TETON Sports Deer Hunter Review
Cons: Synthetic flannel liner, doesn't have a full-length zipper
Manufacturer: TETON Sports
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We were very excited to unpack this bag the minute it arrived on our porch. It has a unique design and color scheme. The Brawny Paper Towel guy would certainly like this bag. We loved it as well, after we reconsidered its place in the world of rugged canvas sleeping bags. Although well-made, warm, and full of features, we soon found that the Deer Hunter is more of a basic camping bag with a bit of an edge. It doesn't directly compare to more expensive, heavier, more rugged, flannel/canvas sleeping bags.
Combined with some extra clothing, like long underwear and a beanie, the Deer Hunter does an adequate job at living up to its 0-degree F warmth rating. We stayed warm during 20-degree F evenings, and certainly feel this bag could fend off colder temps. The bag's generous, cinchable hood is amazing at trapping heat around the head. Its interior liner is brushed poly-flannel, instead of pure cotton flannel, making it silkier but more prone to cold spots. Cotton simply does a better job of maintaining even warmth, most noticeable when you move around at night and find the cold spots in your sleeping bag.
True to form with most TETON Sports bags, the Deer Hunter has a generous adjustable shoulder baffle that goes the extra mile preventing heat from escaping from the bag's large opening. In short, this bag looks a little warmer than it actually is. We've slept in plenty of old-school canvas bags during past years of testing, and there are several 0-degree F bags that were warmer than the Deer Hunter. That said, this bag is still a very solid choice for basic camping and would be well-suited for the majority of consumers.
We don't like this bag's zipper. It only runs along the side of the bag. It doesn't continue along the foot box, leaving the bag with a stitched seam along the bottom. This seam is well-secured but not well insulated. The simple gathered and stitched fabric allows air to penetrate, giving us cold toes during colder nights. Wear your socks to bed, which is a good idea anyhow to maintain the cleanliness of the bag.
Although it doesn't compare to the richness of pure cotton flannel, we must admit the Deer Hunter's synthetic brushed poly flannel liner does have its own pleasing feel. It's soft and silky and doesn't feel like polyester. The manufacturer uses this liner in many of its bags and we've always enjoyed its pleasing properties. Additionally, this bag is 39 inches wide and 90 inches long, making it one of the largest and most spacious bags tested.
Overall, the Deer Hunter does a splendid job of swallowing a sleeper whole and cradling them in pleasant fabrics and thick insulation. We did have one disappointment. This bag appears thick and heavy, but it's not. We were hoping for more weight. Most traditional canvas bags are heavier, allowing the top layer to press down on you during the night, naturally folding around your body and tucking you in. We didn't feel that with the Deer Hunter.
The Deer Hunter has unique extras that many manufacturers have simply stopped offering. Rarely do traditional rectangle bags offer fully insulated shoulder baffles, padded hoods, interior storage pockets, or a Velcro zipper closers. The Deer Hunter offers all of them and is backed by a lifetime warranty.
There were a few things we didn't like about the Deer Hunter's features. At the top of our list is the need to hand-wash and air dry. Washing an item of this size by hand will certainly be a bit of a chore; however, it is common for this type of sleeping bag. Additionally, we don't like that the Deer Hunter doesn't fully unzip at the bottom of the bag, which prevents it from being a picnic blanket or being zipped together with another Deer Hunter to make a double bag. Lastly, we were a little disappointed that the bag's liner and canvas exterior appear to be polyester-based. This results in a less dense bag that has a less comfortable feel. However, one positive of this type of material is it's more water-resistant than 100-percent cotton canvas.
When fully stowed, the Deer Hunter is quite large, but still relatively easy to carry from car to camp. It rolls up full-width and is held in place by three buckles, making it super easy to pack up, but maybe not so easy to store if you're tight on space. Overall, we feel what the Deer Hunter offers is worth the trade-off in packed size. Note that this sleeping bag does not have a stuff sack, which means you might not want to just roll it up and store it in your garage or attic without slipping it inside a large garbage bag first.
Overall, we really love the Deer Hunter for its style, features, and function. It's perfectly priced for a bag that offers its level of exceptional warmth and comfort. If you're looking for a really good, all-purpose sleeping bag that won't break the bank, this is a very legitimate choice to consider.
The TETON Sports Deer Hunter is more trendy and stylish than it is rugged and brawny. It's online marketing photos present a bag that is thick, dense, and heavy, when in reality its made of primarily synthetic fabrics and is fairly light for its size, not to mention a little less hardwearing than we initially thought. The Deer Hunter is still well-made and fun to use. In fact, it competes very well against most of the bags on our list. It's just not as heavy-duty as we thought it was going to be. All said, this bag is ideal for traditional car camping or RV traveling. It should perform well and outlast several years of use with proper care.
— Jason Wanlass