Sierra-designs-backcountry-bed-700-dridown-20-deg-review-dirtbagdreams.com

ProView – Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 Dridown 20 Deg

Sleeping poorly while camping is an all too common fact for people when they camp. A lot of times it has to do with either A: not camping enough to get used to it or B: having poor equipment. The zipperless Backcountry Bed by Sierra Designs will help with both problems.

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 Dridown 20 Deg

Product Description: The award-winning BCB features a new contoured shape & updated materials to create a more thermally-efficient backcountry experience...all at a lower weight.

Offer price: MSRP: $299.95 - $309.95

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Fit
    (5)
  • Durability
    (5)

Summary

So, how does this sleeping bag solve the two most common reasons people sleep poorly while camping? The Backcountry Bed will provide you with (dare I say) the best sleeping experience in a sleeping bag which will make you want to camp so much you will start to prefer it over your house. Say goodbye to terrible night sleeps!

Overall
4.8

Pros

  • No zipper means more natural sleep positions
  • Foot vent
  • Dri-Down helps your bag perform better in all climates

Cons

  • Draft closure system does not work perfectly

I got to spend many nights in this bag while sampling the fine sandstone of Indian Creek and the surrounding Colorado Plateau rock. The weather would fluctuate between below freezing and low 50s at night and I could not have been more pleased about this bag. Some might see this review as a pandering “best bag ever” review but seriously – this might be the best bag ever.

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Fit

Let us first talk about the fit: at 6’2” the long is perfect for me which will accommodate up to 6’6”. Normally when I talk about the fit of a sleeping bag, I would mention my hip or shoulder measurements because when it comes to a standard mummy bag with a zipper: size matters. Sierra Designs, however, introduced zipperless bags in 2014 and I apparently have been under a rock since then. The lack of a zipper means there is an opening on the top of the bag (not the side like a zippered bag) and the opening is filled with an oversized down comforter that is attached internally about waist level. This open-top and comforter system means your chest and shoulders stay unrestricted despite being swaddled by the cozy down bag.

Comfort

 This gives the sleeper a more natural sleeping system: feel free to sleep on you back, side, stomach or all three throughout the night. If your nightly temps vary, the comforter style will allow you to regulate temperature more accurately and more easily than a conventional zipper design. Considering that the bottom of the bag has a sleeve for your sleeping pad this means your bag always stays oriented correctly for you tossers and turners. The downside is that the bag does not have insulation in that spot which is understandable if your sleeping pad fits in the sleeve. Your torso’s weight compresses the down and you do not get a lot (if any) insulation value. The sleeping pad provides the insulation between your torso and the ground. If your pad does not fit, then you risk rotating the bag and having an uninsulated covering.

Sierra-designs-backcountry-bed-700-dridown-20-deg-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Performance

My first worry was drafts: when it is below freezing it is nice to be able to seal out that cold air and keep your sleeping bag nice and toasty. I was afraid that the zipper-free system would allow too much cold air in and although it performed marvelously it was not perfect. In order to help close up the top of the bag there is a piece of elastic cord that goes from one side to the other of the opening and uses some camming-esque plastic bits to draw the cord tight and to (theoretically) keep it that way. It did not always work that way for me and no matter how closed up I wanted the opening the cord would loosen and go to its max size (which is still more closed than if you unbuckled the cord). This is important to keep in mind if you are going to be pushing the bags 20-degree rating.

Function

Now let us talk about functionality: I have never spent more time in a sleeping bag while not sleeping. This zipper less design and the added insulated hand/arm sleeves basically gives you a 700 fill snuggy. Cool and crisp desert mornings before the sun pops over the canyon walls are hard to endure just sitting there in your camp chair. The Backcountry Bed allows you to step into the bag, sit in the chair and enjoy a cozy comforter over your lap. Stick your hands in the insulated so-called “pockets” (I think mittens are more accurate) to keep your hands warm and insulated while you check out the guidebook for the day’s climbs. A tradition zippered mummy bag does not lend itself to lounging nearly as well as the Backcountry Bed.

Sierra-designs-backcountry-bed-700-dridown-20-deg-review-dirtbagdreams.com

I tend to sleep hot and prefer to be on the cooler side of things. Over the years I have learned it all stems from my feet. Socks or no socks, stuffing a down jacket at the bottom of the bag are all things I have learned to help regulate my body heat to have the best night’s sleep possible. The Backcountry Bed comes with a “patented self-sealing foot vent”. It is almost exactly like it sounds. In the foot box is an overlapping section of a bag that is open: wiggle your feet around and out pop your feet. Got too cold? Pull the feet back in the fabric goes back to its overlapping design and the vent is “sealed”. The best part is I never noticed any drafts as this vent is on the bottom and your feet keep pressure on the opening.

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When I am not tent living, I live in a UPS delivery truck turned motorhome. Now, I have a mattress and blankets and although I do not have need for a sleeping bag in the motorhome I still bring one for two reasons: Sometimes you just want to sleep outside and if you stuff your sleeping bag into a pillow case (ideally with a zippered closure) you can use it as an extra pillow  in bed. This eliminates the need to find a home for a “just in case” sleeping bag.

So, how does this sleeping bag solve the two most common reasons people sleep poorly while camping? The Backcountry Bed will provide you with (dare I say) the best sleeping experience in a sleeping bag which will make you want to camp so much you will start to prefer it over your house. Say goodbye to terrible night sleeps!

Find Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 Dridown 20 Deg on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
Patrick Betts

Patrick Betts spends half his year as Head Guide for Front Range Climbing Company in Colorado Springs, Colorado guiding rock climbing across the front range of Colorado and the desert of Utah. The other half of the year he is traveling and climbing all over the world. Patrick is an experienced adventure photographer who enjoys taking photos of people pushing their own limits and capturing the landscapes of the areas that rock climbing takes you. Follow along @adventurethrulens.

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