Until you’ve spent a night wide awake and shivering in the mountains, a sleeping bag is just a sleeping bag. But among those of us that have weathered soggy nights in the alpine, this seemingly simple piece of gear demands a second look.
When examining a sleeping bag, I follow a few basic procedures. First, I forget about the bag’s “temperature rating”—I’ve been burned by these before, so I’ve learned to instead look at the bag’s weight, size, and fill. Heavier, bulkier bags are generally warmer… no matter what number is written on the side. And while down fill is about twice as light as synthetic, those feathers lose loft when wet. So in a rainstorm, traditional down bags are about as useful as a soggy newspaper.
Cotopaxi’s Sueño bag uses a relatively recent development in fill technology: hydrophobic down. The feathers are treated with a solution that repels water, allowing them to maintain loft when wet. When used in conjunction with the water-resistant 20D Nylon finish, that makes the 800-fill duck down bag pretty useful even on the soggiest of nights. And the down is certified as Responsible Down Standard, which means its been harvested ethically and sustainably.