Finding the right sleeping bag is a tough task – especially if you enjoy cold weather camping. You want something that will keep you warm without weighing you down. That’s exactly what the Snugpak Softie Elite 3 offers: comfort and warmth in a compact package. But does this sleeping bag really live up to the hype? We took it for a test run to find out.
We had just one minor complaint about this bag – it’s not waterproof. If your tent is waterproof or you’re sleeping in a hammock, this probably won’t be an issue. But it’s something we felt we should point out.
The Elite 3 is one of the most popular and best-selling models in the Snugpak Softie lineup. And it’s easy to see why campers and outdoor enthusiasts of all types love this sleeping bag. It may not be a down bag so you won't want to bring it along on a camping trip in the snow, but it will probably be one of the best synthetic bags you’ll ever own.
Let’s take a closer look at the bag’s construction and features before I share my experience with this sleeping bag.
The outer fabric is made of Snugpak’s Paratex Micro, which is 100% polyester. Paratex Micro is water repellent (not waterproof) and windproof. It’s lightweight and exceptionally durable, so it can live up to even your most rugged outdoor adventure. The outer fabric is breathable, too, so you stay warm in cooler temperatures and cool in warmer temperatures.
The inner fabric is made of Paratex Light fabric, which is incredibly lightweight, windproof and water-resistant. Its ability to wick moisture away makes it ideal for sleeping bag liners, and like the Micro outer fabric, it’s breathable, so you stay comfortable all night long.
While the inner and outer fabric allow for breath-ability and water and wind resistance, it’s the sleeping bag’s filling that makes it so warm. Snugpak uses Reflectatherm filling, which is metallized fabric that retains warmth and reflects heat.
The breathable fabric doesn’t add any weight to the sleeping back and adds 15% extra warmth. The nice thing about the filling is that it’s virtually undetectable by touch.
The Elite 3’s filling also includes Softie Insulation, which is a Polyester down-like filling, for added comfort and warmth.
The zip baffle expander system also plays a role in the Elite 3’s ability to keep you warm or cool at night. The baffle can be zipped into the bag’s main zip to add a little extra room. This extra space is ideal for bigger users or for warm nights when you want a little more space to stay cool.
For colder nights, you can zip the bag tighter to stay warmer while you sleep.
A convenient zippered chest pocket is built into the bag, so you can store essential items within easy reach, like a flashlight or a pair of glasses.
We’ve done our fair share of cold weather camping, and time and time again, we always find ourselves having to layer socks and shirts to stay warm throughout the night. The Elite 3 was different. We stayed warm all night long – without having to stack on layers.
While we probably wouldn’t recommend this for any weather colder than 25F (we haven’t tested it in temperatures lower than this), this is an excellent sleeping bag for just about any time of the year. It’s easy to pack, and it’s lighter than most bags.
A down sleeping bag would probably be lighter, but you’re looking at spending a lot more (double or triple the price). And some of these are not quite as compact as the Elite 3.
We spent the better part of a week camping in 35-degree weather, and we never had issues staying warm. The bag may be a bit snug for taller or larger users, but should be the perfect size for the average camper. If you’re a little on the short size, you can use the included clips to reduce the length. This is important if you’re trying to keep warm. Excess space on the bottom will lower the internal temperature of the bag because there is no heat to reflect.
The zippered chest pocket is a nice feature, but if you have a habit of tossing and turning (like we do), you may find yourself moving the bag and sleeping on top of whatever you have in there (ouch!).
While you can use the expanding panel to add room and to stay cool, this bag is probably still a little too warm for use in the spring or summer. But then again, that’s not what it’s built for.
The comfort and warmth the Elite 3 delivers is impressive, but its compact storage size is even more impressive. It won’t take up much space in your pack, and it’s a great option for motorcycle camping where you'll be short on space. Surprisingly, even after being compressed, this sleeping bag retains loft.
With its ability to retain heat and compress to a compact size, the Snugpak Softie Elite 3 is an excellent choice for cold-weather camping. Its baffle system gives you more room when you need it, and the bag’s fabrics work together to retain and reflect heat to keep you warm all night long. If you’re looking for a durable, warm, lightweight and compact sleeping bag for your next camping trip, the Elite 3 is a smart option.