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Outdoor Vitals Summit 15 Review

A tempting sleeping bag deal that doesn't quite meet the advertised performance
outdoor vitals summit 15 backpacking sleeping bag review
Credit: Outdoor Vitals
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Price:  $295 List | $294.97 at Amazon
Pros:  Tempting price, nice venting possibilities, decent weight and packed size
Cons:  Warmth doesn't live up to temp rating, uncomfortably narrow, unpleasant hood closure
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Vitals
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 26, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#17 of 20
  • Warmth - 20% 6.0
  • Weight - 20% 6.0
  • Comfort - 20% 5.0
  • Packed Size - 15% 5.0
  • Versatility - 15% 7.0
  • Features & Design - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

We continue to broaden our search for the best backpacking sleeping bag at an affordable price. Our testers were excited about the advertised specs for the Outdoor Vitals Summit 15. The marketing promised 800FP down in a lightweight package at an affordable price. Unfortunately, hands-on testing revealed that its actual performance didn't quite match the claims. The biggest discrepancy arose with the temperature rating. Our testers got chilled in overnight temps 20 degrees above its 15F rating. We are also not fans of the narrow foot box and hood which both felt uncomfortably constrictive. On the plus side, we do offer some praise for the center zipper because it allowed better venting on warm nights. The Summit 15 is certainly a solid deal but we don't think it's a good enough value to warrant a Best Buy Award.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards    Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $295 List
$294.97 at Amazon
$350 List
$349.95 at Amazon
$349 List
$349.00 at REI
$235 List
$235.00 at REI
$100 List
$59.93 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Tempting price, nice venting possibilities, decent weight and packed sizeSpacious hourglass shape, innovative venting "gills", waterproof footbox, sturdy compression sackLightweight, small packed size, quality down, nice zipper, cozy fabricDecent weight, respectable warmth, awesome bargainGreat price, respectable weight, simple design
Cons Warmth doesn't live up to temp rating, uncomfortably narrow, unpleasant hood closureBelow average warmth-to-weight ratio, bulky packed sizeModerate warmthAverage materials, limited features, basic designSubpar warmth, annoying hood drawcords, no storage sack, mediocre versatility
Bottom Line A tempting sleeping bag deal that doesn't quite meet the advertised performancePremium down in an hourglass shape that offers the roomiest lower body dimensionsAn awesome bag at a fair priceAn exceptional deal for a capable and sturdy backpacking sleeping bag for those looking to get outside without breaking the bankAn acceptable sleeping bag at a rock bottom price
Rating Categories Outdoor Vitals Summ... NEMO Riff 30 REI Co-op Magma 30 Mountain Hardwear B... REI Co-op Trailbrea...
Warmth (20%)
6.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
3.0
Comfort (20%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Packed Size (15%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Features & Design (10%)
7.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Outdoor Vitals Summ... NEMO Riff 30 REI Co-op Magma 30 Mountain Hardwear B... REI Co-op Trailbrea...
Insulation 800+ FP Down 800 FP Down 850 FP Down 650 FP Down Synthetic - Polyester
Compressed Volume 9.5 liters 7.2 liters 6.7 liters 7.5 liters 9.8 liters
Measured Bag Weight (Size Long) 2.08 lbs. 1.91 lbs. 1.39 lbs. 1.98 lbs. 2.74 lbs.
Manufacturer Claimed Weight (Size Regular) 1.93 lbs. 1.80 lbs. 1.24 lbs. 1.79 lbs. 2.50 lbs.
Compression/Stuff Sack Weight 0.6 oz. 2.4 oz. 0.4 oz. 1.6 oz. 1.2 oz.
Hydrophobic Down Yes Yes Yes No N/A
Manufacturer Temp Rating 15 F 30 F 30 F 30 F 30 F
EN Temp Rating (Lower Limit) Not rated 29 F 30 F 30 F 29 F
Fill Weight 20.6 oz. 10.2 oz. 9.7 oz. 15 oz. 21.1 oz.
Compression or Stuff Sack Included Stuff Compression Stuff Stuff Stuff
Shell material 10D Nylon Ripstop Ripstop nylon (20D) Pertex ripstop nylon (15D) 20D Nylon Ripstop Polyester w/ DWR
DWR Treatment Yes Yes No Yes No
Liner material 10D Nylon Ripstop 30D Nylon Taffeta w/ DWR 15-denier ripstop nylon 30D Plain weave nylon Polyester
Neck Baffle Yes Yes Yes No No
Small Organization Pocket Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Zipper 3/4 length/ Center 3/4-length / Side 3/4-length / Side 3/4-length / Left Side 3/4-Length / Left Side
Shoulder Girth 68 in. 62 in. 63 in. 62 in. 62 in.
Hip Girth Not stated 54 in. 57 in. 53 in. 56 in.
Foot Girth 38 in. 59 in. Not stated Not stated Not stated

Our Analysis and Test Results

Outdoor Vitals is one of a few companies promising high-performance sleeping bags at bargain prices. During testing, we were pleasantly surprised to find the Summit 15 was a capable sleeping bag for backpacking, but we were somewhat disappointed with its overall value.

Performance Comparison


outdoor vitals summit 15 backpacking sleeping bag review - backpacking sleeping bags emphasize lightweight and minimal packed...
Backpacking sleeping bags emphasize lightweight and minimal packed size to help you sleep comfortably miles from the trailhead.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Warmth


The Outdoors Vital Summit 15 is advertised with 20 ounces of 800FP premium down. Although GearLab is not able to test the actual fill power of down, we couldn't help but notice that this insulation did not appear to achieve any more loft than a competing model from another brand with 15 ounces of 800FP down. Ordinarily, we would expect to see substantially more loft from a bag with 33% more of the same insulation.

outdoor vitals summit 15 backpacking sleeping bag review - the outdoor vitals summit 15 incorporates an unusual auxiliary...
The Outdoor Vitals Summit 15 incorporates an unusual auxiliary baffle that you can velcro across your chest to boost warmth.
Credit: Jack Cramer

We were also disappointed because this bag was not able to live up to its 15F temperature rating in our tests. Instead, we believe that it provided warmth similar to the average bag with a 30F rating. It's worth noting that, unlike many sleeping bags, this model is not temperature rate according to the industry-standard EN test. Instead, its 15F is merely the best estimate by that manufacturer. After our testing, we think that estimate is inaccurate.

Weight


This model tipped our scale at 2.08 pounds for a size long. Although that would be a fairly impressive weight for a 15F sleeping bag, the actual warmth we observed seemed closer to most 30F bags. When compared to bags with that warmth, the Summit 15's weight becomes rather disappointing. It's certainly still light enough for backpacking, but there are other models that offer a better warmth-to-weight ratio for less money.

Comfort


Our testers appreciated this bag's smooth 10-Denier Nylon lining and fluffy down insulation. Together they combined to provide a soft feel to the sleeping bag's material. On the other hand, our testers didn't like the tight sizing of the hood and the pair of hood drawcords which are positioned to dangle right on your face. Opinions are more split about an unusual chest baffle secured across your chest using a pair of velcro patches. Some felt that this created a cozy 'hug' that helped seal heat inside the bag. Others, however, found the operation of this baffle awkward and the rough cut edges of the velcro irritating.

outdoor vitals summit 15 backpacking sleeping bag review - this hood felt uncomfortably tight and the pair of drawcords were...
This hood felt uncomfortably tight and the pair of drawcords were prone to dangling on our tester's faces.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Packed Size


The Outdoor Vitals Summit 15 comes with a simple drawstring stuff sack. This sack is extremely lightweight at just 0.6 ounces, but many of our testers worried that the 10-Denier material it's made of might not hold up for very long. With our personal aftermarket compression sack, we could pack it down to a volume of 9.5 liters. That's not particularly impressive for a 15F down sleeping bag and a rather large size for a model that seemed to perform more like a 30F bag.

outdoor vitals summit 15 backpacking sleeping bag review - the packed size of the outdoor vitals summit 15 was near-average...
The packed size of the Outdoor Vitals Summit 15 was near-average among bags that provide similar warmth.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Versatility


One area where this model did impress was when it came to versatility. A couple of design features help it achieve a wider range of usable temperatures. For hotter nights, the center zip design is more effective at venting excess heat than the side zipper found on most sleeping bags. We only wish the center zipper extended a little farther so we could open the bag more. On cold evenings, we think the unusual chest baffle does a good job at preventing heat from escaping out of the hood of the collar of the bag.

outdoor vitals summit 15 backpacking sleeping bag review - there is a small accessory pocket on the chest baffle flap. this...
There is a small accessory pocket on the chest baffle flap. This pocket was big enough for a headlamp but not for most smartphones.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Features & Design


This bag includes most of the features you find on a backpacking sleeping bag including an anti-snag zipper, an accessory stash pocket, and a mummy hood. We really like the operation of the zipper and found that the Y-shaped slide and stiff adjacent fabric were effective at preventing snags. We were disappointed, however, with sharp velcro on the edges of the stash pocket and the poor fit of the hood.

outdoor vitals summit 15 backpacking sleeping bag review - we found the zipper design to be fairly effective at avoiding snags...
We found the zipper design to be fairly effective at avoiding snags. However, we wish the zipper slides included pull tabs to make opening and closing the bag easier in the dark.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Value


The primary draw of the Outdoor Vitals Summit 15 is its low price. Essentially it's advertised as a premium sleeping bag at a bargain price. Unfortunately, our tests revealed that it performs closer to an average, or even below-average, backpacking sleeping bag. With that level of performance, we don't think it equates to a great value for the price.

outdoor vitals summit 15 backpacking sleeping bag review - the outdoor vitals summit 15 (grey) is marketed to contain 20.6...
The Outdoor Vitals Summit 15 (grey) is marketed to contain 20.6 ounces of 800FP down. However, it didn't seem to achieve any better loft than the 15.3 ounces of 800FP down in the Rab Neutrino 400 (blue).
Credit: Jack Cramer

Conclusion


The Summit 15 is an intriguing sleeping bag entry by a less established company. We found a few things to like about it including a versatile center zipper, a unique chest baffle, and a soft nylon lining. However, we found it hard to get past a level of warmth that did not seem to live up to its 15F temp rating. Some testers also complained about discomfort from a tight hood and narrow foot box. Nevertheless, this bag may still be worth considering, especially if you're able to find it on sale.

Jack Cramer
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