Gear Junkie: It’s the sleeping bag of the future

SUNDAY, FEB. 17, 2013

Time for bed. It’s below-zero outside, and you’re camping out under the stars.

A to-be-released sleeping bag from Nemo Equipment is made for snoozing through some of the coldest nights winter can bring. The company rates its Canon model sleeping bag to minus-40 degrees.

That temp rating is not new. But the features of this funny-looking bag include arm holes, ventilation gills, and a cylindrical fabric tube to breathe through as you lie flat on your back.

Available for purchase later this year, the Canon -40 bag is a fringe piece of equipment made for specialized pursuits. The cost is a cool $1,000.

But for that cash expeditioners can get a hibernation-ready cocoon that’s relatively light weight at 4 pounds, 7 ounces. It’s small enough to stow in the bottom of a backpack.

A traditional mummy design is enhanced with Nemo’s unique features.

The bag is made for sleeping in as well as wearing while sorting gear, reading, or stirring dinner on a stove out the door of a tent.

Zip-open arm holes make the tent chores doable. You can keep the Canon bag on your body, head ensconced in the hood, while cooking stew in a pot or scanning a map while tent-bound during a mountain climb.

Too warm in the billowing bag? No need to undo the main zipper. The Canon has “gills” that run a couple feet up and down its torso.

Nemo showed me a thermal-imaging camera photo as evidence to the gills’ heat-regulating potential. Zip open a gill and hot air escapes from the core of the bag.

At night, in a tent or outside sleeping under stars, you lie on your back and breathe through the “stovepipe.” Like a fur ruff on an Arctic parka hood, the fabric tube offers a buffer where warm air meets and mixes with the cold.

Waterproof fabric wraps the bag’s exterior. Inside, puffy 850-fill goose down traps body heat.

A final touch, the often-wet foot area of the bag has a mix of down and synthetic insulation. This keeps the foot area warmer and the insulation loftier even if snow soaks through from the inside.

The Canon -40 debuted last week at a trade show. I have not yet camped out in it. But having frozen more than once in mummy bags unfurled on snow, I’m open to new ideas, with gills, arm holes, and fabric breathing tubes included for sure.

On the Web: www.gearjunkie.com

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