The Marmot Trestles Elite 0 is an incredibly affordable synthetic winter sleeping bag. It has several comfort and convenience-enhancing features such as a stash pocket and a second partial zipper that allows the top to be folded down for ventilation or ease of sitting and lounging. The synthetic HL-ElixR insulation and the 40-denier shell material makes this bag exceedingly durable and it withstands a dousing of water or precipitation. If you are looking for an inexpensive winter bag, this is an excellent option at an extremely reasonable price.
The Marmot Trestles Elite 0 is a classic mummy-style sleeping bag with durable synthetic insulation.
The Marmot Trestles Elite is insulated with HL-ElixR, what Marmot describes as a unique blend of three fibers. It features what Marmot calls Wave Construction on the top, which is supposed to maximize loft, and blanket construction on the bottom, which is more comfortable for lying on top of. Of the three synthetic bags in our winter sleeping bag test, we found that this one fell in the middle. It was not quite as warm as The North Face Guide and was a little warmer than the Backcountry Montana. We did test it in stormy Alaskan conditions and were satisfied with its performance and insulating ability.
On our scale, the Trestles Elite 0 weighed 3 lbs 12.8 oz. This is quite heavy if it is intended to be packed and carried in a backpack. That is about as much as many lightweight tents! However, it is about 7 ounces lighter than the Montana, so it would be a better option to carry than that alternative. For winter camping situations where the bag does not need to be carried: car camping, river trips, or fly-in expeditions, the weight becomes a non-issue and warmth and water resistance are far more important.
This bag accompanied one tester for a two-week stormy stay on a glacier in Alaska, which turned out to be ideal testing conditions. Even when the tent began to leak in the corners, the tester stayed warm and dry in the Trestles Elite, mostly due to the synthetic insulation. This insulation does not clump together and lose its loft like down, so it is much wiser to use in wet weather.
As a synthetic 0ºF bag, the compressibility of the Trestles Elite leaves much to be desired. Even when packed into its included compression sack, with the straps pulled as tight as they can go, the overall package is about the size of a watermelon. At least it doesn’t weigh as much as one! For packing into a backpack, this would present some problems. Namely, that you wouldn’t be able to fit much else in your pack. However, for car camping or for expeditions where you get dropped off by a plane (such as on the Pika Glacier during our test) the packed size is inconsequential.
More than any other winter sleeping bag we tried, this one seems to be designed with ample tent-time in mind, which is convenient because that was how we tested it. Unique to this bag in our test selection, the Marmot Trestles Elite has a second partial zipper on the opposite side of the bag from the main zipper. This allows the top to be folded down for ventilation or to poke arms out while reading, drinking, or cooking. This does make the bag more livable and comfortable for long periods being tent-bound in a storm. The footbox is designed to be three dimensional to allow the feet a comfortable natural position. Also, as a matter of convenience, there is an interior stash pocket to keep personal items close by throughout the night.
Like all of its fellow winter bags, the Trestles Elite has a draft tube along the inside of the zipper, a hood that cinches tight around the face, and a draft collar to keep warm air inside the bag. The draft collar is a unique horseshoe shape designed to tuck around the neck, but it is thin. We prefer the ultra-puffy draft collars on the Feathered Friends Snowbunting, the Therm-a-Rest Questar, and The North Face Guide because they cushion the face and neck like a large pillow and also keep warm air contained within the bag.
On top of the synthetic insulation, which provides greater short-term durability than down, the Trestles Elite features a burly 40-denier shell material. This is denser and far less likely to snag than the 15-denier material used on many of the other lightweight bags. This does mean that the Trestles Elite lacks the silken softness of the Therm-a-Rest Questar and The North Face Guide, but longevity might be more important to budget-conscious shoppers. Synthetic insulation plus this tough exterior shell will allow this bag to withstand hard use for a while. With this model, there is no worry about your ice axe or crampon points accidentally coming into contact with your sleeping bag.