Nemo Ramsey 30 ReviewDecember 12, 2018
- The blanket fold draft collar adds comfort
- Good ventilation
- Great included compression sack
- Packs small
- Pillow-pocket is too small
The Nemo Ramsey is a standard mummy bag loaded with non-standard features. It has clever additions to increase comfort and livability such as gills to dump hot air when the temperatures climb and a blanket-esque draft collar that tucks-in around the neck when the temperatures dip. This product stands out for its durability and comfort but suffers from a high weight for a summer sleeping bag.
The Ramsey exemplifies the trade-off that often happens between comfort and weight on outdoor gear. At 2 pounds 1 ounce, the Ramsey is the second heaviest bag in our summer sleeping bag test. It is heavier than the synthetic insulated Marmot Ultra Elite and it is even heavier than several of the three-season bags we tested in another review, and those are significantly warmer and filled with more insulation. All the features included in this bag – which make it more comfortable and pleasurable to use – add to this weight. The heavy-by-comparison weight is the biggest downside to this product and discourages us from wanting to carry the Ramsey on a backpacking trip, especially when we have many other options to choose from. That being said, when weight is not a consideration – such as when car-camping or road-tripping – we think the Ramsey is the most comfortable and useful of the bunch.
On its surface, the Ramsey does not seem like it would be a particularly compressible bag. It has thicker fabrics on the hood and footbox and features that take up space, such as the Blanket Fold draft collar and the extra zippers on the stash pocket and Thermo Gills. Additionally, it is insulated with 650-fill power down, which is less compressible than the higher quality 800- and 900-fill power down in other models in our review. What saves the compressibility of this bag is the excellent compression sack that comes with it. Many times sleeping bags come with pack sacks that will do the job, but if you want to compress the bag to its full potential an after-market compression sack needs to be purchased. However, the Ramsey comes with an excellent compression sack that shrinks the bag down into a tidy little package.
Since the Ramsey is designed for summer camping, it offers a unique ventilation feature for when the nights are too warm. Obviously, the side zipper can be undone and the top of the bag can be flipped open if the sleeper is too warm; this is standard with any mummy-style sleeping bag. The downside to this method is that it leaves the sleeper exposed to drafts and breezes. So the Ramsey also includes Thermo Gills. These gills are zipped pockets down the top of the bag. When they are closed, the bag functions as normal. When they are opened, the gills expose spaces that are not insulated, so that warm air can escape the confines of the bag and cool down its occupant. This allows for dumping hot air without being vulnerable to cool drafts.
Insulated with 650-fill down, we found the warmth of the 30-degree Ramsey to be adequate. It was comparable to other 30-degree models that we tested, such as the Marmot Ultra Elite and the Big Agnes Wiley. The ability to cinch the hood around the face and tuck the Blanket Fold draft collar in around the neck increased the warmth and the coziness of the bag.
The features on the Ramsey make this fairly standard mummy-style bag stand out from the rest. First of all, there are the ventilation features mentioned above: the Thermo Gills and the side zipper. The gills, though they have fuzzy tiny zippers, offer a unique way to dump body heat without letting in cold drafts. To see what the gills accomplish, we opened them and then held the bag up to the light. It was obvious to the naked eye that there is no insulation where the gills are, but that the rest of the bag is filled with down. So these gills offer uninsulated patches that will breathe without letting in a breeze.
Second, there are the warmth and comfort features such as the Blanket Fold draft collar and the cinchable hood. At first, our testers thought that the draft collar was silly. If flipped upwards it covers the face, and it seems like a superfluous amount of fabric and insulation that adds to the weight and bulk of the bag. However, after sleeping in the Ramsey we completely changed our tune. The folding draft collar tucks comfortably around the neck and feels cozy and comfortable – almost like sleeping in a bed. The collar works really well to keep warm air inside around the body. We found that we loved snuggling into this bag with this collar, and the collar made us choose to sleep in the Ramsey more than other bags that lack this feature.
Then there are a few other details that make the Ramsey extra livable: a pillow sleeve and stash pocket. We almost didn’t notice the stash pocket at first. It is inconspicuously located along the top of the bag near the edge of the zipper. (We used the bag several nights before we noticed this pocket.) We think this is a very convenient place to tuck a headlamp, tissues, a phone, or a contact case so that your most important items aren’t lost and rolling around the floor of the tent or the truck bed. In the hood, behind where the head would rest, is an extra pocket of fabric. This pocket can be stuffed with a jacket or extra clothing to form a pillow, which then stays comfortably and conveniently in place. Nemo also sells a small camping pillow that we assume would fit inside this flap. We tried to wrangle our Sea to Summit Aeros pillow in there, but the pocket was too small for that pillow.
Overall, we think that the features on the Ramsey make it comfortable and livable. When spending a night camped near our vehicle, we most often chose the Ramsey because it is so pleasurable to sleep in.
The Ramsey stands out in the durability category because the fabrics used in its construction have higher deniers than the other bags in this test, meaning that the fibers are denser over a certain length. Most of the other bags in this review feature 20-denier materials, with the Sierra Designs Cloud 35 being the exception and using 15-denier nylon. The Ramsey, on the other hand, is constructed with 30-denier nylon. On top of that, the footbox and hood incorporate 40-denier water resistant fabric that enhances the durability and water resistance of the bag even further. We can feel the thickness difference of these fabrics by hand, so we anticipate that this bag will hold us to more abrasion and hard use than the bags constructed with more fragile fabrics.