Premium goose down, nature's best insulator, is the key to the Boundary Waters' lofty status among sleeping bags. No other insulation can compress as tightly, yet rebound and insulate as efficiently. Its light weight is backpacker-friendly and its warmth is the key to ensuring your sleep is refreshing and your days are energized.
Down's inherent characteristic of trapping heat and keeping it close to the body makes it the most-used natural insulator for sleeping bags and outerwear. Goose down is a superior insulator because it has tremendous loft and fill power, ensuring excellent insulating properties and a swift return to original volume after compression in a stuff sack.
The fill power or "loft" of goose down is determined by placing 1 oz. of down in a clear plastic cylinder. A weighted piston is placed on top of the down to compress it. The settling point measures the down's loft in cubic centimeters. The higher the loft the more "dead" air the down will trap to keep you warm.
The 650-fill-power goose down used in Boundary Waters sleeping bags is some of the best available. With more loft and subsequent air space between you and cold air outside, these bags will enhance your body-heat retention, while limiting the penetration of cold air.
The temperature ratings of the sleeping bags in the Boundary Waters series make them ideal for three-season camping. I am one of those people who hates being too warm in a sleeping bag. I own a 0° Cabela's Summit sleeping bag and it's great for any night when the temperature is below 10°. I become too hot in temperatures above 15°. The 20° Boundary Waters has proved to be the most comfortable bag for camping in the mountains during the summer.
I would not recommend trusting my body's thermostat when selecting a temperature rating on sleeping bags. Learn from your past camping experiences. If you're the type who is always cold, you will need a lower temperature rating. If you do get too warm, unzipping the bag does help to cool things down inside. A full hood on the bag is used to prevent excess heat from escaping from your head. You can use the hood's adjustable drawcord to cinch up the opening in case you wake up to a frosty nose during the middle of the night.
Here's a note on mummy bags versus rectangular bags: I own both styles and each has its purposes. I decided on the rectangular version of the Boundary Waters because I needed a versatile three-season bag that was roomy, yet could pack down to a minimal size and weight. I recommend the mummy-style Boundary Waters for hard-core backpackers and others who want the absolute smallest and lightest bag. Everyone else should consider the rectangle size. Those who toss and turn during the night will find its roomy advantages conducive to a restful night.
The zippers on sleeping bags are often overlooked by consumers, and therefore manufacturers as well. Cheap zippers that get stuck on the fabric, or just plain get stuck, can turn a sleeping bag into a full-body straitjacket. The Boundary Waters bags use the highest-quality, heavy-duty No. 8 YKK® zippers to ensure they will open and close easily.
It may be too much to ask for one sleeping bag to do it all – that would be perfection. The best you can hope for is to find the bags with the best combination of three-season versatility, packability and light weight. Advantage: Cabela's Boundary Waters.
Click this link to purchase: Cabela's Boundary Waters™ Sleeping Bag