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Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Review

A zipperless design with a traditional mummy bag shape
sierra designs cloud 20 backpacking sleeping bag review
Credit: Sierra Designs
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Price:  $320 List | $239.96 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy zipperless closure, built-in foot vent, wider than average dimensions, fair price
Cons:  Drafty hood, limited lower body ventilation, uninsulated sleeping pad sleeve
Manufacturer:   Sierra Designs
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2019
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
64
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

Tired of fussing with sleeping bag zipper but fear a chilly draft in an open backcountry quilt? Sierra Designs has you covered. The Sierra Designs Cloud 20 encloses you like a traditional mummy sleeping bag but without the hassle of finicky zippers. Instead, a pair of overlapping flaps open for easy entry and closes the to seal the heat inside. Our testers found it to be an innovative and comfortable design. There are drawbacks, however, to the bag's thermal efficiency and versatility that are had to ignore.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards    Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $320 List
$239.96 at Amazon
$262.46 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$349 List
$349.00 at REI
$172.49 at Backcountry
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$100 List
$59.93 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Easy zipperless closure, built-in foot vent, wider than average dimensions, fair priceSpacious 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 Drafty hood, limited lower body ventilation, uninsulated sleeping pad sleeveBelow 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 zipperless design with a traditional mummy bag shapePremium 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 Sierra Designs Clou... 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%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Packed Size (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Versatility (15%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Features & Design (10%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Sierra Designs Clou... 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 8.4 liters 7.2 liters 6.7 liters 7.5 liters 9.8 liters
Measured Bag Weight (Size Long) 2.00 lbs. 1.91 lbs. 1.39 lbs. 1.98 lbs. 2.74 lbs.
Manufacturer Claimed Weight (Size Regular) 1.81 lbs. 1.80 lbs. 1.24 lbs. 1.79 lbs. 2.50 lbs.
Compression/Stuff Sack Weight 0.7 oz. 2.4 oz. 0.4 oz. 1.6 oz. 1.2 oz.
Hydrophobic Down Yes Yes Yes No N/A
Manufacturer Temp Rating 20 F 30 F 30 F 30 F 30 F
EN Temp Rating (Lower Limit) 17 F 29 F 30 F 30 F 29 F
Fill Weight 14.8 oz. 10.2 oz. 9.7 oz. 15 oz. 21.1 oz.
Compression or Stuff Sack Included Stuff Compression Stuff Stuff Stuff
Shell material Ripstop nylon (15D) Ripstop nylon (20D) Pertex ripstop nylon (15D) 20D Nylon Ripstop Polyester w/ DWR
DWR Treatment Yes Yes No Yes No
Liner material 15d nylon ripstop 30D Nylon Taffeta w/ DWR 15-denier ripstop nylon 30D Plain weave nylon Polyester
Neck Baffle No Yes Yes No No
Small Organization Pocket No Yes No Yes Yes
Zipper None 3/4-length / Side 3/4-length / Side 3/4-length / Left Side 3/4-Length / Left Side
Shoulder Girth 62 in. 62 in. 63 in. 62 in. 62 in.
Hip Girth 60 in. 54 in. 57 in. 53 in. 56 in.
Foot Girth 42 in. 59 in. Not stated Not stated Not stated

Our Analysis and Test Results

Zippers are so 1990's. Sierra Designs can help you embrace the 21st century with several zipperless sleeping bags. The Cloud has some great innovative features, but we believe their are better zipperless offerings.

Performance Comparison


sierra designs cloud 20 backpacking sleeping bag review - of the innovative  bags from sierra designs, we prefer the...
Of the innovative bags from Sierra Designs, we prefer the "comforter" closure of the Backcountry Bed (blue) over assymetrical flap on the Cloud (red).
Credit: Jack Cramer

Warmth


Sierra Designs gives the Cloud we tested a 20°F rating, but its performance on the industry-standard EN test is a little better (15° lower limit). Our testers thought both the manufacturer and EN ratings seemed generous. We thought it felt comparable to an average bag with an EN lower limit of 25°.

sierra designs cloud 20 backpacking sleeping bag review - this looks like pleasant way to spend a morning, right? maybe, but...
This looks like pleasant way to spend a morning, right? Maybe, but on a truly chilly morning the only thing insulating the back of the bag is two thin pieces of nylon.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Potential users should also be aware that to save weight this bag doesn't have any insulation on the bottom side of the torso area. Thus, a good sleeping pad is mandatory for sleeping comfortably with this bag.

sierra designs cloud 20 backpacking sleeping bag review - taken inside the cloud, this photo shows light shining through the...
Taken inside the Cloud, this photo shows light shining through the uninsulated rectangle on the underside of the bag. At the bottom and sides of the image the shadow of down insulation is visible.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Comfort


Nestling into this bag is a pleasant experience. The closure flaps come close to achieving the familiar feel of the blanket like your are probably use to sleeping with. Its overall comfort, however, did not equal some other zipperless designs because the Cloud's narrow dimensions leave it with the same constrictive feel as many other mummy bags.

sierra designs cloud 20 backpacking sleeping bag review - the sierra designs backcountry bed (left) and cloud (right) both...
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed (left) and Cloud (right) both come with aesthetically pleasing nylon stuff sacks.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Packed Size


Like a lot of bags reviewed, the Cloud comes with a simple drawstring stuff sack that's unable to compress it effectively. With a third-party compression sack, we were able to pack a size long to 8.4 liters in volume. This leaves it with an above average packed sized, comparable to the some similarly warm, but synthetic bags.

Versatility


There are several different aspects of this bag that harm and hurt its versatility. The foot box, for example, has a slit on the underside for your feet to escape. This lets you keep the bag on while you shuffle around awkwardly or sit and sip your morning coffee. The same slit, however, isn't very effective at venting should your lower body overheat.

sierra designs cloud 20 backpacking sleeping bag review - the author is able to poke his feet and "fashionable" footwear out...
The author is able to poke his feet and "fashionable" footwear out the built-in vent on the lower end of the Sierra Designs Cloud.
Credit: Jack Cramer

The main entry/exit flaps make up for this to some degree with a range of configurations for different outside temperatures. But when the bag really hits the pad, you still have fewer options than a traditional full-length zipper bag if your legs start to sweat.

Features and Design


To cinch the hood tight, the Cloud features a drawstring like that found on most sleeping bags. For this drawstring to be effective, however, the main closure flap must be pinned beneath your left shoulder. When you roll onto your right side, it's difficult to keep this flap pinned down. But without it, the hood will not stay cinched closed.

sierra designs cloud 20 backpacking sleeping bag review - the sierra designs sleeping bags we tried feature a fabric sleeve to...
The Sierra Designs sleeping bags we tried feature a fabric sleeve to attach the bag to a sleeping pad.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Sierra Designs also brags about a sleeve on the underside of the bag that ensures you can't slide off your sleeping pad in the middle of the night. That's true, but unlike some other bags, this pad attachment system isn't removable if you prefer to save weight and not to use it.

Value


For its middle of the road performance, the Cloud comes with a middle of the road price. At full MSRP, we don't consider it to be a particularly good value, but bigger fans of the no-zipper design will likely disagree. For a few bucks more there are several bags that offer similar comfort with better performance in other areas.

sierra designs cloud 20 backpacking sleeping bag review - we don't think the drafty closure flap makes a lot of sense in the...
We don't think the drafty closure flap makes a lot of sense in the 20F version of the Sierra Designs Cloud because at those temps you don't want a draft. However, it makes much more sense in the 35F version shown here that we didn't formally test.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Conclusion


Although most of our testers weren't fond of the Cloud, it did garner some passionate supporters. These supporters liked its simple flap closure design that provided a similar feel to sleeping with an ordinary blanket. Its critics, however, maintain the same design limits its versatility and adds unnecessary weight. The bottom line: if the no-zipper concept sounds like heaven to you, don't let this review discourage you. The Sierra Designs Cloud 20 is a decent bag whose innovative design is sure to please many.

Jack Cramer
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