By Cameron Ownbey

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I have always shied away from down sleeping bags in favor of synthetic fill, using down only when freezing (but not wet) conditions are expected. I never would have considered bringing a down bag into the Olympics in March or April but the Sierra Designs Zissou 15 degree DriDown sleeping bag has changed my mind. DriDown is a “hydrophobic” down that has a waterproof finish on the feathers. This prevents them from absorbing any moisture, while maintaining their loft and thermal functions.

Over the last four months I have been using the Sierra Designs Zissou 15 degree DriDown sleeping bag exclusively. It has been with me on snowshoeing, mountaineering, beach and desert backpacking trips and I love it! The Zissou has delivered as promised on all occasions.

After using the Zissou 15 with great results on a few outings I decided to really put it to the test. I wanted to soak this bag through and then take it out to see how it feels. I proceeded to soak it and throw it into a stuff sack for the trip. (I brought along a backup bag and a hot water bottle just in case.)

I crammed the Zissou 15 into a container and poured three liters of water over it the night before my trip. I let it soak overnight – about seven hours. In the morning I pulled the bag out of the container and poured about a liter of water out of it, shook off the excess and crammed it into the stuff sack.

The Sierra Designs Zissou 15 degree-dry-down

This is liter number two

The Sierra Designs Zissou 15 Holds a nice puddle

Holds a nice puddle

Temperatures got down to just below freezing that night and I was a little uncomfortable as you might imagine but was amazed to find that the bag actually retained heat. This test was far beyond what any moisture from condensation, regular rain or high humidity could cause. I would almost go so far as to say that if you fell in a stream with this bag you could quite literally shake it off and be fine.

Pros:

  • Warm like down
  • Light like down
  • Functional like synthetic fill
  • Cool little zip pocket
  • Smart hood sinching system
  • Plenty of fill at the feet

 Cons

  • I would like to have an 800 fill rather then a 600 fill because this is now my go-to bag and I like fluffy.
  • The stuff sack is too big. I used a compression sack that was about 3 liters.
  • The Zissou sheds down but no more than other down items I own.

Conclusion:

The Zissou, with its new DriDown fill, delivers all the benefits of usually more moisture resistant synthetic bags but with the thermal properties as well as weight and space savings of a down bag.

 

Technical Details:

Manufacturer’s Website: Sierra Designs

MSRP: $259.95 (on sale 181.95)

Listed Weight: 2lb 11oz

Materials: Fill: 600 fill DriDown

 

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