Etowah Outfitters 50 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
An inexpensive, lightweight, rectangular, summerweight bag that can open up to work as a quilt for two. Too bad it doesn't come in long.
- Low price
- Juuust right for warm summer nights
- Made in USA
- One size doesn't fit all
I sleep warm. In tents, huts, and European hotels (where bedding usually consists of a bottom sheet and a quilt in a quilt cover—that's all), I have suffered through many a night under a quilt or in a sleeping bag that is too warm, sometimes waking up soaked in sweat while others seem to be perfectly comfortable in the same or even more insulation. My wife, not so much, but since we still like to cuddle after all these years she often relies on me for warmth ("That's what I like about YOU...").
So when we were gearing up for our recent May hike on the Paria, we needed to play Goldilocks and find a sleep system that was not too warm, not too cold, but just right. She wanted to bring our 30˚F double quilt while I figured we could get through the 50 to 60 degree nights with a fleece blanket —and I definitely didn't want to sweat through the nights under a quilt that was 20˚ too warm. At one point we ordered a kind of sports-spectator blanket called a Woobie that we thought would cover the middle ground, but after all it didn't look much warmer than the fleece blanket, so we returned it.
The question remained unresolved until a few days before departure, when I clicked on a web page ad for Etowah Outfitters, a cottage gear maker I had never heard of. This lightweight bag looked like just the ticket, so I called them right away and asked if they could do a two-day delivery. They could, for all of $9, so I ordered one and it arrived a day early. Here it is:
There's nothing fancy here—a plain rectangular bag, no baffles, 700 fill duck down, just quilted through in squares, no zipper baffle. But at 17 oz (about 500 g; I weighed at 17.7 oz / 504 g in its stuff sack) and for $79 it's a good deal for what it is. It's got a pretty heavy duty molded plastic (non-coil) zipper, I'm surprised they didn't go for something lighter. The fabric has a satin feel inside and out and the bag feels light on the body.
(just barely over the shoulders)
Unfortunately for tall boys like me it doesn't come in a long size. Etowah recommends it for people 5'10" and under. I'm a side sleeper so I can live with it, but I'd love to have another 6 inches. Etowah also suggests it can be used as a liner/booster bag, which would be fine inside another rectangular or maybe semi-rectangular bag, but maybe an awkward fit in a mummy.
We'll almost certainly use it inside our double quilt on colder winter nights out in Norway. By itself it's pretty specialized for warmish summer nights, but I may take it along on some hut tours in Norway where the provided quilts are often too warm for me.
(In the stuff sack; I think it could easily pack down to half this volume)
We used it on the Paria hike and on a subsequent raft trip down Cataract Canyon, with early morning temps down into the 50s. It was good enough on the first trip, but just barely covered the two of us. We may try to come up with some kind of zip-on foot box for future use. My wife doesn't overheat like I do, so on the raft trip, where we could carry as much as we wanted (I had five Hawaiian shirts, one for every night of the trip), she went over to the double quilt while I chilled (not literally) in the Etowah. I would have loved to have had it along on our '16 canoe trip in Quetico, where our old opened-up semi-rectangular bag made for some sweaty nights.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $79
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Reviewers Paid: $79.00
50 deg F
70 x30 in
people up to 5'10"