ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood Review
Cons: Large packed size, heavier than many bags, not water-resistant
Manufacturer: ALPS OutdoorZ
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Cinched into place with three nylon buckled straps, the Redwood rolls up full-width, like an old bedroll you might see on the back of a pack horse. This distinct shape, combined with the bag's thick canvas exterior and over-stuffed design, resembles something an old cowboy might prop his head against while he lowers his hat and catches a snooze on the trail. Just looking at this bag made us want to use it. The only potential drawback we feel this bag has is its incredible warmth. While most adventurists will love the added warmth, those who camp in warmer climates, heated RVs or trailers may find the Redwood to be too warm.
Our first hands-on overnight experience with the Redwood was on a chilly 25-degree night. When slipping into this bag, the first thought that came to mind was trust. The Redwood's thick, warm, and weighty design gives users an instant feeling of confidence that this bag will keep them safely warm through some of the chilliest nights.
We weren't surprised a bit with how the bag performed during our warmth tests. One of our tests involves using a laser thermometer to record interior warmth readings. As expected, the Redwood led the pack with some of the warmest readings we've ever seen in the last several years. Manufacturer warmth ratings are generally issued with the assumption users are wearing long underwear. We generally do to, but wearing a base layer in this model could easily get too warm unless temps are very cold.
Not only is this bag warm, but the natural cotton flannel liner is also much more temperate than silky synthetic materials used on other bags. This allows for an even fabric temperature with virtually no cold spots. While the majority of sleeping bags employ a single draft tube that runs the full length of the zipper, the Redwood comes with two, thick, full-length draft tubes placed on both sides of the zipper, which traps warm air and reduces heat loss.
Additionally, this bag uses a two-layer, off-set stitching pattern that keeps its unique denier-based Techloft Insulation firmly in place and reduces heat loss. From hunting pack trips to a weekend at your favorite lake or campsite, when temps drop, this bag has your back.
There are several ways to define comfort, and the Redwood checks every box that exists. It's crammed to the hilt with Techloft Insulation, making it cushy enough to make a bed right on the ground if you had to. A super soft, cotton flannel interior boasts a traditional plaid print and is soft enough to fool you into thinking you were in your own bed.
One of our favorite features is the Redwood's over-sized 38 X 80 rectangular design, which provides plenty of wiggle room without a lot of excess air space to heat. Finally, the cherry on top is this bag's heavy-duty cotton canvas exterior shell. Becoming rarer on today's market, this time-tested material adds a weighty component that gives this bag one of it's greatest X-factors.
When you slip inside, the heavy canvas softly collapses down on you. It naturally tucks you in as it presses against your body, folding around every individual curve. Some bags on the market use polyester-based canvas materials that simply aren't as soft, heavy, comforting, or conforming.
Its basic old school design results in lower scores for the Redwood in our features category. We looked at several areas in our features test. From zipper function to warranty, we want to discover what each bag has to offer.
One of the drawbacks of the Redwood is its laundry requirements, which state hand-washing and line-drying or air-drying in a commercial dryer. Hand-washing a bag of this size will certainly be a task. Another drawback is its inherent lack of water-resistance. Unlike with synthetic materials, water-repellent spray treatments don't work as well on cotton.
Additionally, cotton tends to absorb and hold moisture. Although a rare occasion, if this bag were exposed to large amounts of water, it would act more like a sponge and would take a large amount of time to dry. On the positive side, the Redwood comes with a lifetime warranty, a hefty velcro zipper closure, a heavy-duty zipper, and a top drawstring to help keep warm air trapped during colder nights.
At the risk of being on repeat, this bag's most outstanding features are its lush, cotton fabrics, over-stuffed design, exceptional craftsmanship, and off-set stitching. Many of these features are more felt than seen, but they greatly add to a very pleasant sleeping experience in the outdoors. A rugged canvas exterior and full-length zipper allow this bag to open up fully to become a perfect ground cover for a picnic in the park or outdoor concert.
It's natural earth-tone colors do a nice job of hiding grass stains or dirt. Additionally, zipping two Redwoods together creates one of the warmest, coziest double bags on the market. Finally, the Redwood's full-width roll and stow design is legit. It's simple, easy, and just looks the way a standout sleeping bag should.
There's no ignoring the elephant in the room: The Redwood's packed size is huge. This beast rolls up full-width, ending in a tight 14-inch tall by 38-inch wide bundle. We think it's the largest packed size we ever seen. However, it's light enough that moving it from car to camp is still a non-issue. Campers with extremely limited car space or home storage may want to pass on this bag — but they probably won't.
This sleeping bag does not have a stuff sack. While that saves the common annoyance of trying to jam a huge sleeping bag into a small sack and is one less thing to lose, it also means that it isn't protected when being stored. An easy storing solution to keep dust (and maybe rodents) off your stored bag is to wrap it in a large garbage bag when not in use.
The Redwood has a higher price tag than several other bags we tested, but we feel it's worth every cent. It breezed through our warmth and comfort testing which account for the lion share of our scoring. In addition to its value on paper, this bag has an "it factor" that simply sets it apart. It's rugged, well-crafted, unique, and traditional.
We love the ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood. Cotton flannel interior and a thick canvas exterior, mixed with modern polyester insulation, combine to make this bag a pleasure to sleep in, roll up, or lounge on. It may be too toasty for warmer climates or heated RVs. Otherwise it's perfect for outdoor camping adventures. Once you get your hands on one, we're sure you'll immediately understand why we gave it our Editors' Choice Award.
— Jason Wanlass