We tested ultralight bags over four years of climbing, hiking, and biking all across the US and abroad. We've hiked sections of the AT, PCT, and CDT, scrambled on ridges like the Evolution Traverse, and climbed fast and light mixed alpine routes in the winter. Conditions ranged from too warm for comfort to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Successive exhausting days make you sleep colder than normal. Here Matt Wilhelm settles into the ZPacks 20 Degree ultralight sleeping bag and Mountain Laurel Designs Superlight Bivy at 13,200 ft on the Evolution Traverse, California.
During our 2015 update to this category, our testers went on light and fast backpacking trips all over Colorado. Our lead tester spent nights on the summits of 14,000 foot peaks while scouting out his efficient route for the Nolan's 14 Traverse
, and even carried quilts while running overnight in 100 mile mountain ultras. Our test teams spent nights along the CDT and Colorado trail. Closer to home, we'd often take several bags out for overnight testing, switching back and forth between models to compare warmth in near freezing conditions.
We tested ultralight shelters, backpacks, and sleeping bags for six months in 2015. Here, we put a full system to the test.