Sleep Happy Inside The Terra Nova Laser 600 Sleeping Bag
Published on 02/21/2013
In the backcountry, there are times to go light (weight-wise) and occasions to go low (on the temperature side). The first choice for sleeping systems is a combination of both, with honest specs instead of laboratory fantasies. Terra Nova lives up to its name with a bag, the LASER 600, claiming new territory and aimed straight at the 32-degree mark – while floating in at 1 lb. 6 oz.
Testers took the Laser 600 deep in the woods of Appalachia to damp river bottom territory to offer extreme testing conditions. Wet clay ground under a dense tree canopy would give the 600 little chance to dry and recover if the breathability was suspect. With temperatures dropping each night over five days, the bag was in for a tough stretch that bore little resemblance to idyllic (and low humidity) alpine meadows back in Colorado.
The 600 is a science project turned wilderness wonder. Box wall construction infused with 900 fill white goose down starts the process rolling in a bag long enough for passengers up to 6’ 4.” Secured by a shoulder-to-hood side zipper, 600 is a cozy ride that doesn’t make the sleeper feel like they’re stuck until turning into a monarch butterfly come spring. Hood adjustments allowed comfort and ventilation to get dialed in, with the tightest setting and all baffles in place required to push the 32-degree mark. Likewise, the left shoulder zipper needed full closure to get the most from the piece’s precisely engineered design.
The catch? Laser 600 takes some practice to deploy properly. Vapor-thin fabric can get sucked into the two-way zipper and draw cords take some finesse to tighten and loosen. In addition, sleeping pad position counts as any ground contact siphons precious BTUs away from the traveller and raises the bag’s performance above 32.
Likewise, the price is lofty if carrying an additional 12 or 16 oz. is inconsequential. Car campers and KOA frequent flyers will scratch their heads, as will hike-in site tenters living for fire pits and s’mores. On the other end of the spectrum, three season fast-and-lighters should be both stunned and thrilled.
If conditions are right and the risks are small, the Terra Nova MOONLITE SLEEPING BAG COVER can provide an extra margin on temperature ratings up to (or down by) 5 degrees. With only a draw cord hood for hardware, the sleeve is fully taped along the entire length. A lifetime warranty comes right along with this and other products. At 7 oz. packed weight, the waterproof, breathable bivvy even stands alone in warmer, ultra light settings. Solo or paired with the 600, MOONLITE is yet another example of Terra Nova’s fluency in translating premium materials into meaningful performance advantages.
Past Active Junky experience with QUASAR PACKS and BOTHIES confirms the Terra Nova approach diverges significantly from other premium purveyors. With a world of expeditionary experience and the gritty hometown conditions of the weather-battered U.K., Terra Nova was the logical team to make lighter and lower work.