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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Poor strap system, no foot loops for hanging up
The budget conscious car camper can't beat the Wenzel Conquest sleeping bag for warm weather use. This spacious and comfortable bag provides three-season warmth at rock bottom prices. Whether you're road tripping around the country, or car camping for weekend getaways, the flannel lined Conquest is a good choice. It opens up to make a nice picnic blanket, and it is our favorite warm weather car camping bag.
For the most comfortable, most luxurious, and warmest general-purpose sleeping bag for cold weather, go for the Slumberjack Country Squire 0. Or for something lighter and warmer than the Conquest, that could also be used backpacking in a pinch, opt for the Kelty Callisto 20. The Wenzel Grande is very similar to the Conquest; with three more pounds of insulation, it's our Top Pick for Warmth.
RELATED: Our complete review of camping sleeping bags
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Wenzel rates the Conquest at 25 degrees, which we find overstates the warmth. Our testers tried the bag on frosty nights in the low 20's, but found that around 35 degrees is about its warmth limit. For most campers this won't be a serious drawback; just wear a baselayer and hat in the upper thirties and throw on a jacket if the temps drop close to freezing. If cold nights are your norm, the Wenzel Grande is a better cold weather bag. Why isn't the Conquest warmer? In part, because of the "sewn-through" construction, which means that the quilting pierces all layers (outer fabric, insulation, and liner fabric). This is the cheapest way to make a sleeping bag but it sacrifices warmth due to hot air escaping through the seams. We found this the most comfortable bag for nights in the 40s and 50s wearing minimal clothing.
The Conquest is the most comfortable big rectangular bag for warm weather. It measures 81 inches by 38 inches (plenty of space to sprawl about), has a poly/cotton blend flannel lining that's soft to the skin, and unzips into a full-size blanket. Our Editors' Choice winning bag, the Slumberjack Country Squire 0, is significantly more comfortable than the Conquest because it's larger, has more cushioning on the bottom, and has a removable cotton sheet. We docked the Conquest a point from its comfort score because, without a two-way zipper, you cannot ventilate it at the foot.
A big reason this bag can be priced so low is the lack of features. Sewn into the foot of the bag are two circular elastic straps to secure the bag after rolling it up. This is a cost saving measure compared to the strap and wrap system of the big brother Wenzel Grande. Most of the notable features built in the Grande are lacking here - this bag doesn't have hanging loops sewn into the foot for example. But most disappointingly, the zipper is a one-way zipper; there is no zipper pull to open the foot of the bag. The zipper does have a tape backing, providing snag free use for us. The large Velcro zipper closure flap works, but doesn't fold away onto itself.
The Conquest rolls up similar in size to the other large rectangular bags tested. Two low quality elastic straps (sewn to the bottom of the bag) do an OK job at preventing it from unrolling, but a better wrap and strap system would be nice and compress the bag more. Weighing in at 7 lbs, this model is the fourth bulkiest we tested when rolled, and the only one that is not in some way protected by a stuff sack or covered with a protective wrap.
We feel this is a good choice for budget conscious car campers who don't see many nights below 40. The Conquest is also great for sleeping over and crashing with your friends. A great picnic blanket when unzipped, it makes a nice medium weight comforter for use in the house.
The Conquest offers decent value at its bargain price. It is not nearly as warm for its weight as other products, but is roomy and comfortable for warm and kinda cool nights outdoors or sleepovers indoors. We think it's a great deal for late spring, summer, and early fall car camping if you want a simple, comfortable, cheap sleeping bag.
Buy this bag if you're looking for the roomiest, most comfortable flannel lined bag for warm weather camping or indoor use. Unzipped to make a queen-sized blanket, it's perfect for picnics and covering two folks blanket style for summer sleeping.
The Wenzel Grande is the second warmest rectangular sleeping bag we've tested and the warmest bag for its price - because of this, the Grande wins our Top Pick Award. With the same spacious dimensions of 38 in. x 81 in., the Grande is the best budget cold weather model.
The Blue Jay is a 25 degree sleeping bag with flannel on the inside, a synthetic shell, and a large zipper. This bag sells for an extraordinarily cheap price and two can be zipped together.
— Brandon Lampley
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: May 19, 2015
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