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ZPacks Classic Review

A top-scoring bag that's warm and versatile enough for full three-season use, while weighing impressively little
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ZPacks Classic Review (If you're after the lightest ultralight bag that's warm enough for three-season use and thru-hikes, the Zpacks Classic...)
If you're after the lightest ultralight bag that's warm enough for three-season use and thru-hikes, the Zpacks Classic is an excellent choice.
Credit: Brandon Lampley
Price:  $409 List
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Manufacturer:   ZPacks
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 4, 2019

#2 of 17
  • Warmth - 30% 8.5
  • Weight - 25% 6.9
  • Comfort - 20% 6.0
  • Versatility - 15% 9.0
  • Features - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Zpacks Classic sleeping bag is a favorite among thru-hikers and the ultralight crowd, and we see why. It is a warm hoodless mummy that uses high-quality 900 fill power down in a box baffle design that really helps trap your body heat. With an enclosed footbox and ¾ length zipper, its design allows one to open it almost all the way up, making it highly versatile for such a warm bag. At only 20.3 ounces, it manages to retain a really low weight for how warm it is. We also loved that it comes with a great waterproof cuben fiber stuff sack. However, while it ranked highly in our cumulative scoring, it still has a few notable drawbacks, including a poor neck collar design and a tighter than average fit that held it back from being the best.
Warm for an ultralight bag
Simple and versatile design
Box baffle construction
Waterproof stuff sack
A little constricting
Small foot box
Not the best neck draw cord design

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ZPacks Classic
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $409 List$384.89 at Backcountry
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Bottom Line With an enclosed foot box and ¾ length zipper, this warm hoodless mummy can also be used quilt styleStay warm and comfy in this excellently executed bagThe only mummy bag that uses more down fill in the foot box and less around the torso, to take advantage of the clothing you have with youAn awesome set of features allows you to use this bagin a surprising amount of different temperatures and situationsA functional, versatile, and well-featured quilt well worth the low price
Rating Categories ZPacks Classic Therm-a-Rest Hyperi... Feathered Friends V... Feathered Friends F... Hammock Gear Econom...
Warmth (30%)
Weight (25%)
Comfort (20%)
Versatility (15%)
Features (10%)
Specs ZPacks Classic Therm-a-Rest Hyperi... Feathered Friends V... Feathered Friends F... Hammock Gear Econom...
Manufacturer Stated Temperature Rating 20°F 20°F 25°F lower half, 45°F upper half 40°F 20°F
Measured Weight (bag only) 20.3 oz 21.4 oz 16.2 oz 19.2 oz 25.8 oz
Stuff Sack Weight 0.9 oz 1.6 oz 0.8 oz 0.8 oz 0.6 oz
Stuffed Size 6" x 12" 6" x 8" 7" x 10" 7" x 10" 6" x 10"
Manufacturer Claimed Weight 19.8 oz 20.0 oz 16.7 oz 20.0 oz 22.2 oz
Fill Weight 13.1 oz 12.5 oz 9.4 oz 8.4 oz 13.2 oz
Shell Material Ventum ripstop nylon w/DWR 10D Nylon RipStop w/DWR Pertex Endurance UL Pertex Endurance UL 20D nylon taffeta
Fill Power 900 fill RDS DownTek PCF-FREE water-resistant goose down 900 fill RDS Nikwax hydrophobic goose down RDS 950+ fill goose down 950+ goose down 850 fill duck down
Style Hoodless mummy Hooded mummy Hoodless, zipperless mummy Center zip mummy bag or unzip for quilt Quilt
Construction Vertical upper baffles and horizontal lower baffles, box baffle construction Horizontal box baffle consruction No hood, no zipper and a variable fill Continuous baffles Box baffle consruction
Shoulder Girth 61" 57" 64" 62" 55"
Hip Girth 61" 49.5" 48" 48" 50"
Foot Girth 35" 43" 38" 39" 45"
Zipper Length 3/4-length 1/2-length side zip at top No zipper Full-length center zip 1/3-length at bottom
Sizes Slim, standard, and broad (girth) short, medium, long, x-long and xx-long (length) Small, regular, long 62", 68", and 74" Regular, long, and wide Short, standard, long, short wide, standard wide, long wide
Temp Options (degrees Fahrenheit) 10, 20, 30, 40°F 20, 32°F 25, 45°F 20, 30, 40°F 0, 10, 20, 30, 40°F

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Zpacks Classic is a hoodless mummy bag that also opens up into an enclosed foot box style quilt. While it is awesome enough to be the second highest rated bag in our test, it also has a number of drawbacks, including a more restrictive fit than some other bags, and slightly less than awesome functionality out of its features. This sleeping bag is made by a small independent manufacturer that makes all products to order and is thus supremely customizable (for a price, of course). While we tested a 20F Standard girth bag, they are also available in 10F, 30F, and 40F and in slim and broad girths. An additional feature that can also be added on is a zipper draft tube. We tested this bag during many nights spent sleeping in guesthouses, in homestays, in a tent, and outside while trekking in the Khumbu region of Nepal in the early spring month of March.

How to Get It:
All Zpacks products are custom-made in Florida. They are only available for purchase through their online store:

Performance Comparison

zpacks classic - a solo campsite up in a side valley of the khumbu, the famous part...
A solo campsite up in a side valley of the Khumbu, the famous part of the Himalaya that is home to Mt. Everest. The 20 Degree by ZPacks kept us nice and warm on what proved to be a chilly night.


Stuffed with 13.1 ounces of light and fluffy 900 fill power down, this is indeed a warm bag. When looking at how well it lofts up in comparison to other bags we tested, it is puffier than most. Also contributing to its warmth is vertical box baffle construction around the torso and upper legs, and horizontal box baffles around the feet. Insulation sewn into box baffles means that there are no points where the material on the outer and inner parts of the bag meet, creating down “dead spots,” where there is effectively zero insulation. With its high rating and thoughtful and quality sewing work, this was one of the warmest bags in our test.

zpacks classic - showing the high lofting 900 fill power down of the green zpacks...
Showing the high lofting 900 fill power down of the green Zpacks sleeping bag, and how much more fluffs up naturally than the heavier and lower fill power Backcountry Quilt 700.

However, there were a few things that stuck out to us as we tested this bag well below freezing, and once while being snowed on, in Nepal. The first is that there is no draft tube that covers the zipper, although Zpacks claims this is no big deal since you should be sleeping on top of the zipper (they will also add one to your bag for $20). We also found that without a hood, the collar needs to be drawn really tight to keep warm air from escaping, and the very thin bungee cord that accomplishes this was not the most ideal for this purpose. However, the end result was that this bag was quite warm.

zpacks classic - this bag is highly lofted and has great box baffle construction, and...
This bag is highly lofted and has great box baffle construction, and combined with its 3/4 length zipper, makes for a versatile option that can handle warm and cold nights.


At 20.3 ounces, our Standard Long bag weighed in slightly heavier than Zpacks claimed, although the difference was negligible. The waterproof cuben fiber rolltop stuff sack, without doubt, the highest quality stuff sack to come with a sleeping bag that we have found, weighed an extra 0.9 ounces. Compared to the competition, this bag was merely average when it came to weight, although was still super light given how warm it is.

zpacks classic - the cuben fiber roll-top waterproof stuff sack that came included...
The cuben fiber roll-top waterproof stuff sack that came included with the 20 Degree was a real hit, and was, without a doubt, the best stuff sack we used during this review. Zpacks also sells these sacks on their own, and we would recommend one for all sleeping bags.


The most important aspect when assessing for comfort was the fit of the bag. Despite the fact that we bought a “long” bag good for people 5'10", and our head tester is 5'11", we found that this bag was long enough and easily covered the tops of our shoulders. That said, the foot box was fairly small, and the fit overall was a bit constricting. Since it doesn't have a hood, on cold nights a hat is mandatory, but we were often more comfortable wearing a jacket with a hood, even though it meant filling even more of the valuable space inside.

One minor complaint we had when it came to comfort was that the neck drawcord, when fully tightened around our neck to keep the heat in, was excessively long and dangled around, often getting wrapped up around our neck as we moved about in our sleep.

zpacks classic - this zpacks 20 degree hoodless mummy bag was just long enough to...
This Zpacks 20 Degree hoodless mummy bag was just long enough to comfortably wrap around our shoulders and cinch tight around our neck, for a pretty much perfectly comfortable fit.


When considering how versatile a sleeping bag is we like to consider how easily it can be used in all different temperatures, climates, and seasons. As a warm bag that can be zipped all the way up into a mummy, this bag is for sure appropriate for those colder shoulder seasons — spring and fall — or during rogue storms. In Nepal, we were camped out in early March in this bag when a surprise downpour hit us, which soon turned into an all-night snowstorm. Suffice to say it was cold and the inside of our tent was completely soaked, but the DWR coating on both the inside and outside of this bag held up, retaining its loft, and our comfort. With the ability to open up most of the way and use it as an enclosed foot box-style quilt, this bag also does a plenty adequate job of ventilating on warmer nights.

With the ability to use it during all seasons, we graded this bag as one of the highest when it came to versatility. The only way it could score higher is if it could be opened into a full blanket and shared with two people, like some quilts we've tried.

zpacks classic - the neck buckle was a nice feature that allows for keeping the...
The neck buckle was a nice feature that allows for keeping the sleeping bag tight around the neck even when the zipper is unzipped for a more relaxed fit on nights when it isn't frigid.


We can honestly say that if Zpacks chose to employ slightly higher quality features, this would be far and away the best ultralight sleeping bag in this review. Particularly annoying to us was the very thin, lightweight, stretchy bungee cord used as the neck drawcord. Ours did not even have a buckle to cinch the cord tight, and after using it one night by trying to tie knots to keep it tight, we eventually had to pirate a buckle off of another stuff sack. The bungee cord is also not an ideal choice, as it requires pulling the cord super tight to keep it snug around your neck, and leaves a very long dangling end near your face.

zpacks classic - the elastic draw cord around the neck of this bag, showing how it...
The elastic draw cord around the neck of this bag, showing how it came to us, with no buckle to keep it tight! We also found that elastic is not the best cord for this purpose, as it stretches looser when all you want is a tight seal around the neck.

We also found that the zipper was prone to catching on the inside of the nearest baffle fabric, and thought this could have been fixed with a draft tube made with some tougher material. While we didn't test this bag to failure, we surmise that one of these two features will be the first fail point in this otherwise well-constructed sleeping bag. Even considering the super awesome roll-top, waterproof, cube fiber stuff sack that is included with your purchase, we couldn't give the features on this bag nearly as high a score as some other products.

zpacks classic - we had to pirate a buckle off of another piece of gear, and rig it...
We had to pirate a buckle off of another piece of gear, and rig it up for usage. This poorly executed feature was one of the only complaints we could find with this otherwise excellent sleeping bag.


Since you can only order this bag from the manufacturer, it's unlikely that you will end up finding a discount deal online somewhere. At its price, it is on the upper end of the price spectrum for ultralight bags we tested. Since we consider it to be one of the best ones available, we think it presents a pretty good value. We would be slightly happier to pay this price if the draft tube came included and the neck drawcord was beefier, but even so, we think this is a bag worth spending the money on.

zpacks classic - when our lead tester was putting together a sub-15-pound pack (total...
When our lead tester was putting together a sub-15-pound pack (total weight with food) for a two-night mountain traverse with rough bivies, the exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio of the ZPacks 20 made it his top choice.
Credit: Brandon Lampley


The Zpacks Classic is one of the highest-rated bags in our review for several years now, packing a surprising amount of insulation and warmth into a relatively light package. We used it during high altitude treks and even snowstorms in the Himalaya and found it pretty true to its temperature rating. While we have a few complaints about the components used as its principal features, we still think it is one of the most versatile ultralight bags available on the market today and is one we would love to own personally.

zpacks classic - happy to find a villager in the middle of nowhere, rolwaling valley...
Happy to find a villager in the middle of nowhere, Rolwaling Valley, Nepal, who was willing to let us set up overnight in his yard when it was discovered the local tea house had not been rebuilt after the earthquake. Moments later an all night rain and snow downpour commenced.

Andy Wellman