Zenbivy Light Bed
The Zenbivy Light Beds have a patent-pending zipper-less design which means they can hang with the lightest quilts and mummies on the market. Add to that the comfort of a Zenbivy Bed, and its ability to transform from a Quilt, to a Rectangular Bag, to the warmth of a Mummy—the Zenbivy Light Beds are even more capability to take you anywhere.
The Zenbivy Light Bed is a two-piece sleeping bag, but it really isn't a bag at all. Bags are not designed to sleep in your favorite sleep position. Bags slide off mattresses. Bags get twisted when you move in them. Bags are only one size (some are warm but small, some are big but cold).
With the Light Bed, you don't slide off the mattress. You cover it with a soft sheet and lie on it, just like at home. The separate top quilt "floats" even when zipped in, so it won't twist around you, pin you, or trap you. The quilt can be "tucked in" for cold weather or "untucked" for warm. The hood gives you a snug place for your head and arms, with the quilt tucked in as snugly as you want. All without constricting your head and neck with a bag's web of cords and toggles.
20% Lighter than the original Zenbivy Bed
No zippers, uses hooks for attachment
800+ fill HyperDry water-resistant down insulation in 10 and 25-degree
140g 1d/3d XD Synthetic insulation in 40-degree
Soft 20d Nylon Taffeta coating-free fabric with fluorocarbon-free DWR
Compressible to 4-5L
3 setup modes: Mummy Mode, Rectangular Mode, Quilt Mode
3 temperature levels: 10-degree, 25-degree, and 40-degree
Customizable combinations with the sheet and quilt sold separately
4 sizes available: Regular 20x72, Large 20x72, Large 25x77, X-Large 30x80
Weight between 1lb 13oz to 3lb depending on size and warmth
Price: $379 as tested
Zenbivy is a newer company to the sleeping bag game. They launched a couple years ago with the Zenbivy Bed which was a unique take on the sleeping bag. A hybrid design that was centered around 2-pieces that unlike previous takes, made no compromise on performance. Now myself being a side and stomach sleeper, I have always been on the lookout for a better backcountry sleeping experience. I have tried mummy bags and they have been all right, especially the ones that link to my pad. I have also tried the Backcountry Bed by Sierra Designs which until recently was my favorite. Ultimately I just want to sleep good in the backcountry and I imagine others do too, so with that I was really excited that Zenbivy worked with me to give the Zenbivy Light Bed a test.
I slept in it. This spring/summer has not been the best time for me to test out a sleeping bag. I ended up moving back to Bend, OR during the time and thus it made my options for getting out limited. Nonetheless I was able to get some nights in. Nothing crazy from a weather perspective, mostly in the 40’s so cold enough that I could test it, but not cold enough to get down to the limits.
I reviewed a Zenbivy Light Regular size 25-degree sheet with a Large 25-degree Quilt. What is interesting about their whole setup is how it can be customized which I will cover off on more below.
Zenbivy Bags are hybrid by design. All their beds are a two-piece design that is composed of a bottom sheet that connects to your sleeping pad and a top quilt that connects to the bottom sheet. On the original Zenbivy Bed these connections were by zippers, but on the new light version they have changed them over to lightweight clips that hook to different loops depending on how you want to set-up your bed. What is great about this two-piece design is how you can customize your bed.
There are three temperature ratings for the sheets and quilts: 10-degree, 25-degree, and 40-degree. They all work the same, so you can mix and match as needed as well. Such as you could own one sheet and then have different quilts for different conditions if you wanted. With the different temperatures, they also offer different sizes. For the sheets there are two sizes in the Light Bed. The regular is 20 inches wide by 72 inches long for a standard size sleeping pad. The large is 25 inches wide and 77 inches long and can accept a long and wide sleeping pad. For the quilts there are three sizes to mix and match. The regular is 54 inches wide and 78 inches long and made to be paired with the regular sheet. The large is 58 inches wide and 86 inches long. It can be paired with both the regular and large sheets depending on your size and preference. Finally, there is also an XL that is 64 inches wide and 90 inches long. This one is made to be paired with the Large sheet for the most room of all the combinations.
The Zenbivy Light Bed varies from its regular sibling in that it uses a lighter and more compressible 800-fill HyperDRY water-resistant down in the 10 and 25. In the 40-degree it uses a 140g XD Synthetic insulation. The shell material is similar in that they both use a 20 denier Nylon Teffeta with DWR. This material is both light and soft. Zenbivy chose to stick with the 20d versus the lighter 10d because the comfort gain is worth more than the slight decrease in weight.
The bed can be setup in three different ways depending on how you like to sleep. The Mummy mode for colder temperatures has the quilt attached into the hood and the footbox closed for a mummy-like draft free sleep. The Rectangular mode is good for moderate temperatures and increased motion. It unhooks some of the top hooks for a blanket like upper and wider setup for your feet to allow for range of motion. Last is the Quilt Mode, a fast and light option. You can leave behind the sheet and just use your quilt with your sleeping pad making the Zenbivy Light Bed both a bag and quilt in one. To complete all these options, all you need is a sleeping pad. What is great with this be is it can be used with both a rectangular and mummy shaped pad. Zenbivy now even sells their own pads which I have not tried but do look intriguing.
So, I have mentioned above some of my struggles finding a bed for the backcountry. Mummy bags have bene too confining as I do not sleep on my back much. That was helped when Big Agnes introduced the pad sleeve that stayed put when I rolled around, but still was not ideal. Next best thing was the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed which got high reviews here on YMMV Reviews as it both was connected to the pad and had more room for moving around and sleeping on my side. But I must say that we have a new favorite. What I really like is all the options.
I tested the regular size sheet with the large quilt, both in the 25-degree model. According to the size guide, this setup is good for 5’6” to 6’6” and up to 225 lbs. I myself am 5’11” and 175 lbs. so I fit pretty much right in the middle of the range. I also primarily set the bag up in rectangular mode for a little more room. I really liked this because it allowed me to sleep however I wanted. There is ample room to move around in the bag. If I were to do anything next time it would be to opt for the large in the sheet. I am willing to sacrifice a little more weight for a little wider pad. I do think that the 6’6” height is a bit too high, I personally would say if you are over 6’ I would suggest the large sheet and larger pad unless your are a weight weenie. You will fit, I just think you will fit better in the larger bag and longer pad.
One thing on the bag that is both a blessing and a slight curse is the hooks. I really like that you can hook as many of them to the pad as you please. IF you want the top of the bag to serve more as a blanket, you can do that. If you want it to be hooked in up to your shoulders, you can do that to. You can also vary one side versus the other. There is lots of flexibility there. On the other side, the hooks to allow for you to on occasion poke through the side into the open air. I only noticed this with my feet. If you are too warm this can be a nice feature, like not tightening the bottom drawstring all the way for more ventilation. But on a colder night this could be an unwelcome surprise. It did not happen often so I do not really worry about it during the course of using the bag, but something worth noting if you are comparing the hooks on the light versus the zippers on the regular bed.
What is there not to like about the Zenbivy Light Bed. I slept great which is really all I need to say. The temperature rating seemed correct; I had no complaints there. I really like that the bag is connected to my pad. I used it with a Big Agnes Q-Core SLZ 20x72 sleeping pad and it worked great. The pad is rectangular in shape and that fit in the pad sleeve nicely. One thing about the pad I used is that it measures between 3.5 and 4.25 inches thick. At first, I was not sure if this would work as Zenbivy recommends a pad no thicker than 3 inches. I can say I had no issues with the thicker pad. I even pumped it up first before attaching it to my pad, so I know it was pumped all the way up and had no issues.
If there was anything worth mentioning as a challenge with the bag it would be learning the set-up options the first couple times. How to set up your bag mummy style and rectangular style. There are several hooks you need to set-up, so it takes a time or two to get the hang of it. Also due to the several hooks, this is not something you are going to want to change in the dark in the middle of the night. You will want to set it up the way you want and likely stick to it through the night.
One other thing that I appreciate about the Zenbivy Light Bag is that with all these features and parts, the bag is still very light and compresses very well. I do not feel like there was any sacrifices in the carry ability of the bag. This is a big deal as there have always been options for a bigger or more comfortable bag, but these had big sacrifices for weight and compressibility. Not the Zenbivy Light Bed.
Overall, the Zenbivy Light Bed is my new favorite. I must say that I am really impressed by this bag. I like the different options for set-up. I like that you can pair different quilts with one sheet if you want to have options. I like that the bag connects to your pad. I like that you are not sacrificing weight or compressibility. Ultimately, I like that I sleep better in this bag. If there are any negatives, they are small and one is a pro if you are too warm, but a negative in some other times. I would recommend giving the Zenbivy Light Bag a try if you are like me and a mummy bag has not been the answer for you in the backcountry. You will not be disappointed. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.
3 sleeping modes
Can mix and match sheets and quilts
Attaches to sleeping pad
Set-up more complex than typical sleeping bag