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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > SD Euphoria 15 Degree Sleeping Bag > Test Report by Pamela Wyant

SIERRA DESIGNS EUPHORIA 15 F (-9 C) WOMEN'S SLEEPING BAG

Initial Report - April 9, 2010
Field Report - June 15, 2010
Long Term Report - August 17, 2010



Tester Information:

Name:  Pam Wyant
Age:  52
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight:  175 lb (79 kg)

E-mail address:  pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
Location:  Western West Virginia, U.S.A.


Backpacking Background:

I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including backpacking,
day-hiking, car camping, and canoeing.  Most of my excursions
are confined to weekends, although I try to fit in at least one
longer backpacking trip each year, and have started section
hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little over 300 mi
(483 km) so far.  My style varies with the activity, but since
becoming a lightweight backpacker, I've noticed I tend to pack
somewhat minimally even on trips where I have more space.
Still, I don't like to sacrifice warmth, comfort, or safety.


Initial Report - April 9, 2010

Product Information:

Manufacturer:  Sierra Designs

Model:  Euphoria 15 (15 F/-9 C)

Size:  Long

Year of manufacture:  2009 per tag

Advertised weight:  3 lb 4 oz (1.36 kg)
Measured weight:   3 lb 9.5 oz (1.6 kg) - sleeping bag only
Measured weight stuff sack:  2.5 oz (72 g)
Total weight: 3 lb 12 oz (1.7 kg)

Stuff size:  9 x 19 in (23 x 48 cm)

MSRP:  $179.95 (long model)

Website:  www.sierradesigns.com
Top of bag

Product Description:

The Euphoria 15 is part of Sierra Designs 3-season sleeping bag line.  This bag is filled with synthetic short staple HeatSync insulation,  which has a very soft and pliable feel.  It feels similar to a comforter I have that was billed as "down alternative" on the  label.  The bag has a 30D polyester shell and lining, which have a soft and silky feel.  The bag is not quite the color I expected based on the website.  On the website, the bag appeared to have more of a teal color top and black or charcoal bottom.  The interior wasn't clearly visible, but looked to be the same color as the bag bottom.  While the bottom is fairly similar in color to the website, being brown/black , the top is a bright grassy green.  Even more surprising, the interior is a bright royal purple color.

This bag features 'Flex' Technology Construction, which Sierra Designs states on their website is manufactured under a license by Mont-Bell Ltd.  Basically this means the quilting on the top of the bag is mildly stretchy, designed to move and flex with the sleeper, and allowing the girth to contract or expand to maintain maximum warmth without feeling constrictive.   I had expected the interior of the bag to also be elasticized, however  it has standard quilting without the expansion feature, as does the bottom shell.

Zippered pocketThe bag features a 3/4 length zipper 2-way zipper, which stops just short of the footbox.  This is mildly disappointing to me, as it leaves me unable to vent my feet without totally removing them from the bag.  The footbox is ergonomically shaped, and has a soft, warm black microfleece lining.  The bag has two fabric hang loops, one on each side of the footbox.  It also has another fabric loop just below the zipper, which was very handy to pull against while zipping the bag up from the bottom.  It also features two 'Pad Locks', ribbons of light weight woven material that can be placed under a sleeping pad to keep the bag from sliding off.  The Pad Locks fasten to small cord loops on the side of the bag at about the knee and chest.  Since they self-fasten by hook and loop strips, they can be totally removed if desired.  One side features a ladder lock adjustment to shorten or lengthen the Pad Locks as desired.

The Euphoria 15 is only available at the time of this writing with a right side zipper.  The zipper has a small, but sturdy backing flap to help prevent snagging, and so far it seems to work very well.   It also features a thick and puffy draft tube attached to the top side that seals against the zipper when I am inside the bag, which should help seal in warmth.  A small rounded zip-close pocket is located at chest level on the right side of the bag.  The pocket zipper runs parallel to the bag zipper.  If it was on a jacket, it would be considered a 'Napoleon' style pocket.

The deep hood is also ergonomically shaped, and snugs down well around my face via a single pull cord that tightens the top of the hood and the neck of the bag simultaneously.  The neck opening has a fat draft tube and the hood opening has a smaller draft tube that softly frames my face.  A uniquely shaped tab fastens via hook and loop over the top of the zipper at the side of the hood.  The back of the hood features a second layer of fabric on the outside that opens and closes with hook and loop fasteners at the bottom, which allows a pillow to be inserted.  I almost missed this feature, until I read the website and hang tag and started looking for it.  I think it is a little unique that it is outside the hood rather than inside the hood, but I like the fact that the hook and loop won't be catching on my hair inside the hood.

Tab over zipperThe Sierra Designs logo is embroidered in light grey thread over the center of the chest, and also at the right side of the footbox.  A daisy  type flower and the word "Euphoria 15 Long Heat Sync 15 F/-9 C Flex" are embroidered on the right side at the base of the zipper.  The bag also has papery tags attached to the bottom as required by law, listing the type of material, manufacturer, size, and fill weight (40 oz).  Two smaller tags list the model, stock number, and production date, and provide information on the burn standard for the bag, warning that sleeping bags can burn, keep away from fire sources.

The provided stuff sack is charcoal gray in color, and features a wide strip of fabric across the bottom that can be grasped to help pull the sleeping bag out of the sack.  It has the same style draw cord as the sleeping bag hood, and a flap of fabric to cover the top opening.  It has a "SD" label on the side and the same papery label that is on the sleeping bag providing the bag material specifications.  The sleeping bag stuffs easily into the sack, without having to press very hard.  The stuffed package is still fairly 'squishable', not rock hard as I've seen some compressed bags.  I anticipate this may make it a bit easier when I am packing as I will be able to press other items into the bag or push it around a bit to get the best fit in my pack.  As Sierra Designs states, the stuffed size is approximately 9 x 19 in (23 x 48 cm).

Care instructions are sewn to the draft tube in the upper chest area.  They instruct not to dry clean the bag, and to use a mild soap or soap specifically designed for use with sleeping bags, not to use an agitator type washing machine, to rinse thoroughly, and to drip dry or tumble dry on cool in a commercial dryer.

The Euphoria 15 also came with a large white cotton storage bag, with similar draw cord as the stuff sack, a small patch of the sleeping bag fabric across the bottom, and imprinted with the model information, similar to the information embroidered on the bag.  I would guess this would make it handy to find the bag if I had several different models stored in similar sacks.

Preliminary Impressions:

The Euphoria 15 appears to be well constructed with even stitching, and no apparent flaws in materials or workmanship.  The bag has a soft and cuddly feel, and seems well-insulated.  When I tried it on for sizing in the house, I immediately became too warm, as I would expect of a bag with a 15 F (-9 C) rating. 

The Flex construction does seem to make the bag feel less constrictive than more traditional construction.  While I sometimes don't like the fit of women specific bags due to the narrower shoulders, I don't get a constricted feeling in this bag as I have in some other bags.

While the Euphoria seems a bit bulky to me when stuffed, I am used to down bags, and it actually stuffs smaller than most other synthetic bags I have seen, especially when the temperature rating is considered.  The added bulk and weight over my other down bags seems fairly reasonable for a bag that should provide more security in rainy weather, as the HeatSync insulation is supposed to retain more warmth when wet.

I am a little disappointed that the foot box doesn't have a venting option, and hope that this won't make the bag too uncomfortable in warmer weather.  My only other disappointment in this bag is that the colors are a little brighter than I prefer, but this is minor, and a matter of personal taste.

Summary:

The Euphoria 15 is a soft and cuddly, well constructed sleeping bag that will hopefully prove very comfortable and warm due to the Flex construction.  Materials and workmanship appear to be good, and the bag has a number of features that should prove handy, such as the zippered chest level pocket, deep hood, warm draft tubes, and snag free zipper tracks.  My only real concern at this time is that the lack of a foot venting option may make the bag uncomfortable in warmer weather.

Field Report - June 15, 2010

Field Locations and Conditions:

Canaan Valley State Park, West Virginia, April 2010 ~ 6 mi (10 km) overnight backpacking trip.  While backpacking normally isn't allowed in West Virginia state parks, we were given special permission as part of the Department of Natural Resources Becoming an Outdoor Woman program.  Night time temperatures ranged from about 40 F to 50 F (4 C to 10 C).  I slept in a 2-person Tarptent with a friend, using a Therm-A-Rest NeoAir pad under the Euphoria.

Ramsey's Draft area of George Washington National Forest, Virginia, May 2010 ~ 17 mi (27 km) overnight backpacking trip.  Night time temperatures ranged from freezing to the low 40 F range (0-5 C), with heavy wind. I slept in a hammock, on a 3/8" (1 cm) thick Evazote pad under the Euphoria.

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, May 2010 ~ weekend (2 night) tent camping.  I used the Euphoria on a camp cot with a 3" (8 cm) mattress, inside a 4-person canvas platform tent.  Overnight temperatures were around 60 F (15 C).

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, May 2010 ~ overnight lodge camping.  I used the Euphoria on a 3" (8 cm) mattress on the concrete lodge floor.  Overnight temperatures were around 60 F (15 C).

Cranberry, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia, May 2010 ~ 25 mi (40 km) weekend (2 night) backpacking trip.  Overnight temperatures were in the 50 F (10 C) range and humidity was high.  I used the Euphoria in a Tarptent Sublite, on a Therm-A-Rest NeoAir pad.

Use and Conclusions:

Opened up ready to crawl intoOne thing I can say about the Euphoria is that it is a really warm sleeping bag.  Although I did not get the opportunity to test it down to its limit, I slept warm and snug at 32F (0 C) in heavy wind in my hammock with only a thin foam pad.  I have had a little trouble with it being simply too warm at times, even surprisingly on my April trip when the temperatures were around 40 F (4 C).  In fact, I had to open my side of the Tarptent Double Rainbow to get some cool air, and still had to throw the bag off a few times to cool down.  I didn't zip up the Euphoria until it started raining toward morning and I got a little cool.  I had pretty much the same experience at Girl Scout camp and in the Cranberry area ~ I would need to vent the bag several times during the night, and would zip it up partially toward morning, usually keeping the chest area unzipped.  The fleece footbox has been heavenly.  My toes have always stayed warm, and on all but the Ramsey's Draft trip, I slept barefoot, which is unusual for me in all but the warmest weather.  The insulation seems to be very even in the bag, as I have not noted any cold spots, even when sleeping on my side, or while turning during the night.

The bag has also been quite comfortable.  The Flex technology has enough stretch that I haven't felt constricted in the bag as I have in some other mummy style bags.  The pillow pocket has worked out pretty well, although I still prefer sleeping with my head on a stuff sack full of clothing, as the pocket won't hold much more than a light weight down jacket.  The inside of the bag, shown in the photo to the right, is soft and silky.

I did experience some heavy tent condensation during my last trip, which coupled with the fact that I kept sliding downhill to the foot of the tent, wetted out the fabric on the footbox of the Euphoria. The moisture seemed to be on the surface only, and did not appear to soak into the insulation layers.  I had to pack the bag up while it was still damp, but it quickly dried out when I unpacked it and let it air a bit, both on the trail on night two, and at home after the trip.

I've found the chest level storage pocket is large enough to keep a fleece beanie close at hand during the night.  I have not yet found the need to use it for anything else, but I think it would be very handy to keep my contacts somewhat warm in sub-freezing weather.

The stuff sack is quite oversized for the sleeping bag.  I can fit a pair of insulated pants and a down jacket inside the stuff sack in addition to the sleeping bag.  The oversized bag is nice for car camping, since the loft of the sleeping bag isn't compressed much, but it makes for a bit of a bulky package in a backpack.  I've found I can compress the bag (and waterproof it) by inserting a trash bag into the stuff sack, pressing the air out, twisting the trash bag shut, and then closing the stuff sack.  This makes it a bit smaller to deal with in my pack.

Summary:

The Sierra Designs Euphoria has been a good sleeping bag so far.  Although I would be happier if it weighed a little less for backpacking purposes, I'm very impressed with it for car camping purposes.  It packs much smaller and weighs less than most bags I've used for car camping or Girl Scout camp, and strikes a nice balance between price and function.  Thinking back to when I first started backpacking, I would have loved to have had  the Euphoria as my first backpacking sleeping bag, since the bargain bag I purchased was sadly over-rated and I was really cold at night my first few trips out.  I would highly recommend the Euphoria to anyone looking for a warm synthetic bag.

Long Term Report - August 17, 2010

Field Locations and Conditions:

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, July 2010 ~ weekend (2 night) lodge camping.  Night time temperatures in the upper 70 F range (around  25 C).  I used the Euphoria quilt style on a 3" (8 cm) mattress on the concrete lodge floor.

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, August 2010 ~ weekend (2 night) tent camping.  Night time temperatures in the lower 70 F range (around 20 C).  I used the Euphoria quilt style on a 3" (8 cm) mattress on a metal cot in a platform tent (a large open floored tent set up on a wooden platform).

Girl Scout Camp Sandy Bend, Elizabeth, West Virginia, August 2010 ~ overnight camping in half cabin.  Night time temperatures in the mid 80 F range (around 30 C).  I used the Euphoria quilt style on a 3" (8 cm) mattress on a metal cot in a half cabin (screening/tarp cover on top half, plywood bottom half).

Use and Conclusions:

During the last couple of months it has been simply too hot to zip the Euphoria up.  I was pleased though to find that I could extend the range of the bag by  unzipping it and using it quilt style.  This was very comfortable in the 70-75 F range (20 C or so), but in warmer temperatures, I found myself kicking the bag off repeatedly during the night, and once I cooled off a bit, pulling it back over me.  This made for a somewhat fitful sleep, but this is not unexpected for a bag of this warmth when used in hot summer conditions.  I was actually surprised I could tolerate the bag at all in these temperatures, since it worked so well in colder weather.   I think this was likely due partially to the light, silky shell, which felt nice against my skin.

The bag did get a little wet in the half cabin when I left the tarp over the screen open.  I think it would have dried rather quickly on its own, but since I wasn't sleeping in the cabin that night, I simply placed it in a clothes dryer and it was dry in 10-15 minutes.

The chest level pocket continued to be a great place to store a headlamp and keep it handy during the night.  Except for the fact that I kept forgetting it was there when I packed up the sleeping bag, and I found myself searching several minutes for my headlamp a couple of times, before I remembered I probably had placed it in the sleeping bag pocket.

For lodge and tent camping, the weight of the bag has not been a burden.  In fact, it is much lighter than the typical car camping style bag, and packs down a lot smaller.  This has helped keep the bulk of my gear to a minimum which has been especially welcome since I moved to a car with smaller cargo space this year.

The Euphoria still looks like new, and has not needed to be laundered.  In spite of the warm weather, it has not seemed to absorb any funky odors.  Now that the test is over, I will be loaning the bag to a friend who is serving an internship at a wildlife refuge in Alaska.  She has recently had some problems with being cold at night, especially in her hands and feet, and is greatly looking forward to the fleece lined footbox of the Euphoria.

Summary:

The Sierra Designs Euphoria has turned out to be a very flexible bag for me.  It is light enough to take on backpacking trips where I might worry about a down bag getting wet, and low in bulk and weight as a car camping style bag.  I was pleased with the relatively wide range of temperatures that the bag was comfortable in (from around freezing clear up to the upper 70 F (around 20 C) range.

The Euphoria has some pleasant features such as the chest level zippered storage pocket, and the warm fleece foot box.  While I had originally thought at the conclusion of this test that I would relegate this bag to "loaner" status, I now expect that I will be using it quite a bit not only for car camping, but for wet weather backpacking trips where I might worry about getting my down bags or quilts wet or muddy.  The bag is also inexpensive enough that I won't hesitate to loan it out to friends, use it in beginner backpacking courses, and even let my grandkids use it, and I expect it will see a lot of fun, outdoor use.

As noted before, I would have loved to have had a sleeping bag like this when I began backpacking, and will not hesitate to recommend it to beginners who ask about a reasonably priced, versatile sleeping bag.

Likes:

Versatile temperature range from cold to warm weather
Comfortable feel of silky shell fabric
Nice storage pocket at chest level
Cozy fleece footbox!

Dislikes:

On the heavy side for backpacking (but light for car camping)
Bulky for backpacking (but compact for car camping)


Thanks to Sierra Designs and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Euphoria.


Read more reviews of Sierra Designs gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant

Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > SD Euphoria 15 Degree Sleeping Bag > Test Report by Pamela Wyant



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