The Cloud 800 came to us not only with some unique stand-out features, but also accompanied with a range of awards. It’s certainly an interesting bag with the most obvious aspect being that it bridges the gap between a traditional mummy style sleeping bag and a quilt.
The zipper-less design covers around half the overall length that makes for a much more natural night’s sleep. The extra room to move, and the effortless faff of getting in and out, are aspects we really did enjoy. Throughout the night you get the benefit of a quilt being able to vent easily keeping a comfortable sleeping temperature. Anyone who is used to camping will know too well of the morning sunlight hitting your tent, and a short while afterwards trying frantically to open the zipper as you bake in the morning heat. The Cloud 800 also includes ventilation at the feet, so a decent air flow is always possible. One of our favourite features is that come morning we were free to walk (shuffle) around camp without having to remove the bag. On a stunning dawn, high in the Fisherfield, to open up our tent and sit outside without having to lose the warmth of our sleeping bag was a camping luxury.
To save on weight the Cloud 800 has no insulation underneath the main body and instead relied on our sleeping mat for warmth. Although it can certainly be argued that once down is compressed it offers little insulation it does make for a less comfortable base. Having to keep this area of the Cloud 800 flat to the ground combined with a zipper-less opening also restricts sleeping on our side. If rolling to the left you work with the bag keeping the Insulated shoulder pocket firmly tucked in place, if we were to roll to the right there was a tendency to pull the wrap out of place and on a colder night you can easily create an unwanted draft.
Regarding weight we had presumed that with having no zipper and the removal of insulation this would make for a very light and compact bag. At 850 grams it’s not a scale tipper but the weight to warmth ratio is not as impressive as quite a few modern bags currently on the market. We put this mostly down to the generous sizing of the Cloud 800 whilst also factoring in the extra down used in the wrap around quilt element. The 800FP DriDown lofts well and overall the pack size is fairly compact. 15D Nylon outer can handle more than its appearance may suggest with solid stitching and after extensive use there are very little signs of down pushing it way out.
Unfortunately for us we received the bag slightly later in the summer season so had to rely more on keeping the Cloud 800’s comfort limit rating of -3 performing to its maximum as the Scottish cooler months approached. This did bring up a few weaknesses mostly due to the lack of ability to really tighten down all areas of the bag. The adjuster at the head was better suited for comfort keeping our pillow from falling out of place and it is apparent that the Cloud 800 is much more of a 2-season bag with the ability to tackle a late autumnal chill when required.
As with a lot of manufacturers, the stuff sac isn’t great and we tended to use our own personal waterproof compression sac which offered better protection and a tighter fit.
There is a lot to admire about the Cloud 800 with Sierra Designs being just a couple of design elements away from creating a truly fantastic sleeping bag/quilt. The zipper-less element certainly makes for a night’s sleep more comparable to a night at home, with plenty of options for ventilation to easily sustain a comfortable temperature. The openings at the feet were an addition we much enjoyed. As a photographer, to be able to shuffle out of the tent to capture the morning light without having to leave the warmth of the bag was much appreciated. An element we didn’t like so much was the removal of down in place of a sleeping mat as it restricted side sleeping and comfort. The Cloud 800 we feel is much better suited for the warmer months, with the -3 comfort limit maybe being a tad overstated due to it being hard to really tighten up the bag in all areas to maximise warmth.
Trek Scotland is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...