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NEMO Forte 20 - Women's Review

This roomy bag is a great choice for car campers that run warm and are looking for a bag with venting capability and extra space
NEMO Forte 20 - Women's
Photo: NEMO Equipment
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Price:  $200 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, inexpensive
Cons:  Bulky and heavy
Manufacturer:   NEMO Equipment
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 11, 2021
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 15
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Weight - 25% 4
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Packed Size - 15% 4
  • Features - 15% 6

Our Verdict

This wide, comfortable synthetic sleeping bag is full of unique features, as this manufacturer is known for. These features add weight and bulk and mean that the Nemo Forte is best used as a car or base camping bag. Infrequent, short overnights will work with this bag, but those backpacking more often will want to gravitate toward lighter, more compressible options. If you're looking for a more rectangular-shaped bag with extra venting, though, this could be for you. The Forte isn't particularly warm and could be a good choice for campers who run on the hotter side and who are looking for a roomier, non-mummy bag shape. Lots of bells and whistles make this synthetic, roomy rectangular bag quite heavy and bulky. But, we think you'll love it if you're looking for extra room and venting ability.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award  
Price Check Price at Backcountry
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$330 List$258.95 at Backcountry
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$190 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, inexpensiveComfortable, lightweight, excellent materials, not constrictingComfortable and warmLight and compressible synthetic, keeps you warm when wetComfortable, inexpensive, recycled materials
Cons Bulky and heavyComforter sometimes does not stay tucked inNot light, hood draw cords hard to use, large for a women's sleeping bagBulkier packed size, heavier, small fitHeavy, bulky
Bottom Line This roomy bag is a great choice for car campers that run warm and are looking for a bag with venting capability and extra spaceA great, high-quality choice at a relatively low price for those looking for a lightweight bag that doesn't sacrifice comfortA favorite of many trail ladies out there, the Angel Fire earns high marks across the board and would be an excellent addition to any backpacker's kitAn inexpensive and versatile synthetic bag, this is an excellent choice for breaking into backpackingThis well priced synthetic bag is a great choice for your car camping needs
Rating Categories NEMO Forte 20 - Wom... Sierra Designs Clou... Marmot Angel Fire The North Face Cat'... Marmot Trestles Eli...
Warmth (25%)
7.0
5.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Weight (25%)
4.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Comfort (20%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Packed Size (15%)
4.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Features (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Specs NEMO Forte 20 - Wom... Sierra Designs Clou... Marmot Angel Fire The North Face Cat'... Marmot Trestles Eli...
ISO/EN Comfort Rating (F) 20 F 26 F 30.4 F 22 F 20 F
Fill Type Primaloft Rise, 80% post-consumer reycled PFC-Free DriDown Duck down Heatseekerâ„¢ Guide synthetic insulation HL-ElixR synthetic fibers
Measured Weight (in lbs) 3.4 lb 1.7 lb 2.5 lb 2.5 lb 2.8 lb
Total Weight (oz) 54 oz 27.4 oz 39.8 oz 40.2 oz 44 oz
Fill Power Synthetic 800 650 Synthetic Synthetic
Women specific features Extra room at knees More insulation per square inch than men's version Women's Specific Fit - more Insulation in Key Areas Women's specific cut Women's specific fit
Fill Weight (oz) 38 oz 14.8 oz 23.5 oz Unspecified Unspecified
Material 30D nylon ripstop 15d nylon risptop 30d 100% Nylon DWR 1.18 oz/yd | 30d 100% Nylon Ripstop DWR 1.5 oz/yd 20D Nylon Ripstop/taffeta 20-denier recycled ripstop polyester
Neck Baffle Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Pocket Yes No Yes - Internal Stash Pocket and Heater Pocket in Footbox No Yes
Sleeping Pad Sleeve No Yes No No No
Zipper Length 53 in N/A 63 in & 13 in 59 in 53/15"
Shoulder Girth 62 in 59 in 57 in 58 in 58 in
Hip Girth 58 in 58 in 58 in 58 in 58 in
Foot Girth 60 in 39 in 46 in 40 in 45 in
Stuff Sack included? Compression sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included Compression sack and storage bag included Stuff sack and storage bag included

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Nemo Forte is a great choice for car camping.
The Nemo Forte is a great choice for car camping.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Warmth


The Forte is rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but we would not trust it to keep us warm in those temperatures. Because of its roomy cut, there is a lot of extra air that would need to be kept warm. Its synthetic insulation also doesn't seem as lofty as the other synthetic models we tested. We do like that most of the Forte's loft is on top side of the bag, with a thinner layer of fill underneath, since when you lay on insulation it compresses and becomes less effective anyway. We think you could be comfortable in this bag with a high R-value sleeping bag in temperatures around the high 30s.

You can open and close the "Thermo-gills" for added warmth or...
You can open and close the "Thermo-gills" for added warmth or venting. We didn't find these particularly effective.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Weight


This bag weighs in at a hefty 3.4 pounds and we would not recommend carrying it for long distances if you can help it. Typically synthetic bags weigh more, but there are lighter models in our selection. With all of the Forte's added features like the two additional zippers and the "blanket fold", we're not surprised how heavy this bag is.

This weight penalty really only matters to backpackers. Car campers shouldn't worry about weight and will appreciate the features that make the camping experience more comfortable, even if they add ounces.

Comfort


The Forte's main focus is on comfort. It features Nemo's trademark "Spoon" shape while also being extra wide and a more rectangular shape. It has interesting "Thermo-Gills" that are designed to provide ventilation when things get too warm. Our testers tend to sleep on the colder side, so we never found these gills all that helpful. We think the Forte would be a good fit for someone who runs hot and wants extra room in their bags.

The Nemo Forte is comfortable for lounging around in.
The Nemo Forte is comfortable for lounging around in.
Photo: Ian McEleney

The women's regular length is plenty roomy for our 5'5" tester. The Forte's hood is so deep that when it's over our heads it comes down past our chin and feels almost claustrophobic. That combined with the "blanket fold" (neck baffle) we affectionately call the "smother-flap" that frequently comes untucked and ends up covering our face in the night, you could have a rude, suffocating awakening.

We found the Forte's large hood and "blanket fold" somewhat...
We found the Forte's large hood and "blanket fold" somewhat claustrophobic because we often woke up with our face covered by both of them.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Packed Size


The Forte comes with a decent compression sack to squish it down quite small. However, it can't compete with any of the down products in this review and isn't as compressible as some of the other synthetic models we have tested.

The Forte comes with a good compression sack, but doesn't get...
The Forte comes with a good compression sack, but doesn't get particularly small.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Features


We've alluded to all the Forte's features above, because this bag is feature-packed. The main standout feature is the two "Thermo-gills" that are meant as temperature regulators. We don't find these gills particularly useful or effective. We found it more effective to roll down the blanket-like top portion of the bag to release heat, or to unzip the side of the bag even further. There is an interior stash pocket, the "blanket fold" draft collar, and the trademark "Spoon-shape" that is meant for side sleepers. The size and shape of this bag means that if you're a smaller person you'll have a lot more space to heat up, but also more freedom for your legs, hips, and torso.

We like the Forte's small stash pocket, but prefer ones on the...
We like the Forte's small stash pocket, but prefer ones on the interior of the bag. This one is on the outside, which doesn't stay as warm as internal pockets. So, it keeps small items at hand, but doesn't do a great job of keeping batteries warm.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Value


We think the Forte is a good value for a comfortable, highly featured bag that you can take on short backpacks, and is a great choice for car camping or trips where you won't have to carry it very far.

The Nemo Forte's "Thermo Gills" are commonplace on their sleeping...
The Nemo Forte's "Thermo Gills" are commonplace on their sleeping bags. Our testers weren't enthralled by them, though.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Conclusion


This feature-filled, comfortable synthetic bag could be a good choice for all your car camping needs. We think it will keep you warm in temperatures down to the high 30s and if you run warm has great potential for venting. The Nemo Forte 20 is not the best choice for backpacking because it is bulky and heavy.

Jessica Haist