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NEMO Aya 15 Review

Nemo's lightest backpacking bag. If you're a small woman who wants a close fitting bag, this could be for you.
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Price:  $390 List | $389.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, compressible, included compression sack
Cons:  Fits small, hood fits close so not very comfortable
Manufacturer:   NEMO
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 17, 2019
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 15
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Weight - 25% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Packed Size - 15% 8
  • Features - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Aya 15 is Nemo's high-performance mummy shaped backpacking bag. It is the lightest weight women's bag in their line, although we would not call it "Ultralight" as it is not as light as several other products we tested. We appreciate Nemo's effort to trim down their often over-built products, and it seems that they swing from one end of the spectrum to the other in terms of comfort and fit of their bags. The Aya is a very snug fit and one of the more uncomfortable bags we tested, but it has high-quality materials and is warm.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
NEMO Aya 15
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $389.95 at Amazon$414.00 at Feathered Friends$529.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$247.46 at Amazon$299.96 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, compressible, included compression sackHigh-quality down, warm, lightweightHigh-quality down, warm and lofty, light, a top tier productComfortable, lightweight, excellent materials, not constrictingLightweight, compressible, comfortable
Cons Fits small, hood fits close so not very comfortableSizing not for everyone, fabric is a bit noisyVery expensiveComforter sometimes does not stay tucked inExpensive, not particularly warm
Bottom Line Nemo's lightest backpacking bag. If you're a small woman who wants a close fitting bag, this could be for you.This high-end bag will keep you warm and comfortable from Spring to Fall in all conditions.The Flame is a new, high-quality backpacking sleeping bag at a high price.A great, high-quality choice at a relatively low price for those looking for a lightweight bag that doesn't sacrifice comfort.This lightweight sleeping bag is a great choice for alpine climbing or fast and light adventures.
Rating Categories NEMO Aya 15 Egret UL 20 Sea to Summit Flame 15 Cloud 800 Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's
Warmth (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Weight (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
Comfort (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Packed Size (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Features (15%)
10
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8
10
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8
10
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8
10
0
8
10
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7
Specs NEMO Aya 15 Egret UL 20 Sea to Summit... Cloud 800 Rab Neutrino 400 -...
EN Comfort Rating (F) 15 (not EN rated) 20 (not EN rated) 15 26 21
Fill Type Nixwax treated down Goose down Duck Down PFC-Free DriDown Ethically sourced European Goose down
Total Weight (lb.) 2 lb 1.72 lb 1.95 lb 1.7 lb 1.7 lb
Total Weight (oz) 32 oz 27.5 oz 31.2 oz 27.4 oz 27.2 oz
Women specific features Women's specific fit Extra fill in footbox and chest Women's specific fit - more insulation in key areas More insulation per square inch than men's version Women's specific fit
Fill Power 800 950+ 850+ 800 800
Fill Weight (oz) 19 oz 17.3 oz (medium) 22.9 oz 14.8 oz 14.1oz
Material 20D Nylon Ripstop and 30D Nylon Taffeta Pertex Endurance UL Ultralight 10D Nylon Shell 15d nylon risptop Pertex Quantum
Neck Baffle Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Pocket Yes No No No Yes
Sleeping Pad Sleeve No No No Yes No
Zipper Length 59" 62" 56" N/A 62"
Shoulder Girth 56 in 54 in 60 in 59 in 60 in
Hip Girth 48 in 56 in 58 in 58 in 56 in
Foot Girth 40 in 38 in 40 in 39 in 38 in
Stuff Sack included? Stuff sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included

Our Analysis and Test Results

This svelte, lightweight product is the lightest of Nemo's line, but not as light or comfortable as other products in this review.

Performance Comparison


The NEMO Aya is a great choice for backpacking in the mountains.
The NEMO Aya is a great choice for backpacking in the mountains.

Warmth


The snug, tapered fit of this bag helps it be as warm as it can be. With its 19 ounces of high loft, 800 fill power down insulation, the Aya is a warm sleeping bag and will keep you cozy on cool summer nights in the alpine. NEMO rates this bag to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, although when compared to others in this rating range we'd probably call it somewhere closer to 20F. Still, the tapered hood design and draft collar along with its snug fit help keep all that warm air inside the bag. The warmest bag we tested was the Feathered Friends Egret and a close second was the super lofty Sea to Summit Flame 15.

The NEMO Aya is very warm because it is so form fitting and eliminates room for cold air.
The NEMO Aya is very warm because it is so form fitting and eliminates room for cold air.

NEMO uses "Thermo Gills" that are supposed to help vent when you're getting warm, without letting cold drafts in. We didn't find that they affected our temperature very much when open or closed, and feel like they are potentially a weight-adding gimmick.

We stayed warm on cool evenings in the NEMO Aya.
We stayed warm on cool evenings in the NEMO Aya.

Weight


We commend NEMO for making a lightweight sleeping bag, although it is not "ultralight." Weighing in right at 2 pounds, it is on the lighter side of all the products we tested. We appreciate the high fill power down and lightweight materials. The NEMO Rave is a whole pound heavier than the Aya and has a lot more features we found unnecessary.

Two of our lighter additions this round  the Sea to Summit Flame and the Nemo Aya. Both products are focused on weight savings.
Two of our lighter additions this round, the Sea to Summit Flame and the Nemo Aya. Both products are focused on weight savings.

Comfort


NEMO seems to take the shape and fit of its bags from one extreme to the other. In comparison to other "Spoon shaped" bags in their product line like the Rave, the Aya is not as comfortable and seems much more restrictive than other mummy shaped bags in this review. It has a snug fit all around, tapers in at the neck to isolate your head, helping to prevent drafts. It is very warm but also feels very claustrophobic. The regular size, which the manufacturer recommends for up to 5'6, felt very restrictive for our 5'5 tester and was very snug in length, shoulder and leg girth. If you're near the cusp of the regular size, we'd recommend sizing up - or going with a different bag, like the Neutrino.

His and her NEMO bags  one with gills open and one with gills closed.
His and her NEMO bags, one with gills open and one with gills closed.

Packed Size


The Aya is very compressible and comes with a great compression sack. Packability is one area in which the Aya exceeds. The most compressible bags are still the Cloud and the Neutrino, but the Aya is close!

We like the Aya's included compression sack which makes the bag pack down very small.
We like the Aya's included compression sack which makes the bag pack down very small.

Features


As we mentioned before, NEMO likes adding in bells and whistles to their products, which generally add unwanted ounces. The main additional feature the Aya has are the Thermo Gills, which we found relatively unremarkable. We did notice that the tiny zippers do catch when trying to do the gills up, and compared to other bag zippers with anti-catch pulls like the Egret, the Aya's zipper seems cheap and catches a lot.

We like the Aya's small stash pocket for essential items.
We like the Aya's small stash pocket for essential items.

Best Application


The Aya is a good choice for backpacking in cool weather. We think that paired with a decent sleeping pad, the Aya will keep you warm and comfortable from late Spring to early Fall in all environments.

The Aya has NEMO's "gills" that ares supposed to help ventilate your bag without  letting in drafts. We are skeptical about how well they work and did not notice much of a difference.
The Aya has NEMO's "gills" that ares supposed to help ventilate your bag without letting in drafts. We are skeptical about how well they work and did not notice much of a difference.

Value


The Aya retails for $390. We think this is a decent value if the bag is the right fit for you. It has high-quality materials and is relatively light.

Chelsea in her NEMO Aya  waiting for the snow to warm up on a backpacking trip in the alpine.
Chelsea in her NEMO Aya, waiting for the snow to warm up on a backpacking trip in the alpine.

Conclusion


The Aya is a good all-around bag for someone looking to go light on their backpack trip. It is a very snug fit mummy-style bag, and we'd recommend trying it out before committing. We appreciate the quality materials and thought put into the design of the Aya, and think it's a decent value.


Jessica Haist