As you know, our gear reviews aren’t sponsored. We get a lot of gear and, quite frankly, we test the hell out of stuff.
This year was no exception: we took gear on a camping trips in Northern Ontario, as well as a multi-day canoe trip in the Kawartha Lakes, leading to Petroglyphs Provincial Park and Curve Lake First Nation. We also tested some gear at a rustic cabin (meaning no water or loo, folks). And while it’s true that some of the gear just didn’t make it, we found some things that we absolutely love — items that we know will be with you for a long, long time and many wild adventures.
We tested out a bunch of sleeping bags, which were scored based on functionality, design, warmth, comfort, and innovation. You can sleep soundly knowing that these are the best sleeping bags of 2015 that we tested:
Feathered Friends’ Penguin Nano 20 ($450 and up)
It’s also got a versatile design: it transforms from a single person bag into a bag for two. Just fully unzip the bag, lay it down as a comforter, and zip onto the ground sheet. To combat chilly weather, optional down-filled hoods can be attached to the groundsheet or zipped onto the sleeping bag. Unlike mummy-shaped bags, the rectangular design offers more space for your legs and footsies.
On a side note, the Penguin Nano is bulkier than most sleeping bags because of the generous down filling. This isn’t a problem unless you’re planning a backwoods trek and need to travel lightly. But it’s perfect for car camping or using as a comforter at the cottage.
What we loved: With so much down fill and padding, the Penguin Nano is like sleeping in a duvet – trapping in warmth but without turning the bag into a sauna. Feathered Friends uses goose down certified by the Responsible Down Standards (RDS). With such high rigid standards, the down is sourced from facilities that assure the ethical treatment and welfare of the geese.
If we could change one thing: The two-person sleep system was just a little snug for us. It was a tug of war over the blankets all night long. Just a tad more sleeping bag was needed to make this comfortable for two. But if you’re willing to snuggle up close to your bae, it’ll definitely do the job.
Ideal for: Car camping, cottaging, winter camping.
Rating: 4/5 stars
If down filling isn’t your thing, this is your bag, baby. The Hyperlamin Spark is lightest and warmest synthetic bag on the market.
Lightweight and with a silky outer shell that banishes cold, it’s great for winter and fall camping. Mountain Hardware uses a special thermal insulation on the shell and lining that eliminates cold spots, and a smart design that concentrates warmth to VIP areas (your footsies!). There’s also a face gasket and a built-in hoody to wrap around your noggin. Take that, Old Man Winter!
What we loved: It’s the only synthetic sleeping bag that I’ve been able to squish into my backpack. Also, unlike most sleeping bags, the Spark zips from the front rather than the side – making it easy to sit up, stick out your arms, or let in cool air while staying insulated around the torso.
If we could change one thing: We’re not big fans of the mummy-cut, because it restricts foot and leg space. Bring on a rectangular version of this sleeping bag!
Ideal for: car camping, cottaging, winter camping, backcountry camping.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Finally, a sleeping bag that’s designed for women’s bodies! Yes, girls, this is made for you. The curvy spoon-shaped design gives ample space at the knees and feet, and makes side-sleeping easy. Ultra Lightweight and well-insulated with 700-fill duck down, the Rhapsody is equipped to handle fall and winter camping. We also appreciated the silky interior that eliminated that gross muggy feeling that sometimes festers inside sleeping bags. PS: there is a man-version of this sleeping bag (see the Nemo Nocturne).
What we loved: Hardcore campers may consider this bulky, but we respectfully disagree. This was the lightest and most user-friendly bag of the bunch that we tested. Usually, it’s a struggle to roll up a sleeping bag and squeeze the damn thing into the carrying case. We didn’t even break a sweat with the Rhapsody: you can scrunch it into the sack in under a minute, and it was no burden to carry during our multi-day canoe trip.
If we could change one thing: Even though the Rhapsody is water resistant, if you get this thing drenched, you’re in deep doo-doo. Feathers that are soaking wet will turn a lightweight bag into an anchor. Make sure you store the Rhapsody in a dry bag if you’re on a multi-day camping trip.
Ideal for: Pretty much anything. Car camping, backpacking, winter camping, and multi-day treks.