The Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag is a lightweight sleeping bag designed for versatility in the backcountry when weight savings is paramount.
As the name suggests, it has a full zipper that extends the length of the sleeping bag’s side and then around the footbox – allowing the bag to be laid open flat like a quilt. The bag has a 7D Ventum ripstop nylon shell with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish, uses 900-fill power goose down, and is available in three temperature ratings, 10°F / -12°C, 20°F / -6°C, and 30°F / -1°C.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag (and probably a little more).
Pros and Cons
+ Warm and comfortable bag for the quilt-curious hiker
+ Ample wiggle room – even in standard width
+ Can be completely unzipped and laid flat
+ Two-way zipper allows you to open the footbox only
– No hood (i.e. your head still needs insulation)
– No interior stash pocket
– Nowhere to try locally – no free returns
The Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag comes in three temperature ratings, three lengths, and two widths for a total of 18 different combinations (72 if you count the four different colors). Below, I will use the specs for a 20°F / -6°C, medium length, standard width sleeping bag (unless otherwise noted).
- Weight: 21.6 oz / 612 g
- Temperature Ratings: 10°F / -12°C, 20°F / -6°C, 30°F / -1°C
- Fill Power: 900 goose
- Fill Weight: 14.5 oz / 411 g
- Packed Size: 7 x 13 in / 18 x 33 cm
- Target Loft: 2.5 in / 6.35 cm
- Widths: Standard, Broad
- Lengths: Short, Medium, Long
- Baffle Direction: Vertical at torso/hips, horizontal at footbox
- Measurement at Shoulder: 60 in / 152.5 cm
- Measurement at Hip: 60 in / 152.5 cm
- Measurement at Feet: 40 in / 101.5 cm
- Inner Shell Color: Black
- Inner Shell Fabric: 7D Ventum ripstop nylon with durable water-repellent (DWR) finish
- Exterior Shell Colors: Blue, Black, Green, Orange
- Exterior Shell Fabric: 7D Ventum ripstop nylon with durable water-repellent (DWR) finish
- Foot Box: Rectangular
- Stuff Sack Included: Roll-top dry bag (.9 oz / 25.5 g)
- MSRP: $439 to $539
- Warranty: “2-year limited warranty against product failure caused by manufacturing, material, and design defects”
The Weight: At 21.6 oz / 612 g for a regular length, standard width, 20°F / -6°C version of the Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag, it’s one of the lightest options available. Of that weight, 14.5 oz / 411 g is the 900-fill power goose down. This puts it on the lighter side for 20°F / -6°C sleeping bags (as far as the amount of down insulation in the bag goes), but there are still sleeping bags (advertised) as 20°F / -6°C bags that weigh less (and with less fill) than the Zpacks Full Zip.
The Versatility: What makes the Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag different from the Zpacks Full Zip Sleeping Bag is the zipper’s extension around the footbox. This means that in addition to being able to completely unzip the sleeping bag and use it flat as you would a quilt/blanket, you can also unzip only the footbox to vent the bag/dump hot air if you’re using it on a warmer night than expected.
The Comfort: The Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag is comfortable – even when zipped all the way up with the top drawstring pulled tightly around my neck. Despite having just the standard width version (as opposed to the broad), I feel like I have plenty of space to move around and/or lay on my side. The only point of constriction is the footbox – which is narrower than the rest of the bag.
The Stuff Sack: Don’t you hate it when you buy an expensive tent and then they charge you $80 for a ground sheet? Or when you get a $500 sleeping bag and you don’t even get a stuff sack with it? Fortunately, the Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag comes with a roll-top Dyneema dry bag (i.e. a very good stuff sack) that, if purchased separately, would cost you $35. The stuff sack fits the bag nicely; my only complaint is the pointed corners. I can’t seem to stuff the bag deep enough to make use of them and they just end up hanging out with empty space (see photos above for detail).
The Shell: Both the interior and exterior shells of the Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag are made with 7D Ventum ripstop nylon with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish. This is one of the things that allows the bag to be so light; the shell weighs 6.7 oz / 189 g. However, the 7D shell is also incredibly thin and you’ll need to be careful with the bag if you want it to remain down-filled and hole-free. Zpacks appears to know this because they include a length of color-matched nylon tape – presumably to patch your bag.
The Price: The Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag isn’t the most affordable option available, but it also isn’t the most expensive. For an ultralight bag using 900-fill power down, the price tag is about what you would expect. It’s certainly not cheap and with nowhere to test it out before ordering it can be a bit intimidating. Fortunately, shipping is free and Zpakcs accepts returns of new/unused gear within 30 days. That said, you’ll have to pay for return shipping.
The Zipper: The zipper on the Zip Around works alright but you aren’t going to be completely free from snags unless you’re careful. So long as you keep your finger in the channel behind the zipper while zipping and unzipping – and you move slowly – the zipper works just fine. However, you aren’t going to be able to quickly zip and unzip the bag without getting the zipper caught – which because of the thin shell fabric is not advisable. There is a zipper guard to prevent snags on the draft tube and shell, but it’s only somewhat effective.
The Hood: Generally, a hood (i.e. the place in a sleeping bag where your head goes) is a hallmark of a sleeping bag. Quilts, on the other hand, don’t generally have hoods. The Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag does not have a hood. I am 5’10” / 179 cm tall and can get my head into the (medium-length) bag if I scrunch up, but it’s not ideal. There is a drawstring around the top of the sleeping bag that can be cinched down around your head/neck which works well; there’s also a button at the top of the zipper to secure it. The only problem then is the incredibly long drawstring tail left over once it’s all the way cinched.
The Storage Bag: Yes, you get a great stuff sack with the Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag, but you don’t get a storage bag. PSA in case you were unaware: do not store your sleeping bags compressed or in stuff sacks – this can (and will) damage the down. Maybe not a big deal for some people, but when you have amassed the embarrassingly large sleeping bag/quilt collection that I have, you value your storage sacks.
Who is it for?
The Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag is a great option if you’re looking to make the switch to quilts but aren’t entirely comfortable with a quilt yet (for whatever reason). It’s also a good option if you’re looking for a sleeping bag that can be a bit more versatile. You could get a 10°F / -12°C version for cold nights and then also use it as a blanket on warmer nights.
- Beginner Backpackers: Probably not a great first sleeping bag unless you know what you’re getting yourself into as far as ultralight gear and have the money to burn.
- Weekend Warriors: This could be a good fit if you’re looking for a single bag to facilitate changing environments throughout the year.
- Thru-Hikers: The target market for this bag – it’s worth checking out, especially if you’re focused on getting down your base weight.
|Big Agnes Torchlight 20||$320||43 oz / 1.219 kg||20°F / -6°C||600 goose||19 oz / 538 g|
|Feathered Friends Egret UL||$549||27.2 oz / 771 g||20°F / -6°C||950 goose||17.3 oz / 491 g|
|Feathered Friends Swallow UL||$589||31 oz / 879 g||20°F / -6°C||950 goose||16.8 oz / 476 g|
|Marmot Bantamweight 15||$589||24.3 oz / 689 g||15°F / -9°C||900 goose||N/A|
|Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15||$550||33.2 oz / 941 g||15°F / -9°C||850 goose||N/A|
|Rab Mythic Ultra 360||$650||21 oz / 606 g||20°F / -6°C||900 goose||N/A|
|REI Co-op Magma||$399||28.2 oz / 799 g||16°F / -9°C||850 goose||15.9 oz / 451 g|
|Sea to Summit Spark Ultralight||$489||23.5 oz / 667 g||18ºF / -8ºC||850 goose||15.2 oz / 431 g|
|Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20||$500||20 oz / 567 g||20°F / -6°C||900 goose||12.5 oz / 354 g|
|Therm-a-Rest Ohm 20||$460||22 oz / 624 g||20°F / -6°C||900 goose||12.5 oz / 354 g|
|Western Mountaineering UltraLite||$580||30 oz / 850 g||20°F / -6°C||850 goose||16 oz / 454 g|
|Western Mountaineering Versalite||$655||32 oz / 907 g||10°F / -12°C||850 goose||20 oz / 565 g|
|Zpacks Classic||$449||18.8 oz / 533 g||20°F / -6°C||900 goose||13.7 oz / 388 g|
|Zpacks Full Zip||$479||21 oz / 595 g||20°F / -6°C||900 goose||13.7 oz / 388 g|
|Zpacks Mummy||$539||23.2 oz / 659 g||20°F / -6°C||900 goose||15.6 oz / 442 g|
|Zpacks Zip Around||$479||21.6 oz / 612 g||20°F / -6°C||900 goose||14.5 oz / 412 g|
The Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag is the slightly heavier, slightly more down-filled, more versatile version of the Zpacks Full Zip Sleeping Bag. I would go with the Zip Around if deciding between the two despite the small weight difference; the added versatility makes it worth it (to me).
Whether you’re not ready to make the switch to a quilt or you just want an ultralight sleeping bag (without a hood, mind you), the Zip Around is worth checking out. Just remember to treat it nicely because that 7D nylon doesn’t play well with sharp objects (like your raptor toenails) and don’t be afraid when it inevitably starts shedding some down.
Rating + Recommendation
If weight is of the utmost importance and you’re not ready to commit to a quilt but still want something versatile, the Zpacks Zip Around Sleeping Bag is worth checking out. If you’re new to backpacking, need a hooded sleeping bag, or don’t want to have to worry about being careful with the Zip Around’s shell, then it may not be the right choice for you.
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