Stoic Somnus 15 ReviewAugust 17, 2012
- Superlight at 1 lb. 15 oz.
- Dual-direction center zipper a boon for mountaineers, side sleepers.
- Great price.
- Pocket at foot for a warming water bottle.
- Soft hand of fabric.
- Half-length zippers makes venting tough.
- Can’t be mated with another bag.
- Down won’t insulate when wet.
A high-value, high-performance, amazingly comfortable bag. Insulated with top-of-the-line 850-fill down and using Pertex Quantum fabric, the Somnus boasts great warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility.
Stoic is backcountry.com’s house brand, and those economies afford them the ability to bring high-end materials for a reasonable price. Given the relatively pedestrian price for a bag sporting this level of material and performance pedigree, it’s hard not to be drawn to the Somnus.
Stoic takes lofty 850-fill down and wraps it in soft, lightweight Pertex Quantum. It has a very low denier, which makes it silky to the touch and rarely leaks feathers despite its thin-ness. Together, it all adds up to top-notch compressibility and warmth-to weight ratio. The half-zipper, of course, saves weight and adds compressibility.
Center-zip bags are designed for mountaineers to sleep comfortably while remaining tied into a rope—the rope feeds through the lower end of the two-way half-zipper. It also lets side sleepers avoid lying across the zipper. Additionally, it makes climbing in and out of the bag easier—doubly so compared to other half-length zippered bags.
Vertical baffles in the torso make sense because they parallel the zipper. Add some extra warmth by stashing a hot water bottle in the zippered footbox pouch. The Somnus’ two-way zipper is stout—a downgrade in the gauge would have made the bag even lighter without raising objection—and runs smoothly despite the lack of a guide. When temperatures drop, a serviceable draft tube stands guard, and on warmer nights the bottom zipper can set an arm free without totally unzipping the bag.
Technical details aside, the center zip carries a certain cache, and our Smith Rock testers felt close to their roots even while sleeping on the ground. Center zippers probably aren’t for everyone; warmer sleepers may be frustrated at the limited venting, and couples may bum out because the bags can’t be zipped together for that other brand of 2 a.m. nature call.