side zip designs vary from half-length to full-length – the former offering a weight saving, the latter making a more versatile bag for hot nights. To prevent the zip from jamming it may have an anti-snag strip behind, while a wide insulation-filled baffle is important to prevent cold spots along the length of the zip.  


Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 30 £140

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  • Lowest comfort limit -2.2°C n

  • Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 210x78x40cm

  • Packed size (compressed) 20x20cm

  • Weight 1027g (inc 95g stuffsack)

  • Women’s Trestles Elite Eco 30 (plus long)

It’s good

Designed with the environment in mind, this bag uses synthetic insulation called HL-Elixr ECO with 96% recycled material. The weight and packed size of the bag is good for a synthetic with this temperature too. The main side zip is full-length and exceptionally well designed not to snag, but there’s also an additional zip on the opposite side of the bag so you can more easily vent the top, as well as sit and read from the bag. Get in the bag and it is more spacious than most, with a particularly roomy foot area. The hood draws in easily and is very comfortable around the head.

However

Like any synthetic bag, this is not as light or as compact as the higher-priced down bags. The main side zip doesn’t quite reach the foot either, so you do get warm feet even with the zip open, although that is a minor difference perhaps rather than a big drawback. There is a shoulder baffle but compared to some it is not quite as good at locking in the warm air. Some bags have the stretch baffle design, which you may prefer, and others have extra water-resistance on the outer material to ensure the insulation stays dry from tent condensation. So no major drawbacks really, and at this price they are probably tolerable.

Verdict

An environmentally-friendly bag with a spacious design and good range of features for general backpacking.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 3/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

 

Deuter Exosphere 0° £145

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  • Lowest comfort limit 0°C n Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 200x65-77.5x40-50cm

  • Packed size (compressed) 17x22cm

  • Weight 1071g (inc 79g stuffsack)

  • Women’s Exosphere 0° SL

It’s good

The size of this bag is deceptive, as its stretch baffles allow the width to expand by 25%. This means that the bag hugs your body closer, leading to less cold spots and more rapid warming, while still allowing great freedom of movement. The insulation is synthetic Deuter Thermo Proloft, so this won’t be effected by moisture as badly as down. Also you get a nylon shell with water-repellent Dry Zones at the head and foot to keep condensation from tents at bay. Once inside the bag the hood fits well, is comfortable around the face and adjusts easily. The side zip has an excellent baffle and anti-snag strip too.

However

The weight and packed size is not as impressive as the higher-priced down insulated bags. Also other bags have a slightly lower temperature rating, while also being smaller and lighter when packed. While the details are great there is no shoulder baffle, although as this hugs your body so close due to the stretch design this is not such a drawback. You may feel the stretchy, hugging design is not for you and prefer the spaciousness of some non-stretchy bags, as it does take a little getting used to. This still offers a great option for most backpackers though.

Verdict

Well-priced bag, with the benefit of stretch baffles and some great features setting it apart. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 3/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Criterion Ultralight 350 £225

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  • Lowest comfort limit -3°C

  • Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 200x72x41cm

  • Packed size  19x25cm

  • Weight 823g (inc 21g stuffsack)

It’s good

This is a well-priced bag when you consider it is slightly warmer than some other bags here (it has a -3°C temperature rating) and comes with a very good weight and small packed size. It’s made with 700 fill power down and a Pertex nylon shell with a water-repellent treatment like other quality bags. Importantly you also have trapezoidal construction to keep cold spots at bay along the seams. The zip is full-length, so you can vent the foot area in warmer weather. Get inside and it fits very close, with a hood that can be drawn in further with a drawcord. Overall it feels great for lightweight backpacking.

However

The supplied stuffsack doesn’t compress the bag as others do. If it did then this bag would squeeze down to just 19x16cm. Also there is no shoulder baffle and the zip baffle is slightly smaller than some options. I did find the zip snagged a little more easily than some others, and the hood does not fit quite so well. The bag is also slightly smaller in width and length than others. You don’t get the benefits of hydrophobic down or synthetic insulation either, both of which would absorb less water and dry quicker than the down used here. The price is good for what you get, but of course you can spend less – and you can also get a slightly lighter bag.

Verdict

Lightweight compact bag with a full-length zip, but does lack some details of heavier/higher-priced bags.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 4/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 4/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 76%


Rab Neutrino 200 £240

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  • Lowest comfort limit -1°C

  • Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 210x78x45cm

  • Packed size (compressed) 15x18cm

  • Weight 608g (inc 37g stuffsack)

 It’s good

The low weight and tiny packed size sets this sleeping bag apart from many others, and yet you still get a temperature rating down to -1°C. It is the use of 800+ fill power down insulation as well as thin Pertex nylon that mainly keeps the weight down. The down has been treated, so it absorbs less water and dries more quickly than standard down. Unstuff the bag and get inside and the hood fits well, with a neck collar that is both well filled and easily adjusted with drawcords. The side zip is half-length to save weight, but it still allows you to get inside easily enough. The side zip also gets a huge baffle on the inside.

However

Having a half-length side zip does mean that in warm weather this bag can be overly hot, as you can’t vent the foot area as can be done with other bags. It’s also a slightly smaller bag than other options, so larger people may feel it is a little restrictive. This bag is down-filled, so it needs a little more care to keep dry than a synthetic-filled bag, which will maintain better performance if it gets damp. Of course there are lower-priced bags but it is the weight and packed size benefit you will lose out on if you pay less. 

Verdict

Ideal sleeping bag if you want to save weight and packed size, but it does only have a short side zip. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 4/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 5/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 80%


Lightwave Firelight 350 £449

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  • Lowest comfort limit -2°C

  • Size (length x shoulder x foot width) 200x75x55cm (plus short and long)

  • Packed size 18x26cm

  • Weight 654g (inc 15g stuffsack)

 It’s good

This bag is extremely lightweight but also has a lower temperature rating than some bags. The foot area is very wide too, and there’s a full-length side zip, so it is not skimping on features. The low weight comes from the use of 900 fill power down combined with very thin Pertex Quantum 15 denier nylon. The weight saved by the materials means that plenty of great features can be added, so that full-length side zip has a very good internal baffle, and the shoulder baffle is also very well filled. In addition the bag comes in three sizes. If low weight and full features are your priority, then this sleeping bag is hard to beat.

However

The obvious drawback here is the price tag, but if you pay less then you’ll need to compromise on the weight or other benefits. The stuffsack doesn’t include a means of compressing the bag, but if paired with a compression bag it would go down to 18x16cm. The side zip is great but seems more likely to snag than some others, so a little more care is needed. The hood fits well but some others have a little more comfort around the drawcord, and the shoulder baffle gets no drawcord at all. Some bags get stress zones and extra water-resistant designs, so there are drawbacks here if low weight is not your number one priority.

Verdict

When low weight and practical features are needed this bag is hard to beat for those with the cash.

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • Weight 5/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

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Test of the best: 3-season down sleeping bags reviewed

PACKED SIZE AND WEIGHT
A small packed size and low weight is essential when backpacking, so you can easily store the bag into a rucksack. Sizes stated are the minimum achieved when the bag is stuffed into its stuffsack and this is compressed as small as possible. Weights stated include the stuffsack.

CONSTRUCTION
Most of the bags here use a box wall construction, where the down is trapped inside box-shaped baffles within the bag, rather like bricks in a wall. To reduce cold spots, some bags use trapezoid and slanted wall-shaped boxes. 

SHELL AND LINING
To protect the insulation, the shell and lining benefit from some water-resistance, and in some cases this may be enhanced on the base, foot and hood areas. Nylon is often used for the shell and lining, but polyester could be used to reduce prices.

INSULATION
The bags featured here all use down insulation. Down has the advantage over synthetic insulation of being more efficient at trapping air, and therefore it can be used to produce lighter and less bulky sleeping bags. It doesn’t maintain its performance when damp very well though, so some manufacturers treat the down (or shell) to help it resist water and dry quicker when damp.

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SIZE
If a bag is too big you’ll have more air inside to heat up, and this will tend to move around and escape from the bag. If the bag is too small you’ll be uncomfortable, as you’ll be restricted in movement and the insulation will become compressed so it won’t trap air to keep you warm. Some bags are available in a choice of lengths and there are also women’s models. It is always worth checking with the manufacturer if you need a slightly different size, as there may be size differences available. Sizes stated are for the standard bags.

ZIP
Zip designs vary from half-length to full-length side zips – the former offering a weight saving, the latter making a more versatile bag for hot nights. Zips may come with an anti-snag strip behind them to prevent jamming, or a wide insulation-filled baffle to prevent cold spots along the length of the zip. 

HOOD
The fit and degree of insulation in the hood is important in cold conditions. A drawcord will be provided to cinch it in, but some hoods are easier to adjust, making their fit and comfort level better than others.

SHOULDER BAFFLE
A good shoulder baffle keeps the air down in the bag, which increases its insulating ability. The best can be adjusted to fit closely, while lighter or lower-priced bags may have non-adjustable shoulder baffles, or no shoulder baffle at all.


Alpkit PipeDream 400 £215

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  • Lowest comfort temperature rating -6°C
  • Packed size 18x22cm
  • Weight 877g (including 29g stuffsack)

IT'S GOOD What is not to like here? The price is great compared to other down bags, and the weight and packed size are very impressive and more than acceptable for backpacking. The insulation is 750 fill power down and it has even been treated with a Nikwax process so it maintains better performance if it gets slightly damp. The down is held in a box wall construction, and the shell is made from polyester rather than more pricey nylon to help keep costs down. You get a full-length side zip and there is a drawcord around the hood. All of this is great for anyone on a budget wanting a great backpacking bag.

HOWEVER The drawbacks are that you are not getting a full shoulder baffle, although it does at least have a front chest baffle that is well padded – so this is only a small negative point. Also the size is slightly smaller than some other bags at 78cm width and 215cm length, so again this depends on your body size. The hood fit is not quite as neat as the best here and the drawcords are not as well baffled for comfort against the head either. If you pay more you get nylon shell materials and even higher performance down for an even lighter bag. So this may not be absolute best performance available, but at this price, does that matter?

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VERDICT Outstanding value when you compare it to other options, but if you do pay more, you’ll get more benefits.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 5/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Exped Versa 600 £240

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  • Lowest comfort temperature rating -5°C
  • Packed size 20x23cm
  • Weight 1181g (including 63g stuffsack)

IT'S GOOD What sets this bag apart from every other bag here is its spaciousness. This bag is massive and benefits from a square rather than heavily-tapered footbox area, so you have plenty of room. Also the shoulder width is 89cm and the length is 225cm. The side zip extends around the base of the foot, so you can open this up fully on hot nights. Importantly you also get a good temperature rating and the hood area is well padded. There is also a comfy drawcord around the hood and top of the bag. The shell is polyester and the down is a 700 fill-power. For the price tag, this bag offers a lot of comfort.

HOWEVER It is not the lightest option available and it is quite bulky when packed too, so it’s not the best for lighter-weight backpacking. There is no shoulder baffle to lock in the warm air around your body, and as this is a wider and longer bag it will naturally feel cooler than a closer-fitting design, so you tend to need it fully battened down in cooler weather to stay warm. You don’t get the water-resistant down of higher-priced designs, and the outer is made of polyester rather than the more expensive but more durable nylon. The anti-snag zip design is better on some bags. You won’t get this level of space elsewhere but others are lighter.

VERDICT A spacious bag for maximum comfort, but the drawbacks are the increased weight and packed size.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Terra Nova Elite 550 £260

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  • Lowest comfort temperature rating -5°C
  • Packed size 22x21cm
  • Weight 1256g (including 95g stuffsack)

IT'S GOOD The price is creeping up now but is still far more appealing than the higher-priced options. The insulation is 600 fill power down which is housed in a very robust and tightly-woven polyester, rather than nylon, to reduce costs. You also get an internal shoulder baffle with a drawcord and the hood is well packed with insulation. There is also a drawcord around the top of the bag and around the hood. The side zip extends halfway down the side of the bag, rather than being full length, to save weight, and some reflective piping makes it easier to find the zip at night. The stuffsack contains compression straps.

HOWEVER To keep costs down there are drawbacks. This bag is relatively heavy, in part due to the use of 600 fill power down rather than more efficient 700 or 800 fill power down. Also the polyester outer shell is quite heavy compared to the lighter nylons used on the higher-priced bags. The side zip is only half length, so if you use this on hotter nights your feet may get overly warm and you won’t be able to vent them. The bag is slightly smaller than others too, at 210cm long and 73cm at the shoulder. Higher priced bags also use down that has
a water-repelling treatment to maintain performance better when it gets damp.

VERDICT The price is attractive but the bag is heavier when packed and it has only a half-length side zip, as well as being slightly smaller than some.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 3/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Vango F10 Vulcan -7°£280

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  • Lowest comfort temperature rating -7°C
  • Packed size 25x18cm
  • Weight 962g (including 44g stuffsack)

IT'S GOOD The packed size and weight of this bag are slightly less than some others, and the comfort limit is also a lower offering than normal at -7°C. So what’s going on? Well, the Vulcan uses a V-baffle construction with Hydro-barrier 700 fill power down, which is treated to help maintain performance if damp. There’s also an internal Thermal Reverb aluminised reflective liner within the bag to reflect heat back to the user, while the elastic seams appear to hug the bag closer to the body. These features help give a good temperature rating for the low weight. The bag has a good size, of 220cm long by 80cm wide, and I found all this came together well for a comfy sleep. 

HOWEVER The hood and foot construction aren’t quite as elaborate as some others, so while these areas work well enough others have more complex designs to better ensure that the insulation is well placed. The hood in particular doesn’t fit as neatly as others. The outer shell is made from ripstop nylon, which is thinner and lighter than other options. This saves weight but does mean you need to treat it with more care. Some bags have added benefits, such as volume adjustment on the hood or a fleecy chin area. The price tag is quite high too, so you need to decide if that low weight is worth it to you.

VERDICT  Ideal for backpackers wanting to save a few grams, but some details aren’t as good as those on heavier bags.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Marmot Hydrogen £300

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  • Lowest comfort temperature rating -4.8°C
  • Packed size 22x15cm
  • Weight 672g (including 20g stuffsack)

IT'S GOOD The Marmot Hydrogen has an excellent weight for a sleeping bag of this temperature range and at this price tag. But what is really important is that the details are great too. You get 800 fill power down, which carries a Down Defender treatment to reduce the impacts of moisture on its performance. The bag has a Pertex Quantum shell with a side zip that is specially designed to be less likely to snag, and does appear very effective. The hood design fits closer than others and is very comfortable around the face, while the foot box is also well-shaped thanks to some extra panels. It is hard to justify paying more as any improvements gained are small. 

HOWEVER The bag is slightly narrower than others, being 76cm at the shoulder. It also tends to taper a little more than others toward the feet, but at 220cm the length is good. Also while the hood and top of bag is nicely packed with insulation there is no additional shoulder baffle, so it is necessary to fully tighten down the top of the bag to lock in warmth. To do this there is just one drawcord which goes around the brim of the hood, rather than a cord that extends across the top of the shoulders at the top of the bag. This does work, but others are more adjustable. 

VERDICT Superb weight for the temperature and price, but personal preferences will dictate if the hood and shoulder design is right for you.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Montane Direct Ascent £320

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  • Lowest comfort temperature rating -5°C
  • Packed size 23x21cm
  • Weight 1181g (including 63g stuffsack)

IT'S GOOD A well-established bag that has proven itself over a number of years. It has the key features a 3-season camper needs, with a good temperature rating, a good weight and a good packed size. The insulation is 800 fill power down and this is held in place with trapezoidal baffles to limit cold spots at the seams. The shell and lining are made of Pertex Quantum nylon. There is a unique volume adjustment on the back of the hood, so you get a jacket-style hood fit. The baffle is well filled and can be adjusted, while extra panels in the foot allow more space without compressing the insulation. 

HOWEVER There is not a lot wrong here, but bags with hydrophobic down will maintain a better performance when damp. The bag’s size is 205cm long by 78cm wide, which is slightly shorter and more narrow than some sleeping bags, so some people may feel other bags are more appropriately-sized for them. Some bags are also a degree warmer but for 3-season use this bag is still fine of course. This is not the lowest priced bag available, but if you compare the details it does have a few extra benefits that others lack, such as a microfleece panel around the chin and that great hood and shoulder baffle.

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VERDICT A great backpacking bag, with the drawbacks being others have more water-resistant down, some are slightly lighter and others are lower in price.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Criterion Quantom 350 £345

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  • Lowest comfort temperature rating -6°C
  • Packed size 18x16cm
  • Weight 710g (including 19g stuffsack)

IT'S GOOD Check out the weight, check out the pack size and then check out the temperature rating. This bag has it all for anyone wanting to travel light and stay warm. So how is it done? Well, firstly you are getting 870 fill power down, which is more efficient than, say, 700 fill power down, meaning you need less of it to stay warm. You also get a very thin Pertex Quantum nylon outer, which all helps to save weight. Trapezoidal and box wall construction keeps cold spots at bay along the seams. Other features are kept to
a minimum to save on weight and size, but fundamentally this sleeping bag provides a comfy night’s sleep. 

HOWEVER  With some other bags you get a more water-resistant down and also a more elaborate anti-snag baffle on the zip, so some more care is needed here.
I also noticed that some bags have more insulation in the hood, and the drawcord around the hood is less well protected too – so others are more comfortable in the head area in general. There is a shoulder baffle, but some other bags have a more extensive design. Some also have a more elaborate foot box design. At 217cm long and 75cm at the shoulders it is slightly smaller than some. These details may not be important if weight is your main priority, but the price tag may still be a concern.

VERDICT An ideal bag for lightweight backpacking, but heavier bags have benefits including a lower price tag.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Thermarest Parsec 20 £350

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  • Lowest comfort temperature rating -6°C
  • Packed size 24x22cm
  • Weight 1043g (including 88g stuffsack)

IT'S GOOD The Parsec 20 is new for 2018 and has been designed to be attached to a Thermarest mattress via two removable connectors, which means you are not having to carry a full bag of insulation as the base of the sleeping bag is insulated by being attached to a sleeping mat. It also means you cannot slide off the mat when inside the bag. The bag is insulated with Nikwax-treated 800 fill power down to resist dampness, and a Thermacapture lining traps radiant heat. The half-length side zip has a very good baffle inside, there is a huge shoulder baffle and the hood is very well insulated. The shell is polyester, with a very good water-repellent treatment.

HOWEVER This is not quite the lightest and most compact bag, and this is due to not having the thinnest and lightest nylon shell - as well as appearing to have a little more insulation in the hood, the side zip baffle and the shoulder baffle than some other bags. The removable connectors for attaching the bag to the mattress are quite bulky and weigh 40g too, so you could ditch these. Some bags have a shoulder baffle drawcord and also a hood that fits a little neater, with a down-filled baffle under the hood drawcord, so this area isn’t the absolute best. Also that side zip is not full length, so you cannot vent your feet.

VERDICT A warm bag with a good weight and attaches to a mattress, but the short side zip may not be ideal.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Lightwave Firelight 450 £549

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  • Lowest comfort temperature rating -5°C
  • Packed size 20x18cm
  • Weight 756g (including 15g stuffsack)

IT'S GOOD 

This bag uses 900 fill power down, and appears to have more insulation and be slightly warmer than some other bags at this weight and temperature rating. Importantly you also get an exceptionally good weight and small packed size and yet you still get a well-stuffed hood area and a full shoulder baffle, which is better than slightly lighter bags. Slant wall construction is used to reduce cold spots and the shell is made of Pertex Quantum nylon. A nice benefit with this bag is that the side zip is placed on the top edge to reduce cold spots. So with its good warmth and minimal packed size this is a winner for backpacking when weight is important.

HOWEVER The huge price tag is an obvious issue with this bag, so you need to be keen to warrant the cash. Also this bag’s dimensions are 210cm long by 76cm wide at the shoulder, so it is slightly smaller than some other bags, which taller walkers may need to consider. Yes, you do get a shoulder baffle that is well-filled – but you don’t get a drawcord adjustment, as is standard on heavier bags. Like other lightweight bags the hood drawcord is not as well insulated as others, so it can dig in a little. Also the side zip doesn’t benefit from the elaborate anti-snag strips found elsewhere, so a little more care is needed. 

VERDICT Exceptionally good weight and warmth for lightweight backpacking, but the price could scupper it.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 2/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Marmot Plasma 30 (2013)

The Marmot Plasma 30 has a very hefty price tag, but this is nevertheless an outstanding sleeping bag that pulls off something rare: it actually seems better than Marmot says it is. In comparison to the Rab Infinity 300 – with which it shares a similar InsoTect insulation system and Pertex outer – it manages a higher fill power of goose down, includes little touches like popper closures on the neck baffle and zip ties, yet manages to weigh less than its rival. This is impressive in itself, but the surprises don’t stop there. The Marmot Plasma 30 feels a lot warmer than it suggests; the quoted comfort limit figure is -1 deg C (the Rab’s is -2 deg C) but the Marmot bag feels instantly warmer when used side by side with the Infinity. This could be due to the higher fill power or simply a better fit due to my body shape, but the high loft of the bag and the snugger fit overall means I personally would select this one for a slightly colder night out. Either way, there really isn’t much in it – and while this is arguably the better bag, for this reason that price is a big turn-off.  

 

Weight (with stuffsack) 644g (665g)
Size 215x76cm
Packed size 35x17cm
Outer fabric Pertex Quantum with DWR
Inner fabric Pertex Quantum
Insulation 900+ fill goose down
Construction InsoTect vertical baffle
Lower comfort limit -1 deg C
Extreme temp rating -14.4 deg C
Website www.marmot.com

 

Verdict

The Marmot Plasma 30 is an excellent bag – arguably the best here – though not sufficiently so to justify that price tag over near competitors.

Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine August 2013


Marmot Hydrogen (2012)

The Marmot Hydrogen has had a lot of work put into its design, and it shows in the detail. Hidden inside the high-lofting (fluffable) body, the baffles have stretch, allowing the inner and outer to move independently. This maximises down loft and minimises strain and therefore wear and tear on the shell fabric and stitching. The double-ended zip is full-length with an internal baffle and anti-snag strip. The zip ends in a curved section at the hood to stop accidental opening, and with a down flap protecting your face there’s no need for a Velcro tab or zip ‘garage’. The hood itself is protective and warm, and it cinches in well with an external drawcord, which is useful for keeping out the cold as there is no shoulder baffle. It has a down-filled baffle around its edge for user comfort. The Marmot Hydrogen is a comfortable bag as the fit is quite roomy with enough space to move your arm and knees freely. The foot box is shaped to allow a natural foot position. The bag has hanging loops and comes with a stuffsack and a storage sack.

Weight (bag only) 720g
Size (length x shoulder width x foot width) 220x45x76cm
Packed size 26x17cm
Outer fabric 20D nylon mini ripstop
I
nner fabric 20D nylon mini ripstop
Insulation 850 goose down
Construction stretch tricot baffle
Comfort temperature rating +4 deg C
L
ower comfort limit -1.2 deg C
Extreme temperature rating -17.2 deg C
Website www.marmot.de

 

Verdict
The Marmot Hydrogen is a very well-thought-out product that is very comfortable to use but the added roominess does push the weight up to 720g for a -1.2 deg C bag.

Review by Peter Macfarlane
First published in Trail magazine June 2012


Marmot Wave IV (2012)

The Marmot Wave IV is a well-proven sleeping bag that manages to keep campers warm in winter for £100. To hit this price the bag has not been made to be as warm as others in our test, so it only has a temperature rating of -10 deg C.
The benefit of shaving a little off the temperature rating is that the weight, packed size and price are lower compared to warmer synthetic bags. The bag features a full-length side zip for venting and a wide shoulder baffle for preventing warm air from escaping. The bag is lined with polyester, with the foot, shoulder baffle and hood benefiting from a brushed treatment to give a much more comfortable and warmer sensation. There is also a pouch for stashing a heater pad in the footbox if you want some extra warmth. If your budget is £100 then the Marmot Wave IV is an outstanding bag, but for extra cash you do get extra warmth.

 

Outer fabric ripstop nylon

Inner fabric polyester

Insulation Spirafil

Compressed packed size 28x24cm

Weight 1927g

Lower comfort temperature rating -10 deg C

Website www.marmot.com

Verdict

The Marmot Wave IV is the best budget synthetic bag in our review.

 

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine March 2012


Marmot Plasma 15 2011

‘Flow Gate’ is Marmot’s name for the system that is the unique selling point of its new sleeping bag. Its purpose is to prevent mass migration of down through the bag, thus avoiding cold spots and keeping the user evenly warm all over.
The construction allows you to manipulate the down along channels within the bag, yet discourages further accidental movement of down while the bag is in use. So far so good; but I found it incredibly difficult to find out how the system works, and ended up having to ring Marmot to ask them. There are no instructions or markings on the bag to explain how to use it, which is a clear oversight. This is a shame, as the Marmot Plasma 15 happens to be rather good, with an impressive performance to weight ratio.
The Flow Gates are positioned about halfway down the bag, with another set a foot or so lower. I finally managed to find them by running two fingers down the inside of the bag between the stitch lines. They feel a bit like a piece of material with a round hole in the middle. Once located, the idea is to massage the down through the holes, along the length of the baffle, moving the down through the Flow Gates as required. This means you can add extra insulation where you need it.
Despite the sleeping bag generally being very good at its job, I found the function quite a hassle. It’s not something I’d fancy attempting at night when camping and waking up due to the cold. But it could be useful if you just wanted to tweak the down distribution once, for example if you tend to get chilly feet. So, while Flow Gate clearly has some useful applications, it doesn’t offer the ideal solution to the problem of cold spots.
The Marmot Plasma 15 itself is super-light and beautifully comfortable. The price isn’t something to be taken lightly, but it’s hard to find a similar specification sleeping bag much cheaper.

Size 183x75x55cm regular (long version also available)
Outer fabric Pertex Quantum with DWR
Inner fabric Pertex Quantum with DWR
Construction vertical baffles
Insulation 500g of 900+ fill power goose down
Minimum comfort temperature rating -7.8 deg C
Packed size 19x32cm; 19x18cm compressed
Weight 856g (bag only); 880g (with stuffsack)
Made in China
Stockist details – tel. (015395) 63616; www.marmot.eu

The weight of the Marmot Plasma 15  is outstanding, making it an ideal sleeping bag for 3-season backpacking; but the Flow Gate function needs a clearer explanation for users.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2011




Marmot Wave III 2011

A really good product for the price, the Marmot Wave III is pretty much all you could want from a 3-season synthetic sleeping bag. It’s a reasonable weight and the cut manages a clever balance between spacious comfort and snug warmth. The outer shell is highly water-resistant yet soft, whereas inside you get a luxurious, velvety scrim in the head and foot areas. Needless to say, the two-way, full-length zip is great and snag-free, and there’s a decent baffle to protect against cold spots. The hood, which is definitely on the large side, is well enough designed to feel comfortable when pulled tight. You also get a great shoulder baffle and more insulation around the chest area for warmth, plus a large internal pocket. But although the Marmot Wave III’s hood is well-cut, it’s hard to pull the drawcords tight because of the insulation around them – and this leads to a small degree of bunching. Also, I think I’d feel quite cold if I was sleeping at the -7.4 deg C comfort rating temperature; and I broke one of the straps when compressing it.

Size 22x74x32cm
Outer fabric 100% nylon ripstop AC
Inner fabric 100% polyester dobby
Construction wave
Insulation Spirafil
Minimum comfort temperature rating -7.4 deg C
Packed size 45x26x80cm; 32x27x82cm compressed
Weight 1762g (bag); 1902g with stuffsack
Made in China
Stores in the UK 30

The Marmot Wave III is a great-value sleeping bag with everything you need for comfortable 3-season camping, but a stronger stuffsack is needed, and it may not feel quite as warm as the rating suggests. Still, we’d recommend it.

Review by Ben Winston
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2011

 


Marmot Wave III 2009

The Wave III 3-season synthetic sleeping bag has a long, slim-fitting mummy shape, with a roomy, well-shaped foot box. The full-length two-way zip runs smoothly and mostly snag-free. The hood and substantial shoulder baffle are adjusted by an easily identifiable mix of tape and bungee cords. It has a large internal pocket for keeping useful kit handy. The inner fabric is soft against the skin, and the bag feels instantly warm when you climb in. The outer fabric is tough and has good water resistance. The bag has a good temperature rating of -5, and it compresses down quite well so this means you can fit it into your rucksack with reasonable ease. But it is very heavy so although it can be squashed down it’s not the best for backpacking. The top half of the hood has an excess of fabric and bunches when tightened in. The internal stitched seams are quite noticeable against the skin.

 
Size 230x74x46cm
Shell Summit N-190 WR
Inner Ionic P-220
Construction wave
Insulation Spirafil
Packed size 45x20cm; 31x20cm compressed
Weight 2129g (bag only); 2265g with stuffsack
Made in China
Stores in the UK 35
Stockists – tel. (01539) 563616; www.marmot.com

Verdict: Weight is a drawback but compared to other 3-season synthetic sleeping bags of this price the Marmot Wave III offers a good compromise between the temperature rating and features for general 3-season camping. It won ‘Best Value’ in our test.

 

Review by Peter Macfarlane
First published in Trail magazine June 2009


Marmot Wave III

The Marmot Wave is a 3-season synthetic sleeping bag with a -7.5 deg C comfort limit when tested to EN13537 – and it does feel warm too, particularly around the chest. This is really noticeable as there is lots of extra insulation around the chest, while the hood and also the zip and shoulder baffles have plenty of fill in them. The Wave uses an overlapping shingle construction to prevent cold spots from developing at the seams, and this adds to the warm feeling of this bag, especially around the chest. It comes packed in a compression stuffsack. The bag is reasonably light, too. In use the excellent water repellency of the shell helps to keep the insulation dry. The zip has an excellent anti-snag design and the hood is very well-contoured and fits well. The drawcords are made of different cords so you can tell them apart in the dark and they are particularly well-designed to sit comfortably around the hood. In short, if you want a warm bag and need to save some cash then this is perfect for 3-season use, particularly if you like bags with chunky shoulder baffles and a warm chest area. But the Wave is heavier and not as small when compressed than other bags in its class. As with all bags these days the temperature ratings are confusing to understand.  

 

Size: 220x80x50cm
Shell: Summit nylon with DWR finish
Inner: Summit nylon
Construction: Wave shingle
Insulation: Spiral fill
Packed size: 43x22cm; 36x22cm compressed
Weight: 1780g (bag only); 1902g with stuffsack
Made in China
Stores in UK: England 14; Wales 3; Scotland 1; Ireland 0

Verdict: Buy it if you want a well-priced, well-insulated 3-season bag with quality features as this is ideal, particularly if you like chunky shoulder baffles and a warm chest area.