Loads of features, a unique design, and high marks for warmth and comfort give us enough reasons to say the Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo is one of the best double bags on the market. The zipper-less design creates a sleeping environment that could almost fool you into thinking you were in your own bed. This bag scored higher than the Kelty Tru.Comfort 20 Doublewide in overall comfort and features. It also comes close to rivaling heartier bags we tested like our Editors' Choice Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 for warmth.
Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Durable design, completely zipperless, lots of practical features, seemed warmer than 35-degree rating
Cons: Narrow design may not fit two larger bodies, extra effort to get into its stuff sack
Manufacturer: Sierra Designs
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Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo
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|Pros||Durable design, completely zipperless, lots of practical features, seemed warmer than 35-degree rating||Very warm, well-crafted, tons of features, soft and cozy, adjusts well to different temperature ranges||Massive/luxurious bag, several unique features, hearty zipper, exceptionally warm, removable cotton liner, convenient zip-on tote bag||True all-purpose bag, rare-to-find down-filled rectangle bag, warm, lightweight||Roomy, comfortable, soft synthetic lining, small hood for warmth, water resistant|
|Cons||Narrow design may not fit two larger bodies, extra effort to get into its stuff sack||Grabby liner, may be confining to larger body types||Expensive, not water-resistant, cream-colored interior prone to stains, very large packed size||More expensive than synthetic bags, problematic when water-soaked||Doesn't unzip into a blanket, poor quality construction, hand wash only, machine washing voids warranty|
|Bottom Line||This bag has no zippers, tons of features, and could fool you into thinking you were in your own bed.||This bag is warm, soft, and has lots of features and configuration options.||If you're willing to shell out the bucks, this bag will not disappoint; it's pure luxury - almost like sleeping in your own bed.||Down-filled and rectangular: This is a rare bag.||The Celsius's massive size, mixed with its red and black colors, make it appealing at first site, but the overall design and quality have room for improvement.|
|Rating Categories||Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo||TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1||Slumberjack Country Squire 0||Kelty Galactic 30||TETON Sports Celsius XXL 0|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Specs||Frontcountry Bed...||TETON Sports...||Slumberjack...||Kelty Galactic 30||TETON Sports...|
|Temp Rating (F)||35 degrees||0 degrees||0 degrees||30 degrees||0 degrees|
|Measured Weight (lbs)||8.2 lbs||8.3 lbs||12.2 lbs||2.3 lbs||7.1 lbs|
|Draft Tube||Full length||Full length||Full length||Full length||Full length|
|Shell Material||50d polyester ripstop||Taffeta||12 oz. Cotton Duck||50D Downproof Polyester Taffeta||Taffeta|
|Lining Material||68d polyester taffeta||Inner bag: 100% Brushed Poly Flannel
Outer bag: PolarLite Fleece
|Poly-Cotton||50D Downproof Polyester Taffeta||100% Brushed Poly Flannel|
|Insulation||Synthetic||SuperLoft Elite Hollow Fiber||Slumberloft Synthetic Insulation||600 Fill Dridown||SuperLoft Elite 4-Channel Hollow Fiber|
|Measured Size L x W||87" X 50 "||82" X 36"||84" X 42"||73" X 32"||90" X 39"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Upon removing the Frontcountry Bed from its stuff sack we noticed immediately it was unique. Examining it by hand quickly revealed high-quality workmanship, a unique interlocking design, comfortable fabrics, and no zippers — anywhere. The bag is well-constructed and thick and heavy (in a down comforter kind of way). It also possesses an "it" factor that makes it the favorite of all the double bags we've tested.
Despite its relatively modest 35-degree rating, we were pleased with this bag's ability to keep us warm while tent-camping in chilly mountain air. We found the bag's zipperless design trapped body heat very efficiently. We were also impressed with the bag's over-sized top quilt, which is wider than the Frontcountry Bed's base width.
One unique feature of the top quilt is its insulated hand and arm pockets. Sewn into both sides of the quilt, these tube-like structures allow sleepers to use their hand and forearm to anchor the quilt and more easily and naturally wrap it around their necks and upper bodies.
This design keeps the quilt in place and keeps the cold air out. The only drawback to this design feature is that its effectiveness is subject to body size. In short, we noticed that when two sleepers have larger frames, it was difficult for them to use their hand-arm pockets simultaneously, resulting in a kind of tug-of-war for the covers. Luckily, Sierra Designs also makes a queen-sized version of this bag, which is more spacious (you can select this size on the retailer sites by following the links at the top of this web page).
We gave the 35-degree Frontcountry Bed the same warmth scores as the warmer-rated Kelty Tru.Comfort, which comes with a manufacturer's warmth rating of 20 degrees. We felt the Frontcountry Bed's design allows for excellent heat retention. While not as warm as heavier bags like the Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 or the Slumberjack Country Squire, we were surprised at the Frontcountry Bed's ability to keep us warm, despite its modest 35-degree rating.
A zipperless design, combined with overstuffed polyester taffeta lining, resulted in near-perfect marks for comfort. We love the overall feel the bag offered us while sleeping outdoors. Sometimes it's difficult to clarify exactly why one bag is more comfortable than another. We found this to be true with the Frontcountry Bed. It simply felt more comfortable. The overall feeling we had was: Snug as a bug in a rug.
Of the two double bags we tested, the Frontcountry Bed scored slightly higher than the Kelty Tru.Comfort in our comfort criteria, which included overall comfort, ease of movement, and overall padding. The reason for the Frontcountry Bed's slightly higher score is the overall comfort the bag provided us while sleeping.
When compared side by side, one comfort-related drawback with the Frontcountry Bed is its narrower design, which makes the bag 10 inches less in width than the 60-inch wide Kelty Tru.Comfort. One workaround option is the Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Queen, which offers the same width as the Tru.Comfort.
The Frontcountry Bed offers much more than shiny bells and whistles. It's evident that designers put extra thought into this bag's unique design, resulting in high marks in our features metric. One key feature is the creative use of folds, seams, and buttons, creating a sleep system that is completely void of zippers. The result is a sleeping bag that offers a more natural feel and look of common bedding.
When compared to the Kelty Tru.Comfort, the Frontcountry Bed simply offers more thoughtful features: an over-sized top quilt; a self-sealing foot box that allows for optimum foot ventilation; a massive hood; and built-in sleeves to hold sleeping pads securely in place. However, if you're looking for maximum features in a single-width bag, the Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 and the Slumberjack Coutry Squire are chocked full of unique options for warmth, ease of use, and function.
Two of the Frontcountry Bed's features we found to be the most unique are the over-sized top quilt (addressed above in our warmth section), and the self-sealing foot box. Most bags come with a zipper that opens from either end, allowing the sleeper to unzip the bottom half of the bag independently for ventilation. However, the key flaw with this design is it requires the user to raise up to a seated position, find, and manually unzip the zipper. This can be particularly disruptive if the need for extra air strikes in the middle of the night.
The Frontcountry Bed's zipperless design incorporates an interlocking, folded system, which allows sleepers the ease of simply snaking their feet through the folds, without sitting up and fumbling for a zipper. This folding foot box is a simple feature; however, we were quite entertained with it and found it effective, very easy, and extremely convenient.
It's a double bag, so you're probably not surprised to hear the Frontcountry Bed packs up a larger than most single bags. Yes, it's large; however, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the Frontcountry Bed's packed size was not that much larger than some of the larger single bags we tested. This is a result of thinner materials and shell fabrics and a lack of extra bulk from zippers.
When compared to the Tru.Comfort, the Frontcountry Bed is a smaller bag, which gives it a smaller packed size. Additionally, the Frontcountry Bed has a smaller stuff sack. It requires a little more elbow grease to stow this bag into its sack.
This bag seems to provide more warmth than its 35-degree rating. Its 8.2-pound overall weight is slightly lighter than the Kelty Tru.Comfort 20 Doublewide. However, this is the result of the Frontcountry Bed's smaller width and a lower amount of insulation. In the end, the bag is fairly portable and is perfect for car or RV camping trips. It will also work well in tents (two-man or larger), trailers, buses or fifth-wheels. This bag is a niche product, geared toward campers who enjoy cuddling up. So, if you need your own space, you may want to at the single bags we reviewed.
Two Polara 3-in-1s zipped together measures 72-inches wide. Likewise, zipping two Slumberjack Country Squire bags together would result in a massive, double bag with a width of 84-inches. In comparison, the Frontcountry Bed is 50-inches wide. Our dilemma with finding value in double bags, like the Frontcountry Bed and the Tru.Comfort is hinged on their practicality.Buying two bags that can be zipped together offers more options and sleeping space; however, it often comes with a higher price tag. Double bags are much lighter, take up less space, are more convenient, and often have a smaller price tag than buying two bags. In the end, we love the creativeness of the duo bags like the Frontcountry Bed, and, although some of our testers lean more to buying two bags and zipping them together, we do see the value and merits of the double bag for the niche market it serves (i.e., campers who simply just want one bag to share).
It's well-designed with many unique conveniences. We love the bag's zipperless design, over-sized top quilt with integrated arm-hand sleeves, easily accessible foot vent, and sleeping pad sleeves. However, this bag serves a niche client. Some campers like the idea of grabbing one large, lighter, all-in-one bag. They want the convenience of throwing it down and jumping in, rather than fumbling to zip two bags together.
The Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed 35 Duo gives campers the ability to pack or unpack one self-contained sleeping system in seconds. For many, this is just more appealing regardless of price point. However, some shoppers may prefer the options associated with purchasing two bags and zipping them together.
— Jason Wanlass