REI Lumen ReviewJune 4, 2015
- Comfortable fit
- Good performance in wet conditions
- Modest warmth-to-weight ratio
The REI Lumen provided a very comfortable night’s sleep in most temperatures, but the bag excelled in the cool, damp conditions along Washington’s wild coastal trails. However, that comfort in camp was countered by a bulky, heavy load on the trail. The bag is the second-heaviest in our test—only the Big Agnes Lost Ranger was heavier—and one of the least compressible.
The synthetic polyester insulation used throughout the Lumen provides decent warmth, even when damp, yet the material does not compact well. The Lumen packs down to a lumpy 8- by 15-inch stuff sack.
The roomy cut of the Lumen creates a comfortable fit, but leaves a few air pockets that can that serve as cold-air sinks. I found the footbox to be a little too roomy, and although I liked the generously cut torso section, some testers felt the overall width was too great for 3-season backcountry use. The synthetic fill material used by REI did excel at retaining heat, even when the bag was dampened by a nighttime squall (our tester was was sleeping out on the beach near Cape Alava). The hood cinches snugly and comfortably, helping seal in body heat.
The slim pocket near the neckline earned muted praise from a couple testers who liked being able to keep a small flashlight or headlamp handy during the night. I loved the hood draw-cords myself—the cord to cinch the hood is round, while the release cord is flat, making it easy to grab the correct cord during nighttime adjustments.
The Lumen features a full-length zipper for easy access and good ventilation, and the backing tape does a good job eliminating snags.
The REI Lumen provided a great night’s sleep thanks largely to its generous cut that allows nearly unrestricted movement. I could toss from side to back to stomach to side all night long without fully awakening. But the generous cut was almost too generous for some—I appreciated the width through the shoulder area, but at times my feet did get a bit chilly in the cavernous footbox. The hood is well designed to snug securely when needed, but it will also open wide enough to cradle a pillow if you don’t need a hood.
The ripstop nylon shell withstood extensive use and abuse on a range of surfaces with no noticeable effect. The anti-snag backer tape on the zipper works well to prevent snagging and tearing during zipper operation. This is a bag that should perform well for years.
The Lumen’s durability, comfort and solid performance more than justify the modest $159 price, even when balanced against the bag’s hefty weight and bulk.