Stoic Somnus 30
$299 (regular), $319 (long), 1 lb. 8 oz. (regular)
Sizes: regular (6’), long (6’6”)
I tend to get a nervous tick when a manufacturer touts an ultralight sleeping bag: I think they shaved weight either by using less insulation (read: you’ll shiver), or the bag is cut like a straitjacket. So I was truly impressed by the new version of the Somnus 30, which just went on sale (with the down upgraded from 800- to 850-fill, making the bag slightly lighter). It may be the perfect summer-weight down bag.
I test-drove it in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. On two nights with lows in the 40s, I didn’t even have to completely close up the bag; and when the mercury dipped below freezing on our last night, while I did completely mummy inside the bag, I was quite warm and comfortable. (Generally a warm sleeper, I wore long underwear and a long-sleeve top that night, but only a T-shirt and skivvies on the milder nights.) It speaks volumes that an ultralight bag keeps you warm right down to its temperature rating.
Every aspect of this bag’s design gets a thumbs-up. Unlike some ultralight, mummy-style bags, the shoulder and leg space is great—I could easily pull on pants inside the bag. The hood wraps cleanly without feeling like a helmet. I think every sleeping bag should have a center zipper like this one, rather than a zipper on the side, where it seems I have to nearly dislocate my shoulder to reach the zipper. This half-length zip reduces weight while opening the bag up enough to get in and out without requiring advanced yoga moves. As a side sleeper, I like that the zipper doesn’t dangle in my face, and that the vertical torso baffles keep the down feathers from migrating. The Somnus uses durable but lightweight Pertex Quantum fabric in the shell, with a coating that repels moisture (but is not waterproof), and packs away small but puffs up fat. A zippered pocket at the footbox holds a hot water bottle to warm your toes (though I prefer keeping a bottle inside the bag with me). The price is lower than some ultralight competitors. Bonus: The bag comes with a compression stuff sack.
For more reviews of my favorite sleeping bags, type the words “sleeping bags” into the Search box at left. See also my Pro Tips articles “How to Choose a Sleeping Bag” and “Staying Warm in a Sleeping Bag.”