Hands-on Gear Review

NEMO Strato Loft 25 Review

The most compressible sleeping bag in its class and roomy, but you pay for it.
NEMO Strato Loft 25
By: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Mar 21, 2017
Price:  $350 List
Pros:  Packs small, roomy, unique double zipper
Cons:  Expensive, not as cozy as cotton/flannel bags
Manufacturer:   NEMO
80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 35% 7
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Features - 25% 9
  • Packed Size - 15% 10
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Our Verdict

The Strato Loft is our Top Pick for Luxury Travel. It has the smallest packed size yet remains incredibly roomy and comfortable. Most of our sleeping bag award winners barely fit in a small trunk, let alone a suitcase. Because it uses down fill and not cotton, it packs down to the size of a big backpacking sleeping bag (the size of a gallon of milk). It's roomy, especially around the legs. That said, the nylon is not nearly as cozy as the warm flannel of the Slumberjack Country Squire 0 or the Wenzel Grande. The Strato Loft is 2-4 times more expensive than the other models. It also doesn't completely unzip to become a blanket or quickly join with other bags. It's for someone who wants the ultimate lightweight and compressible camping bag and is willing to pay top dollar for it. While this bag is in our Camping Sleeping Bag review, we wouldn't hesitate to take it on short backpacking trips. If it were in our backpacking sleeping bag review, it would be by far the most spacious we had ever tested and not much heavier than some of the traditional mummy style bags.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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Warmth


This bag is warm… and it's not. On the one hand, it has the warmest hood of any bag tested by a huge margin. Since most rectangular bags like the Country Squire have no hood, you must totally bury yourself in the bag which means you can't see the stars and it's less comfortable to breathe. The Strato Loft, on the other hand, lets you quickly pull the hood around so you can expose just as much of your face as you want. If you want to see the stars on a cold night with a hoodless bag, you need to wear a hat, balaclava, or down hood.

The hood design of the Strato Loft (front) is the best of any bag tested. You feel cozy and can still easily see the stars. The Country Squire (rear) has no hood and requires you to wear a hat or burrow in deep.
The hood design of the Strato Loft (front) is the best of any bag tested. You feel cozy and can still easily see the stars. The Country Squire (rear) has no hood and requires you to wear a hat or burrow in deep.

But while the hood is excellent, the rest of the bag can feel cold if you move around a lot. The slick nylon material, combined with how the spacious the bag is, results in a lot of nylon that is cold until your body has a chance to heat it. After 10-20 seconds of contact, that material warms up. But for a brief moment, the bag is a little chilly. With a flannel bag like the Slumberjack Country Squire or Wenzel Grande, this is not the case. Those bags always feel the same temperature whether you are moving around or not because they use a cozier material. The solution for cold nights is to wear socks and long underwear in the Strato Loft so that your bare skin doesn't come in contact with the cooler nylon.

Of note, there is no hood drawstring. At first, this seemed like a major drawback as it keeps you from completely locking the cold out. However, there is enough material that you can easily eliminate 90 percent of the places a draft could get in. If you move around a lot, however, on a cold night you might be wishing you had a drawstring to keep the cold out.

The Strato Loft (left) next to the Editors' Choice Slumberjack Country Squire. The Squire uses ample cotton fill for a heavy flannel-feeling comfort. The Strato Loft is more like a backpacking sleeping bag on steroids: roomy but still composed of slick nylon material.
The Strato Loft (left) next to the Editors' Choice Slumberjack Country Squire. The Squire uses ample cotton fill for a heavy flannel-feeling comfort. The Strato Loft is more like a backpacking sleeping bag on steroids: roomy but still composed of slick nylon material.

Lastly, the big cotton bags give you a lot of padding on the bottom of the bag. Because the Strato Loft is all down, there is little warmth on the bottom. This is fine if you have a great sleeping pad. However, unlike the Slumberjack Country Squire, you can't throw this bag on a sub-par pad or the ground and expect a good nights sleep.

Performance Comparison



Comfort


This bag is spacious but not necessarily cozy. It's like a traditional backpacking sleeping bag with double the leg room and 25 percent more shoulder room. It fits two slender people in a pinch — it's that roomy. However, the slick nylon lining makes it feel like a backpacking sleeping bag — not an extension of your flannel sheets. One of the best things about the other rectangular cotton bags is their coziness. This bag does not have that.


The double zippers are a nice feature; you no longer have to debate where a right zip or left zip would be preferable. Or unzip both and have a unique ventilated sleeping situation. That said, there is no way to completely unzip the bag to make it a big blanket. You also can't easily join it with other bags. The Strato earned a 7 in comfort and is on par with the comfort levels of the Kelty Callisto and is bested by the Wenzel Grande, Slumberjack Country Squire 0, and TETON Sports Celsius XXL 0.

Features


This is the only bag we tested that's designed to incorporate a sleeping pad. If your sleeping pad fits in perfectly, this is a great feature.


However, if you want to use a super comfy jumbo pad like the Exped SynMat 7, this feature won't help you. In general, we have never found the sleeping pad pouch all that useful in any sleeping bags we have tested. Below, we struggled and then gave up on trying to get our deluxe Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map to fit inside the sleeping pad compartment. Chalk full of features, the Strato earns a near perfect 9 out of 10 for this metric - the highest in our review.

While the sleeping pad sleeve on the NEMO Loft is a nice feature  it won't fit large deluxe pads like the Therm-a-rest Luxury Map.
While the sleeping pad sleeve on the NEMO Loft is a nice feature, it won't fit large deluxe pads like the Therm-a-rest Luxury Map.

Packed Size


This is one of the smallest packed sleeping bags in our test, on par with The North Face Dolomite and REI Siesta 30. At 3 pounds 14 ounces, it's about the half the weight of the other tested bags, but a quarter of the packed size. It's the only bag we tested that fits into a carry-on bag. Even if you don't travel, its small size makes it much easier to store.


The Slumberjack takes up a big chunk of a closet. This bag squeezes just about anywhere. It's also much faster to pack up after sleeping. Most of the other bags require you to find a clean surface and then carefully and tightly roll them up. The Strato Loft goes into a stuff sack in seconds.

When stored  the Strato Loft is 1/4 the size of the Country Squire. With a compression sack  it would be half the size again .
When stored, the Strato Loft is 1/4 the size of the Country Squire. With a compression sack, it would be half the size again .

Value


At $350, this is by far the most expensive bag in our tests, with the next most expensive costing $240, which is $110 less than the Strato. For the same price, you could have four of our Best Buy Kelty Callisto 30. The value comes down to how many nights a year you sleep in this bag. Take it everywhere you travel, and this bag might be a good value. Use it once or twice a year on a family camping trip and it's expensive.

Best Applications


This is an ideal travel bag. If you are backpacking around Europe or just want an amazing bag when you have to sleep on the couch at your relatives, this is the most comfortable bag we have seen in the smallest package. It's also great for people who want to save space in their closet.

Conclusion


This contender is our new Top Pick for Luxury Travel. It boasts a full set of features and its comfort level is to the max. Buy it if you want the ultimate travel package - at a price.

Chris McNamara

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Most recent review: March 21, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
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