Review: Zenbivy Light Bed

The Zenbivy Light Bed combines features found in quilts and sleeping bags into a sleep system that is more comfortable while remaining lightweight for backpacking.

Zenbivy Light Bed review

As a regular quilt user on backpacking trips for the past seven years, I wanted to see how the 2024 Zenbivy Light Bed compared to other quilts and sleeping bags that I’ve used, including sleeping bags from Big Agnes, Sierra Designs, and Therm-a-rest, and quilts from Enlightened Equipment and Outdoor Vitals.

Zenbivy also introduced a new Ultralight Bed this year but I chose the Light Bed due to the lower cost. For the setup that I’m using, which is the 25° Light Quilt with the 25° insulated Light Sheet in the regular size, the weight difference is only 3 ounces while the cost difference is $210. The Ultralight Bed does have some advantages – in addition to a lower weight, it uses 900 fill down versus the 800 fill down used in the Light Bed so it will compress to a smaller size – but the cost difference was the biggest factor for me in choosing the Light Bed.

About Zenbivy

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.

How it works

  • Zenbivy Light Bed review

 

While most backpacking quilts use straps to attach to a sleeping pad, Zenbivy Beds feature a sheet with an oversized hood and wings on the sides that attach to the quilt with clips. In my experience, this effectively eliminates drafts – especially for those of us who toss and turn a lot in our sleep – and provides better overall comfort.

  • The Light Sheet is half-length and features a wide hood (offered in insulated and uninsulated versions) and wings with clips on each side. Two straps on the back of the sheet keep it in place on the sleeping pad.
  • Color-coded clips on the sheet wings attach to the quilt on both sides, which allows for getting in and out on whichever side works best based on the door entry side of your tent.
  • The attachment loops on the quilt are placed approximately 10″ from the side edges and create an overlap of the quilt next to the wings, providing greater warmth and draft prevention.
  • The oversized hood is the full width of the sheet, and for me, provides a more comfortable sleep experience than being confined in a smaller hood that limits movement. The Zenbivy quilt hood holds pillows of various sizes and shapes in place – and is wide enough to tuck in your arms when sleeping on your side.
  • A draft collar at the top of the quilt prevents warm air from escaping and can be cinched closed for greater warmth. Unlike the cinch cords on most quilts that often end up in your face, the Zenbivy uses a cord that cinches from the side. When cinched, only the middle of the quilt is affected so the sides aren’t pulled up and instead can be tucked into the hood.

View at Zenbivy

My experience with the Zenbivy Light Bed

Zenbivy Light Bed review

I’ve spent six nights in the Zenbivy Light Bed so far, and out of all of the sleeping bags and quilts that I’ve used for backpacking over the last 10 years, I can honestly say that this is the most comfortable sleep system for backpacking. In traditional sleeping bags, I feel constricted with limited options for movement. With quilts, there is certainly freedom of movement, but I find that when I sleep on my side, my arms get cold outside of the quilt, and I commonly feel drafts when changing positions. The oversized hood on the Zenbivy allows me to tuck my arms inside so no matter which position I prefer to sleep in,  my arms stay warm. To me, the Zenbivy combines the two types of sleep systems for better overall comfort.

Comparison to Enlightened Equipment Revelation quilt

I’ve been using the Revelation for the past seven years on backpacking trips, and overall, I prefer the Zenbivy system. The hood, the side wings with clips, and the sheet all help to make for a better sleep experience. Additionally, the way the baffles are constructed on the Zenbivy quilt keeps the down in place better than on the Revelation – which allows the down to move from one baffle to another, leaving spots with little insulation and requiring redistribution, especially after washing the quilt.

Zenbivy Light Bed review

Warmth ratings

I’m a cold sleeper and typically prefer a comfort temperature rating that is at around 20 degrees warmer than the expected temps. For example, most of the trips that I do have overnight lows in the 40s-50s, occasionally dipping into the 30s, so I look for a comfort rating that is in the 20-30 degree range. The Light Quilt that I’m using is comfort rated to 35°, with a limit rating of 25°. This means that at 25°, you’ll likely be cold but will survive and at 35°, you should be warm. For me, I need another 10° of warmth to actually stay warm.

An important factor for warmth is that your sleeping pad’s rating has just as much to do with keeping you warm as a sleeping bag or quilt. The warmth ratings for sleeping bags and quilts used by manufacturers is based on using a sleeping pad with an R-value of 5, so keep that in mind when purchasing a sleep system. R-values (ranging from 1-10) for sleeping pads are rated on how well they insulate the body from the ground, with higher numbers providing the most insulation. If your sleeping pad has a lower R-value, the expected warmth from your sleeping bag or quilt might not meet your expectations.

Zenbivy Light Bed review

Specs

Quilt – 25° Light Bed, regular size, fast footbox

  • weight: 1 lb 4 oz (20 oz)
  • shell and lining: 20D Nylon Taffeta 380T, coating-free, cire, fluorocarbon-free DWR, 36gsm
  • fill: 800 fill-power HyperDRY™ fluorocarbon-free water-resistant 90/10 duck down
  • fill weight: 321 g
  • limit rating: 25°
  • comfort rating: 35°

Light Quilt options:

  • footbox style: fast footbox, convertible footbox
  • temperature ratings: 10° down, 25° down
  • sizing: regular (20″ wide), large (25″ wide), extra-large (30″ wide)

Light sheet – 25° down

  • weight: 6.6 oz
  • also available in an uninsulated version and a 10° insulated version

View at Zenbivy

My review policy

Zenbivy sent me this product to test and review. Regardless, I’m under no obligation to give them a favorable review. As an independent gear reviewer, my policy is to review only items that I have used on multiple backpacking or camping trips and that I feel are quality products worthy of recommending. If I don’t like a product, I send it back and don’t review or recommend it.

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