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.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.
NEMO Aya 15 Review
Cons: Fits small, hood fits close so not very comfortable
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.
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.
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 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. Other NEMO products we've reviewed have been up to a whole pound heavier than the Aya and have had a lot more features we found unnecessary.
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, 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.
The Aya is very compressible and comes with a great compression sack. Packability is one area in which the Aya exceeds. The Aya is right behind its competitors at the top for being the most compressible!
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, the Aya's zipper seems cheap and catches a lot.
The Aya retails at the higher end of the pack. 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 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