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Minimal Sleeping Bag is Hoodless, Zipper-less, Insulated only on top

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During a weeklong trip in Alaska this fall, I camped out every night, explored forests and mountains, and cooked meals beside a roaring fire. It was a perfect setting to test a few new products, including Therm-A-Rest’s Navis sleeping bag.

The unique “headless” bag is a 2013 model and not yet on sale. Watch for it in stores later this winter for $250.

At 1lb, 5oz, the bag falls in the ultra-light category and is aimed at backpackers.

The hoodless, zipperless Navis sleeping bag

Why no hood? To save weight, of course. The theory is a hood is not needed if you have a warm jacket to wear to bed, which many backpackers bring anyway.

There is no zipper — you just slither in from the top. The bag also has no insulation on its bottom, requiring a sleeping pad to keep you warm on the ground.

Large elastic loops hold a pad and the bag firmly together, and a thin drawstring cinches the bag at the shoulders to keep in the warmth.

Brands like Big Agnes and GoLite have sold similar “hood-less” bag styles for years. The Navis offers a “universal” mattress attachment, allowing it to function with several types of sleeping pads.

The Navis also has a normal, mummy-style shape, not a shape made to fit a specific sleeping pad. This allows it to be smaller and lighter than some similar designs.

Therm-A-Rest uses 750+ fill down for insulation. The bag is rated with a 25 – 45° F range, meaning any given camper will find a comfortable spot in that range. If you sleep cold, do not plan to use this bag at 25 degrees outside, in other words.

Elastic straps on underside of bag hold pad in place

I found the setup to be warm in Alaska on nights where the temp was around freezing. I paired the Navis with a mid-weight puffy jacket and a hat on my head and slept like a champ.

Worth noting is the 2.5-inch thickness of the pad I used, the NeoAir ThermX. This inflatable camp mattress is lined with “reflective barriers” and retails for a cool $190.

At 14 ounces, the pad weighed nearly as much as the sleeping bag. But, no lie, aboard this cush setup I experienced hands-down the most comfortable sleep I’ve had in the woods, with a hood or without.

T.C. Worley is a contributing editor.

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