When it comes to sleeping bags, zippers are a necessary evil. In the middle of the night, they always seem to be on the wrong side of the bag and jam as you try to get out or climb back in and get to sleep. Sometimes they jam completely, and out of frustration you just sleep beneath the bag instead of in it. No more. In one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” ideas, Sierra Design introduces the Backcountry Bed, which is not just a sleeping bag, but a bedding system. Sean McCoy gives this new concept a test in this post from GearJunkie.com.
In all my years of camping I have never used a sleeping bag without zippers… until last week. Now that I have let me get this out of the way: Hallelujah! OK, that’s out of my system. Why it took a company so long to figure out this simple design I will never know, but the to-be-released Backcountry Bed from Sierra Designs (which we awarded a Best In Show at the 2013 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market) is a somewhat revolutionary way to sleep outside.
I tested the Backcountry Bed for four nights in a row earlier this month during the TransRockies Run camping in and around Leadville, Colo. (Note: photos in this post were shot after the test in my yard.) Nighttime temps dropped to around 30 degrees during TransRockies, which was well above the 15-degree rating of the sleeping bag model I tested. The bag was plenty warm.