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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 | $292.46 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
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

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. The REI Joule is a slightly better value at $300 but is also heavier. If you're looking for something lighter and not quite as warm, we'd recommend the Sierra Designs Cloud that retails for $330.

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.

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