Gear Review: Nemo Aya 30 Sleeping Bag
MSRP: $339.95 – $359.95
Weight: 1.75 pounds (regular)
Temperature Rating (comfort): 35 degrees (F)
Tested Lower Limit: 25 degrees (F)
Fill Material: Down
Fill Weight: 13 oz
Circumstances of Use
Down: The Aya is filled with Premium 800 FP down.
Thermo gills: It also has vents that can be unzipped in the midsection to allow a little airflow when it’s warmer, which is pretty nifty. I did unintentionally leave them unzipped during my first trip, but I think because I have a tendency to sleep with my bag upside down—I’m a stomach sleeper and I don’t like my face mashed into the hood—they weren’t properly utilized and temperatures didn’t really call for their use anyway. They will be a nice feature for those inevitable nights when it’s too warm to be really burrowed in but to cold to fully unzip the bag.
Waterproof hood and footbox: This bag continues Nemo’s trend of waterproofing their footboxes and the hood is waterproof as well, so you can thrash and kick against wet tent walls to your hearts content. The material is still breathable, so you won’t wake up with sweaty feet.
Shoulder pocket: The bag has a small, zippered pocket in the right shoulder. My first instinct was to store freezables in there, i.e., water filter, contacts in solution, electronics. It’s not big enough to hold a bottle, but if temps are cold enough to freeze a bottle solid and undrinkable, you probably shouldn’t be using this bag. It is a nice feature that removes the need to toss everything into the depths of your sleeping bag. You won’t roll onto your phone in the night, or have to spend five minutes fishing everything out the next morning.
- Since it packs down small, it’s a good bag for people that struggle with pack space or just like it when their pack looks svelte.
- With the addition of the Thermo Gills™ for some extra temperature flexibility, the Aya works well as a summer bag that can still get use in the spring or fall. It’s valuable to have some versatility in gear you’re going to shell out several hundred dollars for regardless, sometimes more so than a less expensive option that can get less use.
- It’s got a lot of features that improve upon a basic sleeping bag design that range from nifty to really, really convenient.
- It’s on the snug side, even for those used to mummy bags.
- It’s price point won’t be worth it to all, especially for those looking to buy lots of gear all at once on a budget, as one often needs to before a thru-hike.
- While it’s light, it’s not the lightest option out there. Those that prefer the absolute bare bones approach to ultralight gear will want to look elsewhere.
As with all things, no one piece of backpacking gear can have everything and the buyer has to figure out what’s important to them. You can get a lighter bag if you’re willing to give up some features and you can get a cheaper bag if you’re willing to give up some features (and add some ounces) and you could get a much lighter quilt if you’re will to give up ALL features. But sometimes it’s nice to have something a little souped up. Sometimes it’s nice to get to say, “Ah yes, those are the Thermo Gills” when people ask and to smile smugly into your instant coffee when someone is showing the Sawyer Squeeze shaped indent on their thigh in the morning. I would say this bag is for the people that are fairly weight conscious but still like the souped-up backpacking gear of the world.
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