Hands-on Gear Review

Coleman Brazos Review

Coleman Brazos
Best Buy Award
Price:  $40 List | $24.70 at Amazon
Pros:  Surprisingly warm bag for the price, inexpensive, interior pocket, patented zipper system reduces zipper snags
Cons:  Small, catchy/scratchy interior lining
Bottom line:  This bag is our Best Buy on a Tight Budget, as it's great for kids and smaller adults, and is warm and relatively durable.
Editors' Rating:   
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Temp Rating (F):  20 degrees
Measured Weight:  4.1 lbs
Style:  Rectangular
Manufacturer:   Coleman

Our Verdict

If you have a young family and are looking to get all the kids sleeping bags on a budget, the Coleman Brazos is a good option for you. It's also a good buy for anyone on a tight budget or someone looking for a simple bag that will just get the job done. For its price, the Brazos is durable and warmer than some of the more expensive bags we tested. Just keep one thing in mind: at 75 inches long and 33 inches wide, this bag can feel quite constrictive to anyone over 5 ft 11 in who has a larger than average body type.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jason Wanlass

Last Updated:
Thursday
May 25, 2017

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We feel the Coleman Brazos is well-constructed, relatively durable, and quite inexpensive. Here's how it stacked up against the rest.

Performance Comparison


Although not the warmest or most comfortable bag  we were pleasantly surprised at the overall warmth of the Brazos during our late night test.
Although not the warmest or most comfortable bag, we were pleasantly surprised at the overall warmth of the Brazos during our late night test.

Warmth


Scoring an 8 out of 10 for warmth, the Brazos, quite frankly, really surprised us. During a warmth test we conducted during a very chilly evening in Bryce Canyon National Park, we were shocked to find that the Brazos held its own when it came to insulating. It also outperformed more expensive bags during our ice test. You can read more about our testing process in the how we test article. In both tests, the Brazos came in fourth out of the seven bags we tested. Not bad for the cheapest bag we purchased.


We don't suggest the Brazos for colder weather, however, for normal late Spring and Summer camping, this bag will hold its own when it comes to keeping you warm… as long as you can fit in it. It isn't exactly roomy.

Comfort


When it comes down to it, with a price tag of $40 or less, you're going to have to sacrifice something, and after our testing, the thing we found missing was comfort.


First, the bag is small. So if you're over 6 feet and don't have a marathon runner's body, you're going to feel a bit too snug. Second, after testing this bag extensively, we found the Tricot Knit interior lining to be very grabby, snaggy and uncomfortable. Everything seemed to stick to it: leaves, twigs, dry skin on your feet, scabs, hair stubble, clothing, etc.

The Brazos's interior lining grabbed onto the dry skin on our feet and hands.
The Brazos's interior lining grabbed onto the dry skin on our feet and hands.

In the end, the Brazos scored the lowest for comfort out of all the bags we tested. That being said, we feel they are still a great choice for young kids (who sleep through most anything) or teens (who don't sleep and will most likely be around the campfire all night).

The liner also grabs onto dried leaves  twigs  seeds and just about anything else it comes into contact with.
The liner also grabs onto dried leaves, twigs, seeds and just about anything else it comes into contact with.

Features


We gave the Brazos an overall score of 5 out of 10 for features. Keep in mind that, for us, five is average on a scale from 1 to 10. We liked the interior pocket, especially the fact that it had a Velcro closure.


We also found the No-Snag patented zipper plow does an excellent job at preventing snags. We also liked the density of the bag. We found that the manufacturer's Fiberlock Construction really did prevent insulation from shifting and moving after the bag had been extensively used.

We found the Brazos's zipper plow system to be very effective at preventing snags.
We found the Brazos's zipper plow system to be very effective at preventing snags.

A few other reasons for our lower score include a limited 5-year warranty and a very low resistance to water, despite a synthetic outer shell. Other bags that packed a high level of features include the The North Face Dolomite 20, Kelty Callisto, and REI Siesta.

We were surprised that  despite its synthetic exterior liner  the Brazos was nearly soaked through by the end of the 5 minutes during our water-resistance testing.
We were surprised that, despite its synthetic exterior liner, the Brazos was nearly soaked through by the end of the 5 minutes during our water-resistance testing.

Packed Size


When it comes to packed size, the Brazos lands right in the middle out of all of the bags we tested. We didn't just look at packed size though. We also scored each bag on how easy it rolled up and fit into its storage bag. In this area, the Brazos did well. It rolls up easily and fits into its stuff sack with a little bit of effort. It's also quite a stretch, but it could double as a backpacking bag if you're in a pinch.


The one negative we found with the stuff sack is the compression zipper. The sack has a zipper that runs is full length. The idea is that after you've stuffed your bag and cinched the top, then you zip the compression zipper to reduce the overall packed size. In our opinion, the zipper is not needed because the bag has an average packed size. More importantly, the zipper itself doesn't work anyway because we found the stuff sack to be too tight to begin with.

The packed size of the Brazos.
The packed size of the Brazos.

Best Applications


The Brazos is ideal for someone on a budget. It's warm and well-made, but it's small. We feel it would be great for kids or teens, both of which tend to be hard on shoes, clothes, cars, and just about everything else. This bag will stand up to their spills, mistakes, and overall mistreatment. And if it doesn't withstand it all, you're not out $150. This bag is also perfect for anyone on a budget or someone who doesn't want to worry about the care that is necessary for more expensive bags.

If you need your phone handy at all times  an interior storage pocket is for you.
If you need your phone handy at all times, an interior storage pocket is for you.

Value


The reason we picked the Brazos for our Top Pick on a Tight Budget is because it perfectly balances cost with basic necessities. For the price, it really holds its own against bags that are much more expensive, especially in the areas of warmth and durability. However, the one sacrifice is size and comfort.

Conclusion


In the end, it all comes down to what you need and what you're willing to spend. We feel the Coleman Brazos is a great bang for your buck, but only if you're under six feet and thin.

Perfect for kids or teens  the Brazos is a perfect bag for families on a budget.
Perfect for kids or teens, the Brazos is a perfect bag for families on a budget.

Jason Wanlass

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: May 25, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 5
 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 100%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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