Light weight is no longer the most coveted quality in the line up of 2017 sleeping bags. Brands are incorporating comfort into backcountry nights like never before with zipperless technology and luxury-class sleeping pads.
Quilted for comfort
Sierra Designs took quilts to the mass market several seasons ago, and now many brands are evolving zipperless sleeping bags into comfort items for all types of campers. Quilts also function as a specialized item for warm-weather camping, hut trips or as a cover to add warmth and extend another bag’s range. They are also a favorite for hammock campers.
Down to Earth
“The biggest story is the decrease in down pricing from 2016,” said NEMO’s Ben Saunders, director of sales. “This should bring down the pricing on many down sleeping bags in 2017 and make them more approachable for consumers looking to get into their first down bag.” In addition, treated down is increasingly eco-friendly as brands have found ways to make insulation hydrophobic without using PFC.
Sleeping alone is out as more brands are introducing two-person bags for S17. “This has to do with a growth in activity camping where more people, especially Millennials, are getting out on weekends to do a variety of car- or basecamping activities like mountain biking, climbing, SUPing,” said Casey Sumnicht, equipment product manager at Sierra Designs. “These activities are all about getting outside and enjoying the weekend, so the growth of comfort-camping products like double sleeping bags are a result of this.”
On a bed of air
Bags hog all the glory of the sleep system, but they’re not what insulates campers against the ground. Today’s pads are getting better in every way: smaller to pack, thicker when inflated and better insulating. Reflective fabrics and synthetic insulation are also increasing R-values without incurring weight or size penalties.
After a large scale roll out last year, NEMO is focusing on innovation in just a few pads and bags for S17. Building on the success of Symphony and Concerto, the Symphony Duo (pictured; MSRP $350) and Symphony Luxury Duo (MSRP $370) use NEMO's integrated bed sheet that features two-way zips on each side.
Look for the new Big Agnes double Sentinel (30°F; 3 lbs., 7 oz.; MSRP $370), insulated by 600-fill DownTek. Three other double bags have undergone updates offering couples comfort whether camped in the backcountry or the back of a pickup.
Marmot’s new Phase 20 (MSRP $459) with 850-fill goose down features an innovative full-length, anti-snag zipper and a new anatomical wrap-around footbox for increased comfort without losing heat. It stays ultralight at 1 pound 7 ounces, and is filled and finished in California.
Big Agnes adds the Q-Core SLX (MSRP $140-$220), featuring re-designed I-beams for multidirectional stability and lighter materials with a smaller pack size.
Kelty debuts the Tru.Comfort Doublewide (MSRP $180) for customizable bedding at the campsite. Synthetic insulation pairs with two built-in blankets, foot vent and zip-off top layer to dial in comfort. The oversized hood fits two home pillows.
The new Brooks-Range Snooze Sleeping Bag Series offers dependable warmth with 700-fill goose down and great weight-to-warmth-to-price ratio. The series includes three bags: 5°F (MSRP $360), 20°F (pictured; MSRP $300) and 35°F (MSRP $260) models.
Eureka! debuts new car-camping gear with the the Super BlowUp Pad (MSRP $110), designed to pump up faster and provide a softer sleep. In a mere 15 pumps, says the brand, it’s fully inflated and ready for relaxing. Combine it with the Mashmellow Cover (MSRP $50) and you have the Super Mellow Cush Combo (MSRP $140), which adds an inch of foam for a luxe car-camping experience.
New for S17, Therm-a-Rest’s Trail King SV (MSRP $130) offers campers a 2.5-inch-thick, self-inflating backpacking mattress that weighs 1 pound, 13 ounces.
This story first appeared on p. 28 of the Day 2 issue of Outdoor Retailer Daily.