In the quest to design the lightest, warmest, sleeping bag on the market, the name of the game seems to be 900-fill down. Sierra Designs has joined the race with Marmot, The North Face and others by launching their new Cloud 15, an ultralight, highly compressible 15 degree down sleeping bag.
The Cloud 15 utilizes vertical baffles with Insotech Flow technology to secure the down firmly in place. In order to maintain the loft and therefore 15 degree warmth rating of the 900-fill down, the sleeping bag is made from a thin 10 denier nylon fabric. You will want to keep this down bag not only away from water, but any sharp objects.
You can't go wrong with the weight of the Cloud 15. At 1 lb. 12 oz., this 15 degree down sleeping bag will definitely lighten your backcountry load. Pair the bag with the new Easton tent and Granite Gear backpack, and you already have a base set-up weighing less than 6 pounds.
Other standard features on the down sleeping bag include a draw cord collar, ergonomic foot box, 40 inch zipper, and draft protection tubes. The Sierra Designs Cloud 15 900-fill down sleeping bag will retail for $499 and release in time for Spring 2012.
With Patagonia's recent controversy over the live plucking of geese in their down supply, I hope that Sierra Designs, as well as any other down gear manufacturer, is working to embrace the environmental, ethical and animal welfare concerns in relation to their down selection.
The UK's Mountain Equipment has recently launched the Down Codex, a set of rules that they expect all their down suppliers to follow. The rules include mandates such as all down must be a by-product of food production (i.e., no live plucking) and no solvents can be used in the cleaning of the down. Let's hope the rest of the industry can follow suit.