Like most outdoorsy individuals, I’ve spent a great deal of time sleeping outside (in tents, under tarps, in bivy sacks, in hammocks, and under the stars). I’ve had great nights of sleeps, and I’ve had terrible nights of sleeps, but most of all I’ve experienced incredibly inconsistent nights of sleeps.
The Zenbivy Bed is a sleeping system created to provide a light, comfortable and consistent sleeping experience: a system that allows for a cozy night following a hard day of outdoor exertion. After a weekend on the Superior Hiking trail with the Zenbivy Bed, here are my thoughts.
** Zenbivy Bed is rated at 25 degrees NOT 35 degrees
The sleeping system itself is essentially a lightweight down quilt that connects to a sheet and down hood. Two snaps connect the sleeping pad to the sheet/down hood, and two side zippers connect the sheet/down hood to the down quilt.
In this manner the Zinbivy Bed attempts to simulate the comfort and inter-connectedness of your bed at home. The Zenbivy itself comes in three different sizes, with the regular sized bag weighing in at 2.3lbs. Rated at 25 degrees, the Zenbivy Bed will retail between $260 and $280.
The Zenbivy Bed is exceptionally comfortable. As someone who thrashes around while sleeping, the Zenbivy bed gave my arms the flexibility to move freely, while keeping my body from rolling off the sleeping pad.
The Zenbivy was designed to comfortably accommodate a variety of different sleeping positions, and I found myself able to switch between stomach sleeping, side sleeping, and back sleeping without the claustrophobia and awkwardness typically encountered with traditional mummy sleeping bags.
The down quilt itself is exceptionally comfortable, and the zippered footbox allows the quilt to lie flat when needed. This footbox, combined with side zips (that connect the quilt to the sheet/down hood), make for comfortable sleep in a wide variety of temperatures. Hot? Unzip and let the air flow. Cold? Zip up and trap the air in!
As weight and compactability are always a concern of mine when looking at a new piece of gear, I found myself very impressed by how little weight and space the Zenbivy Bed took in my pack. At 2.3 lbs its not “ultralight,” but it is ultracomfortable, and light enough and compact enough for all but the most weight-conscious backpackers.
We tested the Zen Bivy on a cold and rainy Minnesota weekend, and the Zenbivy Bed honestly felt indulgent! Not a bad feeling when the trails kick your butt all day.
As mentioned previously, the Zenbivy Bed is incredibly comfortable and relatively light. However, if you are just looking to create the perfect ultralight kit (that shaves every ounce of weight), the Zenbivy Bed probably isn’t for you.
While the side zips and footbox zipper allow for incredible versatility in regards to sleeping positions and climate control, they can be awkward to use. This is not a problem unique to the Zenbivy Bed; it's an issue that comes up with many backpacking quilts.
When I think of bringing a “bed” on a backpacking trip, my mind immediately drifts to images of glamping, vanlife, and people unfamiliar and unprepared for outdoor adventures. I think of big Coleman sleeping bags and HUGE inflatable mattresses. The Zenbivy bed has changed this perspective. For those looking for a light, comfortable, and reasonably priced alternative to claustrophobic mummy bags, the Zenbivy Bed is a fantastic option.
Not yet on the market, Zenbivy will be launching a kickstarter on May 31st. Check out their website to stay tuned!