Three-Season Sleeping Bag
REI Magma 10 and Magma 17
$349, 1 lb. 13 oz. (regular) 10° F
Sizes: men’s and women’s regular and long
On the last night of a 40-mile May backpacking trip in Utah’s Dark Canyon, a friend and I slept out under the stars and a heavy dew fell during the night. But I didn’t notice it until after waking up, seeing the droplets covering everything around me, and sticking a hand outside to feel my bag’s wet shell. Inside my REI Magma 10—which appeared to lose none of its loft, despite its shell getting soaked—I stayed warm and dry. That was a clincher moment in convincing me of what a super value REI’s men’s and women’s Magma sleeping bags represent in high-quality, water-resistant down bags.
I slept comfortably in this mummy bag for three May nights backpacking Utah’s Dark Canyon, including one night at over 8,500 feet when the low dipped into the 30s Fahrenheit and I left the rainfly off my tent and wore only underwear and a long-sleeve top. (A tent with its rainfly on is usually several degrees warmer than the outside air; but it doesn’t trap heat with the rainfly off.) The bag warmed up within a minute after I crawled inside, and I closed the bag and hood up completely. I also used it on two nights in the 40s Fahrenheit on a 39-mile, mid-September backpacking trip in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, including a night when the bag’s shell got damp from heavy rain blowing into the tent before I woke up and closed the vestibule door (which I’d left open because it wasn’t raining when I fell asleep).
It was more than warm enough for the temperatures I experienced; most nights, I didn’t even have to zip it up completely or put up the hood. I think the EN (European Norm) comfort rating of 22° F and limit rating 10° F for the men’s Magma 10, and 17° F and 3° F for the women’s Magma 17, are reliable measures for people who don’t get cold too easily; those who do may prefer to use these bags in temps at least 10 to 15 degrees warmer than those ratings. I stayed dry when the bag got wet thanks to its 17.6 ounces (500 grams) of water-resistant 850-fill goose down feathers (in the men’s regular), and a down-proof Pertex shell that let no feathers leak out and repelled moisture. The shell dried quickly in the morning sunshine, thanks in part to its black color.
The bag’s generous dimensions—72 inches long, 60 inches of girth at the shoulders, and 57 inches at the hips (in the men’s regular)—allowed me to easily pull on pants while inside it. The warm, contoured hood’s two drawstrings let me adjust the fit as snugly as I wanted around my face, and it has space for a small, inflatable pillow, while an insulated neck yoke keeps cold air outside. The horizontal baffles with variable spacing prevent the down from migrating, for thermal efficiency and to help minimize weight. The trapezoidal foot box provides comfortable space and keeps feet warm. The zipper moves smoothly, without snagging, thanks to a zipper cover and an internal anti-snag strip. The stuff sack measures 15×7.5 inches (eight liters), but a compression sack can squeeze this into a slightly smaller package.
REI has built a successful business model based partly on offering quality products at value prices. With the men’s Magma 10 and women’s Magma 17 sleeping bags, it has done that again.
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NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all my gear reviews at The Big Outside.
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