Zpacks 20 degree Sleeping bag Review:
1 year ago I started to research gear for overnight whitewater kayak trips. For about 15 years I have had a synthetic down sleeping bag that needed a small suit case to transport and weighed like 5 pounds. Not something anyone wants to shove into their kayak day in and day out on a river trip. At the beginning of the year, I happened to stumble on a small lightweight gear company called Zpacks. I was amazed at the weight of their sleeping bags and bookmarked the website. In November of 2012 I finally managed to get myself on a multi day kayak trip down the Grand Canyon. It was time to upgrade and purchase a new sleeping bag.
I knew I was going to give Zpacks a shot and I am very glad I did! Zpacks customer service is great! I was on a time limit. After exchanging a few emails with Matt to put a rush on my order, the sleeping bag was delivered a week earlier than my request. Matt was also very quick to reply to emails and questions. The sleeping bag came in a cuben fiber stuff sack/drybag which made it even better for kayak overnights. While I intended to keep the sleeping bag in a Watershed drybag anyway, the redundancy is comforting since there is a possibility of water getting in your primary drybag, and sleeping in wet gear on cold nights could be pretty miserable.
I went with the Medium 20 degree sleeping bag. It weighs in at a little over 17 ounces and has 900 fill down. The medium size will fit most people 5' 10" and under. They also have sizes the will fit taller and shorter people. There are also a variety of temp ratings to choose from depending on your needs. The quality of the bag is great. The materials used are of the lightest weight available. There is a small 3/4 zipper that is meant to be placed underneath your back because there is no zipper baffle. There is also a bungee draw cord to cinch the bag around your neck and shoulders to retain heat. Stuffed in the stuff sack the bag is about the size of two nalgenes side by side.
We spent 8 nights and 9 days on the river and experienced average temperatures in the twenties at night. Every morning there was a frozen dew on most surfaces. The bag is treated with DWR and did a great job of staying dry. With a base layer I was warm every night. The coldest night (near 20 degrees) I wore a base layer and a Mountain Hardwear Whisperlight down jacket and slept great!
The bag is comfortable and very rarely did I experience any cold spots. Since the bag fits so well it moves around with you very easily as you sleep. It does take some effort to zip up the bag once you're in it, and I ended up just keeping it zipped upon entry/exit and unzipping it for airing out every morning.
This is an awesome sleeping bag for the price. With a $345 price tag I don't think you can find a better sleeping bag for kayak overnights for the same money. The warmth to weight ratio and size when stuffed makes it very appealing when dealing with limited space. You will have a hard time finding those traits in commercial sleeping bags in the same price range. I would recommend this sleeping bag to anyone looking to do overnight kayak trips and want a quality, lightweight and warm sleeping bag.
ZPacks.com Ultralight Backpacking Gear - 20 and 30 degree 900 Fill Power Down Sleeping Bags