Forty-five years of outdoor engineering, adaptation, and design have been applied to create Patagonia’s first down sleeping bag.
It may seem strange that the company is making such a late entrance into this side of outdoors gear given its immense success in areas like down jackets, but in truth, the first Patagonia down sleeping bag predated the company itself.
In 1972, founder Yvon Chouinard designed and stitched his own, stuffing goose down into the channels of a mummy-style bag with his hands and reconfiguring it to allow him to tie-in at belays and high peaks.
And in fact, Patagonia has been making sleeping bags unique for years. After spending a significant time engaging with one of the most important elements that an outdoor enthusiast can buy, the company finally decided to implement everything he had learned in one master.
Enter the new 850 Down Sleeping Bag, a tribute to Chouinard’s original design that combines his first hand experience as a dedicated climber and modeler with all the modern advances of the past four decades.
For years, materials, design, construction and field testing of insulation have been the name of the game for Patagonia. And after decades spent manipulating and thinking about a single topic, you tend to learn a few tricks.
The same profound understanding of the warmth that made Patagonia known for its casual jackets is now reimagined and implemented in another race altogether: a line of sleeping bags.
The 850 comes in two models, one that is recommended for temperatures as low as 19 degrees Fahrenheit, and another that borders at 30 degrees. Both are tested and rated EN, and both are designed for efficiency and comfort of three seasons for technical outputs ranging from casual to progressive.
The 850 is filled solely with 850-fill-power down that is traceable to ensure ethical practices and also provides the bag with exceptional heat as well as maximum loft and light weight. In fact, while the 19-degree bag is 32 ounces, the 30-degree bag is only 25. That means a bag of oranges is potentially heavier than your sleeping arrangements for the night — a fact that will seem invaluable to those with miles to go before they sleep.
The shell fabric is an ultralight 100% nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum fabric, which features technology that allows for maximum down loft, provides superior durability, and enhances the durable-water-repellent finish. The liner is the same as Patagonia’s Houdini-style jackets: durable but featherweight 15-denier 100% nylon ripstop that both dries quickly and makes next-to-skin contact comfortable.
And to offset uneven heating and the cold, each bag has a custom, differentially cut foot-box pattern that eliminates dead space and bulk, maximizes warmth, and affords ample room for movement.
The only noteworthy change in the two models, aside from their different temperature ratings and corresponding weight, is that the 19-degree bag also features the comprehensive differential baffle construction, which basically means the bag is designed so that there aren’t any sewn-through areas and that the bag has a smaller liner circumference to the larger shell, helping to ensure the down stays lofted and cold spots are eliminated. The 30-degree bag features stitch-through construction — a simple and lightweight solution that is perfect for warmer weather or light-and-fast, minimalist needs.
As most people who have ventured into the wilderness overnight know, a sleeping bag is an expensive but essential investment. It isn’t a piece of gear to mess around with, and it usually ends up being something you will thank yourself for spending a few extra bucks on, time and time again.
While Patagonia’s new 850 sleeping bag clocks in at a price that is comparable to competitors, if the culmination of the past four decades of insulation and design adaptation has really made a difference.