Review: ZenBivy Bed Sleep System
The Zenbivy is a different type of sleep system – part quilt, part sleeping bag – designed to be more like sleeping at home.
The founder of Zenbivy worked in the outdoor industry for brands including MSR and Sierra Designs before he launched a company to create an alternative to the mummy bag… the Zenbivy bed. Learn more about Zenbivy.
What I like about the Zenbivy
For me, the Zenbivy Bed makes sleeping on camping trips a more comfortable experience than when using a traditional sleeping bag. I toss and turn a lot when I sleep, and don’t like feeling constricted by a mummy bag, while rectangular bags tend to let in drafts and make me cold. The Zenbivy gives me plenty of room to move around inside – and the top acts more like a blanket that can be tucked in or folded down.
High quality materials are used throughout. The fabric for the sheet and the inside of the quilt are made of a brushed synthetic material that feels much softer than slick nylon used in sleeping bags, and the insulated hood is large to allow for sleeping in any position. For example, when I sleep on my side, there’s room to tuck my arm under my pillow and keep it inside the quilt and hood so it doesn’t get cold. The quilt can also be detached and used to stay warm outside of the tent when relaxing at camp.
How it works
Consisting of a sheet with a hood and wings on the sides, the quilt attaches to the wings on the sheet via short zippers for a comfortable system that allows more freedom of movement than traditional sleeping bags, yet has features not found on sleeping quilts. Cinch up the bottom on cold nights for a tapered fit, or leave it flat in warmer temps.
- Available in multiple sizes, the small Zenbivy Bed fits regular 20″ pads, while the large is 25″ wide. The sleeping pad I use for camping is 25″ wide by 72″ long by 4″ thick, and the large size Zenbivy Bed works well with it.
- The Zenbivy sheet fits over tapered or rectangular-shaped sleeping pads and includes a strap across the back to keep it in place.
- The oversized insulated hood holds a pillow in place while allowing plenty of space for tucking your arms in when sleeping on your side or stomach.
- The Kylie Curve is Zenbivy’s system for cinching the quilt at the top using a 3/4 length baffled cord, leaving the sides loose for tucking in to block drafts, or to drape at your sides.
- The footbox includes a baffle to block out drafts, or the quilt can be left open at the bottom and used like a regular quilt.
Note that the temperate ratings are based on standards for limit ratings versus comfort ratings. For example, a 30 degree synthetic bag has a 30 degree limit rating with a 40 degree comfort rating. To me, this means that I’ll be comfortable in a 30 degree bag down to about 45 degrees but would need something much warmer for temps that are lower.
To compare it to traditional sleeping bags, keep in mind that women’s sleeping bags are usually rated for temperature based on comfort ratings, while men’s are based on limit ratings. This is due to the idea that men sleep warmer than women – although I don’t think this is true for most people. If you sleep cold, consider bumping up to a warmer setup.
For the ultimate in comfort when using the ZenBivy, I pair it with the UST Gear Fillmatic Sleeping mat, a 4″ thick self-inflating foam mattress. The self-inflation feature means I don’t have to blow it up, although I bring a small pump to add more air if needed. The outer fabric of the mattress is softer than a typical air mattress, with a feel similar to a flannel sheet. With an R-value of 6 (sleeping pads are rated with an R-value number, usually from 0-7, to indicate a pad’s ability to insulate), this mattress is on the warmer end of the range and helps me stay warm at night during cold weather.
MY REVIEW POLICY
This sleep system was provided to me by Zenbivy for testing. However, I’m under no obligation to give it a favorable review. As an independent gear reviewer, my policy is to review only items that I have used on multiple outdoor trips and that I feel are high quality products worthy of recommending. If I don’t like a product, I send it back and don’t review or recommend it – which has happened more than once. My goal is to only share info about products that I think others would like to know more about.
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