Expert Review: Nemo Forte 35 Sleeping Bag - Women's
This review is my honest opinion of the sleeping bag, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the sleeping bag, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2022.
The Nemo Forte 35° sleeping bag is a comfortable and roomy option for car campers and backpackers. The “spoon” shaped design has extra room in the elbows and knees, designed especially for side sleepers like me and 70% of the population.
About the gear
- Model: 2022 Nemo Forte 35° Women’s Sleeping Bag
- Size: Long
- Material: Synthetic insulation
- Temperature Rating: 35°
- Height: 5’6”
- Weight: 225 lbs
- Experience: 22 years of sleeping outside
- When I bought it: June 2022
- Days tested: 3 nights
- Pack: Haven’t backpacked with it yet, but I have a Gregory Kalmia 60
- Used for: Car camping and cabin “camping”
- Where I’ve used it: High Camp Hut (Telluride, CO) and Duck Creek Campground (Near Cedar Breaks NM, Utah)
- Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was looking for a new warm weather sleeping bag that was more packable and a bit roomier than my other bags. I love my Wiggy’s bags for cold weather use, but they are way too warm for anything between May and September when I usually camp.
Why I chose this gear
I chose the Forte because it has a spoon-shaped design that has interested me since I first heard about them. I also wanted synthetic insulation as it insulates even if it gets wet and is less care intensive than down. Finally, I chose the Forte instead of the less expensive Tempo because I wanted the extra features such as upgraded insulation, Thermo Gill vents, and the full draft tube.
What I love about it
- Weight: The Long size weighs 2 lbs 13 oz, which is average for a synthetic bag at that temperature. It is about a half pound lighter than my Wiggy’s bags. I’m a luxury backpacker, so I don’t mind the weight.
- Packability: The claimed packed size is 12 x 8.5 inches. I haven’t measured mine, but it packs smaller than my Wiggy’s bags. It comes with both a compression and storage sack. The compression sack is easy to stuff and thoughtfully designed for maximum compression. It is just a bit too big to fit into the separated compartment of my backpack, but it’s easy enough to remove the divider and have one big space in my pack.
- Warmth: The 35-degree rating was perfect at High Camp and at Duck Creek. My body temperature is up and down when I sleep, so the Thermo Gills and two-way zipper were put to the test and passed with flying colors. It is very easy to adjust the zippers to my ideal temperature level as needed. The extra room in the bag means that I can add my fleece liner into it to use in colder weather if needed.
- Comfort: The Forte is a super comfortable sleeping bag in all positions. I’m a self-described “gas station hot dog sleeper,” as in I roll around all night. I never feel restricted, which I sometimes do in my mummy bags. It has a blanket fold around the neck that feels cozy, a built-in pillow pocket, a two-way zipper, and Thermo Gills for temperature regulation.
- Shape: Nemo uses spoon-shaped bags in most of their models, providing extra space in the elbows and knees for side sleepers.
- Features: The Forte has way more features than my mummy bags. The pillow pocket, Thermo Gills, stash pocket for small items, and the spoon shape are all new features to me in my sleeping bags, and I have enjoyed them so far. The pillow pocket is too small for my current Thermarest camping pillow, but I’m used to having my pillow underneath my bag on warm nights or tucked into the hood on cold nights, so it wasn’t a big deal for me. I am considering buying one of the smaller Nemo pillows, though.
- Versatility: It’s about as versatile as my other sleeping bags. Good for many nights, and I can extend the range with my fleece bag liner. The size and comfort mean that it is a good backpacking or car camping bag, which I like.
- Weather Resistance: The Primaloft RISE insulation is a water-resistant synthetic that insulates even when damp. The Forte also has a waterproof and breathable footbox, designed to keep any condensation out of the bag.
- Backpacking: The Forte is the ideal comfort backpacker sleeping bag, in my opinion. It is comfortable and fully featured without being too heavy and compresses quite small.
- Car Camping: It’s a comfortable bag so why not bring it car camping? I’ve never used a rectangular bag, so the spoon shape feels luxurious to me regardless of how far my tent is from my car.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: I was disappointed to find a rip in my bag when I opened it up at High Camp Hut on my first night of use. It ripped along a baffle on the inside of the bag near the Thermo Gill, which I had left open when I stuffed it, so I think it might have been an operator error more than anything else. I could use it without losing insulation or ripping it more, and when I got home, I easily repaired with a NoSo patch.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with my Forte so far has been the day it got delivered. A good friend was in town with her 4-year-old daughter. She was just as excited as I was about my new sleeping bag. She hid in it, and I pretended to be a bear and tickled her. Lots of cute kiddo giggles, and I’ve thought about it every night I’ve slept in it so far.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Forte is not the cheapest option on the market, and the durability issues I’ve had make me lean towards it not being a good value bag. However, the features and spoon shape are priced reasonably. So it’s a toss-up, and one would have to weigh their priorities when considering this bag's value. As a whole, I think Nemo products are thoughtfully designed but sometimes struggle with high-quality execution and quality control. The Sidewinder series from Big Agnes is a similar concept that is designed with side sleepers in mind. The 35-degree Sidewinder camp is $30 cheaper, weighs about the same, packs a bit smaller, but doesn’t have any extra features other than the shape of the bag itself.
Overall, the Forte is a solid, comfortable sleeping bag that has been thoughtfully designed. I enjoy its versatility and all of the included features.