Gear Reviews Tent, Backpack, and Sleep System Reviews

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Zissou 23 Sleeping Bag

The Sierra Designs Zissou 23 sleeping bag is the bag I’ve been using regularly for the past year and half. I picked this up at a considerable discount at REI without doing much research, and since, have gotten a chance to know the bag very well. The main feature that attracted me to the bag was a combination of warmth and weight. I tend to run hot, so a bag with a 23 rating is fine for me down to around 10 degrees. I used this bag in Peru last year, and on the Ausangate trek, I spent a few nights in single digits without being too uncomfortable. I’d say the ideal range for me on this bag is 10 degrees up to about 65 degrees. I used this bag on a few summer overnighters, and even unzipped, was sweating quite a bit. The weight for this bag is also very nice at 2 lbs. It fits nicely into my pack without weighing me down.

 

In the Tent at Dawn
In the Tent at Dawn
Stuff Sack
Stuff Sack

The insulation on this pack is DriDown, which is a down that is resistant to water. I haven’t had the misfortune of getting this bag wet, so I can’t say if it really does dry faster than other insulators like advertised. I do know that it stays warm in humid and moist conditions, even when waking up in a tent full of condensation in the humid forests of Peru. When humid and moist, the bag seemed to be dry by the time we were back in a dry climate.

Opened Up
Opened Up

The stitching on the bag does a good job of keeping the down in place, as I haven’t noticed a huge decrease in loft, or any cold spots. One of the marketing lines of this bag focuses on it having a snag-free zipper, I have not found this to be the case. The zipper tends to snag quite a bit, so I tend to use caution when getting in and out. It’s not so fun on really cold nights when my fingers are encumbered by gloves, so I take a few points off for this. I do like the small zipper pouch by the head zip, as it allows me to store small items I may need in the middle of the night.

Small Zipper
Small Zipper

Sleeping bags are always a tough fit for my body, as I have wide shoulders. This bag is no different, and when fully zipped, I feel locked in very snugly. I don’t take any points off for this, as it’s a function of my body and not the bag.

Tight fit for Me
Tight fit for Me

Overall, I would recommend this bag to those looking for something lightweight, warm, and affordable. It’s a good combination when combining these things. There are probably better bags out there, but for the price I got at REI, I’m very happy with the purchase.

5 comments on “Gear Review: Sierra Designs Zissou 23 Sleeping Bag

  1. Good for the muir trail in august?

    • I used this on the JMT in July and it was great. We camped high in elevation most nights to avoid mosquitos and I was never cold while in the bag.

  2. Have you had much experience with sleeping quilts? I have heard good things about Enlightened Equipment and their Revelation sleeping quilt. Saves weight compared to a bag. I may otherwise go with the REI Igneo for my JMT trip this July.

    Also – when do you think you’ll have all of your post-JMT links done? Gear reviews etc

    • Hey Jim,

      I haven’t used a quilt, but like you have heard very good things. I might be getting one soon. I’m hoping to have all of the JMT links finished by the end of April. I’m in Japan right now, so I’ve been delayed in posting new content. I hope to do a lot of writing upon my return.

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