Marmot Plasma 30
$419, 1 lb. 6 oz. (regular)
Sizes: regular (6’), long (6’6”)
I don’t have room in my life for a heavy, bulky sleeping bag. If I’m backpacking with my young kids, carrying most of our food and gear, or loaded down for a multi-day climbing trip, I need to cut ounces everywhere possible. If I’m backpacking without my family, I want to go as light as possible. The newest bag to raise the superlight bar—or lower it, if you will—is the Plasma 30. I used it recently for five nights on the Ptarmigan Traverse in Washington’s North Cascades, and earlier this summer camping at Idaho’s City of Rocks and rafting Oregon’s Grand Ronde River. It had warmth to spare on nights in the upper 30s; I’d trust it down to its rating, no problem.
The secrets are a baffle design that keep insulation from shifting; a very lightweight but tough and water-resistant Pertex shell, which breathes well to dry the bag quickly when it gets damp; and 900-fill goose down, the airiest feathers you can get. The result is a bag that’s trimly cut but adequately roomy, has a conservative temperature rating, and packs nearly as small as a loaf of bread. The nicely contoured hood, ample draft tube, and a collar with snaps to help trap heat inside are great details. The warmer Plasma 15 is $469 and 1 lb. 12 oz.