As revealed during the San Francisco launch event over the summer, Columbia will be expanding into equipment starting next spring. A full line of sleeping bags will take advantage of Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective technology to offer you maximum warmth without adding weight.
I was sent one of the new Reactor 45 sleeping bags to test out, so brought it with me on my backpacking trip through Desolation Wilderness. The sleeping bag is stuffed with lightweight Thermic MX polyester insulation in an offset quilt construction to help maintain loft. The synthetic insulation is encased in a nylon shell treated with Omni-Sheild advanced water repellency.
Another standard synthetic sleeping bag you might say, but the uniqueness is lurking on the inside. The Reactor sleeping bag is lined with Columbia's Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective material. Tiny silver dots surround you from head to toe, working to reflect your body heat back at you.
With the highest heat retention rate per gram of synthetic insulation, you will stay 20% warmer in your Reactor bag than an equivalent sleeping bag with regular nylon liner. The Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective liner also maintains breathability so you don't wake up in a sweaty mess during warmer weather.
For any standard 45 degree bag, the comfort zone is probably in the 50s, with the lower limit in the 30s. With the Reactor sleeping bag, I was surprised by how pleasantly warm I stayed the entire night, even with the outside temperatures dropping into the 30s. I felt like I was sleeping in a space blanket cocoon. As long as I didn't roll around too much and let in all the cold air, I was enveloped in a ball of warmth.
The sleeping bag shape isn't strict mummy style, meaning you have plenty of room to move around but also have lots more space to heat up. A trapezoid footbox gives your feet the freedom to kick around and loops on the outside help keep your camping pad in place during the night.
A full hood and draft tube collar also help to seal in heat. A small zippered pocket can store your earphones, ear plugs, or lip balm for easy access. The sleeping bag weighs around 2 lbs and stuffs down into a 6" x 13" compression sack, so not all that heavy or bulky in your pack.
Bottom Line: The Columbia Reactor 45 is a synthetic sleeping bag that packs in more warmth for the same amount weight. The Omni-Heat sleeping bag will retail for $129 and be released starting mid-January 2012.