A good sleeping setup can make or break any camping trip. Ask Mattie, he’s had more than a few sleepless nights in the outdoors. We sent him the new Kyan Mummy Sleeping Bag and Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad to see if they’d help him sleep easy during the Aussie winter.
When you’re in the outdoors, a crap camping setup is a great way to ruin a good trip. Believe me, I’ve been there. From my earliest memories of camping in Wales, sleeping on a foam yoga mat; to freezing nights on the Salkantay trek in Peru, camping on frozen ground with two of us squeezing into a single sleeping bag to keep warm.
Now I’m entering my mid-thirties, finding the ideal sleep-system has rapidly risen in importance. For me, the top three features on the importo-scale are warmth, comfort, and lightweight packability. Could NEMO’s new combo of the Kyan Mummy Sleeping Bag (available for men and women) and Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad be the answer to my camping prayers?
Kyan Mummy Sleeping Bag
First up, the bag. NEMO has come up with a cracker on this design, and the Kyan is chock-a-block with cool features.
Design-wise, the sleeping bag is roomy, with plenty of shoulder room and a full-length zipper for quick entry and exit. There’s a small pocket near the top of the bag, which is handy for keeping your phone warm during the night, or car keys close to hand. They’ve also included an ‘apparel style hood’, which works pretty well for keeping your noggin warm, but I found it more useful inside out as a pillow holder.
I don’t know much about nylons, but the 30D Nylon Taffeta lining feels way more luxurious than a sleeping bag ought to. The lining’s probably my favourite thing about the whole bag.
NEMO boasts of using a new FeatherCore construction for the Kyan, and they reckon the Primaloft insulation is a revolution ‘offering ultra-compressibility without sacrificing warmth.’
Unfortunately, this is where the Kyan falls short for me. I’ve been testing out the Kyan 20; 20 standing for 20 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly -7° Centigrade). With -7°C slapped all over the packaging and the bag, I assumed the Kyan would be super warm, and promptly set out for an overnight camp in the Snowy Mountains. How wrong I was. After a frigid night surviving, rather than thriving, in -2°C conditions, I began to question whether I had my facts straight.
Back down the mountain, I checked NEMO’s website, they talk a lot about the warmth and also list the -7°C temperature rating, but they don’t specify whether that’s a rating for survival or comfort. And there’s a big difference, especially for women, who tend to feel the cold a bit more.
Still none the wiser, I tried the bag on a spring campout on the South Coast, hoping for a warmer night in temperatures of around 6°C. While I wasn’t as cold as on the mountain, once again the bag left me lacking the warmth I’d been promised and the comfort I was seeking.
If you’re lucky enough to get too hot, the Kyan comes with two Thermo Gills to release some warmth, without undoing the side zip. Here’s hoping I’ll get to feel the benefit of these on my next trip!
The NEMO Kyan has a nicely designed stuff sack, that has easy to use pull cords to really shrink down the pack-away size – another benefit of NEMO’s FeatherCore construction.
Weighing in at a bit over 900g, it’s not the lightest bag out there, but it’d be pretty competitive if it delivered a greater warmth to weight ratio. Nonetheless, it easily packed into my saddle-bag (and hiking bag), on both overnight adventures.
Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad
I’ve tried a few pads in my time, and I’m fairly certain that NEMO has nailed it with this one. Spoiler alert, the Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad did not disappoint.
Sleeping comfort is such a personal thing, and full disclosure, I’m a side sleeper with little padding. I’m used to spending nights tossing and turning as one hip after another becomes dead to the world, after sinking through pads and resting on the floor unsupported.
I’m not sure what NEMO has done, but without exaggeration, the Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad has delivered my comfiest sleeping mat experience to date. Actually, I can tell you what they’ve done, it’s called Spaceframe Baffles and according to NEMO, they ‘offer unparalleled stability and weight distribution.’ So there you go.
While warmth might not feature in everybody’s sleeping mat criteria, when you’re looking at insulated mats, it probably should.
Utilising ‘2 layers of suspended Thermal Mirror™ metalized film’, the Tensor kept the cold from creeping up from below, even in the mountains – and after my experience with the sleeping bag, you’ll know how grateful I am for that fact! An added benefit of this technology is the rustle-free night you’ll enjoy atop the Tensor. This baby is quiet, super quiet, church quiet, Canberra at Christmas quiet.
So far the sleeping pad has delivered on comfort and warmth. And guess what, it absolutely smashes lightweight packability out of the park. Directly compared to its competition, this puppy is smaller and lighter, and yellower (maybe not, but I needed a third comparison).
Properly packed – it’s actually super easy to pack it down and there’s a handy velcro strap to help keep it tidy – the Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad weighs in at a measly 450g and just 20cm tall. On a side note, the ultralight Vortex pump sack does a grand job of inflating the bag without taking your breath away.