Although we can't exactly give it rave reviews in all metrics, the Rave is very comfortable, warm, and chock full of features. We gave the Rave high marks in the comfort, warmth and features department because it is jam-packed in those areas; however, it lost points for weight and packed size.
Author Jessica Haist settling in for the night in the NEMO Rave.
The Rave is a cozy, lofty down bag. It has 18 ounces of 650 down fill, a whopping 7.5 ounces more down than the men's version of this bag, the Disco.
It is rated (although not EN tested) to 14.7 F. We don't think that it would be comfortable down to this temperature, it is closer to the Marmot Angel Fire in warmth which is rated at 21.6.
Wrestling with the NEMO Rave's "smother flap".
The problem with NEMO's "spoon" shape design is that it is super roomy, which is great for comfort, but allows for "dead air" to hang around; this design is also found in the NEMO Celesta. The dead air will need to be warmed up and maintained by your body heat, versus a traditional mummy style bag like the REI Joule that tapers and minimizes space for dead air. The Rave has a "blanket fold" instead of a traditional baffle to minimize warm air from escaping through the neck hole and can be pulled out for better venting. However, we find that the blanket fold is more like a "smother flap" and often woke up with it flapping in our faces - instead of remaining tucked in or folded back.
The Rave weighs in at 48 ounces, which is quite heavy for a down filled bag. The Big Agnes Roxy Ann is already heavy at 44 ounces. Usually one of the main advantages of a down bag is they are lighter weight, which is not the case for the Rave. The Sierra Designs Cloud is the lightest bag in this review.
It seems like NEMO's main focus is in this department. The Rave is a comfortable bag, with the "spoon" shape for ease of movement, soft liner materials and other features meant to enhance the comfort of this bag. And it works. The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed is another exceptionally comfortable bag, as is the Roxy Ann. If you don't want to sacrifice comfort for weight, check out the Egret and Neutrino.
The NEMO Rave comes with a stuff sack but can be compressed down much smaller than seen here if necessary.
The stuff sack that the Rave comes with is not exceptionally small. However, if you have a smaller stuff sack or compression sack, the Rave will get smaller than its current stuff sack. Because of the extra features like the "Thermo Gills," this bag will not pack down as small as some others.
You can vent the Rave by opening these "gills". We're not sure how effective they are, but they look interesting.
The Rave has lots of features which you can be the judge of if they're valuable or not. We tend towards the no-frills high-quality material, lightweight bags like the Rab Neutrino 400, but if you're looking for extra bells and whistles, the Rave has them.
We've already mentioned the interesting "blanket fold" that replaces a chin baffle. If you want more venting without getting a draft, NEMO has introduced "Thermo Gills," strange zippered vents you can open without exposing the inside of the bag to drafts from outside. Our favorite feature is the pillow sleeve. It's convenient to stuff some clothes in there and have an instant pillow. The Rave also has a small stash pocket for items like headlamps.
The NEMO Rave has a small stash pocket on the outside that is hard to see when zipped up.
We would take the Rave on short backpacking trips in cool climates, but would not recommend it for longer self-supported trips due to its weight. It's a comfortable option for car campers, especially for side sleepers.
We like NEMO Rave's pillow sleeve.
We don't think that the Rave is a great value at $300 retail. We would instead choose the REI Joule, as it has more, higher quality down fill and is much lighter - for the same price. Or the Sierra Designs Cloud, which also lighter and made from higher quality materials.
The NEMO Rave with its "Blanket Fold" out.
The Nemo Rave 15 is a comfortable bag that comes with lots of bells and whistles. If you're looking for a warm product that has lots of room for your legs, this may be it. However, we think you'll find better value elsewhere, as there are lighter, cheaper options in this review.