SLEEPING BAGS

NEMO Celesta Sleeping Bag: A Great Choice for Side-Sleepers

Choosing a sleeping bag
Jessica Bayne
Written by Jessica Bayne

The NEMO Celesta Sleeping Bag is one of those bags that fulfill the need you never knew you had. Its spoon shape is specifically designed to accommodate side-sleepers. Before spoon-shaped bags came out, side-sleepers had to contend with either mummy-shaped or rectangular bags. One night in the NEMO Celesta, and you’ll realize what you’ve been missing out on.

Product Specifications

  • 40D Nylon Ripstop w/ DWR (Shell)
  • Spoon shape is wider at the knees and elbows for side sleeping
  • Women’s specific design has extra down fill in the footbox and increased insulation to enhance warmth.
  • Stratofiber synthetic insulation offers the best blend of warmth, moisture resistance and packed volume.
  • Rated for temperatures in the 35 °F range.
  • Included accessories: Drawstring Stuff Sack and Cotton Storage Bag.

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Mummy bags are far too constricting. Rectangular bags allow for a wide range of movements, but these leave a lot of unnecessary room wherein air pockets can form, especially if you sleep on your side. Spoon-shaped bags, on the other hand, is snug in all the right places and just roomy enough around the shoulders and knees to give you space to move around in without letting any heat slip out. It’s a great 3-season sleeping bag.

Review

There is no one-size-fits all sleeping bag. Whether a person tends to run cold or hot, their body shape, and their sleeping style are all factors that affect the kind of sleeping bag that would suit them best. That’s why as the outdoor gear industry grows, companies are producing more and more specialized bags designed to fulfill the needs of a certain market niche. NEMO Celesta is one such bag.

Girl with a nemo sleeping bag

If you are a side-sleeper, NEMO Celesta will redefine what a good night’s sleep in the wilderness means to you. The combination of space in all the right places, a great insulation system, and useful extras such as the pillow pocket will make it feel like you’re sleeping in your own bed at home.

The Blanket Fold feels just like a comforter and can be adjusted according to your needs. This sleeping bag does have some downsides—mainly its length and weight—but they aren’t a deal-breaker so much as subjective considerations that might trouble some users but feel perfectly fine to others.

Packaging

With every purchase of this sleeping bag, a cotton storage bag and a drawstring stuff sack are thrown into the package. The Celesta packs down to a size of 18 x 10” if you choose to go without a compression sack. It’s a rather troublesome size to deal with, especially if you are on a long-distance hiking trip.

Nemo packed sleeping bag

NEMO sacrifices size for warmth with this bag; the Stratofiber synthetic insulation keeps the user protected in a warm cocoon, but it is big and bulky compared to down fill or even other synthetic insulation.

If you are on a car camping trip, the size shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. However, if you are planning to take this bag with you on a hiking trip, consider purchasing a compression sack so you’ll have enough space for other things in your backpack. This sleeping bag matches well with a 21 L compression sack. Any smaller than that, and the Celesta’s bulky constitution might overfill it.

The Celesta comes in two different size options. The regular size fits a person with a height of up to 66” or 5’5” whereas the long one is said to be able to accommodate a height of 72” or 6’0”. In practice, however, that is an optimistic estimation. The regular version is really more suitable for a 5’4” woman, and anyone taller than 5’8” will have trouble squeezing into the long version of this sleeping bag.

Design & Durability

NEMO Celesta has many things going for it when it comes to design. Rarely would you encounter a spoon-shaped sleeping bag. This shape offers an alternative to the more common mummy-shaped bag. Many users have complained that mummy-shaped sleeping bags are warm but uncomfortable because these bags wrap the user up too tightly. In comparison, NEMO Celesta is roomy, especially around the knees, shoulders, and elbows, which makes it the saving grace of side-sleepers.

Nemo sleeping bag

Not just for side-sleeping, this bag is simply really flexible and great for a wide range of movements that sleeping bags commonly just don’t allow. You can even sit up without needing to leave the comfort of this bag if you want to—cross-legged no less. This flexibility and roominess may be seen as a flaw in design to some, though, because it leaves some space for air pockets—not as much as a rectangular bag does, but enough so that people who run cold might use this bag as a 2-season bag instead of 3-season.

The NEMO Celesta comes with a number of extra features—most of which are really quite ingenious and useful. This bag comes equipped with NEMO’s signature Blanket Fold technology. Whenever you feel like you’re overheating, you can simply peel the blanket off a bit. It also works great as a baffle collar that you can pull up to shield your face against the wind when you are in a high-altitude area.

The 2-way zipper is a nice additional touch to the overall design of the NEMO Celesta. You can zip this bag together with any NEMO sleeping bag, as long as the right/left designation matches. This feature isn’t all that difficult to find these days, but it is only common among sleeping bags that don’t sport a hood. NEMO Celesta does not only come equipped with a hood—the hood even has an integrated pillow pocket added inside for maximum comfort.

The current NEMO Celesta is a new version that was released very recently—in 2016. This means that there hasn’t been much of a chance to test the bag’s durability. However, the older version lived up to NEMO’s reputation as a brand of outdoor gear that offers proven durability. The part of a sleeping bag that’s usually the first to break would be the zipper, but NEMO Celesta’s zipper looks sturdy. Judging from that, this bag seems to promise many years of usability.

Comfort

Users of NEMO Celesta seem to be divided into two extremes when asked to give their opinion about the level of comfort that this sleeping bag offers. If you are a side-sleeper, then this is the perfect sleeping bag for you. Everything about this bag is designed to give side-sleepers the ultimate comfort. From the 62” shoulder girth and knee girth to the spoon shape, this sleeping bag allows you to curl up as much as you need to.

Curled up in sleeping bag

On the other hand, if you are not a side-sleeper, the comfort level that this sleeping bag offers may leave a lot to be desired, especially if you’re a tall woman. Despite being advertised as a bag that can accommodate a height of 5’5”, the regular version of the NEMO Celesta will feel like it’s too short for a woman of that height if she does not sleep on her side. If she does, however, this bag will feel like it’s just the right size.

Apart from the height concerns, the NEMO Celesta does quite well comfort-wise in other areas. The pillow pocket is an especially well thought-out highlight. It eliminates the need to carry a separate pillow around. When it’s time to tuck in, all you have to do is stuff some of your clothes into the pocket, and voila. There’s a makeshift pillow in the hood of the sleeping bag.

Insulation

NEMO Celesta’s main insulation comes from the Stratofiber synthetic system. This synthetic insulation is so thick that it makes the bag seem a bit bulky. A compression sack is almost a must if you’re planning to take this sleeping bag on a hiking trip. However, the offered insulation benefits are worth it.

NEMO Celesta’s specs say that it’s suited for a temperature of 35 °F or higher. It really depends on whether you tend to run hot or cold, but most users agree that the Stratofiber synthetic keeps them warm and toasty even when the temperature drops to below 25 °F.

Nemo sleeping bag

Your feet will be especially well-protected against the cold. In addition to the synthetic fiber, the footbox comes with an extra layer of down fill for added warmth. The hood and Blanket Fold technology also work well as a form of protection against the cold. Not just during the colder seasons, this bag is also great for summer trips. The Blanket Fold makes it possible for you to adjust the sleeping bag to your liking if you want to let some air in.

NEMO Celesta’s water-resistance is also top-notch. Synthetic insulation is already typically known as being more water-resistant than down, but the Stratofiber synthetic takes it to the next level. The Stratofiber repels moisture while the 40D Nylon Ripstop and DWR coating added to the shell prevents any form of water saturation. Be it raining or snowing, you’ll never have to worry about waking up soaked.

Weight

This sleeping bag is neither heavy nor impressively lightweight. At 2 pounds and 6.8 ounces for the regular version and 2 pounds and 9 ounces for the long version, it shouldn’t weigh you down too much, although there are lighter bags you can choose if you are looking for something that will make a long-distance hiking trip easier for you.

Packed sleeping bags

NEMO could’ve made this bag lighter in weight, but chose not to because they wanted to focus on insulation. There are lots of lighter sleeping bag options out there, but most of them won’t be able to match the warmth and comfort that Celesta’s Stratofiber synthetic offers.

When you’re sleeping in high-altitude areas, Celesta’s Stratofiber synthetic insulation, the Blanket Fold technology, and the fact that it allows you to sleep on your side will make all the extra effort you have to put in when making the climb worth it.

Value for Money & Guarantee

At approximately $200, the NEMO Celesta is quite affordable, although it is not the cheapest bag out there. Synthetic bags are typically cheaper than down fill ones. NEMO Celesta follows that trend, but because Celesta’s insulation comes from Stratofiber synthetic, which is one class higher than the usual synthetic, this sleeping bag is naturally a bit more expensive.

Still, overall this bag is a great value for money. One look and you can already tell that it’s on a whole new level compared to the cheap, mass-produced synthetic bags that you can purchase for less than $100 out there. The design is quite one-of-a-kind, and it is obvious that NEMO put a lot of thought into it. The careful 40D Nylon Ripstop stitching, the DWR coating, and all the extra features that come with this bag make it a worthy purchase.

Nemo sleeping bag on the ground

When it comes to product guarantee, there’s nothing to fear when you’re purchasing something from an established brand like NEMO. NEMO offers 100% satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime return policy for each purchase of this sleeping bag. So even if you change your mind and suddenly decide that this bag is not the one for you after it has arrived on your doorstep, you can still get your money back.

Close Competitors

Kelty Tuck EX 20 Degree ThermaPro RHKelty Tuck EX 20 Degree ThermaPro RH

Despite being advertised as a mummy-shaped bag, the Kelty Tuck EX 20 Degree ThermaPro RH sleeping bag is in no way constricting. In fact, it is bigger and roomier than most sleeping bags out there—no matter the style. Kelty intentionally made this bag bigger than it needs to be. Said to be able to accommodate a height of 7’0”, most users—even taller ones—will have extra space to spare.

Kelty believes that being oversized is better than being undersized. For most sleeping bags, this will normally be a cause for concern. Oversized sleeping bags tend to leave a lot of space for air pockets to form inside, and this takes away from the warmth retention that the bag has to offer.

But Kelty Tuck somehow still manages to be a great 3-season sleeping bag. Perhaps it’s thanks to the ThermaPro synthetic insulation. The 20 °F temperature tag might be stretching it a bit, but you should stay toasty in a temperature range of 25 °F to 30 °F.

The only downside is that the Kelty Tuck is bigger, bulkier, and not to mention heavier than normal sleeping bags. This comes with the territory, and the size actually seems more like a pre-planned benefit than an accidental manufacturing downside, but that does not change the fact that this bag will weigh a long-distance hiker too much to be a viable option. Car campers that won’t have any trouble handling the 3 pounds and 5 ounces of weight may consider this bag a dream come true.

When it comes to comfort, Kelty Tuck is one step ahead of NEMO Celesta. Its size, width, and warmth retention don’t leave much to complain about. The fact that Kelty Tuck allows the user to stick their foot out from the bottom also appeals to some. It is also around $100 cheaper than NEMO Celesta. However, when it comes to weight, folded size, and water-resistance, NEMO Celesta is the winner. NEMO Celesta is definitely the better choice for long-distance hikers who prioritize efficiency and functionality over comfort.

NEMO Rhumba Women’s Sleeping BagNEMO Rhumba Women's Sleeping Bag

Few sleeping bags available on the market today are spoon-shaped, but NEMO seems to have an inherent fondness for them, because here’s another installment in addition to the NEMO Celesta. NEMO Rhumba Women’s Sleeping Bag offers much of the same benefits as NEMO Celesta does—side-sleeping, extra-warm footbox, Blanket Fold technology, and DWR-treated nylon shell—however, there are also some notable differences between them.

NEMO Rhumba comes with a 650FP DownTek down fill insulation system instead of synthetic. This makes it around 1 pound heavier than NEMO Celesta. It is also around $50 more expensive. At the same time, however, NEMO Rhumba’s shell fabric is of a higher caliber than NEMO Celesta’s. NEMO Rhumba is also roomier. NEMO Celesta is a bit tight around the feet, since the girth tapers down below the knees. NEMO Rhumba doesn’t have the same problem.

NEMO Rhumba is available in 2 temperature ratings. You can either pick one that’s rated 15ºF or 30ºF. Compared to Celesta’s 35ºF rating, NEMO Rhumba may seem like the better choice for high-altitude areas, but remember that Rhumba is also heavier than Celesta. All in all, Rhumba is better suited for camping trips during the colder times of the year, whereas if you are looking for a bag that can keep you warm and won’t put too much of a burden on you while you are hiking, NEMO Celesta is the better choice.

Mountain Hardwear HyperLamina SparkMountain Hardwear HyperLamina Spark

Looking for an ultra-lightweight sleeping bag? Look no further. Mountain Hardwear HyperLamina Spark weighs no more than 1 pound and 12 ounces. It’s a marvelous choice for hikers. You’ll hardly feel like you’re carrying anything at all. It also allows you to save quite a lot of space in your backpack. Even without a compression sack, it packs down to no larger than 6″x13″. The bright yellow color might be offensive to some, but if you can get past that, the HyperLamina Spark is a great choice for hikers.

On the other hand, let it never be said that this sleeping bag is all-around perfect. This sleeping bag comes with a long list of pet peeves—not quite major enough to be a big flaw, but can be quite annoying. It is said to be able to handle a temperature of 35ºF, but that’s an optimistic estimation. Even at 40ºF, you might need to combine it with a sleeping pad or some warmer clothes if you tend to run cold.

The design also leaves much to be desired. Compared to NEMO Celesta’s wide range of useful extra features, HyperLamina Spark only comes with a face gasket and a half-zip. The half-zip can be a deal-breaker for some. Mummy-shaped bags in general are already quite difficult to get in to and out of, but add the fact that you have to fight with the minimalistic zipper length with this one, and some might decide not to bother with it at all.

HyperLamina Spark can be bought at approximately the same price as NEMO Celesta. Which one would be the better value for money for you will depend on your own individual inclination. If it’s comfort you seek, NEMO Celesta would definitely be the better choice—especially if you are a side-sleeper. If you prioritize weight and size, you’ll find that few sleeping bags are as efficient as the HyperLamina Spark.

Overview

There aren’t that many spoon-shaped sleeping bags. Most companies go for the safe choices such as mummy-shaped or rectangular sleeping bags. So when an established company like NEMO decides to break that norm, you know that it’s for a reason. NEMO Celesta targets a very specific market niche—namely, female users who like to sleep on their side.

Unfortunately, its relatively inadequate length makes it seem like NEMO disregards taller women or women who likes to stretch out in their sleep. But let it never be said that NEMO Celesta does not achieve what it aims to well.

If you are a side-sleeper, it would feel like NEMO Celesta was custom-tailored to suit your needs. The wide girth around the shoulders and knees makes it possible for you to curl every which way during your sleep. You can even sleep while curling forward—in other words, while sitting cross-legged—if you are so inclined. The 35ºF temperature rating is a pessimistic estimation. Celesta’s Stratofiber synthetic insulation and DWR coating make it warm and water-resistant enough to be a multipurpose 3-season sleeping bag.

PROS:

  • Great insulation system. The 35 °F temperature can easily be stretched to 25 °F
  • Designed to counter mummy-bag claustrophobia by allowing side-sleeping
  • Allows for a wide range of movements
  • The pillow pocket cranks up the comfort and convenience level

CONS:

  • Not very lightweight
  • Not a suitable option for women taller than 5’8”

If you are a side-sleeper and you are looking for a multipurpose, reasonably-priced bag to accommodate your sleeping needs, NEMO Celesta might be the perfect sleeping bag for you. In fact, it was practically created with you in mind. Be it a trip to enjoy the autumn foliage or a riverside trek at the peak of summer heat, you’ll be able to sleep in the utmost comfort with this sleeping bag. Its weight makes it more suitable for camping trips than hiking trips, but it won’t weigh you down too much if you decide that you’d like to sleep in the ultimate side-sleeper comfort even in high-altitude areas.

Nemo Celesta Sleeping Bag
  • Packaging
  • Design & durability
  • Comfort
  • Insulation
  • Weight
  • Value for money & guarantee
4.3

Summary

NEMO Celesta Women’s Sleeping Bag is the one you should pick if you like to sleep on your side. Its spoon shape is perfect for accommodating extra movements around the shoulders and knees. Even if you aren’t a side-sleeper, you might be enticed by the little details that NEMO adds to this bag to increase the comfort level. The pillow pocket and Blanket Fold technology make for great additions, but be aware that women taller than 5’8” might feel like this sleeping bag is too short for them, even when they’ve picked the long version.

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NEMO Celesta Sleeping Bag: A Great Choice for Side-Sleepers

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Bayne

Jessica Bayne

Jessica believes that the only things you need to explore the world are a good backpack and a bit of courage to make the first steps. She also loves the beauty of a sunset seen from the mountaintop and the delicious flavor of a meal prepped over the camping fire. Ready to start a new adventure at any given time, Jessica knows how to be prepared for any situation and understands how important is to find the right gear. She also knows a lot about the type of gear to have and how to choose the products you actually need.