NEMO Sleeping Bags: Nocturne

As any follower (or unfortunate bystander) of The Dusty Camel knows, I love gear. I love using it, I love having it, I love reasearching it, and I most of all, love talking about it. Which is why it was so terribly difficult of me to hold off on spreading the word of the long awaited NEMO sleeping bag line.

Fortunate enough to test this bag on the Pacific Crest Trail, Andy and I were extatic about getting them, and even more so after using them. We got to test out the Nocturne: a 700-fill down, spoon shaped bag allowing much desired leg space for snoozing in the back country. Featuring a duvet flap for snuggling, and ultra soft nylon shell fabric, it is even packed with the exciting new DownTek nanotechnology. The spoon shape allows for room where you need it, and with vertical baffles, allows even heat transfer to prevent cold spots.

DownTek is a revolutionary technology that is added to down before it is used in garments, and now sleeping bags. Essentially, it creates a water resistant barrier around the down, but since it is so small (nano small, or 10^-9) it doesn't effect the loft, essentially eliminated the downfall to down (useless when wet). See this short video to get a quick glimpse into the sheer awesomeness of DownTek.

DownTek Demo from Lauren Fisher on Vimeo.

Should that not be enough to ease your woes, the Nocturne is also equipped with a waterproof foot box. Since it is usually inevitable for your feet to hit the tent wall, this gives an extra layer of protection by preventing condensation from getting the base of your bag wet. 

Not only did these folks design an awesome sleeping bag, but they gave their prototypes out to nearly two dozen avid outdoors men and women and told us all to push it to it's limits. Afterwards, they listened to our collective input, and actually made changes to the design and construction. 

So now, I can not only give the TDC stamp of approval on these bad-boys, but I can also give you the link to check out the line, and pre-order your bag of choice (snugglers rejoice, as there is also a two person bag!).



NEMO Losi 3P torture tested

When we put our gear to the test, we really test it. One of the things we love is our home -- whatever that may be. This time around, it's the NEMO Equipment Losi 3P, known as the palace.

What is palatial about it? It's a three person tent for two people, has a gear caddy to store all of our little things in, and we rigged up a clothes line inside so we can hang up our socks and 'home sweet home' buff. At just over 5 lbs, it's easily broken into weight for the two of us, making it a lightweight option too.

How's it hold up? We've camped on volcanic rock, sand, dirt, granite; you name it, we've probably slept on it -- all without a footprint or ground cloth. Only a few micro holes to show for it too, only visible when it's upside down and the sun shines through. Easily patched up with a tiny piece of tape or seam seal, and it's all good to go. No holes in the fly, and one small hole in the mesh (half a dime sized).

Now, even though it's held up beautifully, there was one weakness -- the zippers. The zips on the body are a small YKK zipped called a 3C zipper. For anyone familiar with Patagonia's down sweater from a few years ago, they were using the same zipper. Unfortunately, like Patagonia found out, the zipper flat out sucks. Eventually it will wear down and stop zipping, and be a true hassle. With NEMOs awesome warranty, they were able to ship us a new tent body, so it's all set! The zipper did take over 120 days to bust, so for most weekend campers, it will last years before any problem arise!

One of my favorite parts of the tent is the pole locking system. The "jakes feet" as they are known, have a ball and snap locking system. You press the end of the pole into the holder, and voila! All done. In the 136 days we have had the tent, it only popped out once, and it was dirty.

All in all, I love the jolly green giant, the palace, the Losi. We are excited to have the space to lounge around, but without the weight to break our backs. The size (floor space AND nearly vertical walls creating more tent space) is wonderful to have when you're tired after a long days hike. Leave the fly off to have a bug proof shelter but sleep beneath the stars! Its nearly like sleeping outside without a tent.

-- Ian