Published on January 24th, 2014 | by Greg0
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600: A Re-Imagined Sleeping Bag
Yesterday, we took a look at a great four-season sleeping bag that could keep out the chills even during this frigid winter. Offering innovative DriDown insulation, the company behind it clearly is trying to push the envelope when it comes to designing gear for hikers, campers, and trekkers. But, despite changes in the shape of bags, new materials, and plenty of updates to colors and styles, the basic idea has remained the same- hop in, zip up, and don’t move too much.
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed changes that. Available in both 600 and 800-fill versions, ours was the slightly lighter-weight model that nonetheless was perfectly comfortable for most spring and summer use (or fall in warmer climates). The manufacturers claim that the new bag was “designed to eliminate the headaches of the traditional mummy-style sleeping bag, the Backcountry Bed performs more like your bed at home to provide you with the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had at camp.” We’ve actually had this bag for a few months, and while usually we get about four to six weeks, the extra time has allowed us to appreciate the changes. Not everything was perfect- ours was a pre-production sample with a quilt that wouldn’t quite stay put- but that’s an issue that has already been addressed.
So, what’s new? Essentially, the Backcountry Bed gets rid of the zippers, by creating a larger oval-shaped opening, and integrating a comforter. It’s basically like slipping between the covers, but does take a bit more time to get in and out, since you’re sort of wriggling. But there’s nothing for you to snag on really, and no annoying pulls to catch clothing or uncomfortable areas. If you’re the sort of person who rolls around a bit in your sleep while in the great outdoors, then you’re certainly familiar with the sensation of that hard, metallic zipper digging into your side- and you won’t miss it once you hop in the Backcountry. There aren’t even any shock cords or drawstring attachments to jab your organs.
It wasn’t quite as good at keeping out the wind as some other bags that we’ve tried, but we liked that you can change the shape quite a bit, untucking the quilt when it’s warmer, or pulling it up over your head freely without feeling constricted. The quilt does add a bit of weight and bulk- but at two pounds or so, it wasn’t enough to notice for the most part (the three-season, 800-fill Backcountry adds about seven more ounces). Rolling it all up and compressing it is certainly tougher than bags with integrated loops and wraps, but it wasn’t too bad. The only real downside is that you might miss the feeling of being tightly swaddled- but probably not.
Available soon- it’s slated to be on sale February 1st- we’re excited to take our bag out this summer and leave our zippers behind. The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed runs $349 or $399, depending on your insulation needs.