With hybrid construction and a design made for women, REI’s to-be-released Flash 34 might be one of the more noteworthy sleeping bag introductions for next year. It will come to market for spring 2013. But those willing to wait will get a bag that packs small and guards against pesky moisture that can wreck a good night’s sleep.
This is accomplished by using both goose down as well as synthetic PrimaLoft insulation. Down can bunch up and become useless when wet, whereas PrimaLoft, which is like a synthetic down, does not bunch as much when wet and will stay warmer.
REI put the synthetic stuff on the bottom and a fluffy 800-fill down on top. This way, if you’re lying on wet ground or if condensation comes from below the bag can stay puffier and warmer. It’s rated for nights down to 34 degrees F, as per the product name.
We tested the bag in the mountains of Oregon and around the West this summer. The bag did the trick through a range of temps and wet and dry nights. I was warm, dry and not bothered by the condensation and morning dew when I slept outside on a thin pad under the stars.
The “made for a woman” sell? Basically, the fit is just a bit wider and there’s more insulation than a comparable men’s bag. Worked for me!
On my wilderness trips, so far I have tested the Flash 34 on nights as cold as 32 degrees. I have yet to wake up from being cold or feeling cramped.
Overall, I would call this a great summer bag for the mountains. It’s a three-season bag in many parts of the country.
The Flash bag will cost $279, which is pricier than all other REI-brand women’s bags. But for the extra cash you’ll get a lighter, warmer, more-packable sleeping bag that should keep you cozy in a range of environments and temps outside.