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Hands-on Gear Review
REI Co-op Igneo 25 Review
Cons: Tighter than average leg room, okay quality down, not super warm for its temperature rating
Bottom line: A solid sleeping bag that is close in weight and compressed size to many bags that are sometimes double the price.
The REI Co-op Igneo 25 is a solid bag that offers comparable performance to other often much more expensive bags, such as the Western Mountaineering MegaLite, Marmot Phase 20, or the Western Mountaineering UltraLite, but at nearly half the cost. The Igneo is a slightly higher-end bag, at a more middle-of-the-road price. It offers decent quality 700-fill water-resistant duck down, along with respectable shell fabrics.
All that said, we still prefer the Western Mountaineering UltraLite or Marmot Phase, as they offer higher-quality down and a lighter weight shell fabric. This creates a warmer, lighter and more compressible bag; while the weight and packed volume the differences aren't huge, the price differences are giant and both of these bags are more than twice the price and only slightly warmer, lighter, and more packable.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The REI Igneo is our OutdoorGearLab Best Buy award winner. It's easily on the lighter and more compressible end of the spectrum, yet in many cases, it's $100-$300 less than comparably performing bags. Performance wise, it is within 4-6 ounces and a few cubic inches of compressed volume of our Editors' Choice and Top Picks - for significantly less money.
The REI Igneo is slightly warmer than most 30°F bags we reviewed, but slightly less warm than most of the 25° F bags we tested. The Igneo is rated to 25°F and uses 10 ounces of water-resistant 700+ fill-power duck down for insulation, which felt more comparable to most 30° F bags and in our real-world testing. We found that this contender was a touch on the cold side of 25° F bags we tested. In a direct side-by-side comparison, our testing determined that the Kelty Cosmic Down and The North Face Cat's Meow were warmer.
The Igneo also certainly isn't quite as warm as the comparably rated Sea to Summit Spark III (25°F) which features four ounces more of higher quality down and a tighter fit. It's nowhere as close to the warmth that the Western Mountaineering UltraLite (20°F) offers, which features six more ounces of slightly higher quality down (16 ounces of 850+ fill goose down). Its hood is well-designed, offering comfort and performance that resulted in an adequate job of maintaining heat. Our testers found this bag's dimensions stuck a good balance between comfort and thermal efficiency.
The Igneo weighs in at a very respectable 1 lb 10 oz, which is lighter-than-average for its temperature rating (among overall options on the market).
When you compare the Igneo to other bags in its price range, it is a pretty clear cut winner. The Igneo is over a pound lighter than the Kelty Cosmic Down (2 lbs 13 oz), or The North Face Cat's Meow (2 lbs 11 oz) and weighs the same as the Western Mountaineering UltraLite; however, the UltraLite is still noticeably warmer. The 700 fill-power down Igneo uses mid-range quality of down, but features a light, down proof, high-quality shell fabric that feels nice against our skin.
This contender packs down smaller than average and offers one of the better-packed sizes among 25F bags in our review. However, it doesn't pack down quite as small as its closest competitor, the Western Mountaineering Ultralite, Marmot Phase 20, or the Sea to Summit Spark III. It does, however, pack down much smaller than bags that aren't quite as warm, like the Mountain Hardwear Hyperlamina Spark 35 or the Kelty Cosmic Down 20.
It comes with an included stuff sack that is fairly lightweight but isn't particularly effective at minimizing the packed volume. In fact, with an aftermarket compression sack, we felt we could compress this bag to nearly half the volume versus using the included stuff sack.
Comfort, Spaciousness, and Fit
This bag features a 60-inch wide shoulder girth and 55-inch hip girth. This is middle of the road to slightly on the more slender side, but hardly extreme. All of our testers noticed that this contender felt average around the torso and slightly tighter around the legs (when compared to other models). Folks who like to move around a lot or sleep on their tummy stand a higher chance of finding this bag to be too tight fitting. While it offered more space than the Sea to Summit Spark III or the Western Mountaineering Ultralite, it felt pretty comparable, though a little smaller, than the Marmot Phase.
For those looking for a roomier backpacking bag, the Igneo was not as spacious as the Nemo Salsa 30 or the Western Mountaineering MegaLite, which offered a noticeably increased amount of room to wiggle our legs around in. The Igneo's dimensions provided average wiggle room and we were comfortable without being too loose or inefficient warmth-wise.
This bag is pretty dang versatile, as it's light and compressible enough for most backpacking and mountaineering uses. While its fit is average to slightly on the snug side, it is still a decent option for most backpackers or those using it for car camping. The full-length zipper helps keep it comfortable on warmer nights and its torso/shoulder area is big enough to accommodate extra layers for a person of almost any size.
Features and Design
This contender uses water-resistant down that is created by blending a polymer-coated down-fill. During OutdoorGearLab's spray bottle test, REI's polymer treated down appeared to absorb slightly less water than an untreated similar fill-power sample; this light amount of moisture dried roughly 25% faster.
We also performed a "full soaking test" and noticed a less visible difference between the two. In our review teams real world testing (where we never actually completely soaked the bag, just condensation, etc.), we noticed even less of a difference. We think that REI's (and other) polymer-coated down is marginally more water resistant and potentially offers slightly quicker drying times, but not by a considerable amount.
The nylon shell of the Igneo appeared to be one of the more durable options we tested and we think that over time, minimal down will escape. An added bonus is that we found that the Igneo's side-zipper got caught or snagged the least of any model we tested (something you notice even more during a sleeping bag review).
The Igneo is a pretty solid all-around bag. It's light enough for most backpacking trips from overnight, to multi-week adventures and is comfortable enough for occasional car camping. It's warm and packable enough for spring and summer mountaineering trips; we'd even consider taking this bag on multiday spring ski touring trips.
Value and the Conclusion
The REI Igneo is an above-average sleeping bag at below average price. While bags that cost $100-$200 more do often provide a higher level of performance, they often do not provide double the performance, with several top-notch options being only 4-6 ounces lighter and 10-15% more packable. When you compare this bag to other models in the $200-$300 range, we think the Igneo is pretty tough to beat.
— Ian Nicholson
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