Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600-Down 3-Season Sleeping Bag
Sleep in the wild like you do at home, with a comforter. With an over-sized, integrated comforter sealing the opening, you can sleep comfortably and naturally on your back, side, or stomach.
Catenary Shaped Opening
Versatile Integrated Comforter
Self-Sealing Foot Vent
Insulated Hand/Arm Pockets
Sleeping Pad Sleeve
DriDown 600-fill Duck Insulation
30D Polyester Ripstop Shell Material
30D Polyester Tafetta Lining Material
EN Comfort Limit: -2C (28F)
EN Lower Limit: -8C (17F)
Regular fits to 182 cm (6 ft), long to 198 cm (6 ft 6 in)
Weight - 1.39 kg (3 lb 1 oz) in regular, 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) in long
Shoulder: 155cm (61 in) in regular, 165 cm (65 in) in long
Hip: 152 cm (60 in) in regular, 163 cm (64 in) in long
Foot: 107cm (42 in) in regular, 112 cm (44 in) in long
Retail Price - $330
Sierra Designs has been coming up with some very interesting product as of late. They are thinking outside the box and creating solutions to issues people have in the outdoors. I must say I have been really intrigued by much of what they have been created, whether it be tents, sleeping bags, or even some of their apparel pieces. The Backcountry Bed is an excellent example of this new focus on innovation.
For me, testing this was a no brainer. I tend to struggle to sleep. Whether it is in my own bed or even more so in the mountains. My sleeping gear is something I therefore do not skimp on. Is it worth the extra weight to bring a pillow...yup! I envy those that can sleep so soundly. When I saw the backcountry bed I thought that just maybe I had a solution. It was the closest thing I have seen to an actual bed experience while in the mountains. I had to give it a shot.
I have tested the Backcountry Bed several times on different trips. Most of the trips were backpacking which allowed for me to also test the packability and other such features. Temperatures on my trips ranged from the high 20s to low 40s. As I am in Colorado and it was a pretty dry year, I really did not get the opportunity to test it in any heavy rain situations.
The Backcountry Bed is similar to the standard sleeping bag in some ways, but for the most part it is a break from the norm. First and foremost it does not have a zipper. Instead it has a large opening with a comforter style blanket top that covers the user or not. This is where the flexibility lies. The comforter is larger than the opening and is connected to the bag at the bottom of the opening keeping it for going anywhere. Without any zippers and having this comforter only connected on one side, the user can move it around however they see fit. They can also regulate temperature by either opening up the top or sticking a limb out through the opening. This is not the only cool feature. There is an opening under your feet if you need to stick them out to cool off as well. On the corners of the comforter top there is also some small pockets for your hands or arms to keep them warm if you do choose to roll down the top.
Accomodates Most Sleeping Positions
The Backcountry Bed comes in many variations, I tested the 3-Season, 600-fill down version. This is not the lightest version but it still comes in at just over 3 pounds. I would not consider this a lightweight bag, but for me the extra comfort is worth it so it is a no brainer. The bag uses 600-fill DriDown Duck Down. Dridown has been treated so it stays drier, keeps warmer, and dries faster than standard down. Even if it is not a wet night, your typical down bag can lose warmth through the night so the DriDown will help in that regard. If you want more info on down fill, click on the banner below.
Another feature I really appreciate is the sleeping pad sleeve on the back. I do not like waking up off my pad in the middle of the night so this feature is a near must for me. The regular I tested can hold a 20 inch pad in the sleeve. It keeps the upper half of the bag in place and lets our legs move around which makes it easier to sleep in whatever position you choose.
Half Pad Sleeve
The Backcountry Bed also gets decent marks for sustainability from my view. The lining and liner themselves are made of nylon which is not very sustainable, but the fill is. Down is harvested from birds that are being consumed for their meat which makes it much more sustainable than synthetic insulation. On another positive note. Sierra Designs is part of the American Rec collection of brands. As a group they support Conservation colorado, The Conservation Alliance, Outdoor Industries Association, and the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition. All these supporting the outdoors in one way or another.
Comfort is the main reason why I typically have a tough night sleeping. There are two reasons for this. One, I tend to feel restricted in a sleeping bag. Do to the shape I feel like I cannot spread out. Second, sleeping bags generally do not cater to sleeping in positions other than on your back. So over the last couple of years I have been trying different bags to find a solution, something I can sleep through the night in comfortably. I have found that up until this point that if it is warmer out and I can open up my bag I have a better shot than if it is colder and I need to close it up.
Footbox Vent for Warm Nights
The Backcountry Bed is not like other sleeping bags and that is what made it intriguing to me. For one, there is no zippers but rather a comforter top that i can move around as needed. This allows me to sleep both on my side and stomach rather easily. The wide opening and flexibility that the comforter provided help me with unrestricted movement. I was able to move around easier to hopefully find that perfect spot. Another thing of note is how easy it was getting in and out of the bag. I could do it as I needed and even better yet, no zipper to wake up my tent mate. Of course there is often a zipper on the tent door if I needed to go out, but having one less to open makes it a little less likely to wake them up. Another cool thing about the comforter top is that you can open up and vent easily or just poke out an arm or two if needed.
I really appreciated having the pad sleeve for the upper half of the bag. Since I move around a lot, this helps keep my upper half on my pad which is one less thing I have to worry about. Having the legs free is also the key for someone who sleeps on their side. I like to tuck my knees up and being able to bring the bag up with me helps. I also liked having the hand pockets on the corners of the comforter top. Not so much as I stuff my hands in there when on my back but I liked having them for when I slept on my stomach. I was able to use that to pull the top over me and around me as I slept on my arms. Overall, the Backcountry Bed has been one of the most comfortable sleeping bags I have slept in.
Arm Pockets on the Blanket
I have established that the bag was comfortable but how did it perform? Actually better than expected I must say. I really questioned whether or not the bag would be warm enough. On one trip it was down around freezing for the night (likely warmer in the tent) and I was pushing the the temperature rating a little bit. I was afraid that I would be cold with the unattached comforter top. It turns out that I was pleasantly warm all night. From my experience the bag lives up to its temperature rating. The down lofts up well and I did not have any issues with cold spots. Those often develop over time so we will see if that happens but so far so good. While I did not get any really wet conditions to test in, I can say that over the course of the night, the bag seemed to retain its loft well. Untreated down bags can lose a little loft overnight as the vapor from you sleeping causes typical down to get slightly damp.
The Backcountry Bag has a really interesting design element. The opening is catenary shaped. The opening is smaller than the bag width so when you push out, the walls push in to seal out drafts. I found that this really worked. On some windy nights I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of wind that came in through the opening. Another cool feature is the Foot Vent. It is easy to operate without your hand and truly does self seal when not in use. By having this you can easy cool off without having to mess around with zippers, much appreciated. Of course it is important to mention that I tested the 600-fill version so it was not as light or compactable as the 800-fill version is but still pretty good. I am more than happy to give up a little for more comfort and flexibility and this bag definitely accomplishes that.
Overall, this has been my favorite bag to date. For the trouble backcountry sleeper like myself, this has been a great bag to test. It is very flexible allowing me to sleep all the different ways I need to. Sierra Designs really has been trying to push the envelope on design and this bag shows it. I only wish they made a 4-season version so I can replace one of my colder bags. If you are someone who sleeps well on your back then maybe this is not needed for you, but as someone who does not I would recommend this bag for those other challenged sleepers. Sierra Designs has a winner here. The Backcountry Bed comes in several models, fills, and temperature ratings to fill whatever your need is. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.
Flexible for side and stomach sleeping
Handless Foot Vent
Hand pockets helps with maneuvering the comforter
Down Tek Down is light and water resistant
Zipperless opening can let in drafts if you move a lot while asleep
Need a 4-season version =)