Breathing tube, venting ‘Gills’ among features on Winter sleeping bag

GearJunkie recently featured the Nemo Equipment Canon -40 sleeping bag in its Outdoor Retailer Show coverage, which awarded the product with a “Best in Show” prize. This article further breaks down the tech and features of the bag, one of the more interesting product releases so far this year.


Time for bed. It’s below-zero outside, and you’re camping out under the stars.

A to-be-released sleeping bag from Nemo Equipment is made for snoozing through some of the coldest nights winter can bring. The company rates its Canon model sleeping bag to minus-40 degrees F.

A “hibernation-ready cocoon” with a breathing tube at the face

That temp rating is not new. But the features of this funny-looking bag are, including arm holes, ventilation gills, and a cylindrical fabric tube to breathe through as you lie flat on your back.

Available for purchase later this year, the Canon -40 bag is a fringe piece of equipment made for specialized pursuits. The cost is a cool $1,000.

But for that cash expeditioners can get a hibernation-ready cocoon that’s relatively light weight at 4 pounds, 7 ounces. It’s small enough to stow in the bottom of a backpack.

A traditional mummy design is enhanced with Nemo’s unique features. The bag is made for sleeping in as well as wearing while sorting gear, reading, or stirring dinner on a stove out the door of a tent.

Thermal-camera image shows heat escaping through hood opening and unzipped “gills” on torso of bag

Zip-open arm holes make the tent chores doable. You can keep the Canon bag on your body, head ensconced in the hood, while cooking stew in a pot or scanning a map while tent-bound during a mountain climb.

Too warm in the billowing bag? No need to undo the main zipper. The Canon has “gills” that run a couple feet up and down its torso.

Nemo showed me a thermal-imaging camera photo as evidence to the gills’ heat-regulating potential. Zip open a gill and hot air escapes from the core of the bag.

At night, in a tent or outside sleeping under stars, you lie on your back and breathe through the “stovepipe.” Like a fur ruff on an Arctic parka hood, the fabric tube offers a buffer where warm air meets and mixes with the cold.

Waterproof fabric wraps the bag’s exterior. Inside, puffy 850-fill goose down traps body heat.

Canon bag with its “gills” zipped closed (left) and open for ventilation at right

A final touch, the often-wet foot area of the bag has a mix of down and synthetic insulation. This keeps the foot area warmer and the insulation loftier even if snow soaks through from the inside from wet feet.

The Canon -40 debuted last week at a trade show. I have not yet camped out in it. But having frozen more than once in mummy bags unfurled on snow, I’m open to new ideas, with gills, arm holes, and fabric breathing tubes included no doubt.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.