Attention side sleepers! I have THE sleeping bag for you! This post will cover all the reasons I love my NEMO Viola 20 Sleeping Bag.
I don’t do too many gear reviews, but this sleeping bag has really blown me away so I felt like I had to share it. Unsurprisingly, sleeping bags were some of the first pieces of gear Catherine and I bought when we set out on this crazy camping journey. We were able to borrow a tent but felt a little weird about using someone else’s sleeping bag. So we took the plunge (and used our REI 20% coupons) to buy ourselves sleeping bags.
Choosing a sleeping bag can be tough, but one trip to an REI and you’ll probably be able to figure out what you like and what you don’t. Of course, the REI staff are always there to help and in our case, they offered some really great advice. After trying several sleeping bags I ended up purchasing the Nemo Viola 20, a spoon-shaped sleeping bag that works great for side sleepers.
If you’re interested in all the technical specs and a video scroll down to the bottom of this post. If you want to know why I love this sleeping bag keep reading.
Here are my THREE favorite features of the NEMO Viola Sleeping Bag:
1. The Spoon™ Shape: According to NEMO’s website 70% of people sleep on their sides, and I’m one of them. During our testing phase, I tried out two mummy bags and knew without a doubt that I would feel way too claustrophobic in a bag that shape. The Viola is kind of a hybrid between a traditional rectangle bag and a mummy bag. Which basically amounts to more room at the elbows and knees so you can sleep on your side with your knees or arms bent without feeling compressed inside the bag. For me, it’s the perfect shape. I never feel like I don’t have enough room to move around and I can move from side to side easily.
2. The Blanket Fold™ : The first couple of times I used my Viola I had no idea what to do with this silly flap of comfort. Since I was sleeping in warmer temperatures I just left it outside the bag or tucked it in depending on how hot or warm I was…which is actually the purpose of the fold.
It was during our Joshua Tree camping trip that I really figured out the value of the Blanket Fold™. Even though Joshua Tree is a desert there had been a freak snowstorm before we arrived. At night the temperatures fell to 36 degrees Fahrenheit. This might seem tame to seasoned campers, but we had never camped in weather that cold. The Blanket Fold™ was perfect! I tucked it into the bag for added warmth and if I felt like my face was getting cold I used it to cover up a bit more. Even though it was 36 degrees Fahrenheit I felt warm and cozy and had no trouble sleeping. In fact, it was one of the best nights sleep I’ve had on a camping trip.
3. The Thermo Gills: This feature was one of the main selling points brought up by the REI staff member who sold me the bag. Basically, the Viola has two extra zippers that run along the top of the bag. When opened these gills release heat, allowing you to regulate your temperature a little better. If it’s cold you can keep them closed to keep cold air out. As a mostly Southern California camper, I usually keep these gills open and have found they really help to keep me from getting too warm inside the bag.
Bonus Favorite: Integrated pillow pocket!
It’s only recently that I purchased a camping pillow so before now I had no need for this feature. With our Rim to Rim backpacking trip coming up I decided to go ahead and purchase a Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow to actually put in this pillow pocket. I’m excited to try it out mostly because it means my pillow will stay in place all night. I won’t have to deal with it sliding out from under my head!
NEMO Viola Full Features Video
Specs & Material
- Minimum Weight: 2lb, 11oz
- Packed Size: 12.0 x 8.0 in diameter
- Temperature Rating: 20 degrees
- Fill Type: Synthetic
- Shell Material: 40D Nylon Ripstop w/ DWR
- Lining Material: 40D Nylon Taffeta w/ DWR
For a full list of product specs, sizing and materials head over to NEMO’s product page.
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