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NEMO Sonic 0 Review

This comfort-focused bag has a wide, roomy cut and vents for temperature control
NEMO Sonic 0
Photo: Backcountry
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $500 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, spacious, lightweight, elasticized baffles allow you to sit cross legged
Cons:  Significantly less warm than similarly rated bag, enormous footbox, vents
Manufacturer:   NEMO
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 24, 2020
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Packed Size - 15% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 7
  • Features - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Nemo Sonic is one of the most comfortable bags in our review. It has a super wide cut, a little stretch around the foot box, a big hood, and comes loaded with unique features. Our testers could toss and turn throughout the night to their heart's content. We achieved sublime slumber in all positions, whether flat on our backs, prone, or even curled up in a ball. All this comes at a weight and compressibility equal to or greater than many of the other cold-weather down bags in this category. It lost points in the warmth metric for the same reasons it did so well in comfort. There's lots of space to move around in, which equals less insulated space between the sleeper and the freezing cold. But, if you place a premium on comfort, this is the bag we recommend.

Compare to Similar Products

 
NEMO Sonic 0
This Product
NEMO Sonic 0
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$620 List$639 List
$639.00 at Feathered Friends
$610 List
$610.00 at Amazon
$259 List
Check Price at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, spacious, lightweight, elasticized baffles allow you to sit cross leggedOne of the warmest bags in the test, lightweight, compression sack includedWarm, highly weather resistantLightest bag in its class, super lofty, awesome zipperAffordable, water-reppelent, roomy, warm
Cons Significantly less warm than similarly rated bag, enormous footbox, ventsLack of hydrophobic down, missing top hood cinch, snug fit not everyone's favoriteSmall hood, tight cutShallow hood, not as warm as the heavier contendersHeavy
Bottom Line This comfort-focused bag has a wide, roomy cut and vents for temperature controlA truly supreme sleeping bag that stands out for impressive weight savings without missing out on warmthWe love this bag for any time we need protection against wet snow or snowmeltA solid choice for those looking to go fast and lightThis is an excellent bargain for a capable winter camping sleeping bag
Rating Categories NEMO Sonic 0 Mountain Hardwear P... Feathered Friends S... Western Mountaineer... REI Co-op Down Time 0
Warmth (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
2.0
Comfort (20%)
9.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Packed Size (15%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
4.0
Weather Resistance (15%)
7.0
6.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Features (10%)
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Specs NEMO Sonic 0 Mountain Hardwear P... Feathered Friends S... Western Mountaineer... REI Co-op Down Time 0
Measured Weight (lbs, size Regular) 2.95 lbs 2.68 lbs 2.85 lbs 2.06 lbs 3.87 lbs
Fill Weight (oz) 24 oz 29.6 oz 25.3 oz 20 oz 27 oz
Type of Down Fill Down RDS Certified Goose Down RDS Cert/Fluorine Free Goose Down Goose Down Duck Down (RDS certified and bluesign approved)
Fill Power 800 850 900 850 650
Material Weight (excludes down, oz) 23.3 oz 13.28 oz 20.3 oz 13.7 oz 35 oz
Temperature Rating 0°F 0°F 0°F 10°F 0°F
Pocket Yes Yes No No No
Shoulder Girth (inches) 61" 58" 60" 62" 62"
Hip Girth (inches) 58" 52" 56" 53" 58"
Foot Girth (inches) 53" Not listed 38" 39" 40"
Shell Material 20D nylon ripstop, DWR treatment 10D nylon Ghost ripstop, DWR finish Pertex Shield EX 12 Denier Extremelite Ripstop nylon
Continuous Baffle Yes No Yes Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

This contender gets our best comfort nomination because of its versatility and the fact that it gives you the freedom to roam, both in the bag (because of its spaciousness) and out of the bag (due to its low weight and packability). The downside? More space equals less thermal efficiency, and this bag did not feel as warm as similarly rated bags.

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Performance Comparison


The Sonic combines vertical baffles up top with horizontal baffles...
The Sonic combines vertical baffles up top with horizontal baffles at the feet, creating a wide foot box.
Photo: Matt Bento

Warmth


The Sonic contains 24oz of high-quality 800 fill power hydrophobic down. While this makes for low weight and great packability, it significantly detracts from the warmth of the bag. This bag isn't as lofty as some other high bags we've used with the same fill power down. The roomy 58 inches of girth at the hips and the stretchy foot box make for a lot of uninsulated space, making it less warm.


A good way to help insulate the dead air space is to stuff a down jacket into the bottom of the bag or let it rest on top of your hips. Our testing team found it hard to call the Sonic a true 0-degree (F) bag when compared to the high-end competition.

The hood is form-fitting and thermally efficient, but if you like to...
The hood is form-fitting and thermally efficient, but if you like to cram a pillow into the hood, it will need to be a very small one.
Photo: Matt Bento

Weight


The Sonic is a lightweight 2.95 lbs. This is especially impressive considering that it has one of the widest cuts of any of the bags, two long, zippered vents, and draft tubes above and below the full-length zipper.


Additionally, we felt the lightweight 20 denier ripstop shell fabric did a fine job against rocks and sticks, and we appreciated the even tougher 40 denier nylon that reinforces the foot box for when we needed to roll and scoot around in camp to make a morning cup of coffee.

We are very impressed by the comfort-to-weight ratio of this bag...
We are very impressed by the comfort-to-weight ratio of this bag. Comforts and conveniences typically add weight to a sleeping bag, but this model bucks that trend.
Photo: Matt Bento

Comfort


The comfort metric is where the Sonic reigns supreme. The wide cut allowed our testers to sleep comfortably in any position. The 58" of girth around the hips, plus the slight stretch in the foot box, allowed our restless, finicky sleeping testers to move their knees all the way up to their chests inside the bag. You want to sleep with one leg bent and one leg straight like you're doing the can opener off the diving board all night long? No problem with this bag.


While not the warmest bag, the hybrid baffle system - with vertical baffles in the upper two-thirds of the bag and horizontal in the feet - helps to keep your core area warmer and allows for the inclusion of the two vertical zippered vents. Nemo claims that these vents can change the temperature range of the bag upwards as much as 20 degrees. We felt this was difficult to test, but the vents cooled us down a little when they are open, without letting in cold drafts around the feet like when you use the side zipper to cool off in a conventional bag.

The Hood wraps close around the head for thermo-efficiency, but...
The Hood wraps close around the head for thermo-efficiency, but there isn't much room to stuff a pillow in there.
Photo: Matt Bento

Packed Size


The Sonic is impressively compressible. It packs down to 18"x11" in its included compression sack. We appreciate products that come with a compression sack.


The lightweight shell fabric and 24 oz of goose down keep this bag's packed size down despite it being a big, roomy bag. If you want to forgo the stuff sack and just cram it in the bottom of your pack like our lead tester, stuff it in head first with the beefier 40 denier nylon bottom of the bag on top to protect the bag from the rest of your gear.

A very functional, high quality compression sack is included with...
A very functional, high quality compression sack is included with this bag.
Photo: Matt Bento

Features


The Sonic, light and compressible as it is, has loads of features. The hood is roomy and well insulated, featuring a drawstring for the hood and a separate drawstring for the draft collar. The draft collar has a velcro closure system, so you can snugly seal the collar all the way around your neck. When our testers left the draft collar open, a tab flips down to cover the scratchy velcro and protect the sleeper from nighttime scratches.


Just outside from the draft collar is a small storage pouch with a tiny zipper. This pouch was difficult to locate in the dark, and we'd prefer if the pouch was on the inside so our batteries and electronic devices can stay warmer. The zipper is lined with an upper and lower draft tube. Stiff tape on either side of the zipper closure makes for a smooth and snag-free pull.

The Nemo's zipper opens and closes smoothly, assisted by the stiff...
The Nemo's zipper opens and closes smoothly, assisted by the stiff tape lining the zipper, but it still can snag if you're not careful.
Photo: Matt Bento

Moving down to the middle of the bag, there are two long, zippered Thermogills. They don't open the bag to cold air as when opening the side zipper. Instead, they create a long narrow strip down the bag where there is what feels like no down between the sleeper and the elements, only the shell fabric. When closed, the baffles are pulled back together, eliminating the uninsulated space.

How effective these zippered vents actually are was a big topic of debate among our testers. Nemo says they can extend the range of the bag upwards of 20 degrees. Most of our testers liked the cool spots they create on the top of the bag, while one tester felt that they didn't make any difference. In the sunlight, you can see more light coming through when the vent zippers are open, as there is no down insulating the vents. Nemo incorporates this feature without adding much weight or bulk. The zippers for vents are super small; we hardly notice them when the vents are closed. The horizontal baffles at the foot box contain some elastic that helped to counter the dead air space when our testers slept with their legs together.

Thermogills make this bag a tad cooler, but we weren't too keen to...
Thermogills make this bag a tad cooler, but we weren't too keen to open them up in sub 30-degree temps.
Photo: Matt Bento

Weather Resistance


The Sonic's DWR-treated shell did an excellent job repelling water. In our light rain test, water beaded up on 20 denier nylon shell fabric and was easily shaken off, and the reinforced foot box absorbed very little water, even in our submersion test. This bag does have a hydrophobic treatment in the down. In our testing and experience, however, we find that a quality shell fabric is more important for maintaining loft and increasing drying time.


The upper and lower draft tubes are not as efficient as the larger, loftier single draft tubes in the other bags. Our testers occasionally noticed the cold, wet zipper when changing positions inside the bag. This problem isn't a huge concern if you are carrying a tent or bivy sack, but it might be considered if you are planning on a lot of open bivies.

See any water absorbing through the shell? Neither did we.
See any water absorbing through the shell? Neither did we.
Photo: Jenni Snead

Value


Considering the quality, comfort, and features of the Sonic, we feel it is a good value. The zippered vents increase this bag's versatility, which means more comfy nights sleeping under the stars for your buck.

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Conclusion


If you are uncomfortable sleeping on your back in a tight mummy bag, consider this contender. Its wider cut allows for various sleeping positions, while high-quality materials make it suitable for lightweight adventures where a good night's sleep is essential for daytime adventures.

Matt Bento

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