Sierra Designs have been working overtime in the last couple of seasons to flip what is known about product development on its ear by creating gear outside the norm. I had the opportunity to check out a number of their products at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2015, and I was very pleased with what they have to offer. Look for future reviews of these and other Sierra Designs products here at The Loadout Room.

Backcountry Bed

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800 DriDown 2-Season (29°F comfort rating)

This past season, the Backcountry Bed won multiple awards for its design, innovation, and comfort level. What makes this bag different than any other on the market? No zipper. The Backcountry Bed instead utilizes a sewn-in quilt that can be tucked around the user. The quilt and bag have a built-in baffle system that keeps out drafts and cold night air.

Oh so many nights I’ve woken up hot or cold and wanted to adjust the zipper on my mummy bag only to have it snag—after which the struggle ensues. The attached quilt can be tucked in for full protection or laid open for thermo-regulation.

The pad sleeve on the bottom of the bag allows the bag to stay in the correct position and not roll over and wrap around the user like most mummy bags tend to do. There is a baffled slit at the bottom of the bag that allows for hands-free ventilation to cool down the toe box when the temperature rises.

The versatility of this bag is quite astounding and reshapes how to sleep in the backcountry. Back, stomach, or side—no problem. Even with the variety of features, this bag still only weighs a svelte 2 pounds. For more information on Sierra Designs’ full line of Backcountry Beds, go here.

Tensegrity 2 Elite

Tensegrity-2-Elite
Tensegrity Two-person Elite

If you are into ultralight, breathable, and versatile shelter, the new Tensegrity tent should be on your radar. It’s a one-of-a-kind design. Some bells and whistles only add weight and complicate setup. Not the case with the Tensegrity; everything seems highly functional.

From the base of the floor to the ceiling, the tent actually gets wider and allows for more comfort in movement without rubbing up against the walls of the tent. No matter how waterproof a tent, if the walls are constantly disturbed, moisture will make its way into the tent. This tent takes away the claustrophobic feeling that most ultralight setups provide.

The fly, or awning, has 12″ of overlap that allows for the doors to be open even when the rain in coming down. The vestibule or “gear closet,” gets wider farther away from the tent, and provides plenty of room to store gear. The gear closet is also away from the door, so you don’t end up tripping over your pack in the middle of the night when nature calls.

The tent weighs 2 pounds, 3 ounces and has only one pole. To save weight, the tent is not freestanding, but can be utilized with a pair of adjustable trekking poles. For more information you can check out the Sierra Designs Tensegrity 2 Elite here.

Outside-In Hoody 

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Outside-In Hoody

This garment does exactly what its name describes. It has two specific layers—one softshell and one fleece. The Hoody can be worn either way depending on environmental conditions or activity level.

Wear it with the shell (more comfortable than traditional soft shells) on the inside for mild temperatures and high exertion levels. Wear the shell on the outside and the fleece layer will keep the air trapped within the hoody for added warmth. This hoody will be available in the fall of 2015.

Whether hiking, commuting, or grabbing a beer at the pub, this hoody is as versatile as it is good looking. You don’t have to look like you just got back from an expedition to grab a bite and a beer with some friends.

Stay tuned for upcoming reviews of Sierra Designs products.