THERM-A-REST POLAR RANGER -20¡F
When you’re camping in temps below zero, there’s a big difference between getting by and getting comfortable. This bag ensures you experience the latter, thanks to a slew of features designed to take the sting out of winter. And the whole package weighs just a few feathers over 3 pounds.
Any bag in this category starts with warmth, and 800-fill hydrophobic down and an efficient cut deliver plenty of that. One Alaska tester said he wore only a light baselayer in the Polar Ranger on a -5°F night. “I normally sleep in down booties,” he says, “But I didn’t need them thanks to the overstuffed footbox.”
The 62-inch shoulder girth is plenty roomy, but the uncommon livability comes from two uncommon features. Zippered vents at the shoulders serve as arm holes, which makes reading, drinking coffee, and simply functioning in extreme cold all the easier. “I loved being able to do small chores without having to leave my bag at all,” one tester says. Plus, a chimney-style hood creates a warm zone over your face without having to cinch it down to a blowhole. It also affords a view, as one tester discovered when cowboy camping in the snow in the Pioneers. “I could see the Big Dipper,” he says. “It felt like I was like looking through a telescope.” –D.L. $700; 3 lbs. 3 oz. (regular); regular, long; thermarest.com
After a full day of touring, there’s nothing better than a teepee full of friends.