User Review: EMS Women's Boreal 0
Price Paid: $60
I'm male, 5'10 180#, very very poor circulation thus a very very cold sleeper yet with aspirations of winter camping.
Bought this bag new on super sale at EMS, must have been the last bag or blemished but it was a left side zipper and a women's fit. Never knew the difference till now, but for a guy the women's bag is tight in the feet and waist department and a tad short (no stretch room).
For the price I got it for I would buy it again, however, if I had a choice i would go mens long no matter what next time for added space in the foot box or head depending on where you sleep in the bag as it is always nice to have extra room to keep your clothes for the following day warm and dry or to put a piping hot water bottle at the toes for those extra cold nights. Regardless this bag at its size held up amazingly well.
The first winter I brought it to college and due to living off campus spent those 5 hour waits with nowhere to go between classes in my truck. Temps most days averaged between 0-15 degrees and I napped like a baby, not that that was hard after the weekends :). I found it would take up to five minutes for the bag to actually gain enough of my body heat and retain it before I felt warm but when i woke I never wanted to leave.
There are very few cold spots thanks to the baffle over the zipper and one around your neck and shoulders. I have to say sometimes my feet would get cold only because the bag was not designed for my length and I would push flat the insulation at my feet. To fix that I would scoot upwards or take off the hood and wear a hat.
Next season I dared winter camping. Our trip took us over two nights through the Whites where the temps fluctuated around 0 both nights and with a wicked wind chill was close to -15. We slept in an old Walrus three season and with the wind coming from every direction we woke up covered in snow through the mesh in our tent.
I slept moderately warm the first night waking up occasionally more from wind than cold. The second night I pulled out the emergency bivy and slept amazingly well. I had no problem heating up the snow that fell on us but the bag actually beaded it up and rolled it off.
On that trip I found two things I didn't care for about this bag. While I don't like the left hand zipper I cannot complain as it would function the same either way, however, EMS had to cut costs somewhere and that came in the function of the zipper. A bigger more fluid zipper would be nice because this one snags and is inefficient when you truly need to get in and out fast. I found it more irritating when I couldn't zip it up while in the bag.
The second thing was the size. In my truck I never had to pack it so why would I and loose life and loft? Camping I had the compression sack and it was still way too big (perhaps 12"x9" diameter), compressed. it was more like an oversize basket ball than a cylinder and never really fit anywhere well in my bag.
However, overall this is a great beginner bag and gets the job done.
On a positive side note, I believe the new bags have a new compression sack and different insulation making them more compact. Mine (older model) was a 2008.
warm, works well for a guy who sleeps cold
decent weight for synthetic 0 degree bag
compressed pack size