Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review: Run what you brung.

Paired with the proper jacket or parka, the Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag becomes an ultralight backcountry sleep system that shaves space and weight by only having insulation in the lower half… from the waist down to the “elephant’s foot”. See how it performed on the trail…

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“If at some point during the trip you’re not wearing every article of clothing you packed… you brought too much.” It may have been Joe Cruz who told me that. Or perhaps it’s an old minimalist backpacker mantra. Either way, it stuck with me and now I’d consider myself an alumni of that school of thought. Of course, my personal mantra is slightly altered — pack as little as possible and still feel like you are riding a mountain bike — but the truths are the same. Carefully considering every piece of gear in the kit is part of the process. So when Patagonia introduced the Hybrid Sleeping Bag, a sleep system purposefully designed to integrate with another piece of gear that you already carry, the idea hit home. The designers at Patagonia figured that most alpinists pack a down parka when venturing out into the backcountry. So why not eighty-six the insulation in the upper portion of the sleeping bag and harness the warmth from that jacket for the upper half. Otherwise it would just get wadded up in the corner of the tent, right? This approach makes perfect sense for alpine climbers, bikepackers, thru-hikers, or anyone looking to minimize gear.

Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review

  • Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review
  • Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review

Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review

The Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag (center) shown next to the Nemo Gogo Elite Bivy and the Sea To Summit UL Insulated Sleeping Pad.

Let’s start with the motive behind the Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag’s unique design… saving weight and minimizing packing space in a backpack or handlebar pack, depending on the user group. It’s definitely small. When stuffed into its own ultralight sack, it’s the size of a Classic 64oz Klean Kanteen… or maybe more like the 40oz model if you really cinch it down. I had a 45°sleeping bag that packed to a smaller size, but it was a summer season bag. The Hybrid is a mountain weather bag meant to withstand colder temperature dips. The regular length Hybrid Sleeping Bag weighs in at 490 grams (17.3oz). A comparable high-end 20°F sleeping bag will likely weigh 170-227 grams (6-8oz) more than that, pack slightly larger, and do a couple hundred dollars worth of additional damage to your wallet. It’s worth noting that there are upmarket 20 or 30° quilts that are comparable in packed size and weight to the Hybrid. But again, they are likely to be pretty expensive. And unlike a sleeping bag, with a quilt you rely on the R-value of the sleeping pad too. Plus you’ll still be carrying that down jacket.

Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review

While Patagonia built the Hybrid Sleeping Bag for use with their own Grade VII Down Parka — which weighs a whopping 674g — I decided to go much lighter with my favorite jacket, the Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka. It packs tiny and weighs only 237 grams. Neither the Plasma nor the Hybrid are meant for arctic exploits. Back in February I used this setup on an overnighter where temperatures plummeted to somewhere around 5°F. That particular evening I wore a wool base layer, the Montbell Parka, wool socks, and Giro Wool gloves. I still froze; both my feet and my torso. I’ve also used the Hybrid/Plasma combo on more tame nights where temps hovered around 20°F, which is about where I pinned the temperature rating of this bag.

  • Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka
  • Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review

While it may not be warm enough for single digit temps, the Hybrid Sleeping Bag (from the waist down, of course) is pretty warm. Patagonia doesn’t specify a temperature rating for the bag; probably because this would depend on the parka used along with it. I would assign it a rating around 22°F (-6°C) for my own personal tolerance; that’s a judgment based on my feet getting cold at temperatures under 20. Of course this could be extended using a liner. The warmest temperatures this bag has seen were somewhere around 60°F, which was quite comfortable and not too hot. Patagonia integrated a nice waist drawcord that helps control the heat in the bottom of the bag. When tightened, it helps hold in the heat and when left loose, it allows it to breathe. That said, the fill is a little more fluffy at the foot of the bag. Patagonia describes this as a “custom foot box pattern [that] eliminates dead space and bulk, maximizes warmth and affords ample room for movement”. The foot box resembles, and is sometimes called, an Elephant’s Foot. In temperatures above 70°F, I would expect the Elephant’s Foot to get a get a bit steamy. This is definitely a bag designed for mountain weather.

Patagonia uses 850 fill-power ‘Traceable Down’ to insulate the lower half of the Hybrid. Traceable Down is a standard Patagonia stresses with all of their down products, and it should make you feel pretty good about what you are cozying up to out in the forest. That term loosely means that there were no animals harmed or abused in the making of the sleeping bag — it’s stuffed with goose down that can be traced from the parent ‘farm to apparel’ factory to help ensure the birds that supply it are not force-fed or live-plucked, two real problems in the down industry. Granted 850 fill count down is not the highest or lightest you can go in the fill-power spectrum, it keeps the bag’s price tag at a reasonable $300.

  • Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review
  • Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review

Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review

The upper shell of the bag is made from Pertex Quantum with a DWR finish, the same fabric used in several UL rain jackets on the market. In addition, the insulation liner material also has a DWR finish making the Hybrid resistant to moisture and good for sleeping out of doors or in situations where condensation might be an issue. The upper shell also features a zipper and a double-sided drawcord with sewn in release buttons. My one complaint about the bag stems from the hood drawcords, they are a little fussy to work with, especially when wearing gloves.

  • Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review
  • Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review

The Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag comes in three sizes, short, regular and long. I am 6′ even (183cm) and weigh about 170. The regular size fit me fine, although I may have considered a long in hindsight; a tad more room in the foot area might have been nice. And while the body of the bag isn’t as roomy as some sleeping bags, it shouldn’t be; it’s designed move with you rather than have you move around inside it. I toss and turn a bit when camping, typically flipping from side to side on several occasions throughout the night. I found the Hybrid bag to be OK and not too limiting. The top of the bag is on you, kind of like a jacket — more so when the waist cord is cinched down — and your feet stay in the same orientation within the “elephant’s foot”.

Pros

  • Innovative design approach employs other gear that you’re already carrying.
  • Patagonia’s use of traceable down can make you feel good about your purchase.
  • The footbox is extra warm which is a sensitive cold spot for most people.
  • DWR finish helps repel dew and mist if you are an outside sleeper.
  • Packs relatively small and lightweight due to the lack of down in the upper portion of the bag.

Cons

  • May be a bit warm for warmer non-mountain climates.
  • Not as lightweight as other high-end quilts on the market.
  • The hood drawcords are a little tricky to get just right.
  • The minimal top zip and fully enclosed latter half can feel confining when compared to a quilt or 3/4 zip sleeping bag.

Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag Review

  • Size tested Regular
  • Weight 490 g (17.3 oz)
  • Price $299
  • Place of manufacture China
  • Contact Patagonia.com

Wrap Up

The Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping bag is a very interesting product and a step in the right direction for minimalist packing. While the Hybrid is a bit quirky and it may not fit everyone’s needs, it’s refreshing to see a company try something completely different. I found the bag, especially on colder nights, to be generally comfortable and perform as intended. If you are looking for ways to maximize the uses for every piece of your kit, and minimize packing space, the Hybrid Sleeping Bag and a good alpine down parka make a great team. If the Hybrid is not your cup of tea and a standard mummy bag is more your speed, also check out Patagonia’s new line of sleeping bags, all made with Traceable Down and similar construction techniques to the Hybrid.

If anyone has experience using the Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag outside in damp conditions, please leave a comment in regards to the DWR performance of the shell and liner.

  • Jamie Lent

    It seems like this approach could just as easily be applied to a quilt with pretty impressive results.

    I think stretching this into the warmer months may be challenging, as I often pack considerably less top insulation when the weather warms up. But this could be great in the shoulder seasons when it is warm enough to hang around camp and not just dive into your sleeping bag, but cold enough to want a down jacket while you do.

  • Yeah, I agree. I’ve definitely been guilty of bringing a 40° summer bag to sub-20° places by layering. Not a bad technique at all.

  • Mark Troup

    Yep, I use a 30 degree quilt and just layer up for colder temps. Interesting idea, but seems a bit like innovation in search of a nonexistent problem.

  • One one hand, I agree. Can I get the same out of a 30° EE quilt with the same parka… and it all be relatively the same weight and take up the same amount of packing space? Maybe, although my feet might get colder sooner. Had Patagonia executed it under 12oz at the size of a grapefruit with the same performance… then it would have much more of an ‘oh wow’ factor. But, it’s still a very interesting product, even just in concept. And, again, kudos to the Traceable Down standard.

  • Mark Troup

    I’m actually a huge Patagonia fan, Nano Puff, Dirt Craft, R1… this one was just a bit of a “miss” for me. As a company, their ethics and activism (being one of the catalysts to get OR pulled from Utah) are fantastic.

  • Smithhammer

    Yup. Considering my layers to be an integral part of my sleep system has allowed me to get away with a much lighter sleeping bag (Marmot “Atom” or Sierra Designs 30ºF Backcountry Quilt usually). It gets back to the old mountaineering adage that, “if you are taking off clothes to go to bed, you brought too many clothes.”

  • Ben

    Totally agree. Zpacks bag/quilt is 375 (can be had for 300), way more warmth, same or less weight. I don’t get it. Wear your puffy inside a light quilt.

  • Gringo

    Those of you saying this product is a miss should not forget that it was designed for an Alpine climbing environment, which is significantly different than the luxurious sleeping conditions bikepackers often find themselves in. Think huddling on a rock while tied into your harness and shivering away the next ten hours of darkness, while hoping you don’t get smashed by rockfall different. As well, temperatures above 4,000 meters (regardless where in the world you are) are going to be a fair bit cooler than what many here many consider a chilly night out the dirt road behind the house.
    Horses for courses.

  • Keeping your core warm is the most important part of staying warm. I find that the extra insulation on top, paired with a down jacket, gives me much more range at a comparatively low weight penalty.

    By the time you add the top fabric and cinch cords, zipper, etc. you might as well add 4-5oz of down and extend the temp rating by 20-25º with a jacket.

  • Good point about the core. I like carrying a 40° quilt and using a jacket and layers to up the rating. But, my feet always get cold, so this was a different direction that worked on some levels. It would be interesting to have a quilt with extra down in the feet, but minimal down in the upper part as kind of a hybrid of this and a standard quilt…

  • Sern

    Isn’t that the point of certain baffling, moving insulation into colder area?

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