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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Sierra Designs Utopia 15 > Owner Review by Denver Bauter

SIERRA DESIGNS UTOPIA 15 DEGREE SLEEPING BAG
BY DENVER ALLEN
OWNER REVIEW
August 09, 2011

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Denver Allen
EMAIL: Denverbauter123ATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 23
LOCATION: Ogden, Utah, USA
GENDER: f
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

My husband has backpacked his whole life and has been getting me into it over the last two years. We've done many local over night trips as well as some week long backpacking trips in the Uinta Mountains. We spend a lot of time camping in the summers and in winter we stay in yurts to get to the really good skiing lines. I usually carry the lighter pack mostly clothes, food, and water while my husband carries the bulk necessities (ie tent etc...) I'm really loving it even though it still kicks my butt each time I go.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Sierra Designs
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.sierradesigns.com
MSRP: US $159.95
Listed Weight: 3 lb 9 oz / 1.6 kg
Measured Weight: 3 lb 9 oz / 1.6 kg
Other details: This 3-season mummy bag contains Heatsync insulation stuffing with 30D polyester lining and Micro-Ripstop shell, making it a perfect 15 F degree (-9 C) bag. The hole baffle is made with Flex technology to provide maximum comfort. It has a nice big hood with a pocket underneath to keep a camping pillow in place. The regular length is plenty long with some room to spare for my 5'9" (1.79 m) body, and it even has a small zippered pocket right at the opening to store keys/cellphone, etc...

FIELD USE

I have taken this bag camping in many situations. I've owned the bag for about a year and It's been my sleeping bag in yurts, tents, hammocks, through snowy cold winter with lows of 20 F (-7 C) and warmer summer nights of around 60 F degrees (16 C). Because I live in Utah, most of my camping in this bag has been in an altitude range from 6,000 to 11,000 ft (1800 - 3400 m). Also being in Utah, this bag has seen everything from clear, cloudless nights to stormy tempests of rain, snow, wind and/or lightning. I've used it for week-long excursions as well as overnight camping near my home. Overall I've probably spent about 40 to 50 nights in this bag.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

I am a very picky sleeper, if I'm not comfortable I don't sleep well. I am also a very active sleeper, I move a lot in my sleep so sleeping bags for me are usually a chore because I just can't stand the constricted feeling when I can't move my legs and arms well. On top of that, I am just about the worst when it comes to thermo regulation at night. I'm always too cold or too hot (usually more on the cold side, thus the 15 F (-9 C) degree bag). I also use a sleeping bag often as my husband and I frequently go on quick overnight trips to make our days off seem longer as well as taking weekend camping/backpacking trips. We do have a few long backpacking/yurt camping/back country skiing trips per year which require us to have sleeping gear that is not only comfortable but also light and small enough to be easily carried in our packs.

THINGS I LIKE

I really love the material that this bag is made of: it's soft and smooth and feels good to sleep in and the best part for me is that it stretches! Not a ton of stretch but just enough so I can comfortably roll over, bend my legs, curl in a ball, straighten out, and so on as I sleep. This is one of the most comfortable sleeping bags I have ever been in.

Being a 15 F degree (-9 C) bag is also helpful because it keeps me so warm at night that I don't have to layer up on the clothes to keep from freezing. The zipper is also pretty easy to access and to zip and unzip so when I get a little too warm I can just unzip it a bit to keep myself the perfect temperature. I also love the stuffing because it is so fluffy that it adds even more comfort and padding to my already pretty comfortable sleeping pad. A true sign of the comfort of my bag is the fact that our dog always chooses to sleep on my bag and not my husband's when we camp but whenever we're home she's always snuggled up to his legs!

I also use a camping pillow when I backpack and most of the time when I'm not car camping (I'd always rather use my regular pillow if given the chance of course). The problem with camping pillows is they're small and slippery and most of the time I lose them shortly after falling asleep. The Sierra Designs Utopia bag is designed with a ridge at the opening that keeps my pillow in place and if the pillow is small enough then it can actually slide inside of the pocket that is on the underside of the head rest on the sleeping bag and it will keep it in just the right spot. My pillow is just a little bit too big for the pocket.

I also really like the zippered pocket for keys or cell phone or anything important that I need to keep by me at night. It's in the right spot so it's not in my way, it's easy to get to, and the zipper keeps it all in place.

The final thing that I really like about this bag is that it's plenty long! I'm about 5' 9" (about 1.75 m) and I got the regular bag (not even the long) and I have plenty of room to stretch out and still be covered in the downy warmth.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Being a 15 F degree (-9 C) bag also has its drawbacks: it's light enough because of the material it's made of but when I said before that it's nice and fluffy, I really mean it's quite large! I have a 55 L (3400 cu in) bag and it takes up about 1/3 of the space in it! Not really a problem for overnight trips but when it comes to week long trips, the space in my pack gets a little tight and I end up strapping things to the outside to make up for it. Once again, kind of obnoxious but since I usually go with my husband and we split our gear up among 2 packs and have a pretty good system down now, it hasn't been a huge problem. I can definitely see, however, that if I were to go without him and had to carry all my own food, water, clothing, stove, tent, tp and all the other necessities, I could run into trouble. This is definitely something to think about when I'm choosing which gear to pack for a trip.

The other thing that isn't really something that I dislike, but I just don't really get is the straps that they put on the back of the bag to hold it down to my sleeping pad. I know the straps are found on many bags, not just this one, but I just don't get them. I've tried to use them and either they don't really help or I just feel too tied down and I can't move enough to get comfortable. And as I mentioned earlier I wish the pillow pocket on the back were just a bit larger although the opening holds the pillow well enough for me.

SUMMARY

I liked:
Length of the bag
Stretch of the fabric
Warmth of the insulation
Small zippered pocket for valuables
Large, brimmed hood that keeps pillow in place
Potential for pillow pocket if it were a bit larger
Padded comfort

I disliked:
Size when packed takes up too much room
Straps on underside were unnecessary
Pillow pocket on underside of hood was too small for my pillow

SIGNATURE

Denver Allen
Denverbauter123ATyahooDOTcom

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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