SLEEPING BAGS

The Nemo Verve Sleeping Bag: A Perfect Middle Ground for Comfort and Practicality

Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

There is a massive variety of sleeping bag shapes and sizes on the market these days. You can find everything from rectangular bags that try to replicate the comfort of sleeping in a real bed, to minimal mummy bags that wrap you up tight for the maximum possible warmth-to-size ratio.

Nemo has taken the best of both these worlds to create the Nemo Verve Sleeping Bag. The Verve has been designed with a unique “spoon” shape to give you room to move naturally in your sleep, while at the same time keeping the overall size of the bag small. This sleeping bag bucks the trend of ever-tighter mummy shapes, by offering a relaxed fit that can accommodate any style of sleeper comfortably overnight.

Product Specifications

  • Spoon shape is wider at the knees and elbows for side sleeping
  • Stratofiber synthetic insulation offers the best blend of warmth, moisture resistance and packed volume
  • Lets you sit cross-legged 
  • Gives you the ability to roll over and move your legs within the bag for side sleeping 
  • Spoon shape provides extra girth at the knees and elbows where it’s needed most

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Backpackers needn’t worry though; this bag’s hourglass shape is smaller than typical rectangular sleeping bags and is compactable enough to carry on any backpacking trip. This synthetic, three-season bag is light enough to carry around on backpacking trips, but without the discomfort of being bound up in a super tight, restrictive bag. Car campers will also do well with this easy to use, practical and comfortable bag.

Aside from the overall shape design, the Verve sleeping bag has a range of additional features for extra comfort and durability. It can be easy to feel unsettled when camping in the backcountry, especially at night when all the creepy crawlies come out. Uncomfortable sleeping bags can be the final straw to ruin your night, as you lie awake craving your comfortable bed at home.

Reviews

Nemo has created this sleeping bag specifically to give you not only a comfortable night’s rest for a refreshed morning, but also a comforting and cozy feeling. Let’s see how this is achieved by taking a more detailed look at the specific features of this sleeping bag.

Packaging

The Nemo Verve sleeping bag comes wrapped up small when you buy it. The provided stuff sack has a roll-top that pushes air out through the breathable material of the sack, as you pack it up. The sack is definitely not a compression sack however, and remains fairly bulky even after expelling the internal air.

A packed size of 18 x 10 inches takes up quite a bit of room in your pack, and the compressed volume is 11 liters. The packed size is fine for car camping, but backpackers would need to buy an additional compression sack, which could probably further reduce the packed size of the sleeping bag by about half again.

Additionally, you receive a cotton storage sack to keep your sleeping bag in top condition during the off-season, or any time you’re not taking it out on an adventure.

Synthetic insulation materials tend to lose their loft quicker than down insulation, especially if kept in a compressed state all year round. Using a larger storage bag will ensure your sleeping bag lasts as long as possible, without losing its warmth. It’s always a nice touch when a brand offers a complimentary storage sack in which to keep your new sleeping bag when not in use.

Design and Durability

The fabric shell of the Nemo Verve is exceptionally thick and durable. While most mid-range sleeping bags have a nylon shell of 20 denier or so, this sleeping bag has doubled that to create a 40 denier bag. Denier is the measurement of a fiber’s thickness, with higher values denoting thicker threads and sturdy, durable fabrics.

The 40D rip-stop nylon has also been reinforced with thicker threads to further reduce the likelihood that this bag will tear or develop holes in the outback. Overall, this sleeping bag is very resistant to the elements.

Synthetic sleeping bags do tend to be a bit less durable than down ones. The synthetic insulation can lose its loft gradually after only a couple of years of use, while a down one should last for decades.

Keeping your sleeping bag in a compressed state over long periods is a big mistake, especially with a synthetic bag like this one, and can really impact the ability of your bag to keep you warm. The provided storage sack does go some way to lengthening the life of the insulation, keeping compression to a minimum when space isn’t an issue.

Nemo has given some real thought to the design of this bag. We’ll take a detailed look at the shape in the next section, but there are a few extra elements which make this a good bag. A zippered pocket, for example, is included to keep personal items safe overnight.

Weight & Size

The major selling point of this bag is the “spoon” shape design. It’s shaped to resemble something like an hourglass or the number “8” with wider points at the elbows and knees. This is basically a midpoint between a mummy shaped bag and a larger rectangular bag.

Mummy bags are fantastic for keeping bulk and weight down, but many campers find them too restrictive and just plain uncomfortable. On the other hand, rectangular bags offer more room to move around in, but the extra space adds weight and can be very cumbersome to carry, especially on backpacking trips.

Nemo Verve Sleeping Bag durability

Nemo’s collection of uniquely “spoon” shaped sleeping bags are designed to minimize bulk while maximizing comfort, keeping the size and shape of the bag in a middle ground between mummy and rectangular bags.

This sleeping bag isn’t going to be one for ultralight, minimal backpackers. The added room around the elbows and knees adds at least some bulk and weight over the ultra minimal bags that some backpackers would prefer to carry. It is great for backpackers who are willing to carry a slightly larger pack, without becoming unmanageable, especially those people who simply can’t stand the enclosed feeling and lack of movement which is inevitable in a mummy bag.

The bag is roomy enough to allow you to sit up cross, legged inside it. The regular size measures 64 inches in girth at the shoulder and knee, while the hip area is a narrower 62 inches; the length can accommodate people 6 feet tall. It also comes in a large size.

At 3 lbs. 9 oz, it’s in the medium range for weight, and backpackers should purchase an extra compression sack, since the included stuff sack isn’t really up to the task for backpacking. Car campers should definitely consider this bag, which does cut down on the bulk and weight of many non-mummy sleeping bags.

Comfort

Nemo has designed the Verve sleeping bag specifically to make it as comfortable as possible, without the annoyance of a large, unwieldy bag. According to the manufacturer, the average sleeper repositions themselves at least 5 times per night, which many slimline sleeping bags can prevent, or make extremely uncomfortable. See the short video below.

The spoon shape gives extra room around the elbows and knees, allowing for natural movement while you’re sleeping. Side sleepers in particular tend to struggle with the confines of a mummy bag, which almost forces to sleep in the same static position as an actual mummy!

The Nemo Verve is perfect for side sleepers and people who move around a lot during the night. You can even lie on your side with your legs bent in the ‘running position’ many of us sleep in.

A rather cozy addition is the blanket fold, which is used to replace the more conventional neck baffle commonly found in sleeping bags. Instead, Nemo has sewn a flap at the front of the sleeping bag, which you can draw in around your neck to simulate the way you would tuck a blanket around yourself in bed. This creates a feeling of being “tucked in” to bed, which is very comforting, as well as serving to keep your neck warm and prevent drafts.

Campers often tuck up a pile of clothes under their sleeping bags to use as a pillow, although this can flatten out during the night, or give you an unpleasant shock if you roll off your “pillow” onto the hard ground.

Nemo Verve comfort

Nemo has included a pillow pouch in the hood of this bag for you to tuck some clothes or an insert of the correct size. This creates a comfortable pillow on which to rest your head, which will stay in place throughout the whole night without losing its “loft.”

Warmth & Temperature Rating

Warmth is always a key factor when deciding what sleeping bag to buy. This is a three season sleeping bag, suitable for reasonably cold nights but not equipped for alpine or severely cold temperatures.

Ultimately, this bag won’t provide as much easy warmth as a mummy shaped bag. Because empty air inside your sleeping bag needs to be heated to keep the overall temperature warm, a looser fit means that your body has to work harder to produce enough heat to keep both you and these pockets of air heated. Your sleeping bag insulation also needs to work harder to keep that heat contained around your body.

One of the main advantages of a tight mummy bag is the slim fit which doesn’t allow for much dead air which can cool down the internal temperature of your bag. Nemo did compensate for these issues, as the temperature ratings are no worse than most other sleeping bags on the market. Cold spots can always occur around weak areas like seams, but Nemo has counteracted this by using offset quilting.

Remember doing school performances, where the teacher would position every kid in the second row between two kids in the first row, so that the audience could see everyone no matter which row they were standing in?  That’s kind of how this bag is sewn: the seams are staggered so that every seam on the top layer is between, rather than directly stacked above, each seam on the bottom layer.

The result is minimal weak spots for the cold to penetrate, as there’s always a full layer of insulation in place.

While no man-made material can outperform natural down insulation, this bag uses polyester Stratofiber™ insulation which does something that even down can’t achieve: it will keep you warm whilst wet! Even if you get caught in the rain, you should stay warm all night with this sleeping bag.

The Verve sleeping bag is available in both 20° and 30° degree temperature ratings, so be careful when buying that you’re getting the one need.

Water Resistance

As mentioned earlier, synthetic sleeping bags are great at withstanding moisture, and the Nemo Verve is no exception. This sleeping bag has been purposely designed to create a practical balance of water resistance, warmth and comfort.

Nemo Verve Sleeping Bag water resistance

The nylon shell is DWR (durable water repellant) treated to prevent water from even getting into the insulation layer. Should you experience a real downpour which proves too much for that first line of defense, then the polyester insulation is made to keep its loft, shape and most importantly, warmth despite any moisture.

Value for Money & Guarantee

With a price tag of approximately $200, this is a mid-value sleeping bag. A little on the expensive side for a synthetic bag, but certainly not compared to some down bags which can sell for hundreds more dollars.

The unique shape of this bag, as well as the thoughtful construction and design elements add value, as it can be really tricky to find a sleeping bag with a good mix of both comfort and practicality.

Nemo offers a standard lifetime warranty on all of their gear, which covers manufacturing defects, as long as you have proof of purchase from an authorized dealer. They won’t cover normal wear and tear, improper use or modified products, so think twice before using your sleeping bag for anything other than sleeping or sitting in your tent.

Competing Products

Nemo Symphony Synthetic Sleeping Bag 25FNemo Symphony Synthetic Sleeping Bag 25F

The Symphony Synthetic Sleeping Bag 25F is another synthetic bag from Nemo. This one has a rectangular shape and by all accounts is huge! It’s basically designed to replicate the feeling of being in an actual bed, and as such is includes a soft sheet and the front of the bag is designed like a quilt which can be turned down on both sides. The base is only lightly insulated, with the front being far more so, with buttons which can be undone to vent your bag.

This bag is designed to be as close as close to being in bed as you can be, without actually being in bed. Not a great option for backpackers, it’s much better suited to car camping and trips where comfort is your first priority. Thus bulky sleeping bag can be hard to put away and carry in a small pack. The large area of the bag means that cold spots can develop around the edges and the footbox, but with a temperature rating of 25°, it’s still a warm and cozy option.

Hyke & Byke Snowmass 0 Degree Down Sleeping BagHyke Byke Snowmass 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag

Hyke & Byke has made splash on the scene with their modern business model which is entirely operated online. This new company is also involved is giving back to the community, which is a pursuit many outdoorsmen and women can get behind. Their Snowmass 0 Degree Down Sleeping Bag is a mummy shaped down bag for lightweight backpacking.

Filled with duck down for a great warmth-to-weight ratio, this bag should keep you warm even in cold winter weather. Very affordable for a 0° down bag, this is a great option for campers on a budget, who need equipment capable of keeping you warm, without the high-end price tag.

Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping BagKelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag

If the Nemo Verve isn’t for you, try a completely different style in the Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag. The Cosmic 20 is a mummy shaped down bag designed for compact portability. The polyester shell is a highly durable 50 denier, stuffed with 600 fill DriDown. You’ll have to shimmy into this slim bag and thought the mummy shape may be quite restrictive, at least it is well equipped to keep you warm through the night.

DriDown has been treated with a water repellant coating, allowing this bag to stand up to wet conditions better than traditional down can.  This bag packs up small and light, yet hasn’t sacrificed the durability to achieve better packability. Affordable for a down bag, the Cosmic 20 is ideal for backpackers who don’t mind a snug fit.

Overview

The Nemo Verve sleeping bag is basically the perfect compromise of comfort, portability and weather resistance. High quality materials should last a long time, even when exposed to the elements.

This three-season bag isn’t the made to stand up to extreme cold and the relaxed fit can make it more taxing to keep your sleeping space warm, but additions like the offset quilting and a tuck blanket make up for that to achieve a decent temperature rating of 20° or 30° (depending on which model you go for).

The spoon shape of this bag offers something special when it comes to physical comfort and the ability to move around while sleeping. Campers who feel claustrophobic in tight mummy bags, but who don’t want to carry around the bulk and weight of a rectangular sleeping bag, would do well with this middle-ground option. Streamline enough for backpackers, yet roomy enough for any style sleeper, this bag is made to suit just about anyone.

Pros:

  • Roomy fit allows you to move and sleep comfortably in any position.
  • Nylon fabric is both durable and water-resistant.
  • Synthetic insulation performs well when wet.
  • Reasonably warm for three season use.
  • Blanket fold provides cozy feeling.
  • Zippered pocket is handy for keeping small items close.
  • Can compress to a small size.
  • Light and small enough to take backpacking.
  • Pillow space for extra comfort.

Cons:

  • Extra air space needs more body heat to keep warm.
  • Bulkier than a mummy bag.
  • Included stuff sack doesn’t compress the bag enough for backpacking.
  • A bit expensive for a synthetic bag.
The Nemo Verve Sleeping Bag
  • Packaging
  • Design and Durability
  • Weight & Size
  • Comfort
  • Warmth & Temperature Rating
  • Water Resistance
  • Value for Money & Guarantee
4.7

Summary

The Nemo Verve sleeping bag presents a practical combination of portability and comfort. The relaxed fit is ideal for side sleepers and people who want the freedom to move around in the nighttime. The spoon shape creates a comfortable sleeping space, while efficiently keeping volume low to cut unnecessary weight and bulk.

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The Nemo Verve Sleeping Bag: A Perfect Middle Ground for Comfort and PracticalityWhat style of sleeping bag do you prefer? Are mummy bags too restrictive, or are rectangular bags too bulky? Let us know what you think of this new “spoon” shape in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Foster

Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.