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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > SD Euphoria 15 Degree Sleeping Bag > Test Report by Gail StaisilSierra Designs
Euphoria Sleeping Bag
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan
April 2, 2010
Name: Gail Staisil
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com
Initial Impressions and Product Description
The Sierra Designs Euphoria is a woman's specific sleeping bag rated at 15 F (-9 C). That particular design is also available in another temperature rating (30 /.-1 C). It belongs to the three-season category of sleeping bags offered by the manufacturer. The Euphoria is a synthetic filled (HeatSync) bag with a right zipper (only available in right zip). Women's specific bags are reported to have more insulation in both the torso and footbox areas. The Euphoria arrived in perfect condition in a cloth storage bag with no apparent flaws in workmanship. It was accompanied by a 9 in (22.86 cm) by 19 in (48.26 cm) trail stuff sack and hang tags that noted its main features. The trail sack is more than roomy so the bag was easy to stuff. The bottom end of the sack has a wide section of fabric that makes a handy pull loop when removing the bag.
Even though I had viewed the stats on Sierra Designs website, I was surprised that the bag appeared to be so roomy. I had previously learned that it had Flex Construction Technology (hereafter referred to as just Flex) so I assumed that it would appear much smaller than a sleeping bag without it. Flex refers to the lightly elasticized binding that defines each row of stitching on the outer surface of the bag. According to the manufacturer, Flex "greatly improves a bag's thermal efficiency. The inner lining of the bag does NOT have this feature. I would describe the color of the bag as emerald green on the top and charcoal gray on the bottom. I couldn't find any reference to the colors by the manufacturer.
I anxiously crawled into the Euphoria to see if both the length and the width would fit me. I had requested the Size Long version (fits up to 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) of the bag which is also available in Size Regular (fits up to 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m). My height is 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) so there's still more than enough room to flex my feet.
The width of the Euphoria is very roomy and it will allow me to wear additional clothing inside the bag if I prefer which may occur during the initial stages of this test. The shoulder girth of the bag expands from 54 to 62 in (1.37 m to 1.57 m) and the hip width expands from 53 to 61 in (1.35 m to 1.55 m) using the expandable baffle technology (Flex). These measurements are a full 2 in (5.08 cm) wider on Size Long compared to Size Regular. The manufacturer must assume that a taller person has a wider body. I don't feel that this is necessarily the norm but most manufacturers follow suit. I will closely monitor whether there is too much extra space in the bag to keep me from staying warm.
More about Flex
The 30D Polyester exterior surface of the Euphoria is characterized by an outer shell sewn with 7 in (17.78 cm) baffles. The Flex Construction Technology or elasticized construction is reported to eliminate constriction so that the sleeping bag moves with the user. What separates this bag compared to many that I own is that the outer shell is not connected by any means to the inner lining except at two points at the left side seam and along the zippered edge of course. Inside the inner edge of the sleeping bag is a sewn-in label that states "Flex sleeping bags are manufactured under a license by Mont-Bell Co Ltd". It includes the patent number so apparently Sierra Designs has purchased Mont-Bell's technology.
The purple-color inner lining of the bag is sewn in 8 in (20.32 cm) baffles. As stated earlier, they are not elasticized like the outer shell. The bottom section of the lining is fabricated with black microfleece fabric. This approximately 10 in (25 cm) high section lines the footbox area of the bag. The footbox is reportedly ergonomically shaped to allow "ease of movement while remaining thermally efficient".
The HeatSync synthetic insulation reportedly retains its insulation value when wet. According to the manufacturer, the short staple insulation is reportedly warm, light and compressible. The fill weight is 36 oz (1.02 kg) according to the website and 40 oz (1.13 kg) according to the hangtag.
There are two horizontal straps of webbing on the bottom side of the sleeping bag that can be used to secure a sleeping pad to the bottom of the sleeping bag so that the user won't slide off the pad. Although I have used bags with this feature before, what separates these from the others is that the pad locks can be easily removed as they have a small section of hook and loop on each end to easily remove them from corded loops. I especially like this feature as it is versatile without making a permanent removal.
Draft tube and Draft Collar
The almost 4.5 in (11 cm) wide single draft tube lies next to the almost full length two-way zipper and likely keeps cold air from penetrating through the zipper. The draft tube extends into the collar and the latter has a drawcord inside a casing. It runs the entire circumference of the hood and draft collar and can be adjusted on the left side with a cordlock. The top end of the zipper features a nylon pull tag while the lower edge of the zipper is unadorned. There is also a hook and loop closure over the top end of the zipper.
Hood, Pockets and Logos
The ergonomically shaped but roomy sleeping hood features a pillow pocket on the backside. Sierra Designs actually does make a pillow to fit this pocket called Sleep E-Z but any soft extra clothing would also fill the niche. The front of the sleeping bag has a zippered chest pocket near the side zipper. This semi-circular pocket could easily hold a headlamp or other necessity.
The bag is also adorned with an embroidered Sierra Designs logo on the center chest area. The lower end of the bag near the zipper also has the company logo, the temperature rating, the name of the bag and length, and the words "Flex" and HeatSync" for the technology used. There is no doubt in guessing what this bag is all about! I do find this useful as I own some bags where I can't exactly remember all l the details for them unless I look at my notes. Thanks Sierra Designs!
Care instructions are printed on a sewn-in label on the draft tube of the bag. There are extensive instructions but generally I would summarize it by saying that it is not dry cleanable, it shouldn't be ironed but it should be washed either by hand or in a non-agitating machine with appropriate soap. It can be drip dried or tumbled in a cool commercial dryer. Like similar sleeping bags it should be stored in the large cotton bag between trips.
So far, it looks like the Euphoria has some interesting features. I'm looking forward to sleeping in the Euphoria during the next four months of outings. I hope to test the bag at its rated temperature during the cool springtime evenings, before the summer months arrive.
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June 6, 2010
USA Locations and Conditions
During the field test period, I have slept in the Sierra Designs Euphoria Sleeping Bag for backpacking trips (12 nights) and it also has been slept in during two nights at the trailhead (before two of the trips began) for a total of 14 nights. Locations included boreal and deciduous forest communities, back country trails, bushwhacking and more. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 1400 ft (427 m).
Trip 1 - Early April Backpacking Trip:
Location: Pigeon River Country State Forest - Lower Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Bushwhack
Distance: Approx 25 mi (40 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/4 nights
Pack Weight: 31 lb (14 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Light snow, cloudy and sunny
Precipitation: 0.14 in (0.36 cm)
Temperature Range: 22 F (-6 C) to 62 F (17 C)
Trip 2 - Late April/Early May Backpacking Trip:
Location: North Country Trail - Lower Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 31 mi (50 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Pack Weight: 26 lb (12 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, thunderstorms
Precipitation (Rain): 1.2 in (3.05 cm)
Temperature Range: 52 F (11 C) to 77 F (25 C)
Trip 3 - Mid-May Backpacking Trip:
Location: High Country Pathway - Lower Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 80 mi (129 km)
Length of Trip: 6 days/5 nights
Pack Weight: 32 lb (14.5 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Clouds, thunderstorms and sun
Precipitation (Rain): 0.52 in (1.32 cm)
Temperature Range: 34 F (1 C) to 70 F (21 C)
Lots of Trail Nights
The Sierra Designs Euphoria has seen a ton of usage during this field test period (14 nights). Although the bag is rated at 15 F (-9 C) I always need a sleeping bag that is rated about 10 degrees colder than most people in order to stay warm. That said, most of the nighttime temperatures I experienced ranged from 22 F to 52 F (- 6 to 11 C) with the average night being about 35 F (2 C).The Euphoria was perfect for the average nights but when it got to near 50 F (10 C), I used it partially zipped open. My second and third trips had a lot of damp and humid conditions due to rain. This always makes me feel colder than it actually is.
A Bit of Storm Excitement!
The Euphoria has been used in conjunction with both a waterproof bivy with mesh insert during the first two trips and a full mesh bivy on the latter trip. In addition, a 10 sq ft (3.05 sq m ) tarp was pitched for rain coverage.
My NeoAir Pad was inserted inside of my bivy with the sleeping bag on top of that. I didn't need to use the pad locks on the sleeping bag as the bivy holds everything in place. (In the picture to the right, I didn't have the sleeping bag or pad inside the bivy yet, but it was located on top of the bivy.)
For the first time in my backpacking history (which is quite extensive), the sleeping bag became partially wet during one night. During a powerful storm which dropped small-diameter trees around me, one edge of my tarp was caught by a switch in wind patterns and the stakes on that side became uprooted. Since I had elected to use the mesh insert on my bivy, I was instantly plummeted with rain until I could unzip both the bivy and the sleeping bag and then gather the tarp edge over my location. Needless to say, I was partially wet as well as the sleeping bag.
I immediately put on a hat and fleece jacket underneath the partially-collapsed tarp and waited for most of the storm to abate. Then when I fixed the tarp, I snuggled back into the partially-wet (both exterior and interior) sleeping bag and hoped my body heat would keep me warm as well as help dry the bag. During this test series, I was hoping to never have to prove that the HeatSync Insulation was warm when wet, but It worked well. I was not only warm the rest of the night but the sleeping bag was also partially dry from my efforts. I was so glad that I wasn't using a down bag on this trip!
Very Roomy Fit
The Euphoria is an extremely roomy sleeping bag. It would definitely be also suitable for a larger person than myself. I would be able to wear layers of bulky insulated clothing inside of it quite easily without restriction. That wasn't necessary due to the temperatures but I wouldn't hesitate to use it if such conditions warranted it.
The other thing I noticed is that I am able to bring my knees up and reach down to my feet and remove my socks inside the bag (if my feet become too hot) which is near impossible in a slimmer-shaped bag. The microfleece lined footbox is very comfy on bare feet!
I am a side sleeper so I also noticed that the Flex Stretch feature also allowed me to move comfortably from side to side a couple of times during each night. The Euphoria easily rotated with me during those endeavors. The zipper is very easy to operate and I had no difficulties with snagging. The outside pocket has been used to store my headlamp a few times but I prefer to wear it around my neck as it is more accessible.
Being a synthetic cold-weather bag, the packed size of the Euphoria is quite bulky (approximately 9 in (23 cm) X 19 in (48 cm). It takes up much room in my packs. I have used it both with the Osprey Aura 65 L (4000 cu in) Backpack as well as with my GoLite Pinnacle Backpack which is a bit smaller (61 L/3700 cu in). The first pack has a sleeping bag compartment. It fits in it with a bit of effort in that zippered access area. The Pinnacle Backpack is simply a frameless top loader, but I was easily able to push it to the bottom of the pack.
One of the trips I used the Euphoria on was six days in length. I debated about taking it just because it's size left me with less room than normal in my pack. Thankfully my other gear fit in just fine and I didn't feel that I was overloaded.
Durability and Care So Far
There really is no noticeable wear on the sleeping bag so far. The repeated compressions from being packed inside the stuff sack haven't affected the loft. The zipper is working properly and the drawcord remains functional.
During the long term period the temps will be even warmer so I suspect that I will use the Euphoria on a backpacking trip where I will use a hammock for shelter. It will likely provide a nice quilt.
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Long Term Report:
August 7, 2010
USA Locations and Conditions
During the long term test period, I have slept in the Sierra Designs Euphoria Sleeping Bag for an additional two nights of backpacking. Location was on a small island in Lake Superior, Michigan USA. Elevation is over 600 ft (183 m).
Early August Backpacking Trip:
Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area - Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Lake Superior
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 12 mi (19 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: 24 lb (10.89 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sun, clouds and rain
Precipitation: 0.32 in (0.81 cm)
Temperature Range: 64 F (18 C) to 82 F (28 C)
During the long term test period, I used the Euphoria Sleeping Bag for two nights on a trip to a nearby island. During this trip the weather was very warm so the Euphoria was just used as a quilt when the conditions cooled down in the middle of each night. There was also some rain which made conditions very humid.
During the final trip with the Euphoria it was used in conjunction with a hammock for two nights. Since the lowest temp was only 64 F (18 C), I used the sleeping bag as a quilt to cover my legs and lower body. Since I like being warm and sleeping in a hammock provides a draft from underneath I was content to have some extra warmth each night. I found myself bringing the sleeping bag up to my neck during the wee hours of the morning.
During this trip the Euphoria was stuffed into my GoLite Jam (50 L/3050 cu in). This is a smaller pack than the ones I used during the field test period. It was roomy enough though to accommodate the Euphoria as my other gear was very streamlined.
I packed it loosely in the bottom of my backpack without the stuff sack so that it would fit better in the pack. I wouldn't ordinarily carry this cold of a sleeping bag for these temps but it worked out fine for this particular trip.
Durability and Care
The Euphoria Sleeping Bag has remained in seemingly perfect condition after 16 total nights in the field during the entire testing period. There doesn't appear to be any damage to the loft even though it has been stuffed into a sack multiple times. The zipper and the drawcord continue to work perfectly.
The Euphoria is a roomy, warm and comfortable sleeping bag. I do love the microfleece lined footbox, the Flex Stretch feature and the zipper which has worked perfectly (there are so many that don't).
Although I appreciated all of its qualities, the big drawback for me is the Euphoria's weight. I will continue to use the Euphoria Sleeping Bag but it will be mostly reserved for the occasional car camp (usually a night at a trailhead here and there) and also for winter rustic cabin trips (where the cabin is mostly cool). I would also consider using it for short backpacking trips where the weight of it is not an issue.
In addition, the price point on this sleeping bag is excellent for its quality, so it would be suitable for those who don't want to spend a huge amount of money on a quality sleeping bag.
Thanks to Sierra Designs and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Euphoria Sleeping Bag. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series.
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