Hot Night Lights

Drift off under the stars in a featherweight sleeper designed for balmy summertime escapes

Aug 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Sleep right, sleep tight: cool bags for warm weather

"CLEAR SKIES, CALM WINDS, lows in the upper fifties." As these words echo across much of the lower 48 this month, thoughts turn to the backcountry—and a spur-of-the-moment overnighter in whatever wild amphitheater happens to be available. (Sorry, Central Park doesn't count.) Thankfully, the new ultralight warm-weather sleeping bags make snoozing happily under the stars a snap. The sacks on the following pages start at an ultra-wispy 17 ounces and max out at 32, which is still less heft than a bunch of grapes. They're also highly packable—several squish down to the size of a Nalgene bottle—and take full advantage of sheer nylon shell fabrics. Of course, gossamer bags demand extra care: Flop a synthetic- or down-filled ultralight over a snaggy limb, for instance, and you're asking for a fill-spewing gash. But user-friendly touches like simple collar-and-hood cinch adjustments, high-contrast zippers that are easy to find, and hang loops for drying make these bags as smart as they are light. Pop one in a daypack, toss in a ground pad, and add some water, a headlamp, a bagel for dinner, and an orange for breakfast. Seize the day, sure, but nab a comfy night at the same time.

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