Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Warmest bag for the price, adjustable straps secure bag for storage and travel better than most other bags.
Cons: Flannel lining can be too hot for warm summer nights, lack of draft tube on zipper lets in cold air.
Best Uses: Cold weather camping, around the house, as a queen sized blanket.
The Wenzel Grande is the second warmest rectangular sleeping bag we've tested and the warmest bag for its price. With spacious dimensions of 38 in. x 81 in., the Grande is also the second largest bag we've tested.
Our highest rated sleeping is the Slumberjack Country Squire, which is larger, slightly warmer, has a removable sheet (more comfortable), and is more durable. At around $40 the best value sleeping bag is the Wenzel Conquest.
Hitting the trail? Check out our Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review. Camping in cold weather? See the Winter Down Sleeping Bag Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Wenzel Grande keeps you toasty warm on early spring and fall nights. This is the second warmest bag we've tested in this category. Our highest rated rectangular bag, the Slumberjack Country Squire, is slightly warmer and longer. The extra length makes it considerably warmer for tall people. Wenzel rates the Grande to zero degrees Fahrenheit. Based on our experience testing over 80 sleeping bags, we believe a 20 degree rating is more accurate. A draft tube along the zipper would make the bag considerably warmer, as cold air creeps through the zipper by your feet and along your side. Skipping a draft tube serves to reduce costs, and this bag offers by far the greatest warmth-to-price ratio of any rectangular bag tested.
The Grande's abundant insulation makes a sleeping pad optional. The bag is the second widest and second longest we've tested; there's space for people of all sizes, or two cozy people can squeeze in if needed. The Grande also makes for an excellent queen size blanket.
This bag weighs a hefty 10.25 lb. and wraps into a 13"x 18" roll. This is slightly more compact than the Country Squire and slightly larger than the Wenzel Conquest, our two other highest rated bags.
The best feature on the Grande might be the adjustable webbing strap that cinches the bag down for storage. All of the other inexpensive bags we tested have elementary elastic straps that are rarely effective – the straps come off and send the bag out of your hand and onto the ground. The Grande's strap system secures the bag for road trips and has a handle that lets you carry it. This feature is a huge benefit compared to other cheap bags that you have to carry in your arms or put in a separate storage sack.
The other feature of note is the bag's flannel lining. Although this can be useful in cold conditions we found that it can also make the bag too hot for warm summer nights. On warm nights our testers usually bring a sheet, which makes the bag considerably more comfortable. The flannel also pills up over time and may follow you around in your hair or accumulate in your tent. These are minor drawbacks for a good quality bag at a great price. And yes, the bag can zip to another one of the same model or with the same zipper and dimensions.
The Wenzel Conquest, $58, wins our Best Buy Award, as the budget conscious camper can't beat the Wenzel Conquest sleeping bag. This spacious and comfortable bag provides three-season warmth at rock bottom prices.
The Blue Jay, $46, is a 25 degree sleeping bag with flannel on the inside and a large zipper. This bag sells for an extraordinarily cheap price and two can be zipped together.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: October 17, 2012
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