Recently, we had a chance to try out the new Kelty Supernova 3-IN-1 sleeping bag, and it was smooth sailing and great sleeping under the North Carolina skies!
Unfortunately, a lot of us outdoors folks and gearheads get a little distracted by the shiny things like knives, guns, electronics, and all the other goodies we like to play with outside. Though not as sexy as the aforementioned items, our choice of sleeping gear will play a big role in how much we enjoy our adventures into the wild. Sleep poorly and you feel it for the next couple of days. Sleep well, and you’re ready to go when the sun rises. And, speaking of the sun, Kelty has a new sleeping bag called the Supernova that has done a great job for us over the past couple of months. We received the Supernova in preparation for our North Carolina outing back in April. At that time, we weren’t getting the high temperatures we’re already seeing now, so the warmth provided by the Supernova’s construction was very much appreciated those nights that it got close to 30 degrees.
One of the unique features of the Supernova is that it’s a very large sleeping system. In fact, it’s large enough for you to slide in next to your sweetheart and enjoy the romance of the outdoors. The dimensions are a roomy 85 inches (long) by 136 inches in girth. Basically, it’s large enough to cover a queen size bed with a bit left over. This is a large sleeping bag! But, the great specs and features don’t stop there. Since the Supernova is a bit bulky and awkward to carry, it’s not intended for just one person’s use–especially for the backpacker. However, if needed, you can unzip the top half of the Supernova and then fold it over and zip it up to make a stand-alone sleeping bag for one! Or, if you’re the type that’ll use the gear at home or maybe in your travel trailer, you can unzip the two pieces and use the bottom as a comforter.
Part of the “comfort” in comforter comes from the materials used for the linings of the two halves of the Supernova. The top half uses polyester microfiber pongee (left in picture) and the bottom half uses Sueded nylon-polyester-cotton (right in picture). It’s hard to explain the feel of the two pieces, but this is a very comfortable sleeping bag. I particularly liked the feel of the lining of the bottom half which can be made into a comforter. It does feel like suede. In fact, before I looked up the materials, I described the feel to myself as a cross between microfiber and suede. Pretty much dead on! Adding to the comfort is also the fill material which includes 600 Power Down for the top and Kelty’s proprietary Cloudloft fill for the bottom half. The package is topped off with a 50D ripstop polyester shell to hold up to the travel and adventures you have in mind.
There are a lot of nice touches that went into making the Supernova besides just the materials used. Part of your comfort is going to come from keeping warm during the night, and Kelty didn’t skimp on this point either. Behind the zipper track at the bottom, Kelty installed an insulated baffle that folds down and helps keep the chill out so you won’t have to worry about the cold getting in through the zipper area. Also built into the Supernova are two pillow pockets that help keep your melon cushion in place during the night, and it also helps shape your cushioning if you are using other items for your pillow such as clothing. And, the SuperNova includes a couple of small external storage pockets which come in handy if you like to listen to your ipod while you’re going to sleep. Of course, you can keep whatever you like in the pockets, but that’s what I used them for while sleeping in the Supernova.
At the head of the Supernova is the dual, semi-mummy head area. I say semi-mummy because it’s pretty open if it’s just one person using the Supernova. But, you can use a drawcord to cinch it up nice and snug around you and use the included cordlock to keep it in place. Throw in the FatMan and Ribbon drawcords and you’ve got a well appointed package that’s stylish, warm, and did I mention comfortable? All of this packs down into their included binto which measures around 18×18 inches. I’ll tell you that folding and packing the Supernova is a little awkward. It’s not hard, really, but there’s just so much material you feel like it’s sand slipping through your hands as you keep gathering fold after fold. The nearly ten pounds of weight doesn’t make it an easy process, but you’ll appreciate it when bedtime rolls around. Again, this isn’t the proper size system for a solo backpacker, but if you’re schlepping your gear around by car, you won’t notice it a bit.
The first time I tried out the Supernova sleeping bag was at our annual Practice What You Preach outing back in April. I had a queen size air bed so the Supernova fit the bill quite nicely. After being spread out, you could barely see the bed because of its size. The sleeping bag that I’ve used over the past several years does a great job keeping me warm, but does not boast the sheer comfort that I experienced with the Supernova. Granted, the Supernova is a large and bulky system, but those points have their benefits–primarily the comfort I experienced. It was the same feeling you get when you settle into a new set of flannel sheets on your bed at home. It just feels right. Other than that, there’s not much I can say about the Supernova’s performance. It’s not something I could test, time, or rate on a quantitative scale. It was all just subjective interpretation based on my experience. I was warm and slept very well. Between the air bed and the cloud loft bottom of the Supernova, I felt like I was sleeing on a bed of marshamallows.
You may think I’m exaggerating the point here, but over the past two months I have gone out of my way to use the Supernova every chance I can. I especially like using the bottom half of the system as a comforter. I would say that I’ve used the system around 20 nights so far and have nothing but positive things to say about it. If you’re looking for a double sleeping bag for you and your mate, or you want a system that’s convertible into different modes, I think you’ll be impressed with how the Supernova Performs and feels. MSRP is $279.99, but you’ll find it a bit cheaper online with a little shopping around. If you’re in the market, give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!