Sierra Designs Zissou Plus 700 2-Season Sleeping Bag Review

Sometimes small changes are all that’s required for a classic design to excel above the competition. The redesigned 2016 Zissou Plus 700 sleeping bag targets a more comfortable sleep system by tweaking the tried and true mummy build by adding a quilt style closure and a second zipper. This is my review.

The Zissou Plus 700 2-season sleeping bag is in it’s heart a traditional mummy style sleeping bag. Targeting maximum warmth and efficiency, the sleeping bag tapers to the foot to minimize bulk and weight yet adds generous width in the hips and shoulders for additional sleeping space. The largest change from the traditional mummy blueprint lies with the simple addition of a small, secondary zipper opposite the main zipper. This allows the sleeping bag to be unzipped and turned down like a traditional comforter or quilt at home. There is also a small yet significant miniature quilt sewn into the neck that can be turned down or tucked in. While these are minor changes, they add huge amounts of flexibility. There is also a third zipper at the foot of the bag, allowing for ventilation without unzipping the entire bag. The bag is stuffed with 14.3 oz of 700 fill duck DriDown for warmth and water resistance and is constructed of of 30D polyester ripstop with a DWR for the shell with a 30D polyester taffetta for the liner. It’s 78″ long, EN rated at 36 degrees F, weighs 2 lbs. 2 oz. and retails for $219.95.

Thermarest Zissou 700 plus 3 season sleeping bag

What I liked

While the addition of a small secondary zipper sounds like a minor change, it has had a huge impact on my enjoyment of the sleeping bag. Generally, where most sleeping bags only allow the user to unzip one side of the bag, venting ends up being uneven, chilling only one side of the sleeper while the other continues to bake. With the Zissou, I’ve been able to unzip and turn down the entire chest of the sleeping bag, targeting the hot core of my body instead of my elbow. This also allowed me to sprawl out when sleeping on their stomach or side without a taut band of fabric from the hood being in their face and dramatically reduces the feeling of being trapped inside a sarcophagus with it’s wide open top.The sewn in mini quilt can be tucked in to stop breezes or turned away to let in a small draft, a simple task that I found myself doing in my sleep. A third zipper at the feet allows for cooling of the feet and legs without opening up the entire sleeping  compartment, further adding options for regulating heat.

As far as general comfort goes, the Zissous is very enjoyable to be inside. The use of nylon taffeta on the inner shell produces a very nice, silky texture that minimizes clamminess and provides a better overall feel once inside. While most mummy bags feel like a body bag, the shoulders and hips here are nice and wide, easily allowing myself to toss and turn inside the sleeping bag without having to roll with it tied around me. The hood is soft and well padded, hiding the cinch mechanism so that it cannot be felt when laying on top of the hood on warmer nights. Turning down the quilt style collar and unzipping the secondary zipper allows for a generous arm sprawl, allowing me to happily stomach sleep inside the bag with my arms underneath my pillow, something that most mummy bags simply do not allow. The overall feel of the bag is light, fluffy, and provided me with a solid nights sleep. Never once did I feel uncomfortable, restricted, or in any way dissatisfied with the dimensions. There was extra room at the foot of the bag (I’m 5’8″) to stuff my clothing in to keep the warm for the morning and to dry out my socks.

Thermarest Zissou 700 plus 3 season sleeping bag

The temperature rating proved to be quite accurate. Dipping down to 40 degrees on a very windy night, my generally cold natured feet were oblivious to the nippy conditions outside of the sleeping bag, even with a full mesh sidewall letting the cold breeze flow directly over my legs. Generous draft tubes prevented a breeze from sneaking in around the zippers and a lofty amount of high quality fill provided excellent warmth and breathability despite the bags light weight. I consistently stayed warm without overheating all the way down to 35 F with no draftiness or cold spots to be found.

Big Agnes Rattlesnake sl2 (2)

Build quality is very good. The 30D ripstop outer shell feels tough yet soft while resisting punctures and tears. The zippers are sturdy despite their light weight and slide effortlessly  with one hand without hanging up on the fabric thanks to reinforced fabrics around them for extra stiffness. Even the stitching is practically flawless all around, showing a high level of consistency. I’ve had no escaping feathers, no stretching of the fabric or stitches, and absolutely no signs of wear, tear or wetting out. Material choice and construction all around is solid, making for a sleeping bag that should last a very, very long time.

Big Agnes Rattlesnake sl2 (3)

For just over 200 bucks, the Zissou is a fabulous value. Weighing Just over 2 lbs with 14 ounces of 700 fill DriDown, especially considering how warm and comfortable it is, is quite the deal. It’s certainly one of the best deals on the market right now when balancing quality, features and weight.

Thermarest Zissou 700 plus 3 season sleeping bag

What I didn’t like

The Zissou takes the traditional, extremely efficient and refined mummy design and improves on it in every way possible. This leaves me with very little to complain about. If I had to make one suggestion, I would like to see a future model extend the length of the secondary zipper just a little bit longer. It currently unzips around 12 inches down the side, which is actually plenty for most situations. However, a slight extension would allow me to sit up in the bag without having to unzip the primary zipper farther, turning down the tip of the sleeping bag and losing some warm air around my legs. More of a suggestion for the future than an actual complaint though as I’ve been quite pleased with it’s careful implementation, balancing weight and features.

Overall

If there is a way to improve the Zissou, I wouldn’t no where to start. It’s light weight at just a drop over 2 lbs, compressible enough for any pack, and provides and excellent night’s sleep without costing a fortune. The materials are silky smooth, with a nicer texture than even the sheets that I use at home. The high quality 700 fill DriDown provides excellent warmth, a high level of breathability, and the taffeta nylon inner shell resists clamminess while the DWR treated shell eliminates any concern of the bag wetting out in humid conditions. The secondary zipper quilt style closure and generously wide and spacious build alleviates most of my complaints with typical mummy bags, creating an environment closer to a bed and comforter than a cold tomb. With an exceptional build quality overall and falling in atonly $219.95, it’s an incredibly hard deal to beat. I would not hesitate to use to sleeping bag on any trip.

The Highest of Recommendations 

Thanks so much for reading! If you like what you see here, don’t forget to follow our blog by simply clicking on the follow button on the right. You’ll get notifications of updates and reviews, and it helps us out too. If you have any questions or comments, post below or send us an email. We’ll get back with you as soon as possible. We love hearing from you. You can also find us on Twitter or Facebook (links on the right).

For more information on Sierra Designs and their exceptional line of gear, check out www.sierradesigns.com

I wanted to send a special thanks out to Sierra Designs for their continued support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.

 

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