Q. I’ve heard of sleeping bags that have arms and legs, so you can move around in them. Are these bags worth it?
– Bagless Bryan, Everett, Wash.
A. Ah, wearable sleeping bags. It’s an idea that’s been around for a while and is used by some mountaineers and ultralight backpackers who are trying to save pack weight. Basically the idea is that one of these wearable bags can do double duty as both a sleeping bag and an insulative layer for wearing around camp (instead of a down jacket and pants). Most have warm sleeves and a hood with either built-in feet or an open footbox so you can more easily walk around camp. When you’re ready for bed, just lay down on your mat, pull your sleeves inside the bag and you’ll be toasty warm. One of the nicer, more popular wearable bags is the Nunatak Raku ($574 and up; nunatakusa.com).
Now, are they worth it? That depends. I think these wearable sleeping bags definitely have their place. But for the average guy who wants to save pack weight while cold-weather camping, I think he’d be better served dressing in traditional warm layers and wearing those to sleep inside a lighter-weight sleeping bag. Wearable sleeping bags while warm, can be very expensive, and tricky to wear while doing camp chores. You also have to be careful not to get too close to a campfire (it could catch fire or melt!) and don’t spill that camp meal in your lap or you’ll be sleeping in it!