Now, even the wicked can rest

Sierra Designs Wicked Light 45 sleeping bag ($230)

When out on a summer adventure such as can be had here in the southwestern U.S., sixteen hours of light per day is more than enough opportunity to wear a guy down. There’s nothing quite like crawling into a comfortable sleeping bag at the end of such a long day, but if the air isn’t cool enough, it can be frustrating—too hot in the bag, too cool lying on top. Even though nights can be balmy or downright warm when first turning in, they usually get cool enough in the wee hours to warrant a blanket or even a zipped bag at higher elevations.

Wicked Light 45 sleeping bag at Glen Canyon National Rec. Area
Wicked Light 45 sleeping bag at Glen Canyon Nat’l Rec. Area

Over the summer I slept away more than a month’s worth of nights in the Wicked Light 45 from Sierra Designs and I can easily say this is a perfect mild-season bag for me. I’ve been using it for backpacking as well as overlanding in my Toyota 4WD and the versatility is impressive. I can adapt the bag to the situation and sleep comfortably.

Tuck stitching hides and protects threads

The semi-rectangular design employs snag-proof zippers (yes, plural, there‘s two of them) allowing the foot box to be opened separately for adjustable pass-through ventilation. Both zips ride on the same continuous track, so there’s no limit to how far you can open the bag from either end. Additionally, the bag can be fully unzipped at the lower corner, turning it into a lay-flat blanket; perfect for car-camping and sleeping on a larger mattress like an in-vehicle bed or a rooftop tent. While backpacking, I’ve really come to appreciate the lightweight materials and small pack-size. Weighing only twenty four ounces and packed down to six inches by sixteen inches, it’s a cinch to tote around and can shrink even smaller if you use a compression sack. Sierra Designs smartly did away with the bulky draft tube and full-size hood traditionally found on a mummy bag; things I certainly don’t miss on a 45-degree model, especially considering the snag-proof zipper design is effective keeping minor drafts at bay. If it does get chilly there is a draw cord to snug the collar closer, and along with a beanie or bandana, I sleep just fine. Another clever feature is two removable “Pad Locks“—lightweight, adjustable straps that securely center the bag on my sleeping pad. The shell is made of silky 22-denier polyester with tuck-stitching that helps to protect threads from abrasion and oils. Continuous baffles are insulated with cloud-like 800-fill goose down and allow for further adaptability to the temperature by allowing me to manipulate the insulation if needed. As always, the rating is subject to personal preference, but I find the bag to be true to its 45-degree claim on chilly nights. At the upper end of the spectrum, if the air temperature is over 70 degrees, it’s too warm to use as a bag and I‘ll just leave it unzipped or use like a blanket if needed.

Small pack-size
Small pack-size is easy to manage

For those in damp or humid environments, check out the Wicked Hot 45 which is basically the same bag, but with PrimaLoft Eco synthetic fill, made from 50% recycled plastic and just slightly bulkier (not heavier) than this down version, and about fifty bucks less. 800-635-0461