Hands-on Gear Review

TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1 Review

The TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1
Top Pick Award
Price:  $110 List | $90.35 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Very warm, well-crafted, tons of features, soft and cozy, adjusts well to different temperature ranges
Cons:  Grabby liner, confining to larger body types
Bottom line:  This bag is warm, soft, and has lots of features and configuration options.
Editors' Rating:   
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Temp Rating (F):  0 degrees
Measured Weight:  8.3 lbs
Style:  Rectangular
Manufacturer:   TETON Sports

Our Verdict

As versatile as your favorite, highly skilled, handyman, the Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 can do just about everything when it comes to sleeping systems — and do it very well. This bag boasts a bring-your-lunch-pail-to-work kind of exterior combined nicely with a soft, swaddling, interior lining. A dynamic duo of layers that together can easily guard you against chilly mountain air. The bag is also versatile enough to adjust to several different temperatures — in just a few zips — which allows the user to have access to everything from a sturdy 0-degree bag to a soft, thin, polar fleece blanket. Our Top Pick for Overall Versatility and Features, the Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1, has the tools needed for a camper's every sleeping situation.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jason Wanlass

Last Updated:
Monday
May 14, 2018

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Even the most casual observer can see the thoughtful care and effort that went into designing and constructing the Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1. First of all, it's large and roomy. Secondly, it's well-crafted, with a design that we feel will stand up to years of use. And finally, it's warm and chocked full of features that allow campers to customize the bag to their personal sleeping preferences.

Performance Comparison



A great bag for kids  teens or adults. Perfect for camping  backyard sleep-outs  Fall hunting trips and more. In short: This bag is very versatile.
A great bag for kids, teens or adults. Perfect for camping, backyard sleep-outs, Fall hunting trips and more. In short: This bag is very versatile.

Warmth


Boasting a layering system on par with your favorite ski jacket, warmth can be individualized with this bag. Its integrated design allows it to adapt to many types of users. If temps are warmer than expected, simply unzip and remove the toasty fleece liner and sleep in the just the main bag. Still too warm? Grab the removed liner and zip it together to create your own fleece bivy. (We then suggest sleeping on top of the main bag for added comfort and padding). You can even leave the fleece unzipped to be used more like a blanket. For colder mountain temps, zip the liner back in place, anchor it with the bag's interior Velcro tabs — and voila — you're ready for some of the coldest air Mother Nature can blow into your camp.


We tested this bag thoroughly and placed it squarely among the top three of the warmest bags we studied. It held its own in mountain temperatures near freezing with an interior temperature measurement of 83 degrees. (While spending the night in the bag, we took interior temperature readings with a laser thermometer to see how well it held in our body heat).

This bag is tough enough and warm enough to want to drag it across camp and enjoy its quilt-like warmth and comfort while lounging about on a cool alpine morning.
This bag is tough enough and warm enough to want to drag it across camp and enjoy its quilt-like warmth and comfort while lounging about on a cool alpine morning.

Comfort


Stuffed to the hilt with SuperLoft Eliteā„¢ Hollow Fiber, we found the Polara 3-in-1 to be quite thick and cushy. It's tough taffeta exterior, thick insulation, and soft PolarLiteā„¢ Fleece liner create a sleep system that some campers may find comfortable enough to use without a sleeping pad or camper bed.


We flopped the bag down on a hard-packed, gravel, campground roads and climbed inside for 10 minutes to feel firsthand just how much natural padding the bag actually had. It goes without saying that we were quite impressed. The bag received one of our highest scores for its natural padding. We're still not exactly sure how our being impressed can go without saying, when in fact, we did say it. But you get it, right?

The Wenzel Grande scored the highest in our padding test.
The Wenzel Grande scored the highest in our padding test.

Speaking of comfort, our testing and overall use of the bag did discover one potentially negative aspect of the fleece liner: It tends to grab onto other fabrics like underwear, nightshirts, long-johns and socks. Although providing a very noticeable increase in warmth when attached as an added layer, the fleece liner is less accommodating to movement when compared to polyester, poly-cotton or flannel. Despite the fact that the Polara 3-in-1 is nearly the same size as our favorite bag, the Wenzel Grande — measuring in at one inch longer than the Wenzel and 2 inches shorter in the width than the Wenzel — the grabby nature of the Polara's fleece liner created a more constrictive space for our taller or larger-bodied testers. Some users felt overly cocooned or knotted by the fabric, even a little claustrophobic at times.

We really like the removable fleece liner for its ability to serve as a blanket or a stand-alone lightweight bag. But  when added to the main bag  the liner's fabric grabbed at the clothing  restricting our movement and giving users an uncomfortable cocooned feeling.
We really like the removable fleece liner for its ability to serve as a blanket or a stand-alone lightweight bag. But, when added to the main bag, the liner's fabric grabbed at the clothing, restricting our movement and giving users an uncomfortable cocooned feeling.

Features


Based on our tests, this bag ranked higher in the features area than any bag we looked at, scoring very high in nearly all the areas we judged. Some of the features we like are the bag's limited lifetime warranty, zipper quality, Velcro zipper closure and water-resistant shell. The one area that received our lowest mark is the bag's ease of cleaning rating. Tags on the bag require the bag to be hand-washed and placed flat to air dry. The manufacturer specifically states that if the bag is washed any other way, the warranty will be voided. With any large sleeping bag, ease of cleaning is an important feature. We feel the bag's washing directions are a drawback.


Overall, we still feel a lot of extra time and thought went into the design of this bag. Our favorite feature is the bag's removable liner. The liner zips securely into the bag, but when removed, it can use the same zipper system to zip itself closed, forming a thin fleece bag nearly the same size as the main sleeping bag. This is an excellent feature that allows campers to sleep comfortably in warmer weather. The manufacturer does not specify any washing directions for the liner; however, we feel even washing the liner by hand still provides a quicker and more simple alternative for cleaning. Instead of washing and drying the entire bag, simply wash the liner separately for an easy way to freshen up the whole bag with very little effort.

Our favorite feature was the zip-out fleece liner. It has its own zippered storage pocket and the liner also zips closed to act as its own lightweight bag. The zip-out liner also makes freshening up the bag easier by giving the user the convenience and choice of only washing the liner.
Our favorite feature was the zip-out fleece liner. It has its own zippered storage pocket and the liner also zips closed to act as its own lightweight bag. The zip-out liner also makes freshening up the bag easier by giving the user the convenience and choice of only washing the liner.

The Polara has two storage pockets, one on the liner and one inside the main bag, so regardless the combination of the sleep system you choose, you will always have a place to store keys or a cell phone. It also has a thick adjustable shoulder baffle to more effectively trap heat inside the bag. And finally, the Polara 3-in-1 sports a very thick, full-length draft tube that runs the entirety of the bag's zipper, to help block chilly nighttime air from creeping in on your backside or pinky toes.

Adjustable hood and shoulder baffles  combined with a thick  full-length draft tube  keeps sneaky cool air from finding its way through small holes in zippers or open areas around your neck. Allowing the bag to trap more body heat. End result: A happy camper.
Adjustable hood and shoulder baffles, combined with a thick, full-length draft tube, keeps sneaky cool air from finding its way through small holes in zippers or open areas around your neck. Allowing the bag to trap more body heat. End result: A happy camper.

Packed Size


While not the smallest packed size on the market, it's also not the largest. For the quality, warmth, comfort, and features this bag provides, we feel it packs up relatively well, all with a stuff sack that has compression straps to condense the packed size a little more. Overall, we don't feel the compression straps are necessary, and although a nice feature, they really don't reduce the size all that much. Additionally, we feel a little more than average effort is required to stuff the bag into its storage bag. If we had our way, we would have the manufacturer make the stuff sack just a little bit larger.


Best Applications


We didn't really want to be pinned down on this one. In theory, the Teton Sports Polara 3-in-1 has the adaptability to provide a quality sleeping system in just about any temperature. The variable design allows users to mix and match the bag into several configurations to provide them the comfort and warmth they desire. However, we feel the bag shines in cooler Spring and Fall camping or higher, alpine camping (above 8,000 feet) where temps stay low at night even in the summertime.

Great for just about any camping situation  this bag offers many levels of warmth and comfort.
Great for just about any camping situation, this bag offers many levels of warmth and comfort.

This bag is excellent for a wide variety of users, from young children to teens, young adults and adults. The only area of limited use would be for campers who are tall or larger-bodied. This bag could seem too narrow or confining due to the nature of the fleece liner.

Additionally, this bag would be excellent for cold weather, late Fall or early Winter camping above 0-degrees. It would be ideal for hunters who are headed out for a long week in the cooler Fall temperatures.

Value


Based on our testing and overall use of this bag, we feel its price tag is about right on the mark. Its overall quality and design demand a more than an average price. When it really comes down to it, it's up to you as to whether you desire the extra bells and whistles that this bag offers. After using the bag for more than a month, we feel you will get what you pay for and maybe even a little more.

Overall  we feel this bag stacked up well against its  competition.
Overall, we feel this bag stacked up well against its competition.

Conclusion


Although we are incredibly impressed with the thoughtfulness of the bag's design and features, we questioned, at times, how necessary all of the features were to the overall function of the bag. As appealing as the features are — the removable liner, for example — we questioned how frequently the features would actually be needed by the end user. This in no way impacts the impression the bag made on us with regards to its overall quality and appealing design. We just couldn't decide if the bag is simply over-designed or if we are just simply over-thinking our review of it. Either way, it's still a quality, feature-full, versatile bag. Hence our award for Top Pick for Overall Versatility and Features.

Other Versions and Accessories


Two Polara 3-in-1s can be zipped together to form a large double bag. Each user has the option of leaving in the fleece liner or removing it, which allows for a wider variety of warmth configurations than many traditional double bags.

Jason Wanlass

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Most recent review: May 14, 2018
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
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