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Sierra Designs Zissou & Eleanor Sleeping Bag Review
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Sierra Designs Zissou & Eleanor Sleeping Bag Review

Sierra Designs Zissou & Eleanor Sleeping Bag Review

I’ve been using the Zissou sleeping bag from Sierra Designes for several months now, but knew I had to review it after the first restful night. I was a bit hesitant about using the Zissou 30 instead of my old 20° synthetic bag when I saw how rainy and chilly our campsite was. To my surprise the Zissou kept me as warm as or even warmer than my other bag despite the 10° rating difference. It was also much more comfortable and with an interior that’s very cozy against the skin.

 

Sierra Designs Zissou & Eleanor Sleeping bag
Only the most scientific methods were used in the testing of this bag.
The Zissou and women’s equivalent the Eleanor range from 0° to 30° ratings, all weighing between 2lbs 1oz for the men’s 30° and 3lbs 4oz for the men’s 0°. All these bags are available in long and both right and left zip, so no matter who you are-or who you like to cuddle with-there’s an option for you.DriDown technology is a huge part of what makes the Zissou stand out. A chemical treatment similar to what’s applied to the outside of rain jackets is put on the down insulation itself to prevent waterlogging and the subsequent collapse. It is not a water proof sleeping bag-a large amount of water would make its way through the bag to the person inside-but the bag itself is designed to remain lofted and thus retain most of its ability to insulate.
DriDown isn’t primarily designed a safeguard against dropping your bag in a creek or sleeping out in the rain with no shelter, though it would outperform a regular down bag in those situation. DriDown’s strength is against condensation and humidity, which can reduce loft in a sleeping bag and hinder its ability to keep you warm. Once wet, DriDown also dries about 33% faster than regular down, according to Sierra Designs’ research.An example of these benefits came when a faulty hydration bladder leaked inside my backpack, practically forcing ½ liter of water onto my sleeping bag (it wasn’t using a stuff sack). I shook it out at the camp site, noting that it still lofted up where it was wet, though not quite as much. Whole bag dried quickly and I felt no adverse effects that night.Zissou 30 weighs a meager 2lbs, 1oz and packs down extremely well, making it perfect for backpacking. I use the long, which weighs just 2lbs 4oz, while the women’s Eleanor 30 weighs 2lbs 6oz) I was able to use it for just that on a trip in the Olympic National Forest, where changing temperatures let me test out the bag’s versatility. Again, the Zissou surpassed my expectations. Sleeping in a tent on night that was warmer than 50° it breathed incredibly well. I had been concerned that the DriDown system wouldn’t breath as well as other bags, but in fact it seemed to lose no breathability at all.

As fall slowly approaches many of us are looking for a way to draw out camping season longer than a 30° bag may allow. The Zissou 0° is incredibly warm, still light, provides all the benefits of DriDown and is currently available for only $299.99.

Pros:

  • Lightweight (almost 2 lbs)
  • Dries quickly, retains loft when damp
  • Comfy: breathable with plenty of room to move around
Cons:
  • There is neither a truly ultra-lite version nor a truly inexpensive version of this bag. As other manufactures expand their use of treated down (Marmot and Big Agnes, most notably) this is sure to change.
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