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Sierra Designs Spark 15 Sleeping Bag

The Sierra Designs Spark 15

Sierra Designs calls it the Spark 15; I call it The Furnace. After years of suffering through camping any night colder than 45 degrees, I decided I was going to get the warmest sleeping bag on the market. Problem was – and is – that American companies still do not adhere to a standard rating system for sleeping bags, they simply rate their own. This is why you see ridiculously similar ratings for bags of hugely divergent warmth quality.

So I set out to find the warmest fill – down – followed by the fattest down bag possible – now 850 fill. That narrowed down the search considerably. Then, I added in fit: I needed a short women’s bag because, well, I’m a short woman. The Sierra Designs Spark 15 (that’s degrees F to which it’s rated, but so what) fit the bill and I have perhaps never been happier with a camping purchase in my life. At a hair over 2 pounds (!), this 800-fill down mummy bag’s lightweight shell doesn’t sprout feathers left and right. It has a mesh storage bag and a stuff sack that’s a mere 17 inches.

Downside: This is not a four-season bag; you’ll wake up in a pool of your own sweat if you try to use it in the summer (but that’s actually a good thing)

Cost: $350 is the MSRP, but you can probably get a deal on it

Buy it at: Your local gear shop, Sierra Designs will help you find one,