With a design unique to the manufacturer, the Cloud makes backcountry nights feel a little closer to home by excluding a zipper, replacing it with a comforter that tucks in or untucks to adjust to the nighttime temperature. The result is a comfortable, lightweight bag that rings in at a price much lower than its performance suggests.
The Sierra Designs Cloud is super comfortable and allows your torso to move around freely. Seen here with the Backcountry Bed.
The Cloud is EN comfort rated for women to 26 degrees, although we'd be hesitant to take it out when temperatures are forecast below freezing. This rating is 1 degree warmer than the Rab Neutrino, but we think that the Neutrino is slightly warmer because it is a traditional mummy bag with a zipper and drawcord that you can cinch down around your face and trap all the warm air inside. The Cloud has no zipper, and one side of the bag doesn't seal shut. The "comforter" does tuck into the inner bag and stays closed when the sleeper stays still, but you'll always need to be conscious of what it's doing when you move around, especially if you're a restless sleeper. Sierra Designs claims that the "shoulder pocket" will keep the comforter wrapped around you, but that was not our experience.
The Cloud has an integrated pad sleeve. In general, we find that pad sleeves can reduce the warmth of a sleeping bag. A sleeping pad slipped inside a bag's sleeve stretches the bag open, creating more space inside the bag and leaving you unable to pull the bag around you tightly more for warmth. We noticed this phenomenon with the Big Agnes Roxy Ann especially, but also with this model. We think the Feathered Friends Egret 20 is the warmest, coziest bag in this review, rated to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Cloud's comforter is attached on one side and has a 'shoulder pocket' that helps wrap it around you and close the opening to keep cold drafts out.
We were blown away with what we saw when we put this bag on the scale! Weighing in at 27.4 ounces, it weighs 1.5 ounces less than the lightest bag we had previously tested (the Neutrino) and weighs essentially the same as our new Editors' Choice winner the Egret! Because of its high quality, 800 fill down, lightweight shell materials, and lack of zipper, the Cloud beats out the competition.
Along with its low weight, this is an area where the Cloud shines. For people who want to up their lightweight backpacking game, but don't want to commit to a full mummy style bag, this is a great choice. Sierra Designs has been focusing on their comfortable "bed" style bags, and the Cloud is an impressive member of this series. It has a 'comforter' that you can pull over you and wrap around you like a blanket, but can also open it wide and free up your arms for stomach sleeping or sitting up in the bag.
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 is also very comfortable, as its comforter opens on both sides with even more flexibility for stomach sleepers. Because of the Cloud's high-quality materials, comforter, and minimal weight, it beats out the Backcountry bed in our scoring.
Most of the mummy bag style bags we tested were equally comfortable, but the Nemo Rave and the Neutrino stand out as having a great women's specific fit and soft shell materials.
You can open the Cloud's comforter to free up your arms and release excess heat.
This is where the very compressible yet lofty 800 fill down comes into play and enables the Cloud 800 to pack down to a very small volume. The included stuff sack is fairly small, but if you have an extra compression sack, this back shrinks down even further.
The Neutrino is just about as compressible as the Cloud. The synthetic bags in this review were much less compressible, the smallest one being the Mountain Hardwear Laminina Z Flame. The Backcountry Bed is much bulkier and less compressible because of its lower fill power down and larger comforter.
The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 (left) and Cloud 800 (right) in their stuff sacks. The Cloud packs down smaller.
This sleeping bag is rather simple with the exception of the comforter. It has no zipper to snag, which is nice. We also like the "self-sealing foot vent" that allows you to stick your feet out the bottom without undoing anything if they're feeling hot, and it does not seem to let any warm air out when our feet are cold. The Backcountry Bed has the same foot vent feature.
The Cloud also has a sleeping pad sleeve, which we think is an unnecessary feature unless you're a very restless sleeper and fall out of bed often. We think using a sleeping pad sleeve detracts from the warmth of your bag because it does not allow you to pull the bag closer for extra warmth. As most of our testers aren't fans of this feature, we would cut it off to save further weight.
The Sierra Designs Cloud 800 allows you to have your arms out of the bag to read or sit up.
This bag does not have any down fill in the back torso panel with the logic being that the down would be compressed under your weight rendering it useless, so make sure you have a warm sleeping pad to insulate you from the ground. There is extra down around the foot box of the Cloud that we appreciate.
The Cloud's integrated pad sleeve.
The Sierra Designs Cloud 800 is a great choice for long, lightweight backpacking trips in spring, summer, and fall. It is not the warmest bag in this review, though, and we wouldn't bring it out on nights forecast below freezing.
We spent the night out on a portaledge in Zion in the Sierra Designs Cloud. A great choice to haul up a wall.
For an 800 fill down sleeping bag the Cloud is a great value at $299, only $10 more than the lower quality, heavier Backcountry Bed 700. It's much cheaper than the Rab Neutrino and the same price as the REI Joule. For all these reasons it wins our Best Buy Award! If you're looking for an even better deal check out the Kelty Cosmic Down for a great entry-level backpacking product, but be aware it comes with a large drop in backpacking performance.
Two of our most comfortable bags, Sierra Designs Cloud 800 (left) and Backcountry Bed 700 (right).
The Sierra Designs Cloud 800 is a top competitor and came in neck and neck with our Editors' Choice winner. It has super high-quality materials, is lightweight and super comfortable - all at a surprisingly low price. It takes our Best Buy Award for the highest quality bag at a low price. We commend Sierra Designs for their efforts in making a relatively affordable bag for female backpackers without cutting corners.