NEMO Celesta 25 Review
Cons: Heavy, bulky, not very warm
Our Analysis and Test Results
The New Version of the NEMO Celesta 25 vs. the Older Version
We reached out to NEMO and got the scoop on a few changes to this sleeping bag for 2016. The shoulder girth has widened while the knee girth has tapered just a touch. It comes in a new color now, and the price has dropped by $20.Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the latest version of the Celesta 25 shown on the left and the older version that we tested pictured on the right.
Here's a summary of the key differences between the new Celesta 25 and the older version:
- Shoulder Girth Widened — The new Celesta 25 gives you an extra inch of room to work with at the shoulders - it's now 62" instead of the previous 61".
- Knee Girth Tapered — The girth at the knees has tapered two inches, from 64" to 62".
- New Color — This new version of the bag comes in a bright maroon.
This bizarrely shaped bag allowed our testers to sit and sleep in positions we never would have thought possible in a mummy style sleeping bag. Unfortunately, our testers did not find it very versatile or warm.
One of the key elements to a warm sleeping bag is having one that fits your size and minimizes "dead air" around your body. The Celesta is very roomy and therefore has a ton of dead air in many places. When camping, we found ourselves stuffing every extra piece of clothing into those open spaces to stay warm. This model is rated to 25 degrees, but we would not trust it to keep us warm down to those temperatures. Its fit is wide, but short, and our 5'5" tester's shoulders almost pop out of the top of the bag. We find the "blanket fold" feature ineffective as a neck baffle because it comes untucked with any movement. The Celesta is closer to a two-season sleeping bag than a three season. If you want something that will go the distance in cold weather, the warmest bag we tested was the REI Joule. If you're planning to use this bag in warmer temperatures and do not like the feel of a typical mummy sleeping bag, this might be the bag for you.
This is the second heaviest bag in our review; at 3lbs 4 oz, it's whole 24 ounces heavier than the lightest bag in this review, the Rab Neutrino 400 - Women's, our Editors' Choice winner. We would not recommend taking this bag backpacking since there are much lighter sleeping bags we tested, like The North Face Cat's Meow.
Some people will think this sleeping bag is super comfortable, and others will strongly disagree. This model is designed for side sleepers or people who want to move and bend their legs throughout the night. We think it is almost the opposite shape of the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 - Women's because there is lots of room for your legs and less for your arms (although there is still room for your arms in the Celesta). By contrast, the Backcountry Bed leaves tons of space for your arms but fits snugly around the legs. NEMO advertises that you can sit up "Indian style" (cross-legged) in this bag, and can move around on your side or bend your legs on your back. This is all true, but we don't feel that all that room for movement is particularly necessary.
If you are 5'5" or taller and like to sleep on your back, you will find this bag to be too short. Our 5'5" tester felt like her shoulders were right at the opening when lying on her back, and her feet were pressed against the bottom of the bag. Perhaps NEMO meant this bag to only be for side sleeping.
The Celesta does not pack down very small because of its bulky synthetic insulation. It comes with a very large stuff sack as well as a storage sack, but no compression sack. You may be able to compress it down to a manageable size for your backpack if you purchase a smaller compression sack.
This contender has a lot of interesting features. Along with its unique "spoon" shape, it has a small exterior zipper pocket and a "pillow pocket" feature. We really like the idea of the pillow pocket, which is integrated into the inside of the hood. You can stuff extra clothes into the pocket to create a very convenient pillow without much fuss.
The feature that we can't really wrap our minds around is NEMO's "Blanket Fold", which is a flap of material that hangs out of the face opening of the bag. Our testers took to calling it the "smother flap" because every time we woke up the flap was covering our face instead of laying flat on the outside of the bag, giving us a smothered feeling. The blanket fold is meant to help with temperature regulation: tuck it in when you are cold like a neck baffle, un-tuck it and fold it down like a comforter when it is warm out. The blanket fold did not like to stay tucked inside — it preferred the smothering position. We prefer a traditional neck baffle like the one on the Big Agnes Roxy Ann 15 or Marmot Angel Fire.
The Celesta is a good choice for someone who almost exclusively sleeps on her side and/or feels that her legs are too constricted in a traditional mummy bag. It would be good for car camping and river trips, especially where there is potential for it getting wet or damp.
Synthetic insulation adds an element of versatility over some down fill bags because it will retain its loft when wet. Otherwise, the Celesta is not very versatile because of its weight, bulk, and strange shape.
The current version retails for $200, $20 cheaper than the previous version. Even so, we still think that this bag is not an awesome value. We recommend checking out our Best Buy Award Winner the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Women's for a great value down bag, or the The North Face Cat's Meow 22 - Women's for a great value synthetic mummy bag.
NEMO has put a lot of thought into the design of this sleeping bag. Unfortunately, our testers found some of its features strange and ineffective. This could be a very comfortable bag for someone who wants extra room to bend her legs and is out camping in the summertime.
— Jessica Haist