Zenbivy Light Bed 10 Review
The average thru-hiker can expect to spend about 150 nights in their tent, keeping warm thanks to a sleeping bag or quilt. Comfort and temperature regulation are key concerns for many thru-hikers who go from freezing cold Sierra nights to scorching hot east coast summers. The quilt vs. sleeping bag debate is familiar to us here at The Trek. But what if you could have the best of both worlds?
I’ve slept in a half dozen different women’s mummy bags and an EE Revelation quilt over my 20+ years of backpacking and have never been completely satisfied or particularly comfortable. That is, until this year when Zenbivy released their redesigned Light Bed.
Zenbivy Light Bed At a Glance
Light Quilt 10º Regular
Temperature Rating: 10ºF (limit) / 20ºF (comfort)
Weight: 2 lb 1 oz (940g)
Dimensions: 78” x 54” (198 x 137cm)
Fill: 800 fill-power water-resistant 90/10 duck down
Shell: 20d Nylon Taffeta
Light Sheet 10º Regular
Weight: 9 oz (250g)
Dimensions: 20” x 72” up to 3” thick
I received the Zenbivy Light Bed in the middle of a long, wet PNW winter. I tested the combined quilt and sheet system on a couple of rainy and damp early spring overnight trips where the temperature easily dipped to the freezing mark. I also slept under just the quilt a few times at friends’ houses.
Who Is Zenbivy?
Zenbivy is the creation of Michael Glavin, an entrepreneurial gear designer. Before going solo and founding Zenbivy he worked for a number of well-known outdoor brands including GSI, MSR, and Sierra Designs. We take for granted many of his innovative gear designs like nesting pot sets, pole framework on freestanding tents, and roomier sleeping bags, originated from his creative mind.
He has spent the past 20 years designing a more comfortable alternative to the traditional mummy bag. His first real opportunities at an alternative design were the Backcountry Bed and Backcountry Quilt for Sierra Designs.
Taking what he learned from these experiences, Glavin established Zenbivy and released the first Zenbivy Bed in 2018. The innovation hasn’t stopped with Zenbivy products being updated and added every year. Zenbivy’s mission stands out loud and clear: to create the most comfortable outdoor bedding the world has ever seen.
The main feature of Zenbivy is the pairing of a specially designed quilt and fitted sheet to create a complete sleeping system. The quilt clips to the sheet, which fits snuggly to most lightweight sleeping pads, whether they’re rectangular, tapered, or mummy-shaped. The clips on both the quilt and the sheet are strategically located so that you shouldn’t feel them when you move around at night. The sheet has an integrated down-filled hood that stays put and can comfortably accommodate a pillow.
The baffles on the Light Quilt were redesigned for the 2022 model release to maximize thermal efficiency. Vertical baffles around the upper body prevent down from shifting away from the core. Horizontal baffles around the foot box keep down from shifting away from the feet. Vertical baffles along the sides of the foot box are designed to cross over each other when done up to prevent drafts. Overall there are more, yet smaller baffles to help control the distribution of insulation.
One of the reasons many hikers love their backpacking quilts is their adaptability to different temperature ranges. The Zenbivy Bed takes the versatility a step further with the sheet and clip system. Open the quilt up flat and sleep on the comfortable sheet with your head pillowed by the hood for hot summer nights. Clip in, cinch up and snuggle the quilt around you under the hood for cold spells. Or find a combination of clipped or cinched or open for your own personal temperature and sleep preferences.
Zenbivy Light Bed Pros
The Light Quilt 10º is lightweight, puffy, and as warm as I’d hoped. I usually feel quite cold as I try to fall asleep and have lots of tricks to feel warmer in my sleeping bags – down booties, thermal liners, silk top & leggings. I snuggled into the Light Bed without any of them and felt wonderfully comfortable and warm right away. It was a cold night so I had the foot box closed up tight and the quilt clipped in and wrapped tight around me. When the temperature dropped even further in the middle of the night I snuggled deeper into the hood and felt comfortably cocooned.
Clips & Curves
The 2022 release of the Light Quilt introduced the patent-pending “Kylie Curve” and drawstring at the head of the quilt. The drawstring cinches only the center, leaving each edge loose to tuck around you or under the hood of the sheet. The center cinch creates a doming effect leaving ample room for shoulders as you shift sleep positions in the night. Easy-to-use clips are color-coded to guide you as you clip the quilt to the sheet and are ideally placed so that you can tuck the edges of the quilt under you for a draft-free sleep. The clips are tensioned so that nothing should come undone as you sleep.
Zipperless Foot Box
Zenbivy has figured out how to do away with heavy zippers on the foot box, replacing them with strategically placed clips and baffles. The foot box baffles overlap, connecting with a few color-coded hooks and loops. Close and snap and cinch up the drawstring for a super warm, baffled, draft-free footbox.
Quality Down & Comfortable Fabric
Zenbivy quilts and sheets are made using a very soft and durable 20d nylon taffeta fabric. It’s less clingy and much softer and more comfortable than the more commonly used 10d fabrics while only being fractionally heavier. Zenbivy’s down is purchased from ALLIED who helped develop the Responsible Down Standard and introduced ethically-sourced traceability to the market. Both the fabric and the down of Zenbivy beds are water-resistant yet fluorocarbon-free. Zenbivy provides additional information about fill weights and types on their website under “Support.”
Zenbivy Light Bed Cons
The combined weight of the Light Quilt 10º and the Light Sheet 10º is just over 2.6 lbs, which is on the heavier side for most ultralight hikers. The heavier weight is due to the extra insulation materials to bring the limit rating to 10”. However this weight is comparable to many 20” women’s sleeping bags.
If you’re looking to shed weight, consider purchasing the Light Quilt 25º and the Light Sheet 25º instead, which have a combined weight of 29 ounces. The Light Quilt 25º alone comes in at a very competitive 21 ounces and could be a real contender in the market all by itself.
It takes a few minutes to fully set up the Light Bed. Getting the sheet onto the air mattress is a bit of an exercise, especially in a small one-person tent. Figuring out how you want to clip the quilt to the sheet on any given night takes a moment of patience as well.
Origami Foot Box
When closed properly, the foot box is incredibly comfortable and draft-free. However, it took me quite a few tries (and a drafty night) to figure out how everything overlaps, clips, snaps, and cinches. It’s definitely worth practicing closing up the foot box at home before heading out on trail. Practice it in the dark with just a headlamp for nights when the temperature plummets.
The founder’s prior experience developing products for MSR, GSI, and Sierra Designs is evident in the new Zenbivy Light Bed design. With reconfigured baffles, highly engineered shaping, and a keen understanding of the importance of a comfortable night’s sleep, Zenbivy has introduced a competitive contender for the lightweight backpacker.
Zenbivy’s mission is to “create the most comfortable outdoor bedding the world has ever seen.” I will happily report that the Zenbivy Light Bed is the most comfortable backcountry sleeping experience I have ever had. I had the freedom to shift and sleep in whichever position I needed through the night all while staying cozy, warm, and draft-free.
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Temperature Rating: 3ºF (limit) / 15ºF (comfort)
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The Zenbivy Light Bed was donated for purpose of review.
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