Coleman Brazos Review
Cons: Small, catchy/scratchy interior lining
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
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 a ton of cash. 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. We feel the Brazos is relatively durable, fairly warm, and quite inexpensive.
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. In both tests, the Brazos placed in the middle of the pack. 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.
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, hair stubble, clothing, etc.
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).
We gave the Brazos an overall moderate score 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.
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, the Brazos soaked up water rather quickly during our water tests.
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 its 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 reason we picked the Brazos for our Best Buy 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, one sacrifice is size and comfort.
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 that allows infrequent campers to enjoy the pleasure of spending a night under the stars.
— Jason Wanlass