Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800
One of the more revolutionary sleeping bag designs in recent years, the Backcountry Bed eschews the conventional elements of a typical bag for a roomier, more comfortable design. And as tester Dan Nelson reported, it mostly succeeds. The bag is exceptionally comfy and very warm—but it was also the heaviest in the class of packs he tested, which may make it a no-go for ultralight backpackers.
Therm-a-Rest Mira 15
With a rating of 91 out of 100, this is the highest-rated (and highest-priced) pack in our recent test. The Mira relies on the insulation of your sleeping pad, which you attach to the underside of the pack, an approach that made it the lightest in its class without sacrificing any warmth, even when temps bottomed out at 18 degrees on Mount Rainier.
Dan describes this 850-fill down sleeping bag as the perfect middle ground between lightweight compressibility and roomy, comfortable warmth. The proprietary Down Defender kept it dry in wet camps on our tests, and was deemed incredibly comfortable by all class of testers.
Coming in only three points higher than the Helium (which scored 85 out of 100) the Plasma is also about $170 more expensive than its brother. The extra coin gets you considerably more warmth (900-fill down); Pertex Quantum water-resistance; high compressibility; an easy-to-store, lightweight package; and an overall comfortable night’s sleep.
Columbia Reactor 35
At the other end of the price spectrum, the Columbia Reactor ranked a respectable 80 out 100 points in our testing last year. And now the bag can be found for around $70, which is a steal for a synthetic-insulated, 25- to 35-degree bag. It uses Columbia’s OmniHeat tech (tiny silver dots that reflect your body heat) in the inside, weighs a reasonable two pounds, and performs well in temps above 40 degrees. However that Omni-Heat fabric does create a slightly sticky feeling when you’re sleeping in your skivvies.