Sierra Designs is keeping things classic with the new Nitro 800, a Mummy-Style winter sleeping bag which boasts both low weight and cost. 15D ripstop nylon shell and liner materials keep things lightweight while remaining durable and resistant to tears. PFC-Free Dridown offers the warmth and loft of down but features a hydrophobic coating. When down becomes saturated, it loses its loft and therefore its ability to act as an insulator. The hydrophobic coating sheds water so that the down resists saturation for longer and retains its insulating properties. To learn more about DriDown check out this video.
Sierra Design's Nitro 800 is an ideal four season bag for a winter camping trip or quick overnight bivy.
Why PFC-Free? PFC’s, or Perfluorinated Chemicals, take a long time to break down in the environment and are associated with health risks, though more studies on the subject are on-going. Take a look at this fact sheet to learn more.
The down used is high-quality duck down. When compared to goose down, duck down often yields a lower fill power (the number of cubic inches an ounce of down occupies under standard laboratory conditions) due to ducks having smaller plumes than geese. The advantage of duck down is that it costs less than goose down, and the 800 fill power achieved in the Nitro is still on par with high-quality goose fill.
The self-sealing foot vent is as simple as kicking your feet out from under the blanket in your bed at home. An opening on the bottom side of the foot box features overlapped baffling so you can slide your feet in and out to control your temperature.
5” baffle spacing keeps the down from shifting and getting lumped into one zone. This keeps the insulation evenly spaced, eliminating cold spots to keep you warmer. The zipper also only runs half the length of the bag to minimize heat loss and a draft tube runs the length of the zipper to manage those loses.
The bag features a dual-pull tab zipper so facilitate zipper function from inside, or outside, the bag. Anti-snag zipper tracks keep fabric out of the zipper so that you can get in and out of the bag without getting stuck. Essentially they have incorporated a stiffer backing material to the nylon so that it does not get pulled into the zipper; a simple solution to a common problem.
The Sierra Designs Nitro comes with both a mesh storage sack, and a smaller stuff sack.
I found the Nitro to be very comfortable. It’s quite roomy in the upper body portion where most of the fidgeting happens. Around the foot box is a little bit more restrictive, and it takes a bit of messing around to get in and out of the foot vent, but it does not take away from comfort.
The biggest disadvantage to the Nitro is the size and weight. I feel that with a proper compression sack, the bag could actually shrink down quite a bit, but the stuff sack included does not shrink the bag down enough for backpacking. The weight is maybe unavoidable with such a low temperature rating, but as far as sleeping bags go, this is a heavy one.
The hands-free foot vent is probably my favourite feature of this bag. This zipperless approach to ventilation means you can simply slide your feet out of a sneaky opening in the foot box when they need a bit of air. When not in use, this vent is basically unnoticeable and does a great job of keeping drafts out.
The use of Dridown is a great feature; DriDown is tried, tested, and true, and offers reliable performance in any conditions. The use of duck down is also a welcome change that keeps the cost down without hindering performance.
If you are looking for a low-cost winter bag, this just might be the one for you.
Price: $419.95 US
Temperature Rating: Limit -17°C/2°F, Comfort-9°C/15°F
Weight: 1.14kg/2lb 8oz
Sizes: Reg, Long, Women
Stuffed Size: 41x23cm / 16x9"
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