Our testers loved the oversized draft collar featured on the Nemo Salsa 30, which performed an excellent job at keeping the warm air in and the cold air out, but was also pleasant to "tuck yourself in" as if tucking yourself into to a bed. Some of our testers were concerned that they wouldn't like the feeling of this feature near their neck, but most of our test team barely noticed it during testing.
The chart below details where each bag stands in relation to the Nemo Salsa 30 in Overall Performance.
The Nemo Salsa 30 is a 30F degree bag that features 14 ounces of 650+ fill-power down that. When compared to other similarly rated bags, we found this was a pretty average amount. Compared with our Editors' Choice Western Mountaineering MegaLite
, which uses one ounce less (13 oz), but offers a higher fill-power (850+), the Salsa 30 wasn't quite as warm. However, compared to many other 30F bags we tested, it was ever so slightly on the warmer side, making it an ideal option for folks who run a little cold, or who were debating between a 20°, 25°, or 30° F sleeping bag.
The Salsa 30 actually scores an EN lower limit (rating for men) of 21.7 EN l, which is a lower temperature EN rating than most 30° bags would score. Our testers would agree with this statistic. This contender offers more fill than the lighter weight Marmot Hydrogen
, where EN ratings were roughly 2.5° F higher (AKA less warm). On colder nights, our testers loved the oversized draft collar, which not only did a superb job of keeping the warm air in and the cold air out, but also offered a nice "snuggly" feeling, as if you were tucking yourself into to a bed. Some of our testers were concerned that they wouldn't like the feeling of the draft collar near their neck, but after using it, nearly all of our testers commented that they barely noticed it.
At 2 lbs 1 oz, the Nemo Salsa is pretty average for a 30°F bag. What the Salsa has going for it that it's a little more spacious than most 30 degree bags of similar weight. Compared to 30°F models we tested, both the Western Mountaineering MegaLite
and Marmot Hydrogen were both noticeably lighter (25%/9 ounces less). However, the Salsa was far lighter than the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600 3-Season
(3 lbs 1 oz) or the Kelty Cosmic Down
The Salsa 30 uses a 30-denier ripstop nylon which is a little heavier than average, but certainly a little more durable. Comparably, the Sea to Summit Spark III
(1 lb 6 oz) uses a 10D shell, while the Western Mountaineering uses 12D. In addition to the shell material, both the Salsa's spacious cut, and its' 650+ fill-power down insulation are the reasons it's roughly half a pound heavier than some of the lighter 30F options in our review. Generally speaking, the lighter options use 750-850 fill-power down for insulation.
The Nemo Salsa 30 stuff into its included stuff sack compared to a 1 Liter Nalgene bottle.
While the Nemo Salsa 30 was very easy to stuff into its included stuff sack, it could be much smaller and wish Nemo included a smaller stuff sack. We easily packed it over a third smaller by using an after market compression stuff sack.
Of all the bags we tested, the Salsa 30 had the loosest
included stuff sack. This meant while it was easy to pack, the bag didn't allow us to do a very great job of compressing it or minimizing the bag's overall packed size. When we used an after market compression sack, we found that the Salsa easily packed down over a third smaller.
Overall, despite the Salsa's roomy design, it only packed down slightly larger than average among similarly rated bags on the market. It's roughly 1/3 bigger than the Western Mountaineering MegaLite or Marmot Hydrogen, and almost twice as big as the Sea to Summit Spark III
. That said, it is roughly 2/3 the size of The North Face Cat's Meow
or the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600 3-Season
The Nemo Salsa 30 (fourth from the left) offered reasonable pack-ability compared to most models especially if we used a smaller compression sack.
Comfort, Spaciousness, and Fit
Comfort is where the Salsa really stands out; the bag features fairly wide dimensions in the shoulders, that are comparable to some of the widest bags in our review; however, the Salsa's lower dimensions are by far larger than any other bag we tested; even bigger than the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed.
Nemo also uses a stretchy stitching, that when coupled with the wide dimensions, makes this bag hard to beat, especially for folks who want to sleep with their knees bent, leg slightly out to the side, or with their knees closer to their chest (while sleeping on their back or side). This bag is just plain awesome for folks who want a little more room, sleep with their legs bent, or simply just appreciate feeling a little more room around their body.
(Left) The dimensions of the Nemo Salsa 30's compared to the dimensions of a traditional mummy-style bag, (Right) the dimensions of the Nemo Salsa 30 highlighting its "spoon" shaped design.
This Top Pick award winner is a pretty versatile bag. It's light weight and is small enough for most three season backpacking trips, but also cozy enough for car camping. Its full length zipper allows for decent ventilation on hot summer nights, but it also offers plenty of shoulder (and leg) room to add layers for occasional use with below freezing overnight temperatures.
Features and Design
What truly makes this contender unique is its spoon-shaped design and its stretchy stitching. The spoon shape gives the user an amazing amount of leg room and freedom of movement, while the stretchy stitching allows the user to sleep with an upper leg close or straight out to the side.
The Salsa uses treated down; Nemo claims the DownTek absorbs 30% less moisture and dries 60% faster than comparable untreated down. During OutdoorGeatLab's spray bottle test, Nemo's treated down did appear to absorb slightly less water. With this level of moisture, the bag dried roughly 25% faster. In our "full soaking tests" we noticed less visible difference. In our real world testing, where we never actually completely soaked the bag, we noticed even less of a difference. We think that Nemo's (and other) water-resistant down is slightly more water-resistant when compared to original down and offers a marginally higher level of drying time, though it is minimal.
The Nemo Salsa 30 (Center) compared with other wider-than-average bags; the Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600 (left) and the Western Mountaineering MegaLite (right).
Adding to the comfort level of the Salsa 30's design, it features a built in pillow pocket and a small zippered pocket (which is perfect for a watch). These features, coupled with a blanket-like draft tube, tucks around the user's shoulders and neck quite nicely. One tester commented that it felt as though he was "getting tucked in"; even our neck sensitive testers weren't bothered by the draft tube.
The large cotton storage bag included with the Nemo Salsa 30.
This Top Pick award winner is simply the best for side sleepers or other folks who like to sleep with their legs bent or to the side. Backcountry enthusiasts rejoice, as you'll have more leg room. The Salsa 30 is plenty comfortable enough for car camping and shorter trips; at 2 pounds 1 ounce, it's still light enough for longer, more extended outings.
The Nemo Salsa 30 wins our Top Pick Award for the most comfortable backpacking sleeping bag because of its unique spoon dimensions and stretchy seems, but remains light and pack-able enough for extended or long distance backpacking trips.
Value and the Bottom Line
This bag is a killer value. At $220, it's $250 less than our Editors' Choice, the Western Mountaineering MegaLite
($470). The Megalite is a little over half a pound lighter, packs down significantly smaller, feels slightly warmer (in real world testing), and is nearly as comfortable. While the MegaLite is a nicer overall bag, the Salsa 30 is slightly more comfortable for folks who like to feel more freedom, or for those that like to sleep with bent knees. You can't beat the $220 price tag.
The Nemo Salsa 30 was our testers favorite bag for side and belly sleepers because its wide lower dimensions coupled with its stretchy stitching allowed testers to bring their knee up higher than all-other bags we tested.