Ultralight and ultra-roomy is a great combination for a sleeping bag. NEMO Equipment’s Nocturne bags accomplish both objectives with lightweight construction and innovative design.
NEMO Nocturne 30 Bag Features:
- Model Tested: 30-degree, Long
- Fill Type: 700 Fill Power Down with DownTek™
- Fill Weight: 16 oz / 450 g
- Shell Fabric 15D Nylon Ripstop with DWR
- Footbox Fabric: OSMO DT W/B with DWR
- Lining Fabric: 30D Nylon Ripstop Taffeta
- Overall Weight: 2 lbs, 2 oz / 965 g
- Body shape: Spoon
- Length: fits up to 6’6″ / 198 cm
- Shoulder girth (circumference): 66” / 168 cm
- Hip girth (circumference): 60” / 152 cm
- Knee girth (circumference): 70” / 178 cm
- Packed Size: 14.5” x 8.5” / 37 x 22 cm
- Compressed Volume 5.4 L
- Stuff sack and separate storage bag included
- 2-way, left-sided zipper
- MSRP $350
The Nocturne 30 is not your typical bag
Ultralight bags are great because … well, because they’re ultralight, and therefore easy to carry in an overnight pack. However, the way many bags become ultralight is to cut corners on the overall dimensions – as in your typical mummy bag. And if you happen to be a broad-waisted person or restless sleeper – as fate would have it, I happen to be both – sleeping in tight mummy bags can sometimes be an exercise in frustration.
Which is why I was excited to try the Nocturne, one of NEMO’s spoon-shaped bags that has an hourglass contour to provide a comfortable night’s sleep outside of the mummy mold. The bag comes in regular or long options, at temperature ratings of 15 or 30 degrees; we tested the Nocturne 30 long version, and used it for car camping near the Pacific Crest Trail, tent camping in Yosemite, and sleeping under the stars near the Grand Canyon. Temperatures at night typically ranged from 35 to 60 degrees, allowing us to test both the insulation and breathability of the bag – and we were happy to find it performed well in both aspects.
Insulation is provided by DownTek, which has to be one of the most impressive innovations in outdoor gear in recent years. The nano-technology is a proprietary polymer treatment applied to regular down (in this case, 700-fill duck down) to create surface tension in the down cluster. When DownTek is exposed to moisture, it forces the water molecules into a spherical shape that rolls off the down cluster rather than adhering to and soaking into it. The result is down that maintains its loft, and therefore its insulating capacity, even when wet. The treatment also happens to be antimicrobial and antibacterial, which are nice bonuses if you’re spending multiple days on the trail. Additional Durable Water Repellent is applied on the exterior of the footbox to offset tent wall condensation.
Technology aside, the most remarkable aspect of the Nocturne is its overall comfort. Both the shell fabric and interior lining are exquisitely soft, which is appreciated when you’re rolling around inside (the restless sleeper thing). Baffle compartment construction keeps the down from shifting around, maintaining even temperature control, and all of the seams and zippers prevent unwanted drafts. The bag extends past the top of your head – assuming you’re under 6’7” – and has an insulated flap of fabric called the Blanket Fold that can be tucked around your neck to block any drafts from the top. Also at the head of the bag is a handy Pillow Pocket where you can stuff a jacket, blanket, or any soft item to function as a makeshift pillow.
For breathability, the backside fabric provides a bit of ventilation, but the primary means of cooling off is from the two-way zipper that can air out your feet or legs while keeping your torso warm. One potential drawback is that the zipper is only on the left side, which is problematic to reach if you’re sleeping on your right side. You can also untuck the blanket fold to increase ventilation around your face and neck if necessary.
Obviously the most distinctive feature of the Nocturne is its spoon shape, with dimensions of 33” across the shoulders, 30” at the waist, and 35” across the knees. The spacious lower compartment allows room for your knees to bend straight up or in a slight frog-leg position, and also makes it easy to shift back and forth onto either side during the night. If you move around in your sleep a lot, this is a wonderful aspect. Another perk of the spoon layout is that you can sit upright in a cross-legged position without leaving the bag.
The Nocturne comes with both a compression stuff sack for your backpack, and a larger breathable canvas bag for long-term closet storage. It packs quite small and easily fits into a fastpack (20-30L) for convenient transport on minimalist overnight outings. We’ve used ours in combination with NEMO’s Cosmo Air Lite 25L sleeping pad for comfortable nights’ sleep from the High Sierra to the high desert.
- DownTek improves wet weather performance and speeds drying
- Comfortable fabric construction
- Spoon shape accommodates active sleepers
- Lightweight and easily packable
- Sit upright, comfortably
- A right-side zip option would be nice
Bottom Line: NEMO Nocturne 30
If you’re a restless sleeper or one who prefers side sleeping, NEMO’s Nocturne bags are an excellent choice for lightweight comfort on the go.
Buy Now: Available at REI