Reviews You Can Rely On

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 20 - Women's Review

This unique bag offers an exceptionally high level of warmth and comfort in a non-mummy shape for those who feel claustrophobic in tighter bags
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Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 20 - Women's Review (Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed wins our Top Pick for it's unique comfortable design.)
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed wins our Top Pick for it's unique comfortable design.
Credit: Jessica Haist
Price:  $320 List
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Manufacturer:   Sierra Designs
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 22, 2023
80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 14
  • Warmth - 25% 8.0
  • Weight - 25% 5.8
  • Comfort - 20% 10.0
  • Packed Size - 15% 7.0
  • Features - 15% 10.0

Our Verdict

The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 20 is unique — its clever half quilt and catenary shaped opening cradles the sleeper and feels comforting and warm. We love the versatility it provides. The quilt allows for different sleeping positions and the ability to adjust to many different temperatures. The newest version of the Backcountry Bed is less expensive, but Sierra Designs has lowered the quality of the down fill to 650 fill, so it is slightly less lofty and warm than previous versions. Still, if you're fed up with traditional mummy bag design and want something that makes you feel like you're in your bed at home, you should seriously consider this sleeping bag.
REASONS TO BUY
Very comfortable
Versatile
Good for stomach sleepers
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy for a down bag
Bulky

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $320 List$212.93 at REI$220 List
$219.95 at Amazon
$110.84 at Amazon
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Star Rating
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Bottom Line This model is our testers go-to any time weight is less of a factor than having a comfortable nights sleepA good sleeping bag that fights off cold weather well, though it doesn't pack as small as more expensive models"Get Down" with this extremely well priced sleeping bag that will work for short to medium length backpacking trips in the summerThis synthetic model offers snug fitting design that is surprisingly compressible and a good choice to keep you warm in wet conditionsToo heavy and bulky for backpacking but a great choice for car camping comfort
Rating Categories Sierra Designs Back... Mountain Hardwear B... Sierra Designs Get... The North Face Cat'... Marmot Trestles Eli...
Warmth (25%)
8.0
8.0
6.5
7.5
5.0
Weight (25%)
5.8
6.2
6.6
6.0
5.3
Comfort (20%)
10.0
8.0
7.0
6.5
9.0
Packed Size (15%)
7.0
7.0
7.5
6.0
5.0
Features (15%)
10.0
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.0
Specs Sierra Designs Back... Mountain Hardwear B... Sierra Designs Get... The North Face Cat'... Marmot Trestles Eli...
EN Temp Rating (Lower Limit) 20°F 15°F 23°F 20°F 20°F
Insulation 650 FP 85/15 GDD DriDown 650 FP Down 550 FP DriDown RDS Recycled synthetic HL-ElixR synthetic fibers
Measured Weight 2.61 lbs 2.48 lbs 2.36 lbs 2.50 lbs 2.75 lbs
Female-Specific Features Women's specific cut Additional insulation Women's specific cut Available in a "Short" length, which is a standard women's size Women's specific fit
Fill Weight 22.36 oz Unspecified 25.0 oz 38.9 oz Unspecified
Material 20d polyester ripstop/tafeta 20D ripstop nylon 20D polyester 20D ripstop nylon, taffeta 20-denier recycled ripstop polyester
Neck Baffle No Yes No Yes Yes
Small Organization Pocket No Yes No Yes Yes
Sleeping Pad Sleeve Yes No No No No
Zipper Length N/A 66 in 39.5 in 34.5 in 53/15 in
Shoulder Girth 59 in 60 in 58 in 60 in 58 in
Hip Girth 58 in 50 in 56 in 55 in 58 in
Foot Girth 40 in 40 in 40 in 41 in 45 in
Compression or Stuff Sack Stuff sack and storage bag Stuff sack and storage bag Stuff sack and storage bag Compression sack and storage bag Stuff sack and storage bag

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Backcountry Bed 20 is a stomach sleeper's best friend. This comfortable and versatile sleeping bag allows you to sleep in all different positions and regulate your warmth with its quilt insert. It wins top marks for comfort because the quilt makes you feel like you're sleeping in an actual bed and is very cozy.

Performance Comparison


sierra designs backcountry bed 20 for women - we love the backcountry bed's unique features like the hand pockets...
We love the Backcountry Bed's unique features like the hand pockets and foot vent.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Warmth


The intricacies of the bag/quilt interface on the Backcountry Bed took some time to get used to. At first, our testers found this bag a bit drafty in colder temperatures if the quilt wasn't properly tucked. This is one drawback to the design, but once you get used to it, it becomes easier to use. When the quilt is completely tucked in, it stays put, even when moving around. This bag has no zippers, so once it's all tucked in, there are no draft points to worry about. We discovered little hand pockets in the quilt, which makes it easier to get everything tucked in — and provides a cozy spot to keep your hands if they're cold. The design of this bag also allows you to be stealthier when getting in and out so as not to disturb your tent mate by undoing a zipper.


The temperature rating of EN comfort 20°F seems slightly ambitious. We'd hesitate to take the Backcountry Bed out below freezing. We felt comfortable and warm in this bag at night when temperatures got down into the mid-30s. We were surprised to discover it has 22 ounces of down fill, so even though the down quality is lower, it's a super fluffy, lofty bag. If you're a warm sleeper, it is effortless to regulate your temperature with the integrated quilt and foot vent. If you are too hot at night, you can open up the bag by lowering a corner of the quilt or throwing the whole thing off. The Backcountry Bed has cozy hand pockets in the edges to use when the quilt is untucked, like a folded down comforter, or to put your hands in to wrap it around you inside. We like that the bag does not have insulation on the back through the torso, as it is meant to have a sleeping pad insulate you from the ground. But it is insulated all the way around the foot box — an area where women tend to get very cold.

sierra designs backcountry bed 20 for women - the sierra designs backcountry bed kept us warm in below freezing...
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed kept us warm in below freezing temperatures, but we'd recommend bringing some extra layers if that's in the forecast.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Weight


This metric is the one area the Backcountry Bed does not exceed. As we've discovered, it has a lot of down fill and a lot of features that add weight. However, it's still not the heaviest down bag in this review, and we think the weight is worth the extra ounces on short trips. It's great for the average backpacker who doesn't need to go ultralight.


Comfort


Earning top marks for this metric, this is the bag if you're seeking the ultimate in comfort. The quilt feature allows you to do virtually anything with your arms, including sticking them out of the bag, making the overall fit quite versatile.


When the quilt is all tucked in, this bag feels very cozy, almost as if you are being cradled in it. The ability to regulate your temperature by adjusting the quilt and the foot gasket makes the Backcountry Bed extra comfortable at many different temperatures. It has more room for the upper torso and arms, and side sleeping is easily done by putting your hands in the quilt's pocket, draping the quilt over your back, and letting your legs just rotate inside the bag. In this newest version, the bottom of the bag seems to have been widened to allow for more legroom from previous models, offering a more restful sleep. Because it allows you to twist and turn with ease, it's a perfect option for stomach-sleepers.

sierra designs backcountry bed 20 for women - the sierra designs backcountry bed is so comfortable you'll feel...
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed is so comfortable you'll feel like you're at home in your bed.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Packed Size


Luckily, despite the slightly higher weight, this bag's shell material and fill are decently compressible. It can just barely fit it into a small compression sack (sold separately) when we are trying to keep the size of our pack down.


The Backcountry Bed also comes with its own stuff sack that is larger. The bag fits into this sack easily, but if you're limited on space, you might seek a different option that offers more compression.

sierra designs backcountry bed 20 for women - the backcountry bed pictured in its included stuff sack. this bag...
The Backcountry Bed pictured in its included stuff sack. This bag could be compressed smaller with a different after market compression sack.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Features


Sierra Designs has put a lot of thought into the design and features of this sleeping bag. We like how well all the features work together to create the whole package. The catenary-shaped opening of the bag is somewhat womb-like, cradling you and keeping your arms tucked in, holding the quilt in place as well. A cord closure system also goes across the opening to help keep the quilt tucked in when you want it.


The quilt itself is lofty and cozy, and the hand/arm pockets work well when your arms are outside the bag, whether you are on your back or stomach. We like the zipper-less foot-venting gasket, although it is quite easy to stick your feet out of it accidentally. We do wish this bag's long-term storage sack was slightly larger — it still compresses some of the down, which is not ideal.

sierra designs backcountry bed 20 for women - we like the hand pockets on the backcountry bed. they enable you to...
We like the hand pockets on the Backcountry Bed. They enable you to easily tuck in the quilt or to wrap it around you blanket style.
Credit: Jessica Haist

The DriDown hydrophobic down fill will give you a bit more peace of mind if things get wet or soggy and should keep the bag loftier longer. The updated version also has PFC free down.

This is the Backcountry bed's half quilt.
This is the Backcountry bed's half quilt.
The Backcountry Bed's quilt untucked enables the user to sit up in...
The Backcountry Bed's quilt untucked enables the user to sit up in the bag or to throw it off in the night if they're too warm.
The Backcountry Bed's half quilt shown untucked and thrown off for when you're too warm or want to sit up in bed.

Should You Buy Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 20?


The price of the Backcountry Bed is very reasonable for this unique, comfortable, and versatile product. We like the innovative partial quilt design and how the bag cradles us. It has lots of great features and decent-quality materials. Nine times out of ten, we would recommend a lighter, more conventional sleeping bag for backpacking over the Backcountry Bed, but for those who need more room for their torso to move around and want to feel more like they're in their bed at home, this could be the solution.

sierra designs backcountry bed 20 for women - the sierra designs backcountry bed - a great choice for hanging out...
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed - a great choice for hanging out on a portaledge in Zion.
Credit: Ian McEleney

What Other Sleeping Bags Should You Consider?


If you're looking for a lightweight and comfortable bag that is more versatile than the Backcountry Bed, check out our favorite bag, the Feathered Friends Egret UL 20. This is a high-performing bag that will serve you well on long backpacking trips. If you're on a tighter budget you could get the Sierra Designs Get Down 20. It's a lower quality, less unique product but will get you backpacking in a down bag for a more reasonable price point.

Jessica Haist