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Sierra Designs Cloud 20 Review

A zipperless design with a traditional mummy bag shape
Sierra Designs Cloud 20
Photo: Sierra Designs
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Price:  $320 List | $285.68 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
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 21
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Packed Size - 15% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 6
  • Features & Design - 10% 6

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. We also consider its relative, the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed to be an even more comfortable zipperless option.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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52
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 sackDecent weight, respectable warmth, awesome bargainSpacious, decent warmth-to-weight ratio, reasonable priceGreat price, respectable weight, simple design
Cons Drafty hood, limited lower body ventilation, uninsulated sleeping pad sleeveBelow average warmth-to-weight ratio, bulky packed sizeAverage materials, limited features, basic designBulky, ineffective hood closure, limited versatilitySubpar 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 exceptional deal for a capable and sturdy backpacking sleeping bag for those looking to get outside without breaking the bankA mid-range double bag for weight-conscious and comfort-seeking adventure pairsAn acceptable sleeping bag at a rock bottom price
Rating Categories Sierra Designs Clou... NEMO Riff 30 Bishop Pass 30 Big Agnes Sentinel... REI Co-op Trailbrea...
Warmth (20%)
6.0
4.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
3.0
Comfort (20%)
7.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Packed Size (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Versatility (15%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
7.0
Features & Design (10%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Sierra Designs Clou... NEMO Riff 30 Bishop Pass 30 Big Agnes Sentinel... REI Co-op Trailbrea...
Insulation 800 FP Down 800 FP Down 650 FP Down, RDS-certified 650 FP Down Synthetic - Polyester
Compressed Volume (L) 8.4 L 7.2 L 7.5 L 11.2 L 9.8 L
Measured Bag Weight (Size Long) 2.00 lbs 1.91 lbs 1.98 lbs 3.25 lbs (size regular) 2.74 lbs
Manufacturer claimed weight of size Regular (lbs) 1.81 lbs 1.8 lbs 1.79 lbs 3.5 lbs 2.5 lb
Compression/Stuff Sack Weight (oz) 0.7 oz 2.4 oz 1.6 oz 1.4 oz 1.2 oz
Hydrophobic down Yes Yes No Yes N/A
Manufacturer Temp Rating (F) 20 F 30 F 30 F 30 F 30 F
EN Temp Rating (Lower Limit, F) 17 F 29 F 30 F Not rated 29 F
Fill Weight (oz) 14.8 oz 10.2 oz 15 oz 19.5 oz 21.1 oz
Compression or stuff sack included? Stuff Compression Stuff sack Stuff sack Stuff
Shell material Ripstop nylon (15D) Ripstop nylon (20D) 20D Nylon Ripstop Polyester ripstop Polyester w/ DWR
DWR? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Liner material 15d nylon ripstop 30D Nylon Taffeta w/ DWR 30D Plain weave nylon Polyester taffeta Polyester
Neck Baffle No Yes No Yes No
Small Organization Pocket No Yes Yes No Yes
Zipper None 3/4-length / Side 3/4-length / Left Side Dual 3/4-length 3/4-Length / Left Side
Shoulder Girth (in) 62 62 62 105 62
Hip Girth (in) 60 54 53 105 56
Foot Girth (in) 42 59 84 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


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).
Photo: 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°.

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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